The Accelerate rapid implementation program to help partners sell to small and medium businesses

A Canadian Oracle channel partner believes the company’s new Accelerate program will push new business its way for enterprise resource application software.

“I think it’s going to open a lot of doors for us in small and medium markets,” said Gary Shaffran, senior vice-president of Montreal-based Syntax.net, one of the first North American companies with solutions certified under the program.

“We expect significant new opportunities.”

Oracle announced this week that seven partners from Canada and the U.S. are the first to qualify as Oracle Accelerate partners, a program aimed at marrying packaged bundles of industry-specific software and accelerated installation process to the specializations of its VARs in an all-out attack on the SMB.

The plan also includes simpler pricing, which it is hoped will also attract customers.

Asked how many Oracle partners he wants to sign up, Jeff Abbott, global vice-president for small and medium business said simply: “All of them.”

Until now Oracle tried to get into the SMB – which it defines as companies with up to $500 million in annual revenue – through its Oracle Special Edition, a version of its E-Business Suite that came with modules customers could buy for many industries.

But in an attempt to create more flexibility and bring out the specialization some partners have, the program has been overhauled. Under the Accelerate banner, Oracle intends to create 70 industry-tailored bundles (about 20 exist already) across all of its ERP products – E-Business Suite, J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel – that customers can chose from.

Several hundred more will be added in the next three years, said Abbott.

Unlike the Oracle SE program, a new pricing model lets partners delete recommended modules or add applications that they have developed to make the suite suit customers’ needs.

A partner can also add its own fixed bid for implementation and services, leaving it up to the VAR to come up with a final price.

As part of the package the latest version of Oracle’s installation Accelerator is expected to cut implementation time “from six to 12 months to six to 12 weeks,” said Abbott.

Some of the early certified partners are offering solutions for professional services, packaged goods and government sectors.

Synex.net’s Accelerate solution is for the Canadian industrial manufacturing, products and components industry running on top of J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne, but Shaffran said the company will add solutions for other industries as well.

“It provides us with another strategic and useful weapon in our arsenal of tools that allows us to implement a solution more rapidly and at less cost to the customer,” he said.

To the Oracle bundle, Syntax.net adds its methodologies and experience in configuring the application certain industries.

Accelerate “is going to help convert some misconceptions that J.D. Edwards and Oracle are too big or too pricey,” he said.

“It gives the customer an opportunity to get into this market with software like their competitors use for significantly less than in the past.”

He wouldn’t cite a specific figure, but said that in some circumstances implementation costs could be reduced by 40 per cent over a regular installation.

Abbott said it will take a partner between three and six weeks to qualify for Accelerator status. They have to show an ability to deliver solutions to specific industries in their geographies.

But, he added, it will be worth it. The vendor will roll out a new Accelerate loyalty program later this year that will sit on top of Oracle PartnerNetwork with new training and co-marketing benefits. Qualified partners also get special application pricing and the inclusion of their solution in an online catalogue.

He emphasized that the Accelerate program relies on partners. Oracle is bringing them in “so we can focus them on their best industry segments, on their best product lines and in their best geographies. And we plan to invest heavily in those partners as they go to market.”

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