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How Oracle’s Acquisition Strategy Impacts the Partner Community

I recently attended an Oracle partner meeting in Denver.  Upon entering I noticed how few of the partner firms I recognized. Twelve years of attending these kinds of meetings and all of sudden, not only did I not see those who usually attend, I didn’t recognize the ones who were there.  Was I the only partner who noticed that something seemed different?

The meeting started with an overview of the new acquisitions Oracle has made and how Oracle apps used to be relegated to the E-Business suite.  The days of only being able to sell within the box of ERP were gone.  The speaker finished his presentation with the following poignant comment:  “To all of you long-time members of the Oracle partner community; this isn’t your father’s Oracle anymore.”

Now, having been one of those long-time partners, this comment was clearly geared at me and others in the room who can remember making countless cold calls into a CFO’s office only to hear that ERP was in no way on the table for the foreseeable future.

For most of the 2000’s, it was pretty common to find, among the realm of Oracle partner firms, good-sized regional shops that only performed EBS services.  But in thinking about Oracle’s impressive growth over the past 6-7 years, with 44 acquisitions since 2007, it got me wondering:  does this kind of privately owned, regionally based, EBS-centric firm have a place in today’s partner world like it did prior to 2007?

A variety of Oracle apps are now being positioned in not just new implementations, but upgrade/re-implementations as well. How can a firm unequipped with mainstream skills like Hyperion, BI, Agile, etc. be expected to compete with those who have made the commitment to grow alongside Oracle’s growth in offerings?

As opposed to signing multiple statements of work from various vendors when implementing peripheral applications such as Hyperion and Siebel with the Oracle E-Business Suite, clients are now reaching out to firms like ours that can provide the expertise, efficiencies and accountability of working within  a consolidated bid.

What should we expect in terms of the size and type of integrators going forward?   Additionally, what might happen to that larger group of smaller niche partner companies that some of us old-timers are just now seeing?

My prediction is that the next 10 years, we will see a greater divide between the sizes of companies that make up the partner community.

  • Mid-sized, single service, regional shops that do not possess the resources to grow their service lines will become less relevant in the eyes of Oracle and the customer.
  • Larger partners possessing the means to quickly and effectively respond to Oracle’s growth strategy will fare much better to a market looking to consolidate the bidding process.

This is my perspective on how partners and clients will look at trends in Oracle acquisitions as they determine how to find their fit.  I’d be curious to know what the rest of the partner community thinks and how those on the client-side are evaluating the broad spectrum of partners able to serve their needs. Please share your thoughts.




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