Oracle’s investment in more marketing and co-selling alliances with independent software vendors (ISVs) will help channel partners sell products and services on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to end users, company Senior Vice President Dave Profozich told CRN in an interview.
Profozich, in charge of Oracle’s ISV ecosystem, used Oracle’s relationship with endpoint management and security provider Tanium as an example of the tech giant’s investment in more co-selling partnerships.
“Tanium and many of the other co-sell partners become first-mover beachhead sort of wins for us on OCI,” Profozich said. “The more successful channel partners will embrace these co-sell friends like Tanium to help get on the beach, if you will, for OCI.”
He continued: “It becomes a strategy for the channel partner as well as our own direct sales force to build out an ecosystem narrative for the CIO or for the CTO of, insert the enterprise customer. The more that channel partners are familiar with the best in category partners that have landed or that are landing on OCI, I think the more effective they’ll be with the end user clients who are purchasing OCI.”
Dan McDougal, president of Austin, Texas-based Oracle partner Performance Tuning Corp., said that more ISV alliances could help Oracle make up lost ground to vendors like VMware and Microsoft that have long supported ISV programs. He praised Oracle’s effort, however, as a way to attract attention to its products and services from smaller companies with high growth potential, not just the largest enterprises already familiar with Oracle.
“Over time, the marketing, the messaging has still been focused on that top 5,000 company size, and the small guys don’t even know Oracle exists,” McDougal said. “I think what they’re doing is great. And they’re getting a decent amount of adoption.”
Oracle entered a contract with Tanium in August 2020, but the relationship has evolved to where Tanium is also part of the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) for marketing, programming and co-selling benefits. Oracle has achieved a similar relationship with Zoom, Xactly and other ISVs.
Oracle publicly announced the Tanium alliance -- part of Tanium’s multi-cloud approach to its flagship software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform Tanium-as-a-Service (TaaS) -- in April.
Here’s what you need to know.
What do channel partners need to know about the Tanium partnership?
The Tanium announcement is one of a small number of very strategic SaaS providers that we’ve recruited to OCI where we’ve established not just a support model to make certain they’re successful on OCI but also a true go-to-market where we’re selling together in the market.
We’ve got about 300 or so SaaS companies that now operate on OCI. But if you double click down and look at the ones that we actually joint-sell with it’s smaller, it’s less, it’s in that 10 to 20 range. And what we’ve done in this context is different from AWS and Azure.
AWS and Azure have ISV programs where they have a digital marketplace like Oracle. We do the same thing. So it’s assumed that the CSP has public listings that are made available to ISVs that operate on our platform.
What we’re doing with Tanium is much more than that. Our sales organization globally will be compensated as we are successful together. So as Tanium wins a new end-user customer on OCI, that benefits both the Tanium salesforce as well as the Oracle salesforce.
Oracle channel partners will care about this in the context of being aligned with the Oracle salesforce. If Tanium is going to partner with Oracle to win a deal at a large bank. The Tanium solution TaaS, running on OCI, the revenue flow goes through Tanium. Of course they pay us for the OCI usage. But the end user Oracle sales team is credited as if that usage occurred at the bank, their OCI tenancy. We’re trying to make it channel-neutral, channel-friendly, with a small number of strategic partners.
We can’t do that with everyone, of course, but for partners that are heavily committed to OCI strategically and also complement our ecosystem. We would never partner with Workday, for instance, or Salesforce.com, right, for obvious reasons. But Tanium is a complementary solution to the Oracle platform so it makes sense for us to drive win-wins.
What do channel partners need to know about future OCI ISV alliance announcements as they come out?
We’ve done a lot of work to make sure -- that as we launch each one of these SaaS partners on OCI -- where the co-sell model exists.
We’ve done a very thorough job of building education -- microsites, sales enablement -- for the sales organization at Oracle, and that would be very appropriate content to be consumed by the channel partner.
The channel partner for OCI, we wouldn’t expect the channel partner to be an expert in HR (human resources), security, CX (customer experience), ERP (enterprise resource planning). But we would encourage the channel partner to become familiar with top level messaging. And remember this is co-sell, not resell. So we’re collaboratively selling with Tanium. We’re collaboratively selling with Altair, with 8x8, I’m just giving some examples of the co-sell partners we go to market with.
And the education that we’ve provided to our OCI sellers is single click education, so top level understanding of the partners value proposition on OCI. And it becomes a strategy for the channel partner as well as our own direct salesforce to build out an ecosystem narrative for the CIO or for the CTO of, insert the enterprise customer. The more that channel partners are familiar with the best in category partners that have landed or that are landing on OCI, I think the more effective they’ll be with the end user clients who are purchasing OCI. So it becomes a win-win for us. We see Tanium and others as, really, catalyst partners for OCI.
It might be in some cases that with these end user customers, AWS is their preferred cloud service platform. They were to market earlier than us. Tanium and many of the other co-sell partners become first-mover beachhead sort of wins for us on OCI. The more successful channel partners will embrace these co-sell friends like Tanium to help get on the beach, if you will, for OCI.
And then once we’re accepted as an alternative -- may sound a little funny for Oracle to want to become the secondary provider but that’s how we won Zoom. We were an underdog, and they needed some capacity, and they selected us, and we earned their confidence such that with a lower TCO (total cost of ownership) profile that they were able to scale and save a lot, relative to the incumbent.
How is Oracle deciding on ISVs to partner with?
If you think about Oracle, we’re the largest ISV in the world with all of our Fusion SaaS and all the vertical applications that operate on OCI. We’ve moved all of that to OCI. We’re running on our own platform. One way we’re segmenting the market is in partnership with the SaaS product owners at Oracle. For instance, Steve Miranda runs our European development, he runs all applications development for Larry, and the conversation with Steve and his lieutenants has been, ‘What are the ISVs that round out the Oracle SaaS ecosystem?’
For example, we have a partnership with Vertex. In the tax space, they’re the No. 1 player in indirect tax. Their product is integrated with Fusion. Vertex is meaningful to us because they make our European platform stronger. And they run on OCI. That’s part of our segmentation. We have a similar dialogue going with each of the product application owners in the verticals, in HR, in CX, in ERP.
The other part of the response would be purely the strength of OCI. Where OCI shines is around specific types of use cases. For instance, HPC, high performance computing, is a very strong area for us.
But that’s high performance, so they’re doing crash simulations, they’re doing intense computing. It’s fair to say that each of the public clouds sort of has an identity. And the Oracle Cloud identity is around security, mega scale. Whether it’s high performance computing, or whether it’s the reason Zoom and 8x8 love it is because there’s the video platform, there’s so much data moving, what we call in the public cloud space egress. Our fees for egress are very low, sometimes 60, 70, 80 percent less than our competition.
Certain use cases fit extremely well. Any application that was built on Oracle, the database, like WorkForce Software, which is one of our partners -- Xactly, another one of our partners -- both those companies built their application on Oracle for many, many years, more than a decade. When you move that application to OCI, it will run extremely well.
How long does it take after a partnership announcement for the full integration of the partnership?
Zoom started on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. and went live with 2 million users by Tuesday. Now, that’s an anomaly. The reason Zoom was able to do that is they had built their architecture in a cloud agnostic way such that it could move from one platform to another, boom, quick. What becomes the sort of most challenging migration issue is when a SaaS provider has used some of the proprietary tools that are available on Azure or Google or AWS. It can take time for them to replatform -- refactor, perhaps -- their applications.
It could be days like Zoom. It could be weeks if they haven’t gone too deep into some of the proprietary tools. Or months. It varies. From our perspective, the platform is ready. I would just say that some of the ISVs have long term commercial arrangements with the colos (colocation providers) -- they may want to ride those out before they migrate. So we have a few different things to overcome. It’s generally not OCI technology. It’s usually commercial obligations or proprietary tools.
What’s the timeline for Tanium?
Tanium is in production. I think it took us about three months away to go from start to production because they had only run on AWS. They migrated to OCI. And to be clear, it’s not 100 percent on OCI, it’s a multi-cloud strategy. I just say, average, it’s probably a couple months, two to three months for migration.
Is this partnership a win for the midmarket?
Tanium, one of their inspirations here was that the economics of OCI enabled them to package their solution for the midmarket. And one of the big issues for Tanium was they’ve been very successful with the defense contractors, with the banks, the governments. Their technology is very valuable downmarket, they just couldn’t offer it at a price acceptable level. They’re leveraging the lower infrastructure to make it appropriate ROI (return on investment) for the midmarket.
I can’t say that’s a totally repeatable pattern yet. It varies by player. We’re just part of their cost of goods sold to operate their solution. In the case of Tanium, I think we found the right formula where the cost reduction was so dramatic that it helped them enter a new market.
How did OCI help Tanium get their own price down?
It really is the (OCI) price. One of the benefits of starting a public cloud in 2014 rather than 2004 is we just have benefited from next gen networking, architecture, no noisy neighbors. There’s lots of technical benefits that, starting later, we were able to embrace. But the direct answer to your question is price. For an ISV we’re 30 to 40 percent less. In some use cases, it’s more than that. I’ve seen it over 50% in certain use case situations. And by the way, we’re profitable. It’s not not a loss leader. It tells you a little bit about the margins in this industry. So we’re making a healthy margin but we’re pricing it fair, we think.
What do channel partners need to know about Oracle investing in ISV partnerships?
To quote (Oracle Chief Technology Officer) Larry Ellison, he has said it on our earnings calls multiple times, the most important applications in the world are ISV applications. As the world’s largest ISV, Oracle, there’s no hypocrisy in the model. We’re 100 percent all in on OCI. Strategically, our feeling is if we can recruit the world’s best ISVs to operate on the platform we’ve embraced, then what will naturally follow from that is aggressive enterprise adoption. Enterprises, 20 percent of their IT has moved to public cloud, or 15 percent. The monster play, long tail play, is in the enterprise. The feeling now is that if we can accelerate our success with ISVs, we’ll be uniquely positioned to attack the enterprise with our partners.
How is adoption among customers?
As an ISV, when we sell ERP (enterprise resource planning), we’re rolling it out on OCI. To some extent, the customer doesn’t even really think about it. It’s just running on infrastructure. We used to have 80 data centers all over the world that we were running on. When we replatformed to OCI that was transparent to the customer that they didn’t have to deal with that. So they’ve embraced it very well. The customer would say, I haven’t either haven’t known a difference or we’ve got faster, and they probably don’t know, they don’t even know that it was OCI. We inherit the benefit of the platform.
How do you see competition for OCI in the cloud space?
What we tried to do with OCI in 2014, we tried to build the best public cloud for the enterprise. Amazon and others, they’ve been phenomenally successful -- 98 percent of Amazon revenue comes from 2 percent of their customers. If you launch your Apple TV, a lot of the apps on the Apple TV run on Amazon -- Netflix, Hulu, HBO. Perfect timing for that movement in the consumer space. Our focus is enterprise. It’s health care, it’s the doctor has an iPad in her pocket in the emergency room. It’s got to be mission critical, secure. Boom, that’s Oracle. Not watching a video on YouTube. We just have a different use case focus.
There’s a high tide that’s lifting all the ships. The market in aggregate, the pie is growing because the whole idea of building data centers is so last gen. So the pie is going to grow, so the question is market share. And I think back to that identity. Will IBM long term invest heavily or sort of embrace the services strategy? I think that remains to be seen. Each of us sort of has our sweet spot. Oracle is enterprise. We have 425,000 enterprise customers. We should do a decent job of getting our fair share of infrastructure in that install base.