Oracle sharpens Asian SMB focus

Competition intensifies as software giant introduces new portfolio of industry applications through partners.

SINGAPORE--Oracle is sharpening its focus on small and midsize businesses (SMB) in the Asia Pacific region by combining partner expertise with its applications.

Oracle's family of applications, which comprise Oracle E-Business Suite, Peoplesoft Enterprise, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Siebel, will be delivered through more than 50 partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

The enterprise software vendor is also targeting a new portfolio of 80 industry-specific applications at the red-hot SMB segment.

Oracle's latest move is part of its Accelerate program which, the company said, will help to meet the diverse requirements of SMBs in the Asia Pacific region.

Specifically, Oracle will add new resources and services to assist partners. These include a new SMB pricing model, where partners can provide special discounts as well flexibility for bundling appropriate products for each industry vertical. Oracle will also help partners in the Accelerate program to locate and market to potential customers across 30 industries in 14 countries.

Adrian Johnston, vice president of applications product solutions at Oracle Asia Pacific, said during a briefing Monday: "The SMB market has changed significantly in the last few years--they've moved away from horizontal solutions to more industry-specific solutions because of competitive pressures."

According to IDC, there are 24 million SMBs in the Asia-Pacific region. Regional SMB IT spending is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1 percent, reaching US$66 billion by 2010.

Oracle claims to have 25,000 SMB customers in the Asia Pacific region and more than 190,000 SMB customers globally. More than half of Oracle's installed base is made up of SMB customers, according to Johnston.

The latest moves by Oracle and rival SAP to focus on the SMB market underscores the growing importance of this segment to business applications vendors.

Last month, SAP announced the addition of nearly 1,500 new SMB customers in 2006, bringing SAP's total SMB customer base in the Asia-Pacific region to more than 5,000.