Oracle woos E-Biz builders

Database vendor gives Web integrators top billing inside its channel

Determined to best position its software for the snowballing e-commerce market, Oracle is rolling out the red carpet for a host of new-breed Internet integrators.

The high-end vendor is ramping up a new category of alliances in a push Oracle is internally calling its "e-business consultants initiative." Oracle officials say the new channel program for e-business consultants will be officially launched in the coming weeks.

Last week, 20 such Internet integrators formalised partnerships with Oracle, snaring top-level support, training and lead generation from the Bay Area-based vendor. The announcement came a week after 15 of these integrators sent engineers to the vendor's headquarters for several days of Oracle software training.

Apparently, Oracle is trying to build Internet momentum through the companies that design most new e-businesses. "A lot of hardware, software and platform vendors are realising that to evolve in this market, they have to closely align themselves with the people who are defining the strategic needs for [e-business customers]," says David Clauson, marketing director at iXL Enterprises, which formalised its relationship with Oracle last week.

Other participating e-biz builders include the likes of Sapient, C-bridge Internet Solutions, Bowne Internet, Viant and US Interactive. Many of those partners are members of Sm@rt Reseller's SR Services Index.

Oracle's alliance partners get early access to software releases and a single point of contact inside Oracle's alliance program to help speed along joint-marketing and joint-selling opportunities.

In addition, Oracle's venture arm is eyeing co-investment deals with many of these integrators that are seeding technology companies or taking equity in dot-com start-ups.

"These are not generic partnerships ... We recognise that [these integrators] bring a lot to the table, especially in the dot-com market," says Thomas Kurian, VP of Oracle's e-business group. The partners also bring a lot of complementary expertise in waters where Oracle professional services doesn't tread, like Internet marketing, digital branding and creative design, according to Kurian.

The apps Oracle is pushing include its customer-relationship-management wares and its Internet procurement and supply-chain integration products. Kurian also says Oracle's enterprise-resource-planning software is key for Net businesses, but most new-breed integrators say they want to steer clear of lengthy gigs.