One of Sun’s UK distributors has argued that Oracle’s decision to take 4,000 of Sun Microsystems’ largest end users direct does not necessarily spell disaster for the channel.
Oracle made the shock announcement in a six-hour briefing last night, shortly after closing its $7.4bn (£4.6bn) acquisition of the server and storage vendor.
It also indicated it would rapidly move Sun to more of a build-to-order model and would “significantly” pare back Sun’s 60 server models.
However, most of the headlines have been grabbed by chief executive Larry Ellison’s revelation that Oracle will build direct ties to 4,000 of Sun’s customers, reversing Sun’s recent gravitation towards the channel.
Sales engagements with Sun’s 31,000 smaller customers will still be led by the channel.
According to John Taylor, Sun business unit director at distributor Interface Solutions, Oracle executives were adamant that partners will not be cut out of the loop if they demonstrate value add in high-end engagements.
“They were very clear that if you demonstrate your value add you will not be removed,” he said. “So my message to resellers is, make sure you articulate to both Oracle and customers what your value is.”
While Sun has worked to build bridges with the channel in recent years, Taylor stressed that the vendor still served some larger accounts direct before its acquisition by Oracle closed.
“I do not think there will be any difference,” he said. “A corporate reseller selling Sun to a large FTSE organisation still needed to demonstrate value in order to do business with them. The big question is, what is Oracle’s definition of value add – if it is different from Sun’s vision then that is where the potential contention will lie.”
Oracle has yet to name the 4,000 Sun accounts it will foster direct ties with but Taylor was satisfied Sun’s new owner would be transparent with local partners at the earliest opportunity.
“Given the clarity of the communications last night, I expect the communications that follow concerning local implementation to be equally clear and for everyone to know where they stand,” he said.
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