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Oracle's first cloud program aims to sign thousands of partners

Oracle's four-tier cloud initiative underscores the company's push to put its cloud strategy into action; the vendor hopes at least 20% of its partner base will apply.

As Oracle's cloud story continues to unfold, the vendor this week launched the Oracle PartnerNetwork Cloud Program, which was announced at Oracle OpenWorld in October 2015. The program is designed with four tiers and progressive benefits, according to the company.

With cloud a key focus area for Oracle and its partners in 2016, the new Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Cloud Program underscores the company's effort to put its cloud strategy into action.

"Oracle's new tiered partner program is another indication of the company's determination to increase its share of the cloud marketplace and the important role that its partner ecosystem plays in its strategy," said Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director at THINKstrategies Inc.

Penny Philpot, Oracle's general vice president for worldwide alliances and channel partner services, noted the OPN Cloud Program is the company's first cloud program and that it sits on top of OPN. She hopes to see at least 20% of the company's 25,000 partners worldwide formally apply for the new program.

Program structure

The four tiers of the OPN Cloud Program include:

Cloud Standard. This tier is the first step in the cloud program for partners looking to begin their Oracle cloud journey. Cloud Standard partners have skills and expertise in Oracle Cloud services and tend to focus on a specific offering within one of Oracle's product pillars.

Criteria are Silver-level or above membership in the OPN, as well as achieving any one of the following: cloud specialization, having an application on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace or making a cloud transaction with annual recurring revenue (ARR).

In all of the following tiers, partners must also be a Gold-level OPN member or above. Also, additional criteria for partners may include a specific number of cloud specializations, the number of applications on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, cloud go-live implementations, success stories and repeatable cloud solutions, for example.

"We're looking to pull out cloud-centric criteria to make sure that partners are moving in the right direction and that we're supporting their growth so they're building a sustainable business," Philpot said.

Moving up the tier levels from Cloud Standard are the following:

Cloud Select. In addition to achieving a cloud specialization, and developing and selling Oracle Cloud technologies or services, partners have proven success working with customers to launch their Oracle Cloud Services products.

Moving up the OPN Cloud Program tiers, one criterion for this tier is transacting cloud business. For example, this means achieving either $2 million cloud ARR -- co-sell, resell and referral -- or 10 cloud transactions. There are additional criteria, such as completing two achievements within a number of specified, combined categories.

Cloud Premier. Partners in this tier focus their business on driving Oracle Cloud offerings with their customers. Cloud Premier partners achieve at least $6 million in cloud ARR across any pillar and aggregated worldwide.

Some additional criteria include 20 certified implementation specialists in any cloud product and a sales manager dedicated to focusing on Oracle Cloud, as well as a marketing manager.

[Oracle is] a little late to the party. Most vendors have had cloud partner programs active for years.
Diane KrakoraCEO, PartnerPath

Cloud Elite. The top tier in the OPN Cloud Program will include the most skilled and committed of OPN partners. At this level, cloud business criteria include achieving at least $20 million cloud ARR across any pillar and aggregated worldwide.

There are additional performance criteria required, including achieving Global Cloud Elite Bonus Packs.

OPN Cloud Program benefits

Partners in all tiers of the OPN Cloud Program receive sales, enablement, support, and development and general OPN benefits, as well as marketing benefits, with the number of benefits increasing as partners move into the higher program tiers.

While Diane Krakora, CEO of PartnerPath, said that the new program is solid and offers good incentives for partners pursuing cloud, other vendors have beat Oracle to the punch.

"They're a little late to the party. Most vendors have had cloud partner programs active for years -- over 5 years for Microsoft and Cisco," she said.

Next Steps

Read cloud news from Oracle OpenWorld

View a video on Oracle's hybrid cloud as a migration path

Learn about Oracle's cloud analytics platform

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