Kathy Gibson reports from Oracle PartnerDays in Johannesburg – There has been some confusion about the Oracle partner strategy – possibly even a lack of trust – which is something recently-appointed country manager Niral Patel is working to address.

“Talking to partners, I know there is no-one that can touch us from a competitive landscape,” he says. “What we need to do is execute quicker, together, to be a dominant force in this market.”

The current market conditions are hard, Patel adds, with the economy putting enormous strain on customers’ budgets.

“But on the flipside, what are customers begging for?” he asks. “They want to bring innovation to their platforms so they can drive cost-optimisation, more effectiveness, and more efficiency.”

Oracle’s six journeys to the cloud give partners the ability to tackle just about any customer requirement – and a way to overcome just about any challenges.

“I am confident that what we are doing from a cloud perspective allows us to accommodate any customers at any stage of their cloud journey.”

An important point, Patel says, is the ability to preserve customers’ existing investments while giving them access to the benefits of cloud.

“Customers now decide when, how and on what they want to consume our technology and our partners’ services.”

This emphasis on consumption is important, he says, with consumption becoming the new currency in the technology space. “If customers are not consuming in the cloud world, we all become irrelevant.”

In this environment, Patel believes partners need to develop new skills and specialisations. “We need to work together: to segment the market, to agree on where to work together, to plan together and to execute for joint success.

“I am a simple guy,” he adds. “The most powerful tool we have is feedback, which needs to run two ways. This leads to joint accountability, which will lead to joint success.”

Derek Bose, applications cluster leader: South Africa and SADC at Oracle, says a perceived disconnect between Oracle and its partners has largely been addressed.

“The conversations I was having with partners six months ago showed a lack of trust and a lot of areas we had to work on. However, today I see a huge amount of alignment.”