There are some vendors that live in the large enterprise space, vendors that we don't think about when the conversation turns around to small businesses. Cray is like that in the hardware world, and in the software realm SAP and Oracle tend to have "really big company" written all over them. I was a little surprised, then, to get a call from Oracle asking for a conversation to talk about their products for smaller businesses. I thought it would be interesting to hear what they had to say, and I was right -- it was a most interesting conversation. I spoke with Tony Kender, senior vice president of Oracle's Global Accelerate Program Office, about the program, Oracle's products aimed at the mid-market, and how Oracle defines the small-business end of its market.
We began by talking about how Oracle defines the small and midsize business market, and why there's an emphasis on it now. According to Tony, the current emphasis goes back a couple of years, to a point when Oracle realized that roughly two-thirds of their customers were in the midsize space. These are companies with revenue of $500 MM or less. The company thought that there was a market mismatch -- people didn't realize how much of the customer base was small. Now, you have to notice that Oracle's definition of "small business" skews a bit larger than that of many other software vendors. Tony admitted that Oracle doesn't actively market to companies below $30 million to $40 million in revenue, but when casting their net with partners they will get companies that are smaller. He said that Oracle really doesn't have customers that have as little as $1 million in revenue, but they go deeper into the small-business market than before.
We started talking about how Oracle works with the smaller businesses, and the conversation very quickly turned to their "channel program," the collection of value-added resellers (VARs) and system integrators that create applications for specific small businesses. To be successful in working with smaller businesses, you have to have a good channel program. Usually, I wouldn't go into a lot of detail on a vendor's channel program, but since Oracle is a company that is working to include more small businesses in its program, it seems like a worthwhile topic to spend a few words on.