Oracle President Charles Phillips gave J.D. Edwards resellers a pep talk Thursday trying to reassure them that Oracle needed them to help sell the software, particularly to small and midsize businesses.
"We dont have the reach into these customers on our own," Phillips said. Oracles direct sales force is "busy with very large enterprise customers." Together with the resellers, "we can be a winning team. We cant do what you can do."
He also reiterated Oracles commitment to the J.D. Edwards brand name, noting customers had demonstrated strong brand loyalty. "Customers were thrilled when we brought the name back," he noted.
In response, Oracle has committed to continue upgrading and supporting the product at least through 2013.
"We think we have given people a longer support life on these products than they could have expected from anyone else," Phillips said.
"We told them the things that they wanted to hear—thats part of our strategy," which includes making sure the channel is getting the same information that customers are hearing, Phillips said.
Furthermore, Oracle was going to "add more industry specific functionality" and "ease of implementation" features, which are particularly important for the SMB sector, Phillips said.
Resellers will be important to this process because they have vertical industry expertise and they will have an important role in providing after sale service and support.
However, while resellers welcomed the message that the J.D. Edwards products have a long-term future, they had concerns about competing with Oracles direct sales force.
Resellers who attended the summit Thursday expressed concern about whether they would have a free hand to market their services to SMBs, despite assurances to the contrary.
In particular they want some assurances that they will get at least the same level of sales opportunities that they had before the PeopleSoft buyout.
Oracle officials have pointed out that to show they are in earnest about working with resellers, the company has actually raised the customer revenue ceiling to $500 million as of July 1. Customers said they had been working with a ceiling of $100 million before the merger.
A good reason why J.D. Edwards resellers have been edgy is they also know that all the major software vendors, including Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, PeopleSoft, Lawson Software, Siebel and many others, have been trying to expand sales of enterprise application software of all types and scales to the SMB market.