Oracle woos ISVs at executive gathering

As part of an ongoing effort to draw more developers to its technology, Oracle's partner group this week will host its first gathering devoted to ISVs (independent software vendors).

The two-day event begins Tuesday, in San Francisco, and includes a question-and-answer session with Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison. Oracle President Charles Phillips is also scheduled to speak.

"The main thing that's going to be announced is really spelling out the completeness of our ISV strategy," said Bronwyn Hastings, Oracle's vice president of alliances and channels. The company expects 1,000 attendees, including current and prospective partners.

Software developers make up 6,000 of the 13,000 companies in Oracle's partner network, and the company says increasing that number is a priority. At this week's ISV Forum, company executives will detail Oracle's support programs, including marketing, training, and development initiatives.

One Oracle partner, Vormetric co-founder Philip Grasso, said he plans to attend to forum to listen for tips on taking advantage of Oracle's resources. Vormetric is a three-year-old developer of data security systems that has worked closely with Oracle on product integration.

"Since most of the data we protect is held in Oracle databases, it's very important to our customers that we work well with them," Grasso said. "We've been very pleased with the level of access we have to Oracle's security executives."

Grasso said he's had no problems in his dealings with Oracle and has profited from the marketing perks that come with the partnership. A Vormetric white paper posted on Oracle's Web site last year generated leads for the company, he said.

Hastings said one marketing initiative that will be highlighted at the ISV Forum is Oracle's new solutions catalog, an online directory of Oracle's partners and their offerings. Oracle will begin marketing the catalog to its customers in August.

Oracle also plans to spotlight technical support programs aimed at encouraging developers to work with the advanced features in Oracle's most recent database and application server release, 10g.

"We'll focus on new opportunities, such as what the grid center program means and how you can test your applications on our environment," Hastings said.

At a recent conference for its sales organization, Oracle rolled out a new initiative encouraging its sales staff to include partners in their pitches for prospective business. Oracle will now be talking with its ISV partners about connecting with the sales staff, Hastings said: "Now we're at the level of training everybody so it actually happens."

Oracle plans to follow up this week's ISV Forum with similar events worldwide. A London event is scheduled for September, and Hastings said gatherings are being planned in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

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