Ovum on: Oracle Accelerate Not Just Smart But Timely

by Warren Wilson, Research Director at Ovum

Accelerate has sped past critical milestones to prove its worth

Accelerate is a program in which Certified and Certified Advantage partners build industry-specific solutions that combine Oracle enterprise applications and rapid-implementation tools with the partners' own industry expertise and/or software.

The program aims to reduce the time, complexity and cost of deploying Oracle solutions in order to make them suitable for mid-market companies and governmental organizations, which typically lack the IT expertise and resources of their larger counterparts.

Oracle bestows the "Oracle Accelerate" label on those it feels meet its standards in terms of industry best practices, ease and speed of deployment, and other criteria, and that fill a gap in geographic or industry coverage.

Described by Oracle president Charles Phillips in his 2006 Oracle OpenWorld keynote, the Accelerate program has gathered steam over the past year, growing from 25 solutions in September 2007 to 200 last month.

This rapid growth testifies to the program's attractiveness to partners, which may see smaller margins as a result of faster deployments and lower costs, but also enjoy faster sales cycles (some report gains of 1520%) and implementations that require fewer consultants for shorter periods of time.

Accelerate looks smarter in a down economy

For Oracle, the Accelerate program is primarily a way to reach a new market segment more cost effectively, by relying less on its own direct sales force and more on partners than it has in the past. But the program may pay another dividend as the global economy continues to weaken and puts new pressure on companies to examine every aspect of their operations sales and marketing included to make sure they are as efficient as they can be.

The program is also helping Oracle diversify its operations, both geographically and across industry sectors. As the number of Accelerate solutions has soared, the number of countries where they're marketed has expanded to 32. At the same time, industry coverage has expanded to include 19 sectors and some 48 segments within them, including automotive, chemicals, consumer goods, healthcare, high tech, manufacturing, oil and gas, retail and travel. The program has also attracted some powerful partners, including IBM, which now offers an Accelerate solution that combines Oracle's Demantra demand-planning solution with IBM's own supply-chain expertise.

The Accelerate program is no panacea; almost no one and no organization will escape the rough economic times ahead. At this point it's critical to insulate one's organization as much as possible, and the reach and diversification that Accelerate helps provide are two of the most effective ways for Oracle to do that.

Although few foresaw the current crisis, sometimes you get lucky. Call it the upside of what economists call the law of unintended consequences. When the law is cited, the context is typically an unforeseen negative consequence of a law or regulation. But positive consequences aren't unknown. The best known is Adam Smith's "invisible hand", the theory of an unseen mechanism through which individuals acting out of self-interest actually promote public interest.

In this case, although Accelerate was crafted for a different purpose, the momentum it has achieved may well pay off in minimizing the damage Oracle suffers in the months ahead, and in positioning the vendor to recover more rapidly as the economy improves.

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