Oracle is one of the world’s leading data centre brands with solutions spanning the complete ecosystem from database, middleware and application software to server and storage hardware, as well as cloud offerings.

As a value-added distributor, Axiz Advanced Technologies not only offers partners the full range of Oracle products, but professional services, training and a community of resources.

Bridgette Kemp, Oracle business unit manager at Advanced Technologies, believes in strategic engagement with partners, helping them to understand and articulate the value that the Oracle ecosystem offers.

With about 25 strategic partners working in the data centre space across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, the full Oracle stack is by no means a volume sale.

“We work with partners to cross-matrix their skills and ours to ensure we offer customers the best possible service. This often means that our sales manager Adolph Strydom works with partners to architect solutions for their customers.”

A limited set of Oracle solutions is also available to a broader range of remarketer partners who typically deal with mid-market customers selling SMB products.

“However, the enterprise space has proved to be where the majority of Oracle’s pipeline and growth is coming from,” Kemp adds.

Cloud is a massive focus as organisations start to move workloads on to some form of cloud computing.

The Oracle business unit at Advanced Technologies is addressing the cloud opportunity through a bimodal business model. “So we focus on the traditional technology and new technology separately. We realise that hardware and software sales will diminish and so we are building a cloud competency.”

The distributor has made some significant investments in the cloud, including a virtual reality tool that lets users explore cloud technology to understand better how it works.

“Oracle wants to be the biggest cloud vendor in the world,” Kemp says. “They have realigned their business strategy to move people into the cloud – and Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO) believes that 90% of the test and development environment will be in the cloud by 2020.”

The take-up in the South African and SADC region has been a bit slower than the rest of the world, she adds, but interest is picking up.

“The cloud gives organisations the option to do quick projects, on the fly, spinning up a database as it’s required. Interest is growing, but maybe not as fast as some of our partners would like.”


Oracle products

Oracle offers an integrated stack of cloud applications, platform services and engineered systems to its 420 000 customers around the world.

Specific product offerings include applications, databases, servers, storage and cloud technologies, available through a choice of software systems, and cloud deployment models.

Oracle Cloud Solutions – Oracle delivers a comprehensive portfolio of integrated cloud solutions for business, IT and development needs, including software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and data as a service (DaaS).

Oracle Cloud helps businesses offload IT

Oracle Database – The world’s leading database enables the consolidation and management of databases as cloud services. Oracle Database can be rapidly provisioned and ready to use in minutes, with no application changes. MySQL is the world’s most popular open source database, enabling cost-effective delivery of reliable, high-performance and scalable web -based and embedded database applications.

Oracle Middleware – The integrated middleware platform for the enterprise and the cloud enables companies to create and run agile, intelligent business applications while optimising IT efficiency.

Oracle Applications – A complete, modern, and secure portfolio of enterprise and industry applications connects the organisation and provides data-driven intelligence. Oracle offers

personalisation and choice, including SaaS applications for customer experience, enterprise performance management, enterprise resource planning, human capital management, supply chain management, and more.

Oracle Industry Solutions – Deep industry expertise and best-of-breed technologies go into solutions that run the customer’s core business, either on premises or in the cloud. Key industries include communications, education, engineering and construction, financial services, health sciences, hospitality, public sector, retail and utilities.

Oracle Engineered Systems – Combining Oracle hardware and software, these systems are engineered and optimised to work together to cut complexity and cost, resulting in extreme performance, easier deployment and upgrades, and more efficient systems management.

Oracle Servers – The range of enterprise servers deliver advanced security, high performance, simplified management, and high availability at a low cost of ownership. They are co-engineered with Oracle software to increase performance and provide built-in redundancy.

Oracle Storage – Application-engineered storage is designed to accelerate application performance, increase efficiency, and improve management.

Oracle Mid-size and SMB Solutions – Modern, complete, and simple-to -deploy cloud solutions are available to organisations of all sizes.


Oracle University

Axiz Advanced Technologies runs the Oracle University, a training institution that certifies and trains engineers, partners and end user customers.

Although the content is delivered by Oracle, Advanced Technologies facilitates all the training.

Oracle University gives learners the opportunity to use the Oracle product set to physically interact with the system.

The facility, which is outsourced to Advanced Technologies, occupies the bottom floor of Oracle’s offices.

Kemp explains that there is a public schedule for training, but specific courses can also be run for partners’ or customers’ specific requirements

On average, about 47 courses are run over the course of a year, each training an average of five people.

Training for the whole continent is conducted at Oracle University.


Oracle Partner Hub

The Partner Hub, which Kemp describes as a high school compared to Oracle University, offers free training in the form of hands-on workshops, awareness modules and product launches.

“It’s on a smaller scale and there is no certification,” she says.

Partner Hub runs between 300 and 400 training courses per year, with between 10 and 15 people attending each session.

“This training is geared towards providing awareness of new products sets and some grassroots training. It helps partners to understand the technology, but they are not going to become an Oracle engineer.”

The Partner Hub also includes a migration centre where partners and users get hands-on assistance in migrating between product versions.


Oracle Authorised Solution Centre

Axiz Advanced Technologies is the only value-added distributor in the SADC region that hosts an Oracle Authorised Solution Centre (OASC).

The OASC is an extension of the facilities around the world and has access to all of Oracle’s hardware, software and bundled solutions. Some of the equipment that is available locally includes an Oracle Database Appliance X4-2, a Half Rack Supercluster T5-8 and an Oracle ZS3-2 Network attached storage device.

“Having an OASC is a stamp of approval for Advanced Technologies,” Kemp says.

The distributor has made a massive R13-million investment just in hardware for the facility, and has also developed a variety of different product sets including a private cloud, infrastructure as a service and pluggable database as a service.

The OASC The equipment and services in the OASC can be used by any of the Axiz Advanced Technologies’ partners, resellers or their customers. Remote access to all the equipment is also available.

“The OASC lets our partners show customers the experience they would have in moving from private cloud to either hybrid or public cloud.

“They can also run proofs of concept (PoCs), proofs of value (PoVs), workshops and demos across the full Oracle solution portfolio.”

Among the solutions available at the OASC are tiered storage, JD Edwards in a box and Oracle Database 12c.

“The investment we have made in the OASC demonstrates the value of the Oracle brand to Advanced Technologies,” Kemp says. “Oracle doesn’t have its own solution centre in this region, so our investment means that partners get access to the technology without having to make huge investments of their own.”

The OASC sits alongside an executive briefing centre where Advanced Technologies and its partners can engage with customers.


Channel engagement

Advanced Technologies is on a drive to increase Oracle sales through distribution.

Kemp explains that Oracle certified Tier One partners can buy direct, while Tier Two partners work through distribution.

“We have made a number of investments in things like Oracle University and the Oracle Authorised Solution Centre to shift the Oracle market towards the two-tier model,” she says.

“Because of these investments we are able to take partners though the whole journey, offering them a better way to get the full Oracle solution.”

In the last year, Advanced Technologies has grown its Oracle business by 468%, with the bulk of that in the hardware space.

The distributor also worked with a partner to sign one of the biggest cloud deals in South Africa and Africa.

“These wins have been since we made our investments,” Kemp says.