Avnet looks to take Oracle’s Red Stack to healthcare

Hospital Emergency SignAn expanded agreement between Avnet Technology Solutions and Oracle promises to make more of the software giant’s application software available to the channel.

The deal will see Avnet work with six solution providers – five in the United States plus Ottawa-based Maplesoft Group) – to deliver Oracle’s Healthcare Information Exchage and Enterprise Healthcare Analytics software offerings, solutions which had previously been only delivered directly by Oracle and the very top tier of solution providers.

“We’re excited, because it’s the first time we’re taking advantage of the whole Red Stack,” said Chris Swahn, vice president of the Oracle Solutions Group at Avnet, referring to the combination of Oracle applications, middleware and (formerly Sun) hardware. “It’s a defining moment – we’re showing Oracle that we can do this from top to bottom, and really implement it.”

In fact, the distributor is looking to extend the definition of “the Red Stack,” adding solution providers’ own professional and assessment services, as well as implementation and management expertise to create a full solution.

The approach is very much an extension of the distributor’s SolutionsPath methodology in general and its HealthPath practice in particular. In fact, Swahn likened the Oracle partnership to the “tip of the sword” that provides partners a practical entry point for the skills they’ve built up over years of healthcare market-specific education and enablement provided through the HealthPath University programs.

The distributor has also committed to making a fully loaded Exadata box running the full “Red Stack” located in its demo labs available for resellers to do remote demonstrations of the healthcare solutions.

The distributor is also offering training sessions for all six of its partners in the program, and is developing both marketing plans and its own services offerings to help “backstop” solution providers that may not be able to deliver all of the services around a deployment themselves.

“In the applications world, we try to think a lot more like an application ISV than a distributor,” Swahn said.

Because this is very much new territory for Oracle, Swahn said Avnet intends to keep the community for the applications relatively small for the time being. He knows that the eyes of the company’s leadership on this process, and that it has to be successful to make Oracle comfortable with working with solution providers.

“We have to make sure than whenever we deliver the stack, we deliver equal or greater than what would be done by Oracle direct and an SI,” Swahn said. “We can never fall below that level. And while a lot of partners can call on hospitals, can they deliver these kinds of high-end solutions?”

That said, over time he does intend to see the community delivering Oracle healthcare solutions grow to a community of maybe between 15 and 20 partners across North America.

“We’ll probably look for a second partner in Canada, but that’s optional,” he said. “Maplesoft is such a strong, committed partner that I may not need a second partner to make sure we have coverage.”

Ultimately, the distributor believes that if it succeeds with this limited rollout, it will be able to deliver more Oracle application solutions to more of its reseller customers in the long run.

“If we do a really good job with this, it will open the doors a little wider, and we can do a little more of this together,” Swahn said. “This is a defining moment.”