Ian Smith, newly appointed managing director of Oracle UK, plans to overhaul its direct sales structure but has pledged his full support for the company's channel partners. Smith was poached from BT last month, following the shock departure of Phil Crawford. Smith has also inherited a management vacuum following the departure of several senior managers, including Mike Shinya, vice-president of commercial sales. In an exclusive interview with Computer Reseller News last week, Smith said he does not intend to replace Shinya directly, but will promote four sales managers to assume his responsibilities instead. The four - Stuart Turner, Steve Rogers, James Metcalfe and David Stevenson - will cover different sectors. Smith said: "I do not want to manage the four of them and a sales manager." He added that he hoped to bring a manager in from outside the company to run the applications software business. However, Smith also emphasised his commitment to Oracle's indirect sales strategy, citing his track record at Digital as evidence of his channel-friendly credentials. "When I was at Digital I ran the business partners organisation," he said. "There's a cut-off point at Oracle where we sell directly or through the channel. I want to encourage and help our partners invest in the right areas to support our joint customers." So far, he has concentrated on meeting customers and gathering as much feedback as he can about Oracle. He intends to bring Oracle UK closer to its customers and generate higher levels of satisfaction. Coming from a customer-service background at BT, he said he is particularly aware of the need for businesses to focus more on "the customer interface". He explained: "It's particularly true in the new Internet economy. Companies can't depend on customer loyalty any more. There's another business a click away. You need to provide the kind of customer service that's going to keep customers happy and coming back for more. I've told the sales people what I want them to do - they have to make the people who selected Oracle more successful than they would have been if they'd gone against us." One way to do that, he said, is to have sales teams that focus on particular customers rather than chase leads all round the market. "As a customer, I bought more from suppliers which invested time and attention in me rather than those that just wanted me to buy more products from them." Ironically, rumour has it that Smith's first meeting with Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison came during a meeting when the software tycoon said BT should buy more products. If legend is to be believed, Smith's reaction was to tell Ellison that as the customer, he would decide when his company needed to spend more money with Oracle. Not quite right, insisted Smith. He did meet Ellison in his role at BT, but spent most of his time telling the Oracle boss where the company should be going in addressing the front-office needs of customers. "I gave him my opinion as a customer of the way Oracle was going about its business," he said. "I told him Oracle needed to partner a lot more than it was doing at the time. We are doing better at that now and we'll do even more."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago