One of the indirect consequences or Oracle’s Sun acquisition is that another sales rep with an Oracle business card may come calling on JDE accounts. Most of you just got used to seeing two reps – one for application products including JDE and one for technology products such as Red Stack middleware and database products.

Oracle believes in using dedicated reps for each of the diverse types of products it sells. Given the diversity of its product line this choice is understandable. If one rep tried to cover everything some products in the line might get very little attention. The problem with multiple reps comes when their individual agendas differs and the customer gets caught in the middle not knowing whose advice to follow.

Most JDE customers tell us that the current two rep approach works relatively well for them. In most cases, conflicts between Oracle reps get fought out behind the scenes. The place where it sometimes breaks down is when Oracle tries to sell a BI Solution. This is because Oracle categorizes its BI tools, including OBIEE+ as technology products while the Analytic Applications also known as OBIEE are sold by applications reps. Since OBIA requires OBIEE two reps have to be involved on every BI deal. To make it worse, the OBIA offerings are very pricey – something that tends to make them uncompetitive, especially in our market space.

I can’t help wondering what will happen in a few months when customers want to consider running Oracle BI solutions on Sun hardware. At that point the customer will need to talk to three Oracle reps, each eager to maximize the percentage of the pie allocated to the part of the solution on which they get a commission.

The multi-rep structure will make it difficult for Oracle to achieve the synergy that was supposed to come from offering a broad and integrated product line. Over time, I suspect that Oracle sales management will fix it through some mechanism of sharing commissions between reps when a sale crosses the arbitrary lines between product lines. In the short-term, don’t be surprised if you get some conflicting advice or if you hear from yet another rep from Oracle.