The Oracle vs. SAP battle has spilled over into social media, where the two software giants are taking decidedly different approaches to engaging channel partners. Here's a look at each strategy and key milestones so far.

At Oracle, Channel Chief Judson Althoff's blog represents the cornerstone of an accelerated social media partner strategy. Althoff's approach -- blending text with video -- reminds The VAR Guy of similar moves over at Cisco Systems Inc. The OraclePartners Twitter feed also provides plenty of updates about the OPN (Oracle PartnerNetwork) Specialized partner program. In a somewhat related move, the OPN PartnerCast feed drives followers to educational videos and key links.

Instead of "hanging on" to Sun customers, Althoff and the OPN Specialized team seem to be communicating profit opportunities that will further energize Sun partners to sell complete Oracle-Sun solutions.

SAP Thinks Community

Meanwhile, SAP is taking a decidedly different approach to social networking. Instead of promoting SAP's own content, the company depends heavily on developers, partners and customers to drive the conversation.

A prime example: The SAP Community Network has attracted more than 2 million members, according to Mark Yolton, senior VP of the SAP Community Network. Roughly 12 to 15 member-produced blog entries go live each day, and roughly 6,000 posts per day go live in SAP's forums, Yolton adds.

Yolton is part of SAP's Global Ecosystem and Partner Group, where roughly 50 SAP employees work to keep the SAP Community Network moving forward. The community requires roughly 100 servers, and it leverages everything from NetWeaver to Jive Forums, LDAP and a blog system originally developed by Tim O'Reilly, among other components, Yolton says.

Got Staff?

The examples above are quite different. But they have one thing in common: Success in social media requires dedicated staff. Blogging and driving conversation can't be a "part time" responsibility shared among multiple people who already have full-time focuses.

At Oracle, you can bet there are folks working behind the scene to keep Althoff's blog fresh, timely and connected to multiple social media pipes. And at SAP, Yolton is part of a dedicated staff that drives community discussions and forum interactions worldwide.

For solutions providers, navigating SAP or Oracle can be a tricky process. But the safest places to start are likely the SAP Community Network and Althoff's blog over on Oracle.com, respectively.

Also of note: Of course, Oracle and SAP have multiple, additional social media efforts under way. The VAR Guy will be watching to see how those various efforts engage channel partners.


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