Oracle’s NetSuite unit has launched new programs aimed at helping partners target customers in “microvertical” industries and recruiting partners with limited ERP expertise.
The first of those offerings addresses partners who wish to layer their own intellectual property on top of NetSuite’s ERP platform to meet the needs of breweries, solar panel manufacturers, commercial furniture suppliers, and other customers in niche markets. Though NetSuite has long provided assistance to such solution providers on an informal basis, its new Build Your Own Microvertical Program delivers more complete best practices guidance in a more programmatic way.
“It’s really just an iteration or a maturation of something we’ve been doing for years and years and years around partners building industry-specific editions of NetSuite,” says Craig West, the company’s vice president of channel sales and alliances.
Resources available through the program walk partners through the entire process of creating industry solutions, beginning with opportunity assessment. “We brought a bunch of market analysis tools to bear on the front end so that a partner really knows how big that market is upfront and ensures it’s a viable market before they even start developing,” West says.
An additional set of materials then provides concrete advice on building microvertical applications. “We brought together a bunch of development best practices for how you architect and develop these solutions to ensure that you’re building them on NetSuite the very best way to ensure the highest level of upgradability and resilience and scalability,” West explains.
A final set of resources teaches partners the most effective techniques for taking their microvertical solutions to market in collaboration with NetSuite’s sales force.
NetSuite partners already offer nearly 20 microvertical solutions, and another 40 such systems are currently in development. “Those numbers are really rapidly growing in the last 18 months to two years from where they were a couple of years back,” West says.
According to NetSuite, partners that target microverticals grow five times faster than those that don’t. “It’s a huge contributor to our overall growth,” West says.
The other new offering, called the Associate Solution Provider Program, is designed to provide partners who resell products other than NetSuite’s core ERP platform, like its Bronto email marketing system and OpenAir PSA, an easier route into NetSuite’s channel.
“There are a lot of firms that would like to partner with us, but not do ERP,” observes West, citing digital marketing agencies and e-commerce specialists as examples. NetSuite’s traditional partner program, which requires members to have basic ERP skills, essentially left those companies out in the cold.
“Historically, it was like sort of ERP or bust,” West says. “What we’ve done is create a better road to using one of the other non-ERP products, if you will, as the entry point and then ultimately using that as a way to then get some access to ERP.”
Associate solution providers receive revenue sharing benefits closely modeled after the rewards paid to ERP partners, and also have access to NetSuite’s SuiteLife onboarding initiative.
Introduced in April of last year, SuiteLife seeks to help newcomers to NetSuite’s channel get up to speed on the vendor’s products and sales motion in 90 days. Over 130 newcomers to NetSuite’s channel have passed through the program to date. NetSuite presently has more than 600 partners in total.
“SuiteLife has been a huge impetus for accelerated recruiting and accelerated onboarding, because of the really comprehensive way we look at setting expectations with potential partners around what our roles and responsibilities are, and our goals, and how we’re ultimately going to find success and achieve that success,” West says.
NetSuite has long advised channel pros to avoid the low margins and commoditization that can come from offering the same infrastructure management services as everyone else by adding higher-margin ERP practices to their business.
The market for solutions like NetSuite’s have remained strong despite the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, sales of SaaS business applications, including cloud-based ERP and CRM systems, climbed 21% on a year over year basis in the first half of 2020, according to Synergy Research Group. NetSuite’s ERP revenue grew an even better 23% in the first quarter of Oracle’s current fiscal year, which ended in August.
“Our partners have proven to be very resilient, very durable, and very entrepreneurial businesses that also have been wildly successful at pivoting their businesses” during a public health crisis and associated recession, West says.