NetSuite reaffirms commitment to channel partners

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NetSuite is on the look out for new partners to help support its rapid growth and assist with entry into new geographies and verticals.

But the company isn’t asking partners to do all the legwork. Indeed it is willing to offer as much support as possible in return, according to Harish Mohan, NetSuite’s global vice president of strategy and international, who spoke to Channel Pro at the company’s annual user conference in Las Vegas this week.

While it may be seen by some as a renewed focus on channel ecosystem growth, Mohan was keen to stress that this focus had never gone away.

Prior to the Oracle acquisition, most of the focus had been on bolstering is customer-facing support mechanism, SuiteSuccess. This, Mohan said, meant it had built up some debt that it’s now been able to pay off by launching SuiteLife, its new partner engagement initiative, which has been in the works for around a year.

“It became a burning priority, post-acquisition,” Mohan said.

SuiteLife represents the biggest single investment the company has ever made in its channel ecosystem.

“SuiteLife is a big thing. We’re one of the key companies that have been both channel and direct focus for the longest time and we’ve managed to make it work. With Oracle’s investment we’re now seeing growth in North America and internationally - especially in JPAC, EMEA and Latin America – the ability for us to scale the amount of new partners we bring in and drive time to productivity and also provide a mechanism for existing partners in seat to scale their practice,” Mohan said.

“Our channel strategy in JPAC and EMEA, historically, has been somewhat opportunistic. People have built up a little practice in some countries, we’ve fed them demand and they’ve been growing, but now we need them to programmatically build out the ecosystem. Whether they’re a solution or alliance partners, we need them to either augment the marketplace we’re in or provide additional region delivery.”

NetSuite’s previous partner support mechanisms were no longer fit for purpose, largely because they weren’t very scalable. That lack of scalability wasn’t suitable for both existing and potential partners, according to Mohan.

“Our old programmes weren’t built [in the right way]. We want to almost have a Starbucks-like franchise so that when we pick up partners around the world they all look and feel and act consistently with our customers. That they’re delivering the same customer value, which is our true north,” he added.

“We have partners in seat already, but we need them to do more. We want them to go up market, we want them to build out verticals, we want them to sell more of our suite. In order to do that, we have to provide them a mechanism to learn more and allow their practitioners to get these new skills quicker. We looked at how we could do that and clean sheeted what we had and asked how we would build our partnership engagement model from scratch if we were able to do that with the reach and investment we have from Oracle.”

SuitLife has four key pillars:

1) Open sourcing and unlocking knowledge garnered from SuiteSuccess to partners and, where applicable, allow them to build their own verticals.

2) Enabling partners to learn more about the NetSuite product set.

3) Advanced partner support, which mirrors existing advanced customer support. Mohan described this as akin to ‘phone a friend’ for partners.

4) A simplification in the pricing model around training and education.

Talking specifically about the pricing, Mohan said: “It was too complicated. You’d need to be a maths major to figure it out. We’re a subscription company so why don’t we just make it easy and provide SuiteLife in small, medium and large so that any organisation, any practice of any size, has the right sized starting mix and can then scale over time rather than worrying about whether they’re going to get nickeled and dimed for things as they grow their practice.

With SuiteLife, new partners can get up and running and selling in just 90 days, while existing partners now have the support they need to build on what they have and diversify if they so wish.

SuiteLife has been made available to North American partners as of this week and will be rolled out in EMEA from June.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.