Oracle NetSuite Emphasizes 'Very Active Partner Program' with Vertical Focus

Under Oracle’s wing since it’s 2016 acquisition, NetSuite has been bolstering channel partners in many ways.

Todd R. Weiss

September 19, 2019

5 Min Read
Oracle OpenWorld Expo 2019

ORACLE NETSUITE SUITECONNECT — More than three years after being acquired by Oracle in a $9.3 billion deal, NetSuite continues to build on its partner relationships and channel program by improving its channel products and services, and helping to bring in more customers.

While Oracle is holding its huge annual Oracle OpenWorld conference here at the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week, the company’s NetSuite division also is hosting its own smaller SuiteConnect conference in the adjacent Marriott Marquis hotel, where customers and partners are hearing about NetSuite’s latest attributes.

NetSuite’s founder, Evan Goldberg, who has been the executive vice president of Oracle NetSuite since it was acquired, said channel partners play a huge part in the company’s success as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.


NetSuite’s Evan Goldberg

“Fundamentally, we think that one of the greatest value-adds that the channel can bring is expertise about a particular market,” Goldberg said during a journalist’s forum at the conference.

The company has been working to narrow its focus to target NetSuite for a wide range of specific vertical markets, including apparel, food and accessories, health and beauty, as well as industrial supply, but all of them together cover just a small percentage of the company’s overall market, he said.

“We see even narrower great segments for resellers to become experts in. That’s how you get the best experience with NetSuite for your industry,” he noted.

For increased channel success with the platform, the company must continue to enable it to be easily customized by channel partners to meet the needs of their customers, he said. Those customized versions can then be distributed by channel partners to their customers as resellers.

“Maybe you have 100 customers in three different vertical markets, and you have three different extensions or sets of extensions that you’ve built for NetSuite,” said Goldberg. “Managing all that, developing that, that’s what we’ve been focused on for years from the minute that we added the first custom field.”

The beauty of NetSuite, he said, is that it is the best destination for partners with great development ideas that can be put it into code.

“They can put it into customizations or workflows … distribute it to their customers, manage it and maintain it so they make changes and it goes to all their customers. That’s all enabled by us. We’re trying to enable mini-NetSuites among our channel and that’s a big part of what we are doing.”


NetSuite’s Jason Maynard

Jason Maynard, NetSuite’s senior vice president of global field operations, agreed, saying that the company is 100% aligned with the channel partner business model, from resellers to systems integrators and everyone in between.

“We have substantially increased our investments in our channel partners over the last couple years,” said Maynard. “We’ve rolled out all sorts of new enablement and training programs. We’re investing more as well to help them on go-to-market efforts. We’ve had a huge uptick in interest in becoming part of that channel ecosystem, whether it’s a reseller or someone who wants to implement NetSuite. From day one, everybody who is in that ecosystem will have the same access.”

Maynard said the company has been working hard to ensure that channel partners …

… don’t have conflicts with NetSuite’s direct sales teams.

“We’re all about making sure [partners] are successful,” he said. “That’s something at all levels of the organization, that we strive to make sure that it’s an equal playing field.”

Looking into the future, said Maynard, those channel sales and successes are just getting started because the company only has about a 10% market share in ERP so far, leaving a lot of room for growth.

“We can’t do this alone,” he said, emphasizing the importance of the channel to increased sales and support to customers. “There are so many opportunities. I think in the next three to five years that our channel business is probably going to grow faster than even our direct business. So, we’re making a big push on this.”

Oracle NetSuite is a unified business management suite that includes ERP, financials, CRM and e-commerce capabilities. Some 18,000 organizations around the world use NetSuite today.

One channel partner, Steve Jones, principal of RSM, an auditing, tax and consulting services provider that focuses on midmarket customers, told Channel Futures that NetSuite’s introduction of its SuiteLife channel partner engagement program earlier this year has been a boon for his business.

SuiteLife boosts a partner’s employee-onboarding processes, providing deep training for employees and adding special and advanced support assistance to partners.


RSM’s Steve Jones

“Everything that they see a partner needs throughout the year they try to facilitate,” said Jones. “That’s sort of this really big effort for them to simplify the process and enable partners to grow.”

The program has already been helping RSM.

“We’re completely tapping into it,” said Jones.

Jones, who has been a part of the NetSuite Partner Advisory Board for more than 10 years, said the company has been boosting its efforts to aid partners.

“We have a lot of dedicated resources from NetSuite for the channel, particularly in the last two years. I’ve seen a lot of investment. Since the acquisition by Oracle, there have been more resources pumped into the channel, which is making everyone’s lives better. It helps us grow faster and be more successful with our customers.”

Laurie McCabe, an IT analyst with SMB Group, said NetSuite’s deepening relationship with the channel will be important for its success.


SMB Group’s Laurie McCabe

“The channel is actually essential for any of these ERP vendors who want to play in this SMB market,” said McCabe. “To really grow, NetSuite can’t do all the selling and implementation on their own. It’s not scalable for SMBs. They’re going to need a very active partner program that feels incentivized for partners.”

For NetSuite, the channel is critical for the company, she said.

“And they can’t afford to do anything that would endanger that,” she said. “It really sounds like they are getting their ducks in a row so they can be a trusted partner.”

About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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