NetSuite Pitches OpenAir PSA to Channel Partners

At the NetSuite SuiteCloud partner conference in San Francisco, NetSuite is making its SaaS pitch to VARs and solutions providers. Part of that pitch includes OpenAir, a PSA (professional services automation) SaaS platform that NetSuite will increasingly promote to channel partners. The key question: Does NetSuite intend to compete with established PSA players like Autotask, ConnectWise and Tigerpaw Software? Here are some perspectives.

The discussion starts with SRP (Services Resource Planning) and the so-called services economy, according to Jeff Honeycomb, senior VP of worldwide distribution for OpenAir. NetSuite spent $50 million over the past two years to get into the SRP space (which is closely related to PSA). Acquisitions included OpenAir and QuickArrow.

Honeycomb asserted: "OpenAir is the leader in cloud-based PSA." He said 32% of PSA SaaS marketplace -- about 1,500 customers -- runs OpenAir, he added. "The other PSA vendors are so small, nobody really has significant market share in this space."

As I listened to Honeycomb's comments, I wondered...

  • Are Honeycomb and NetSuite familiar with the large, loyal PSA installed bases that Autotask, ConnectWise and Tigerpaw have built?
  • Are NetSuite and Autotask, in particular, on a collision course in the cloud? OpenAir is a pure SaaS play ... as is Autotask.

Strategic Differences

Generally speaking, it sounds like NetSuite OpenAir is going broad (targeting multiple verticals) rather than narrow and deep into the MSP and IT services markets.

Check out the OpenAir customer list, and you'll find a broad list of vertical market users, particularly:
  1. Software and hardware companies
  2. Professional services firms
  3. Consulting services firms
  4. IT services firms
  5. Creative services firms
Still, item 4 on Honeycomb's list certainly caught my attention. Honeycomb specifically pointed to POSitive Technology, a Maryland-based Microsoft channel partner that now runs OpenAir. Honeycomb says POSitive used OpenAir to cut accounts receivable times by more than 50 percent, while shifting from a bi-monthly to a weekly billing cycle.

I'm not suggesting NetSuite OpenAir can suddenly disrupt the MSP-centric PSA market. Frankly, before this conference landed on my schedule I hadn't heard of OpenAir.

But now I have. And the message from Honeycomb at the SuiteCloud conference was clear: NetSuite intends to promote OpenAir very aggressively to channel partners. I'm meeting with Honeycomb later today and will dig for more details.

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