SaaS-vendor NetSuite revamps its developer network

Looking to give its ISV partners new opportunities to build on its platform and its integration partners new capabilities to bring to their customers, NetSuite (NYSE: N) has launched the SuiteCloud Developer Network and SuiteApp.com.

Based in San Mateo, Calif., NetSuite is a developer of integrated on demand ERP and CRM business software. The vendor had already launched the NetSuite Business Operating System or NS-BOS, a suite that included a number of tools designed to help ISVs add their expertise to the base NetSuite platform and develop add-on functionalities they can repackage and sell to other clients.

However, when he joined the company in July, Guido Haarmans, vice-president of the NetSuite developer network, said he decided it was time for a new approach, and an entirely new program.

“We looked at what the opportunity was for developers and we saw a platform that’s very mature and we saw great opportunity for ISVs to build vertical applications. But the development program wasn’t up to standard,” said Haarmans. “We decided to start from scratch, and ask what NetSuite needs in a developer program to get into verticals and larger customers.”

He added the program before didn’t manage all the aspects of the relationship you need to manage, didn’t look strategically at where NetSuite needed partners, and didn’t work with them closely enough to help them go to market and succeed.

Built around SuiteCloud, NetSuite’s suite of integrated business applications and processes, the new program includes the SuiteCloud Developer Network (SDN) for ISVs and SuiteApp.com, a single-source online marketplace where ISVs, customers and solution providers can find partner-developed applications to meet specific business and industry needs.

Designed to be a comprehensive program for developers, SDN provides go-to-market support to NetSuite developers and other tools to help them focus on adding value rather than integration.

“We’ll sit down with them to look at the completion and develop a go-to-market roadmap, we’ll provide solution engineering and architecture advice to help them build the right app with the right user interface, and we’ll help them execute and align closely with the sales organization,” said Haarmans.

He added they’re taking a more strategic approach to recruiting than before, focusing on finding the right partners with expertise in the right verticals, and then working closely with each of them to help them bring their solutions to market. Manufacturing will be an initial key focus area.

“For manufacturing, you need inventory, bill of materials, accounting, CRM and sales force automation – NetSuite has all that,” said Haarmans. “You also need materials requirement planning, warehouse management, product lifecycle management. These are things we’re not planning to do ourselves, so we’ll be looking to partners.”

Retail, software and services are other areas NetSuite intends to focus on. Packaged solutions aren’t on the radar screen yet, and for now Haarmans said licensing of the NetSuite platform and the ISV-developed add-ons will be separate, although he said he might see more reselling in the future.

The program has two levels for ISVs, said Haarmans. Select has “fairly good services” and is a fairly open program, although NetSuite won’t actively be recruiting partners. The Premiere level is more exclusive and strategic, and will see the vendor working closely with partners to open new markets.

Some 70 partners have come over from the old program. Looking forward, while Select is fairly open Haarmans said they’re looking for the right partners, not a quantity of partners. And Premiere will be very limited because of the intensity of the relationship.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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