NetSuite and Oracle: A Broader Portfolio for Partners

Channel Partners' Lynn Haber

Lynn Haber

The synergy between NetSuite and Oracle was in place long before the latter’s $9.3 billion acquisition of the former late last year. Not only was NetSuite founded in 1998 by former Oracle employee Evan Goldberg, and included about 40 percent ownership by Oracle co-founder and former CEO Larry Ellison, but the midmarket business management suite was built on Oracle technology.

The cloud-based midmarket business management software from NetSuite was also a fine match for Oracle’s enterprise product focus, cloud transformation strategy, and lack of success penetrating midmarket accounts.

NetSuite's Craig West

NetSuite’s Craig West

We chatted with Craig West, vice president of channel sales, to catch up on NetSuite, and the company’s business and partner strategy since the Oracle acquisition.

Channel Partners: What was NetSuite’s go-to-market strategy and channel strategy prior to the acquisition and will that stay the same or change with the acquisition?

Craig West: Our sales go-to-market strategy since 2002 [NetSuite was founded in 1998] was a hybrid strategy from a distribution standpoint. We sold direct, and also had NetSuite professional services to do those implementations, and we also sold via channel partners, typically in the traditional midmarket ERP or business-application channel where they were doing their own demand generation, running their own sale cycles, and their service organizations were delivering the implementations.

We’ve been on the record for a number of years, that our channel contributes about 40-something percent of our new customers, so it stayed a pretty consistent percentage despite all our rapid growth since our IPO.

With the acquisition, our sales go-to-market strategy is unchanged. With the acquisition, we’re running our business independently so we still have direct sellers and channel partners.

CP: So, the company is more direct than indirect sales. Do you expect that to change?

CW: Yes [it’s more direct sales]. The acquisition just closed in November so there’s a lot to be seen, there [are] a lot of factors. NetSuite’s business has historically been overwhelmingly U.S.-based. and Oracle’s business has been international. NetSuite has historically sold direct in U.S. speaking countries and we’ve been partner-first in other parts of the world.

What Oracle has planned is to greatly increase our investment in our international organization and create opportunities for our partners where ever we’re not selling direct. So, I definitely think that we could see the pendulum swing there, largely driven by international opportunities, rather than English-speaking, but there’s a lot that remains to be seen on that.

CP: What’s the profile of a typical NetSuite partner?

CW: Our typical partner – and this is in our Solution Provider Program – is really a boutique business consultancy that might be a standalone business that traditionally sold [Microsoft] Dynamics, SAP solutions or Oracle business application solutions, or a large national accounting firm such as RSM, for example, [which] does those kinds of things.

Pretty unilaterally, I see firms fit one of those descriptions.

CP: There was recent news about new partners. Could you talk about that?

CW: Our business is growing rapidly and we’re actively recruiting partners and they’re actively coming to us. Particularly, the partners who have …

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