The headline on the press release read: “NetSuite Offers Sage Partners Major Incentives to Begin Growing their Business on the NetSuite Cloud” and I figured, it must be summer. For the last few years, Sage has announced an offer like this. For the last couple of years it was a take away program for salesforce.com customers.
I like NetSuite, they offer a good package of ERP and CRM software delivered as a SaaS service. They’ve made a lot of smart moves in the last couple of years including their IPO (which was not just smart but brilliant) and an apparent decision to move up market from their original SMB focus.
Going after larger companies made sense because I think NetSuite found out that their then target market didn’t have all of the resources — human and financial — needed to implement such an all-encompassing suite of software. Though the product is good, any ERP implementation comes with a great deal of thought work that’s needed to rationalize business processes before automating them. I think some small companies just choke on the effort.
Now it looks like NetSuite is trying to go after the SMB space again, this time with a full court press on Sage’s partners. Just as I like NetSuite I like Sage too. As a company Sage certainly has product and partner issues, but any company does. What’s interesting to me about the NetSuite PR is the hyperbole it exudes.
Though the PR has several quotes from Sage partner take-aways the text is over the top. One paragraph starts with, “NetSuite expects this program will find a warm reception in a Sage channel partner community wracked with fear, uncertainty and doubt about the future of on-premise applications…”
Wracked with fear? Really?
I have to say I used to wonder about Sage too and about when they’d get their SaaS act together. They’ve been late to the party, but not AWOL, they have products, especially in the CRM world. Lately, though, I’ve concluded that Sage might know something about the space that I’ve been missing. It’s a rather conservative market from the perspective of new product adoption.
The obvious success of SaaS in CRM may be enough to move the ERP partners but maybe not. Undoubtedly some will move, the PR is proof of that. But building a successful partner program is something that takes a great deal of investment in time and money. And although NetSuite has been in the partner business for some time already, I think they’ll have to execute very well to make in-roads here. It’s a conservative market and it’s summer. In a recession.
As the Zen master says in an old joke, “We’ll see.”