OpenAir proving a strong channel on-ramp for NetSuite

Craig West NetSuite

Craig West, vice president of channel sales at NetSuite

When NetSuite brought OpenAir closer to its own organization at the beginning of this year, it found itself a new way to bring in solution providers.

The cloud-based ERP vendor acquired OpenAir, which makes on-demand professional services automation (PSA) software in 2008, and has touted it as an opportunity for the company’s channel partners ever since, said Craig West, vice president of channel sales at NetSuite.

But the real traction started when it formally integrated the company into NetSuite as of Jan. 1, 2011, meaning that all NetSuite partners have access to the product.

“OpenAir has been growing really wildly for us,” West said. “It’s just crazy great for us.”

Bringing OpenAir on-board has resulted in partners being more strategically aligned with the product. “We’re moving towards folks who are building practices around OpenAir rather than just opportunistically cherry-picking deals,” West said. “We expect it to be a very big part of our channel growth this year.”

Part of that is because partners are now more fully-enabled to deliver both OpenAir and the core ERP offerings from NetSuite together, leading to more and more customers looking at a joint sales cycle between both of them, a key part of the company’s plans when integrating the company more fully. And part of that is because partners are now able to run the PSA product themselves. Part of NetSuite’s partner program is access to the company’s wares to run their own businesses, and West estimates the access to OpenAir and the ability to use it internally, is part of the reason more partners are more comfortable with the product.

And part of that growth is because, for some partners, representing OpenAir is more accessible and immediate than is taking on all the modules of the NetSuite family.

“’Maybe you aren’t ready for ERP or CRM,’ we tell them, ‘but you’re ready for PSA,’” West said. “It’s brought us some new partners we wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.”

It’s worth noting that as well as seeking IT solution providers to represent and resell OpenAir, VARs, MSPs and other types of IT consultants are also the biggest target audiences for the software, which it promotes as a management tool for companies of between 10 and 10,000 employees.