ERP Guru continues US expansion with St. Louis acquisition

Martin McNicoll

ERP Guru president Martin McNicoll

Montreal-based ERP Guru, NetSuite’s worldwide partner of the year in 2012, has continued to expand in the U.S. market with the purchase of St. Louis-based Cloud Commerce.

The purchase is the second in as many years – last year, the company dramatically ramped up its presence Stateside with the purchase of Chicago-based MD Technical Resources.

And like that previous purchase, the merger with Cloud Commerce came about largely because the two companies were already working together. Martin McNicoll, president of ERP Guru, said the companies have been working together for two years, providing field support to Cloud Commerce, which had built up its sales organization but lacked enough technical resources to build what they were selling. Now, rather than ERP Guru effectively “white labeling” for Cloud Commerce, the latter will take on the former’s brand.

“We had a great relationship, and we said ‘why don’t we join forces?’” McNicoll said. “It made a lot of sense for us. There was some back-and-forth, and here we are. When you’re the owner of a company, it’s your own brand, it’s your own business, and it takes a lot of trust to let that brand go. We’re very proud that [Cloud Commerce managing partner] Michael [Vienhage] believed in us.”

So Cloud Commerce gets the technical backup, and ERP Guru gets an expanded presence in the U.S. Midwest. But it gets more than that – although ERP Guru was a veteran of the NetSuite channel community, he describes a “secret sauce” in terms of marketing strategy that was key to Cloud Commerce success. Needless to say, McNioll isn’t too keen to share too many details of this approach, other than to say that it regularly developed “high-quality leads and prospects all over the U.S.,” and that “we’re not integrating those strategies into ERP Guru’s marketing strategies.”

Despite the acquisitions Stateside, the company’s balance between U.S. and Canadiian business remains about steady, McNicoll said. But both sides of the border are growing lustily. In the States, the acquisition approach is working out. And in Canada, perhaps a cultural tipping point has been reached that bodes well not just for ERP Guru, but for many solution providers focused on NetSuite and other cloud-based software offerings.

“The Canadian market is finally waking up to the cloud economy,” McNicoll reports. That had not been his assessment as recently as last year, when he told me he saw the Canadian marketing continuing to fall behind in the willingness to embrace cloud-based applications.

And as ERP Guru’s business grows, so too does its appetite. Fresh off winning NetSuite’s Worldwide Partner of the Year at this year’s SuiteWorld conference in San Francisco, McNicoll has his eye on Europe and Australia – regions from which he says ERP Guru is fielding calls every month.

“Because of the Internet, people will find you and contact you,” McNicoll said. “You don’t have to guess where to go, people will make themselves known to you. We want to deploy this model across the planet. There’s no limit to the cloud.”

The company’s model involves largely keeping technical resources centralized, while deploying branch offices with sales, business analysis, and product management staff in important markets worldwide.

“If there’s an opportunity for an interesting VAR to join us, we’ll take that route,” McNicoll said. “But we’re definitely looking for a good cultural fit.”