Montreal-based ERP Guru, a solution provider focused on NetSuite’s cloud-based ERP software, has taken the unusual step of hiring its own channel manager and eventually launching its own partner program.
The company has introduced David Farr, a veteran of the channel organization at Dell, as its first-ever channel manager, and sees more of its future in delivering NetSuite planning and implementation services through an expanding network of fellow solution providers.
Farr said the typical ERP Guru partner today is a fellow NetSuite solution provider that’s “doing a great job of selling – maybe too good of a job,” as Farr puts it, and is looking for help to supplement or replace their own engineering and implementation capabilities. A secondary partner profile is with partners new to the cloud-based ERP vendor who have yet to built out their own bench for solutions architecture and delivery.
“I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been here that [ERP Guru is] known as a guru, for want of a better term, with customers as well as with partners, when it comes to NetSuite. “There’s a lot of opportunity that comes in the door, and we’re open to any kind of synergistic opportunity.”
But he sees opportunities to work with a variety of other solution providers in a variety of roles, and his hiring indicates the company sees an opportunity in going from reactively working with partners to being more proactive about its connection with other solution providers. The company, he suggests, has done a good job of working with partners. But it has not done yet done very much to market those skills to the broader community of solution providers.
That’s where Farr comes in. Farr comes to ERP Guru from Dell, where he was on the channel side from very early in the company’s partnering efforts, dating back to revising Equallogic’s partner program after Dell acquired the storage company. His plan for ERP Guru, is to help formalize its efforts with partners, and make sure partners have the educational and marketing tools they need to build their business around NetSuite’s ERP offerings.
Ultimately, the goal is for the company to produce a more complete and formal partner program, probably towards the end of 2013 or into 2014. Farr said a lot of the pieces for that program are already in place, but just need to be brought together and in some instances made less partnership-specific. “There’s so much already here that just needs to be solidified,” Farr said. “It’s about gathering all the answers we have into one box and presenting that to our partners.”
In building that program, Farr said, it’s important that they include “enough flexibility” to make it appealing to partners that either are not today involved with NetSuite, or who are just starting out their own NetSuite practices. Done right, as part of a full partner program, working with such partners would allow the new partners to expand into new areas of business, while giving ERP Guru a steady flow of work without the costs of developing sales.
It’s a new approach for ERP Guru, which has historically grown its business by either opening branch offices or acquiring smaller existing NetSuite partners in markets where it believes there’s a critical mass of opportunity. It’s a shift that could allow the company to grow much more rapidly, and play upon its strength in the NetSuite partner community.
At the same time the company is broadening its horizons by helping other solution providers round out their offerings, ERP Guru appears to be open to taking on similar help from others, discussing among other options, a partnership with Halifax-based Sheepdog that would bring Google Apps into the mix for ERP Guru.
“Our goal is not to become a Google Apps reseller, but by partnering with other companies like Sheepdog, there’s something to be said for that kind of ecosystem,” Farr said. “It’s another opportunity to present a broader solution to our customers.”