NetSuite looks to improve coverage outside Toronto

NetSuite channel chief Craig West

NetSuite channel chief Craig West

NetSuite needs its channel to spread out across the country. Despite the fact that ERP Guru, a perennial top NetSuite channel partner, is located in Montreal, NetSuite channel chief Craig West believes the company has too many eggs in one basket right now.

“We’re overwhelmingly centered in Toronto  We have a lot more brand in that community, and we’re seen our partner business swell in that region exponentially,” West said.

West jokes that maybe it’s a function of NetSuite being “right at the end of the runway” immediately south of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, but the company’s coverage issues are not a joke. NetSuite is working with existing partners to try to expand coverage, but is also open to bringing on new partners to help make sure it can cover major opportunities, particularly in western Canada.

“I’m more heavily focused on recruiting in Canada than I would be in the U.S. right now. If a customer wants a partner near them, they should be able to find a partner near them.”

The company is increasingly leaning on its channel, with about 40 per cent of its business coming through partners. In recent quarters, the company has grown its revenues 35 per cent, while growth through channels has leapt almost twice that number, which West notes is the first time the company’s partner business has grown faster than its direct business.

On the Canadian front, one of its biggest new channel additions of the last year has been Thornhill, Ont.-based BAASS Business Solutions, which has traditionally been, and continues to be, one of rival Sage Software’s biggest resellers in Canada, but has started building a cloud practice around NetSuite.

NetSuite is still working on the full channel integration of its acquisition of Waterloo, Ont.-based TribeHR last year, and used the days following its SuiteWorld conference in San Jose last month to train about 50 traditional NetSuite partners on the human resources SaaS application. The company has already trained partners on pre-sales and sales issue, but is now getting interested partners up to speed on the implementation and professional services opportunities around Tribe.

West said he expects the channel business to be driven by the inclusion of better services capabilities in the core NetSuite offering, which will start rolling out to the company’s customers and partners over the next few moths. Given the services-heavy business model of the average NetSuite partner, West said he expects significant uptake of the new functionality.

“You can’t imagine ho many conversations I’ve had with partners about ‘When do I get the new PSA?’ That’s the beauty of the whole ‘drink our own champagne’ model. Our partners become their own best reference customer,” West said.

The company’s partners are no strangers to delivering NetSuite in services-centric businesses, but in the past “they’ve generally just customized the heck out of NetSuite” to make it work. Now, much of that functionality – and even more – will be brought into the core, and many partners will be able to give up maintaining their own custom code base to meet service companies’ needs of the platform.