Posted by Scott Derksen, Senior Director Business Development, SuiteCloud Developer Network, NetSuite
For many companies, a cloud-based software platform has meant a well-run, modern, robust, fully secured and affordable IT system where scale, innovation and resources benefit each and every company and user.
Likewise, for software developers, an established cloud-based software development platform can offer broad in-core application functionality, great versatility, ease of development, world-class security, and other essential resources that serve software developers better than going at it alone with a standalone do-it-yourself development.
On-premise software makers, especially in vertical markets, face significant business challenges ranging from supporting users on legacy (i.e. AS/400) environments that cannot meet a modern user’s expectations to the incredible costs, risks and time to market of re-writing the entire system. Alternatively, tapping a cloud platform partner's investments in enterprise–class reliability, IDE, customer acquisition, marketing campaigns, and best practices may be the best way to rapidly move forward in an increasingly cloud-based market.
Increasingly, horizontal cloud solution providers are investing in their platforms to grow into vertical markets they could not otherwise reach. For example, NetSuite’s investments in system flexibility and its unique ability to bundle, control and monetize code have created a massive lead on competitors when it comes to empowering its partners. Both sides benefit from reduced customer acquisition cost, quick wins in market share and the luxury of repeatable deployments.
As an example – let’s consider a platform provider connecting with an insurance software maker, either to provide integration between the insurance vendor’s claims management module and the platform, or to build new products directly onto the platform using development tools (such as NetSuite's SuiteCloud IDE and Suite tools for web services, Java scripting, workflow, graphical customization, and others).
The insurer's customers now have the ability to access an enterprise-level, very scalable, yet affordable, cloud-based platform for all their ERP, CRM and HR needs -- and they can tap the modules of all the other partners in the platform provider's marketplace for localized shipping, e-signature, payment and even social functions.
Additionally, NetSuite partners and their customers both benefit from the multiple NetSuite certifications, including ISO 27001 certification, EU Safe Harbor, SAS 70, PCI compliance, and other major certifications required to do business with mid- to large-companies but which can be too costly for small software developers to achieve.
Why Enterprise Vendors Want to Partner
Platform providers like NetSuite have several reasons for wanting vertical software developers to partner with them. Vertical-specific software is 28 percent of the total software market and platform providers want to expand the capabilities, data and workflows that attract these customers.
NetSuite and other providers also want to tap into their vertical partners' expertise and to work with their technical teams to deliver a complete solution. These solutions provide a compelling reason to buy -- and in the SaaS world, a sticky reason to renew. The advantage is found in leveraging the unique resources of both partners to create economic advantages for both sides. (G.Moore – Crossing the Chasm p 113: The big goal here is to figure out what makes this product compelling to buy, and then finding the fastest, cheapest way to get those additions surrounding the core product.)
In many cases, the partner technical and subject matter teams are able to identify opportunities to augment NetSuite functionality before they even approach us to apply for SDN membership.
Like other leading platform providers, NetSuite wants to work with credible companies that can get the job done in the most efficient manner -- whether that's integrating a small report or a major cross-enterprise workflow or re-platforming an entire application. That means that the most attractive applications for SDN have a track record of serving their industry niche, with reference customers, deep knowledge and a few years of working in that industry.
Why is the focus not entirely on start-up partners? All over the world, from concept to IPO NetSuite powers startups but increasingly we see established vendors with strong brand presence and leadership, mature marketing plans, and a need to migrate quickly to the cloud creating success in the program. When we engage with these companies, we work quickly to decide if we're the right fit for their customers in our core functionality and the right company to help them rapidly adapt our system to deliver and innovate on their value proposition for the market they serve.