A software company founded by Oracle chief Larry Ellison hopes to grow its number of channel partners here tenfold with its recent expansion into the Canadian market.
NetSuite Inc., which was founded in 1998 by Ellison and current NetSuite CTO Evan Goldberg, recently announced the opening of
a 40,000 sq. ft. facility in Mississauga, Ont. Steve Frappier, a former Oracle employee, has been appointed director of Canadian operations.
To mark the event, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company last month held a launch party for 200 customers and partners at the CN Tower.
“”We’re looking for that first wave of partners to come in,”” said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson, adding that 20 potential partners had signed up for the launch. “”We will work with them on what they think the next steps should be as we go to market in Canada. They have a better feel for that than we do at this point.””
NetSuite, which launched its partner program in 2001, has five partners in Canada, 200 in the United States and 50 in the United Kingdom, where it opened an office last year.
Dual channel strategy
“”I expect that we’ll go from about 4 to 50 once we get more physical presence here,”” Nelson added.
NetSuite’s channel partners currently account for 40 per cent of its overall revenue with the remainder going through its direct sales force. The company was built on a direct sale model out of necessity, said Nelson. “”Three years ago, (resellers) weren’t very comfortable with application service providers,”” he said. “”The market has shifted from whether they should use an ASP product to a ton of demand for software delivered as a service.””
Darren Crawford, president of Laurstan Consulting Inc., said he initially hesitated applying for NetSuite’s partner program when he learned that it had an inside sales team.
“”You always have to wonder how we’re going to work with them and how to make sure that you don’t step on each other’s toes.””
Physical presence important
Solution providers agree that NetSuite’s Canadian presence provides them and their customers with increased local support and visibility.
“”(NetSuite) will have a physical presence here which is important to Canadian prospects,”” said Daryn Edgar, president of Calgary, Alta.-based SmartCase Solutions Inc., a NetSuite partner since 2001. “”It demonstrates a committment to (NetSuite) customers that they are coming here and they will be supported in this market. That’s a big deal to Canadians in terms of having what’s perceived as a Canadian company supporting them.””