Hewlett-Packard has tapped NetSuite, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM and enterprise resource planning vendor, as a partner in its professional services arm. Under terms of the nonexclusive agreement, HP's network of 15,000 value-added resellers (VARs) will offer NetSuite on-demand applications to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) as an integrated part of the HP Total Care services portfolio.
The partnership with NetSuite follows HP's acquisition in August of EDS, the Plano, Texas–based consultancy and professional services firm. It speaks to a growing tendency for companies to define their offerings not only on the strength of their own products and services, but the depth and breadth of its partner ecosystem as well.
"[The partnership] shows that HP plans to develop its hardware reseller, who normally have no way to take advantage of cloud computing," says Michael Speyer, total economic impact consultant for Forrester Research. He notes that the resellers may face some initial challenge in understanding the value of CRM to an organization and selling it appropriately, but the opportunity for both companies is significant. "For NetSuite the opportunity is considerable," he says. "I expect they're very happy."
The news is especially good for NetSuite as it competes with other CRM vendor/professional services teams. Salesforce.com has partnerships with Accenture and Deloitte, while Microsoft announced in March that it was expanding its 20-year partnership with EDS.
"This is the most important partnership we have in the United States so far," says Glenn Griffin, vice president of business development and alliances for NetSuite. "We're going to commit a lot of resources and attention over at least the next six to 12 months and see where it goes."
Some may wonder if the Microsoft-EDS relationship affects NetSuite and HP. "I don't think you can make that claim," Speyer says. "Historically, EDS has not operated in the SMB space where NetSuite is most prevalent; it typically has much larger enterprise clients. The relationship with Microsoft is of a different nature entirely."
"The trend toward services delivery by channel partners has been marked in the last several years, and it will only continue to increase," said Christina Richmond, channels analyst with research firm IDC, in a statement. "Partners must evolve toward a more solution-centric approach gradually, while maintaining their core hardware competencies. This offering from HP goes a long way toward enabling partners to easily incorporate hardware, software and services which, as a solution, will assist the channel in taking the necessary steps to transform their business models for the future."
In other NetSuite news, the company announced on Monday that U.K.-based CRM users gave NetSuite top honors in two categories of Sift Media's Software Satisfaction Awards 2008. NetSuite CRM+ won the enterprise CRM software category and NetSuite CRM won for mid-range CRM software. NetSuite Small Business made the short list for small business CRM software as well.
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