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NetSuite Goes National With CompUSA
The companies forge the first partnership to make on-demand business software available through a retail chain.
Posted Jun 27, 2006
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Could your office shopping list someday look like this: pens, printer paper, paperclips, NetSuite? Perhaps, because a new move by CompUSA and NetSuite seems to be moving things in this direction. The business management software provider and the technology retailer today announced a partnership that will make NetSuite's on-demand solutions available through CompUSA's Business Services sales force. Beginning with 10 stores in New York and Connecticut and soon spreading nationwide, this marks the first time on-demand software has been available through retail outlets. "What's really exciting about this is that CompUSA is a national brand that is now nationally reselling our technology," says Kristen Brown, vice president of channel sales for NetSuite. The NetSuite solution, designed for use by SMBs of 10 to 1,000 employees, stands in a segment of the business management market that is very regionalized and fragmented, according to Brown. "CompUSA is looking to become the national solution provider that (the SMB) market lacks," she says. CompUSA's Business Services unit comprises a 1,100-person expert sales force specializing in small-business solutions. Two hundred twenty-five out of the 240 CompUSA stores in the United States have a Business Services department. This division also operates remotely to provide support and services to companies outside of the retail outlet. By selling its product through Business Services and training its personnel, NetSuite has the opportunity to capitalize on relationships CompUSA has already forged with SMB clients, and can leverage the nationally recognized CompUSA brand. "We think they are the best place to sell this service at a mass level," Brown says. According to NetSuite, the partnership will remain exclusive for now, to keep the two sides mutually focused on the success of the program. However, if the deal proves successful more such partnerships may start to appear. Laurie McCabe, vice president for SMB insights and business solutions at AMI-Partners, says, "I think we're going to see more and more of these more traditional mass-market SMB channels get in on this in different ways." McCabe cites NetSuite as a good candidate for a reselling effort through CompUSA Business Services, as it is a comparatively new solution without the "expensive," "massive," and "difficult to implement" tags that some traditional enterprise solutions have acquired and that sometimes discourage small business to adopt CRM software.
Brown stresses that "NetSuite in a box is not the idea" with this partnership. This move could, however, lead to such a trend in business management software, according to McCabe, who cites the possibility of the CRM industry moving in this direction. "There's nothing stopping you from shrink-wrapping CRM on a CD as a startup kit." McCabe also says NetSuite is making a smart move by first going into the reselling channel, but adds, "Once the brand gains more mindshare, shelf space might be a good angle." Related articles: Business Automation Software NetSuite Launches "SAP for the Rest of Us" NetSuite Episode 11: Revenge of the Suite
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