Oracle Set To Lean Heavily On NetSuite's Channel, But Questions Remain

Mark Hurd

Oracle and NetSuite executives said channel partners from both vendors will see expanded opportunities in the market following their merger. 

However, in a presentation streamed live on Thursday for an audience of customers, channel partners, press and analysts, neither company would be specific about channel programs, especially the historically rich margins that NetSuite solution providers have enjoyed.

The conference was held in the wake of Oracle’s $9.3-billion acquisition of cloud application developer NetSuite. The deal closed on November 7.

[Related: Oracle To Complete Its $9.3B NetSuite Acquisition Monday After Majority Of Unaffiliated Shares Are Tendered]

There is very little overlap in the two companies’ product sets, with 95 of the products serving customers with different attributes, said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd.

“These are products that are materially, and I’ll asterisk ‘materially,’ more complementary than competitive,” Hurd said.

NetSuite’s past success stemmed from a strong channel presence, and will continue to be important now that the company is a part of Oracle, said Evan Goldberg, founder and chief technology officer of NetSuite.

While NetSuite offers point-and-click tools that help customers expand the suite on their own, the company also has about 260 certified partner applications that help partners bring the company’s technology to customers, Goldberg said.

He also said many of NetSuite’s channel partners play a key role in developing applications for specific customers that NetSuite was unable to reach because it lacked the specific skills. He cited the example of an unnamed channel partner who helped an unnamed brewery build a platform that looked exactly like it was done by NetSuite. “[Partners] are an incredibly important part of our future,” he said.

During the question and answer period, Hurd responded to a question from a solution provider who asked about whether partners can expect confusion as Oracle and NetSuite attempt to sell into the same accounts by saying that the two companies’ solutions have different targets.

NetSuite solutions work well for startups and smaller companies, while Oracle solutions are great for large enterprises, Hurd said. However, he said, there will be NetSuite customers who really need Oracle solutions, and vice versa. “We will have guidelines and attributes to determine the best products,” he said.

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