But it's hard to see anything positive for Sage in Net@Work's NetSuite alliance. In the last couple of years some of Sage's biggest partners, including leading partner Blytheco, have started reselling software and services from NetSuite, Intacct, SugarCRM, Acumatica and other vendors.
Sage and its channel partners have had some rocky relationships in recent years. Last year, some partners weren't happy with changes the company made in its partner program tier structure and margins. In 2012, some partners were upset by Sage's efforts to discontinue some products and rebrand others. And partners complained that a move to introduce subscription pricing undercut their profit margins.
Another problem facing Sage and its partners is the vendor's aging product line and what some see as a lack of investment in product development. A report from Nucleus Research last May, titled "The Bell Tolls For Sage," was harshly critical of what it called Sage's "dated" product strategy.
Solomon said some customers have been asking for broad cloud application options, and that was a major factor for choosing to work with NetSuite. Sage's product approach has been to develop cloud extensions and add-ons to its on-premises ERP applications. Net@Work also has provided hosted versions of Sage applications for some customers.
NetSuite touted its successful recruiting of the solution provider. "Net@Work brings a long and impressive track record of success in helping organizations maximize business value from technology," said Craig West, vice president of channel sales at NetSuite, in a statement. "We are thrilled to be partnering with a company with such a strong position in the market, proven ERP expertise, and a true trusted business advisor to their clients. Net@Work's selection of NetSuite further validates our position as the leading solution and partner upon which to build a cloud business applications practice."
Under the partnership, Net@Work will sell, implement and support NetSuite's cloud applications. It also will develop vertical industry applications using the NetSuite SuiteCloud development platform. NetSuite will host the applications and bill customers for the application services, paying Net@Work a percentage of the contract value, according to Solomon.
NetSuite is strong in a number of specific vertical industries, and that aligns well with Net@Work's own vertical-focused marketing efforts, Solomon said. Net@Work also has been building a substantial practice around Microsoft SharePoint, and Solomon sees opportunities to integrate SharePoint with NetSuite's applications. Finally, Solomon said NetSuite is popular among customers and prospective customers with e-commerce businesses.
Solomon, with ambitions to become one of NetSuite's biggest channel partners, said he has existing and prospective customers "chomping at the bit" to use NetSuite. Those include SMBs and divisions of bigger companies -- some of whom are using on-premises applications and want to shift to cloud computing.
PUBLISHED FEB. 3, 2015