NetSuite Goes Micro-Vertical: Good for Them, Too!


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For those of you who have short term memory problems (something like I do), day before yesterday, I wrote on the intriguing approach Microsoft took to provide its partners with the ability to host vertical versions of LiveCRM – and retain the revenues.

Damned if NetSuite didn’t follow up Microsoft and while I wouldn’t want to say trump them, because I’m not sure they did, release their own hot little vertical creation number called SuiteBundler at their NetSuite Revolution Partner 2007 conference in San Francisco, yesterday. SuiteBundler is a set of tools that allow their partners to develop all the vertical applications they need. They’re calling it Services as Software, to add to the growing lexicon of

1. Services as Software (
2. Software as a Service (
3. Software Plus Services (Microsoft)
4. Platform as a Service (
5. No More Attempts to Use As a Service as a Service (to mankind).

Despite the “as a service” overkill, the market for vertical enterprise applications looks to be REALLY heated in the coming months as I predicted back….ahhhh…..sometime this year. I can’t find the link. Maybe it was on CustomerThink. Nope. I can’t find it but I did.

In any case, the idea of SuiteBundler isn’t just create verticals. Its as it sounds a way of bundling functionality, processes, user roles, dashboards, pretty much anything found in NetSuite down to database elements in ways that are valuable to particular industries or to particular departments in companies in an industry. In fact, that’s what makes the whole SuiteFlex package so valuable. Its actually a well conceived way of providing highly focused, highly customized services to a company that needs them. SuiteBundler makes the packaging and organization of those pieces coherent – and that is no mean feat.

NetSuite, to show they can do it, now has a series of vertical releases – some in industries that I know only their chief rival, SAP, has. They are (among others):

* Software
* Media and Publishing
* IT Resellers
* Agriculture Equipment Dealerships
* Seaport Marina Management
* Retail (Point of Sale)
* Franchises for packaging and shipping materials
* Electronics Wholesale Distribution

Note how micro-vertical some of these are. In fact, as a personal industry note, they reflect the same type of thinking that Steve Olyha had, Steve, who used to head up the Unisys CRM and Supply Chain practices, and prior to that CSC’s CRM practice (back when they were successful at it) and now is the head of Unisys Consulting’s entire sales operations (SVP or EVP of Sales or something like that), was wildly successful on slicing a narrow vertical band and concentrating his firepower into those microslices. So it wouldn’t be Consumer Packaged Goods, it would be Trade Promotion within Consumer Packaged Goods. A lesson I learned from him that I don’t forget.

NetSuite seems to be presenting the same approach through the tools that its giving to its partners and customers. Customization in micro-slices and bundling the required pieces in an organized way.

I haven’t seen the product in action – yet. But I have to say, I think the idea works. I’ll revisit this when I see what it can do in a live customer (partner) environment.

Years ago to present, SAP. Day before yesterday, Microsoft. Yesterday, NetSuite. Verticals + partners = hot.

Paul Greenberg
The 56 Group, LLC
Paul Greenberg, the president of the 56 Group, LLC, is the author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light: Essential Customer Strategies for the 21st Century, 3rd edition. Greenberg is co-chairman of Rutgers University's CRM Research Center and executive vice president of the CRM Association. His blog PGreenblog won both of the only two awards ever given to CRM blogs.


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