Determined not to let Salesforce.com's Force platform as a service (PAAS) get all of the business software reviews and software as a service ecosystem headlines and mindshare, NetSuite released its Business Operating System (NS-BOS) development platform in an effort to partner with independent software vendors (ISVs) and value added resellers (VARs) to create vertical market business software systems.
NS-BOS includes five primary building blocks:
- SaaS Infrastructure: Partner built applications will be (must be) hosted on NetSuite's multi-tenant delivery architecture.
- Core Business Management Suite: Partner built applications will (must) bundle in the core NetSuite product offering. Partner built industry specific solutions built with NS-BOS will include the NetSuite ERP, CRM, and/or Ecommerce products and will be priced by the ISV with an agreed revenue split with NetSuite for the core suite.
- SuiteFlex: This is NetSuite's technology platform and SuiteScript programming language for ERP and CRM product customization, verticalization, and business process automation.
- SuiteScript D-Bug: A code debugger designed for a multi-tenant application platform.
- SuiteBundler: A template like construct which permits systems to be provisioned in repeatable manner, rather than copying the code for each new customer.
An effort which shows some commitment to the program is the appointment of Michael Ni as VP of Industry Solutions and Ecosystem (does that title fit on a business card?). Ni will manage all vertical initiatives, software developer programs, and oversee the NS-BOS evolvement. In a company that has demonstrated a significant turnover history of channel related executives, I wish Mr. Ni much luck.
While software analysts and industry pundits are sure to compare NS-BOS to Salesforce.com Force and AppExchange, NS-BOS provides a noticeable difference in that the program must include the horizontal NetSuite application (not a requirement with Salesforce.com), thereby directing efforts toward vertical solutions and away from more complimentary horizontal solutions.
From my initial review, I see some obvious advantages and disadvantages with the NS-BOS program. On the positive, the program can dramatically accelerate time to market for third parties looking to offer industry specific solutions and looking to forego the building of the many horizontal accounting feature sets.
On the negative, the biggest reservation for any partner may be establishing a long-term commitment with a less than channel friendly company. I suspect that the mandate to use NetSuite's delivery infrastructure and pass along the NetSuite core ERP or CRM solution will limit participation to smaller companies and more focused point solutions. I also suspect that ISVs who prefer or demand to work in an open systems technology environment (e.g. Java/J2EE or .NET) will view NetSuite's proprietary development offerings as a big negative. Oh yea, I also think that NS-BOS sounds way too much like MS-DOS, but maybe that's just me.
||Posted: Monday, March 3rd, 2008