The push to take control of the SME market hots up this week with the announcement that NetSuite is to open up in the UK after originally intending to target the market through the OpenOrchard joint venture with BT.
BT has now folded Open Orchard back into its corporate operations so NetSuite has decided to open its own office and establish a network of UK resellers to tour its product set which includes NetSuite ERP, NetSuite CRM and the Oracle Small Business Suite.
The decision comes at a time when the UK market is shaping up as a new front line for CRM vendors looking for SME business. Salesforce.com has poached senior Siebel management to staff its new UK office, while Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) will finally ship its SME applications in Europe from the beginning of next year.
NetSuite - formerly known as NetLedger - has already signed up five UK resellers and expects to add another five by the end of this week. Company management is meeting with potential solutions providers and resellers in London this week and again in November. Meanwhile a UK managing director is being sought with a view to having an office open later this year.
CEO Zach Nelson said there was a major competitive differentiator between NetSuite and Salesforce.com or MBS due to the effort that had been put in to making the product localised for the UK market. This includes language conversions, advanced sales order management with VAT and statutory accounting requirements. MBS is planning to ship its applications without some VAT and multi-currency functionality.
Nelson reckons that NetSuite can compete with Salesforce.com and MBS on price. Entry level pricing for Oracle Small Business Suite is £900 per year with additional users added for £35 per month. Entry level price for NetSuite is £3,200 per year for two users with additional users added for £50 per month.
He was also dismissive of MBS plans to amalgamate the code bases of Navision, Solomon and Great Plains under the banner of Project Green. “It’s amazing what they can get away with,” he said. “They’re saying we’re going to kill off all your products and then you can buy more stuff from us. And Project Green is aiming for 2006 which means 2008 for Microsoft. Really Project Green is all about them trying to do what we’ve already done. “