On-demand ERP vendor NetSuite is rolling out the NetSuite Business Operating System (NS-BOS), a package of existing and new tools, in the hopes of enticing more ISVs to build vertical offerings on top of its core platform.
NS-BOS consists of NetSuite's hosted infrastructure; its core set of business applications; the SuiteFlex development framework; and SuiteScript D-Bug, a hosted debugging environment. However, only D-Bug is new.
While NetSuite customers are free to use the tools as well as partners, the company expects most of the interest to come from the latter camp. "Even the midmarket companies, they don't have large IT shops," said Mini Peiris, vice president of product management. "They also don't want a vanilla solution. ... There is definitely a huge potential for partners to come in and fill that gap."
"A lot of ISVs already have these best practices in these verticals," added Mei Li, senior vice president of corporate communications.
While about 600 partners have signed up with NetSuite, only about 20 to 30 have built complete offerings so far, according to Peiris.
ISVs (independent software vendors) that develop and sell vertical applications leveraging the NetSuite ERP/CRM/Ecommerce Suite won't be charged for using NS-BOS, but will have to share revenue with NetSuite for the base suite. However, "anything [partners] build on top of NetSuite is their IP," Peiris said.
NetSuite's rival Salesforce.com has a different goal with its Force.com development platform, Peiris argued. "They're looking to encourage people to develop discrete applications and moving away from extending Salesforce."
One observer offered a measured response to NetSuite's news.
"I see it more as kind of their flag in the sand, you know, 'We've got a platform too," said China Martens an analyst with The 451 Group. "I don't think it's a really big announcement in any sense, but its really kind of reiterating who they are."