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Building a NetSuite App: Which path to walk?

As you consider your approach to investing in and building a NetSuite app, there are a couple of paths you may choose. This article provides a brief overview of those options.

Before you start your journey, know the route:

If it's your organization is considering entering the NetSuite marketplace, contact ExtendApps first. We'd be happy to talk you through the typical options and considerations on your journey.


1. Sizing up the Opportunity: Where to Start?

If you're a maker of B2B software, there's no question that the NetSuite ecosystem and marketplace is one of the best potential sources of new clients. With nearly 40,000 organizations relying on NetSuite to operate their financials, logistics, manufacturing and service delivery, it provides access to businesses who have (by virtue of selecting NetSuite as their ERP) self-identified as organizations willing to invest in cloud software to give them a competitive edge.

At ExtendApps, we've supported 20+ organizations in building and growing their SuiteApp, and we've spoken with many more. You can learn more about what they say in this survey.

However, official partnerships with Oracle Netsuite via their Suitecloud Developer Network (SDN) are not automatically awarded. Instead, they are based on NetSuite's strategic needs and goals, with only select partners invited to join the program and have their SuiteApps certified as 'Built for NetSuite' (BFN).

So, what are the options?

2. The Right Approach: The two paths

With a NetSuite app, there are two outcomes, but one starting point. Whether you plan to apply to become an official NetSuite Partner or not, designing, building and launching your NetSuite app is the first step. You may see the strategic advantages of a NetSuite partnership as clear as day, but the first question your NetSuite SDN contact is going to ask you is:

"How many customers are using your NetSuite App?"

And if a partnership with NetSuite is not in the cards, you're free to market, sell and support and attract new customers with your NetSuite offering. But it all starts with building your App. This is the common path:

We work with our clients to define the right features and scope for an MVP, design and build a high-value NetSuite app and help them launch and support their clients. Once a critical mass is reached, it's time to make the decision on which path to take.

3. The Partnership Route: Joining the SDN.

The SDN and BFN programs have their clear advantages. The review and certification process lets NetSuite customers know that your SuiteApp meets the technical and safety standards set out by NetSuite. Having your app listed on ensure customers can find you easily, and if your strategically aligned, co-marketing and co-selling opportunities will appear.

Being a NetSuite Partner is certainly the right path for some organizations and products, but not always.

4. The Independent Route: Your NetSuite App

For those not invited to join the NetSuite SDN or who opt not to, there are trade-offs. While you may not have the potential advantages of a strategic alliance with NetSuite, you can still market and sell to NetSuite customers. NetSuite users can install your apps in their NetSuite environments with a click and you have the ability to innovate quickly and with fewer restrictions.

After all, the goal of building a NetSuite app is to ensure your customers that use NetSuite, and NetSuite customers that want to use your products and services can do so easily.

5. The End Goal

No matter which way the road takes you, positioning your organization to offer your customers access to the power and functionality of NetSuite could be a source of customer generation and retention for many years. Of course, there are many other on and off-ramps, but if you're looking to get started on your SuiteApp journey, focusing on a great design and solid build is your best bet.


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