Ex-Oracle boys bring NetSuite to Australia

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Newly established Net Return has scored exclusive distribution rights to distribute NetSuite, an SME application software package licensed from NetLedger, makers of the Oracle Small Business Suite.

Net Return – which is the brainchild of former Oracle Australia MD Phil Kiely and Oracle e-business unit GM Stuart McLean – is in the process of localising the web-based application for the Aussie market with a view to launch at the end of 2003.

NetSuite is a web-based application suite that provides financials, CRM, purchasing and e-commerce functionality for SMEs. The company claimed there is no up-front licence fee or maintenance fee associated with the software.

Mclean told iTnews that the software meets the needs of MYOB users for example that want to move up to an enterprise package but can't afford at least $250,000 on a suite such as PeopleSoft. “With this [software] you can do it for under $1000 per month [for 10 users],” he said.

He claimed the existing US version will scale up to 500 employees and there's no reason why “it won't scale beyond that.”

“From a functionality versus price/point perspective, it absolutely kills everything in the market,” he said.

Net Return is in the process of recruiting channel partners prior to its launch and expects to drive the majority of sales through indirect channels.

The company wants around twelve channel partners and is targeting accountancy practices and traditional resellers, Mclean said.

He said the suite would be attractive to resellers as it provides a monthly recurring revenue stream.

Net Return will recruit “Referral partners” who are paid a commission for referring business to the company. Margins under the referral partner status will be in the “double digits.” Reseller partners on the other hand will be responsible for implementation services and would earn around “double” the margin of the referral partners, he said.

Interested parties will be required to commit at least three customers that are showing interest in the product or are ready to roll, he added.

“We want to keep it [the reseller channel] as an elite club. If we get the right resellers to deliver the right volume, it's in our interest to keep it to a low number,” he said.

Local developers are tweaking the software to support Australian statutory requirements such as automatic generation of BAS and IAS statements, industry specific tax codes and more flexible COA structures that let users manage tax affairs in a way that suits their business, the company said.

The company is also working on integration with various online payment providers and will select a local hosting partner prior to launch, Mclean said.

Phil Kiely is executive chair of Net Return.


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