Hewlett-Packard will resell NetSuite's on-demand ERP (enterprise resource planning) software through its 15,000-strong channel of value-added resellers, initially in the U.S., the companies announced jointly on Tuesday.
HP and NetSuite previously linked up in 2003, when NetSuite was called NetLedger.
"It was more of an alliance back then," said Mini Peiris, vice president of product marketing at NetSuite. "This one's secured by a contract, and the initial time we tried this we were a little bit ahead of the curve. Cloud computing was still new ... we're in a very different climate today."
Peiris declined to reveal how much of a cut HP's channel partners will receive on software sales. They will also be able to make money by offering "value-added management and implementation services" for NetSuite, according to the announcement. In addition, NetSuite is providing HP partners with a training resource portal and a toll-free sales support hotline.
The channel agreement applies only to the U.S. for now. "We want get some success stories under our belt and see where that takes us," Peiris said.
It also remains to be seen where HP goes from here.
Janet Pretti, vice president of channel marketing at HP, said the deal with NetSuite is not exclusive.
But Pretti declined to discuss what other agreements might be down the road with companies like SAP. That long-time HP ally is slowly rolling out its on-demand Business ByDesign ERP offering, which competes with NetSuite.
Meanwhile, NetSuite picked the right partner in HP, said Ray Wang, an analyst with Forrester Research. "The HP channel base is a good one. It has true SMB users; it's more likely that they're going to use something like NetSuite."
Customers may also be more inclined to buy a SaaS product if they can do so through a familiar face like their HP provider, he suggested: "I think for a lot of people, they want to deal with something have existing relationship with."