If the thought of signing up for a Web-based application suite leaves you feeling a little isolated, you're not alone. When you commit to running your business with an on-demand service, it's understandable that you might feel more secure with a familiar name, face, phone number and street address to go along with the commitment.
That's the thinking behind today's announcement between on-demand software vendor NetSuite and CompUSA. Starting today, the technology-focused retailer will offer NetSuite's accounting, ERP, CRM and e-commerce software suite to it small and mid-sized business (SMBs) customers.
The initial roll-out, however, is limited to 10 stores in New York and Connecticut. The program will be available in CompUSA's more than 200 stores in early 2007, according to Kristen Brown, vice president of alliances and channel programs at NetSuite.
The program is aimed at SMBs with between 10 and 250 employees, Brown said. Many businesses in that category are finding that "installing client/server applications is not the right solution."
The on-demand applications will not be sold on the store floor, but rather NetSuite Small Business, NetSuite, NetSuite CRM, and NetSuite CRM+ will be sold through CompUSA Business Services' 1,100-person sales force through in-person sales calls or over the phone. CompUSA Business Services experts and CompUSA "Techknowledgists" will provide help with installation and setup. "CompUSA owns the customer," Brown said.
You can also get advice, training and support at one of CompUSA's 225 stores that house dedicated Business Services Centers. Training will offered by the same people who offer training for small business products such as QuickBooks, Brown said.
Who will train the trainers? NetSuite will provide sales training to CompUSA Techknowledgist Services organization so they also can provide NetSuite implementation services to CompUSA customers.
NetSuite also said that its certified solution providers will be invited to qualify for membership in the CompUSA Techknowledgist Services organization so they also can provide NetSuite implementation services to CompUSA customers.
While NetSuite won't be sold on the store floor, CompUSA will promote the application suite through kiosks and promotions, according to Jay O'Connor, vice president of marketing at NetSuite.
Will NetSuite move to offer its application through other retail outlets? "Nothing is out of the question," Brown said. However, she added, "CompUSA is an early adopter and a natural fit because it focuses entirely on technology."
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