Whilst gathering my research for this article, I was trawling the NetSuite Subreddit, looking for mentions of the SuiteCloud Development Network. And it's fair to say that the reception was pretty sour.
Multiple people commented that it was 'near impossible' to get verified these days, citing an infinite loop of jumping through hoops. The general consensus was that it is incredibly difficult to become an SDN-verified developer.
But first things first...you may be wondering, what is the SDN anyway? What's so special about it, and why are people so desperate to become SDN verified?
The SuiteCloud Development Network, or SDN, is exactly what the name suggests. It's a network of developers who specialise in creating apps specifically for NetSuite. Network verification gets you access to this network of developers, and the tools you need to effectively create and develop applications for NetSuite.
In this blog, we'll break down why the SDN matters, and how to make sure you stand a chance of getting verified.
Benefits of SDN Membership
According to the NetSuite website, the benefits of joining the SDN include:
- Sophisticated development tools
- Comprehensive technical services
- Participation in product management/roadmap planning
- Extensive lead generation programs
- Co-marketing and co-selling opportunities
It's worth noting that SDN membership is split into Select and Premium membership. Some benefits, such as joint roadmap planning, are Premium only features. Premium SDN membership brings a closer, one on one relationship with NetSuite. There's an annual fee for both memberships - $3000 for Select, and $10000 for Premier.
It's worth noting that Premium membership is on an invite only basis. From this point onwards, we'll focus on the benefits of Select membership.
Once verified, SDN members can expect a pretty hands-on partnership. You'll receive a direct-line to the SDN team, who will be on-hand to help you if you're lacking any of the resources you need to develop your application.
You're also afforded the opportunity to attend NetSuite events and network with professionals. One example of this is SuiteWorld, which is NetSuite's flagship yearly event, which is definitely worth attending.
One SDN partner alleges to have quadrupled their earnings from rubbing shoulders with NetSuite professionals at SuiteWorld. This year it's being held in Las Vegas - check out out NetSuite Event Guide for more information on that.
You can request more information about Select membership if you're considering joining soon, but if you're looking for more tips and tricks on how to get verified, carry on reading!
Getting SDN Verified
According to a video on the SuiteCloud YouTube channel, NetSuite receive around 100 applications a month for SDN membership. The three main qualities they look for when qualifying who should receive membership are:
- Are they domain experts?
- How well do they know the space?
- Do they have joint customers already in place?
These are the main things that can make you stand out from the crowd in the eyes of people approving SDN membership. These are the words of Raghu Gnanasekaran, who at the time was the Senior Director of Alliances at SDN.
But this video was released in 2017, and the general buzz around socials now suggest it's harder than ever to become an SDN member.
So what's the issue?
Let's talk about the so-called 'infinite loop.' The idea is that to become listed, you at first need to have already written a product that works for NetSuite. To write that product initially, you need to have an account to be able to work with NetSuite. And if you're a developer who wants to write for NetSuite but doesn't have an account and isn't a partner...you're basically out of luck.
You can see how this can be a problem for people outside the ecosystem, and it's certainly not easy to solve. If you're determined to get that coveted membership, we have some tips for both people currently part of the ecosystem.
Top Tips to get SDN Membership
- As Raghu's Top 3 suggests, being an expert in your field will ensure you stand out from the crowd. SDN aren't just looking for any old developers - they want people who are going to add real value. When applying, put the most emphasis on your unique experience.
- As another of Raghu's tips suggests, having customers who already want to use your application using NetSuite is a huge plus. Drum up some excitement among your customer base - their voice will give more credit to your application.
- If you're applying just to have a membership, don't bother. The product you're trying to enhance will speak even louder than your personal expertise. But obviously, if you're an external developer trying to join the ecosystem, you'll have to get a foot in the door first.
- Whether you're a customer, partner, or are an external developer, attending NetSuite events are the perfect way to network with current SDN members. SuiteWorld is the biggest and most important of these. It can be expensive to attend, but is incredibly valuable experience. You're likely to meet people who can help you in your journey to join the SDN.
- If SuiteWorld is too expensive for you, look for local NetSuite community meet-ups. The value of having connections who are part of the ecosystem is huge. If you're an external developer, this could be your way in. You can meet people who you can work with to develop an app, giving you that firsthand NetSuite experience.
- If your company is looking to get an SDN membership and you have customers who are also keen on you integrating directly, you could use their account for testing and development. This is one way of getting round the 'infinite loop' for external developers.
Overall, it's by no-means a walk in the park to get SDN verified. First-hand NetSuite experience is vital, and not just anyone is accepted. Make sure that your application will get both the SDN and your joint customers excited. But if you get it right, SDN membership can be very lucrative for your business.
Best of luck getting your applications in for the SDN! In the meantime, stay tuned to the Shiptheory blog over the next few weeks for more NetSuite content.