SAN FRANCISCO (SuiteWorld 2011) — Pushing its large-enterprise strategy, NetSuite this week made a slew of announcements at its first customer conference, SuiteWorld 2011. Among them were independent software vendor (ISV) and channel partnerships, and large customer acquisitions, as well as new products and functionality enhancements.
Nearly 10,000 companies globally are using NetSuite OneWorld, which offers professional services automation, e-commerce, ERP, and CRM in the cloud. But NetSuite wants more customers—and it wants them big.
Following in Salesforce.com's footsteps, NetSuite is pursuing the large-enterprise market. During his opening keynote address, President and CEO Zach Nelson revealed two initiatives—a product offering and a partnership—to expand its large-enterprise client base, which already includes Honeywell, JCPenney, Olympus, Siemens, and others.
First, Nelson unveiled NetSuite Unlimited, a cloud-based ERP business suite for large enterprises. Because the software is in the cloud, large organizations can scale up faster than typical on-premises deployments. And, because the suite offers unlimited modules, users, subsidiaries, third-party SuiteApps, and storage, organizations with more than 1,000 users could save money compared with on-premises solutions, Nelson said. However, those organizations must be prepared to pay more than $1 million per year for such flexibility.
In addition, NetSuite will be partnering with Accenture, which has agreed to resell NetSuite's cloud solutions to large enterprises, Nelson said. The two have already signed up their first joint customer: Qualcomm.
To quell fears about NetSuite's ability to manage the high-volume demands of large enterprises, Nelson, in a separate press and analyst meeting, said, "We have 2.2 million logins per quarter. Show me another [company] that has 2.2 million. You can't find them."
Yet, the move to the large-enterprise market worries some analysts, such as SMB Group partner Laurie McCabe, that NetSuite could lose sight of its SMB roots. But in the analyst meeting, Nelson countered, "We're not abandoning what got us here."
The Back-office Bump
In the keynote, Nelson reiterated the numbers from last month's first-quarter financial report: revenue of $53.4 million, a 21 percent increase from the year-ago figure. He attributed some of the growth to "a tipping point in ERP for the last several quarters."
One company contributing to this tipping point is Groupon, which signed on as a NetSuite customer in Q1 and initiated an aggressive rollout of its cloud-based back-office ERP solution to 26 countries in three months.
Recognizing the increased interest in ERP upgrades and implementations from its clients, RSM McGladrey, a tax and consulting services firm, partnered with NetSuite to resell NetSuite solutions and services to middle-market clients. The solutions provider's Technology Services practice will offer NetSuite ERP, e-commerce, and professional services automation through its 90 U.S. offices. "The cloud was risky 10 years ago, but the security, scalability, stability, and flexible are very acceptable now," said Jon Caforio, national leader of technology services.
RSM McGladrey is not the only channel partner joining NetSuite in the cloud. In fact, 40 percent of new business bookings this year have come through third-party partners, up from 32 percent last year, according to Nelson.
Nelson also introduced SuiteSocial, a SuiteApp that makes all activity on NetSuite social. NetSuite partnered with Yammer to enable activities in a system of record to be socialized and transmitted as an activity stream. "Yammer adds a social layer on top of the customer record to initiate conversations," said David Sachs, founder and CEO of Yammer. "Employees can ask questions, brainstorm ideas, share files, find expertise, and collaborate."
In addition, NetSuite revealed social collaboration partnerships with Google, Mydials, Qontext, InsideView, and Box.net. "Unlike other software companies, NetSuite is not going to lock you in to one particular social solution," said Evan Goldberg, founder, chief technology officer, and chairman at NetSuite.
There are some functionality upgrades, such as the ability to set up approval workflow processes without programming. Plus, NetSuite can print more appealing print-worthy reports. And NetSuite unveiled its SuitePhone at the conference, which enables professionals to connect to the NetSuite application in real time from a smartphone.
As for upgrades to its e-commerce solution, NetSuite revealed how customers can customize a one-page checkout to include shipping address, payment information, and order submission. Also, Goldberg demonstrated NetSuite's Upsell Manager for salespeople, which includes an Amazon.com-like recommendation engine that suggests products based on purchase history. However, the engine doesn't take other important factors into consideration, such as visitor page-view history. Goldberg acknowledged that NetSuite needs more than purchase data to make accurate e-commerce recommendations, adding, "We want partners to provide that level of intelligence."
NetSuite caters to the needs of individual customers through its SuiteCloud, which includes SuiteFlow, SuiteScript, SuiteTalk, SuiteAnalytics, and SuiteBundler. Currently, the company has about 4,000 SuiteCloud developers and 1,000 applications.
In addition to Yammer, NetSuite's latest ISV partners leveraging the SuiteCloud development platform to create SuiteApps include Citrix Systems, Concur, and Callidus Software. Nelson said the company is taking the SuiteCloud applications to the "Fortune 5 million," which he described as "the engine that drives 50 percent of the economy."