NetSuite Dials a New Number
NetSuite today announced the availability of NetSuite 2007.0, the company's latest on-demand CRM suite complete with new functionality and a revised version-numbering system. The enhancements are intended to further NetSuite's goal of providing complete enterprise functionality to SMBs without the attendant expenses and resource drain, according to the company.
The new features of NetSuite 2007.0 center on three main areas: enterprise resource planning (ERP), partner relationship management (PRM), and business intelligence (BI). All have been designed with ease-of-use in mind, to lighten the burden on companies with fewer personnel, and as suite components they require no additional integration with other products.
NetSuite says this is especially true of Easy ERP, which includes NetSuite Assistants for aid in setup, data importation, and administration of ERP tasks. "Until NetSuite 2007.0, ERP systems like SAP generally have been notoriously difficult and cumbersome to use," said Mini Peiris, vice president of product management, in a written statement. "NetSuite Assistants take the complexity out of ERP and remove the need for 'superhuman' administrative knowledge, freeing end-users such as warehouse managers and e-commerce site managers to control their own areas of operations rather than waiting on precious I.T. resources."
Version 2007.0 also introduces Global CRM and PRM, a system for managing complex global sales operations. Orders, forecast management, quotas, and commissions can be managed in local currency and language, and rolled up into regional and global dashboards for a global view of organizational and partner performance. The exchange rates at the time of each transaction are stored for added accuracy in conversion.
SuiteAnalytics, the final major component, integrates prebuilt dashboards and preconfigured key performance indicators with customizable analytics capabilities, including the ability to embed Excel-style formulas into any NetSuite Performance Scorecard or saved-search report. SuiteAnalytics delivers operational dashboards, tactical intelligence, and single-repository data integration with more sophisticated BI platforms like Business Objects and Cognos.
By answering the call by SMBs for greater functionality with less technical overhead, NetSuite is playing to market developments, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS), as well as its own strengths, according to Rob Bois, research director with AMR Research. "There's a general trend, as the appeal of SaaS extends to all sizes of organization, that the needs of clients are diverging," Bois says. "NetSuite is appealing to its traditional customers: SMBs who must rely on business personnel doing what I.T. would normally have to."
Bois predicts that the major SaaS vendors will continue to diverge and specialize, serving their own preferred types of clientele rather than competing for the same ones. "NetSuite has carefully listened to its core demographic, providing apps that can be managed by people in the line of business; meanwhile, Salesforce.com is releasing more I.T.-friendly functions as it goes after the enterprise, and RightNow has its own areas of expertise," Bois says. "I think we'll see less direct competition between these companies as time goes on."
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