It's a SuiteWorld
Some of the largest public software companies in the world hold yearly, very impressive events for current and prospective customers, partners, analysts and press.
The shows are meant to educate attendees about the capabilities of their solutions, as well as provide presentations on case studies, recent updates and more. Not to mention, entertain. When done right, attendees leave not only with an understanding of how to deploy the software better, but also with confidence to renew their contracts, become/stay a partner or provide good reviews/press.
This past week, NetSuite – a cloud-based software suite that includes business accounting, enterprise resource planning (ERP), CRM and e-commerce software – held its annual SuiteWorld in San Jose, Calif.
Aside from tables of candy, flying trapeze and plenty of buzzwords (albeit most executives were hesitant to use them), NetSuite introduced a variety of product updates:
New NetSuite User Interface (UI) for Applications
Based on “flat design” paradigms, which emphasizes crispness and clarity, the new UI leverages HTML5, provides an improved tablet experience and responsive dashboards. Starting in June, the new UI will be rolled out slowly to minimize disruption. For the same reason, NetSuite will provide webinars and seminars and allow users to choose between the new and old systems. (Screenshot below.)
“Since the day I founded NetSuite I have spent much of my time tackling one of the thorniest challenges in building complex mission-critical business applications -- making them not only easy-to-use, but also enjoyable,” said Founder and CTO Evan Goldberg. “Our new UI was not only designed with customers in mind, in some ways it was actually designed by customers. The result is an experience that really sets the standard for modern business applications.”
New B2B Customer Center
In addition to its new UI dashboard, NetSuite introduced its new out-of-the-box B2B Customer Center, which supports data like invoices, credit memos and other complexities of running a B2B business. It’s a single system built on NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce platform to manage CRM and all operational aspects.
“B2B ecommerce is a catalyst for growth that enables companies to reach new customers and markets while improving efficiency across the value chain,” said Andy Lloyd, general manager of commerce products for NetSuite. “The B2B Customer Center sweetens the deal for sellers and buyers alike with capabilities to streamline the B2B commerce experience and move more business to the faster and more productive online channel.”
Here is an example of the front-facing B2B customer center:
New Services Resource Planning (SRP) Solution
NetSuite also introduced its new SRP that helps enable project- and product-based businesses to run their entire business life cycle—from project management, resource management, time-and-expense management, to project accounting—all in one software solution. (Screenshot below.)
SuiteWorld was certainly designed to impress with plenty of news and attractions to keep everyone educated and entertained, but what stood out to this editor was that NetSuite still – despite its growth and large clientele – has a spot for small businesses. In a way, they are re-invigorating that sector with its focus on industry groups. They are becoming specialists in being able to serve industry groups, from small to very large, fairly easy. For example, a small business owner who sells wine online to distributors and the public or has a non-profit would fit easily into NetSuite’s software suite and would serve as a viable option to either get started or replace disparate systems (as would their enterprise counterparts), because retail and non-profits are two of NetSuite's focuses (as are manufacturing, wholesale distribution, software, manufacturing, government, etc.), but a local skateboarding shop may not be the best fit. While NetSuite’s architecture is very digestible, they are definitely focused on certain verticals.
Under the NetSuite umbrella, however, is LightCMS which addresses the needs of, for example, that skateboard shop or a local optometrist (whose site is pictured below) with its easy-to-use website, online store builder (for both real and digital goods) and cloud-based content management system.
As for what’s next for NetSuite, it will be interesting to see. Certainly its Q4 2013 ending cash balance of $452,000,000 can dictate more updates and, from a pure speculation standpoint, perhaps some acquisitions too.