NetSuite SuiteWorld: omni-channel ERP for the Internet of Things

Adrian Bridgwater looks back on NetSuite's recent user conference to put the announcements in context...

NetSuite staged its SuiteWorld conference and exhibition in San Jose this month in what marked the company’s fourth annual hosting of this event. Topping 6,500 attendees in the ‘narrow’ world of cloud ERP inside such a period is a feat that may have some of the firm’s competitors unsettled; and the company’s keynote speakers obviously capitalised on current 41.67 per cent market share growth profitability highlights.

ERP is the hardest application to build. But this is what NetSuite chose to build first.

This event is more relaxed than many similar customer, user, partner, prospect love-ins. No less technical in content or structured in presentation, SuiteWorld benefits from the wider corridors and greater oxygen flow offered by San Jose’s main convention space, so it feels more chilled out. For those that don’t find San Jose (or indeed ERP) too dull, this is a good three days.

ERP as an electrical conduit

NetSuite CEO Zac Nelson justifies his firm’s position in the cloud computing market by saying that “ERP is the hardest application to build." But adds that "this is what NetSuite chose to build first.”

The company positions ERP as the electrical current that run through any connected business. Or perhaps more accurately, ERP is the wires and cables, with the transactions and data representing the live charges and electrons.

Given this focus on the corporate back end, NetSuite spends a lot of time talking down competing product positioning that comes out of SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. While openly making industry jokes at the expense of this trio, the company is more positive about its integration points with both TIBCO and Salesforce. NetSuite’s Nelson thought nothing of posting up images of SAP’s Bill McDermott and Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie before making some well-rehearsed wise cracks.

NetSuite now has the challenge of moving from front to back i.e. communicating the worth of its capabilities for back office systems prowess into something that sounds like it would help a business operate more profitably. The concept used here might be labelled as the five pillars of omni-channel ecommerce, which is not a NetSuite branded term, yet.

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