NetSuite targets midsize firms with hosted ERP update

2007.0 version of the NetSuite hosted system is released

NetSuite has unveiled upgrades to its online ERP offering that promise to ease installation, broaden support for business processes and let executives view financial data in multiple currencies.

The new 2007.0 version of the NetSuite hosted system is aimed mostly at midsized companies looking for easy-to-use ERP technology, NetSuite said. Larger rivals SAP and Microsoft also unveiled packaged ERP systems recently that target midsize firms.

The new version of the software adds wizards called NetSuite Assistants, which can guide users in the setup of their applications and business processes, said Mini Peris, vice president of product management at NetSuite.

The wizards can also be used as a guide for activating specific features, which would allow companies to gradually roll out a project, she said. For example, a company could first roll out certain accounting or CRM functions and then add more capabilities as users become ready for them, she said.

Large businesses can use the wizards to install complex configurations that could, for example, help a distributor create a matrix to manage complex clothing lines that include items that come in multiple sizes, colors and styles, Peris said.

The new NetSuite version also adds new global CRM and partner relationship management capabilities to simplify sales operations for multinational companies, said Peris. For instance, orders, forecasts and quotas can be managed at a local level, with the calculations done using that region's currency. The result can be sent on to executives for perusal in the currency of their choice, she added.

Peris said new performance scorecard capabilities boost the hosted system's reporting and analysis abilities. For example, the scorecard can be used to measure the overall performance of a company or product line versus business goals, she said.

NetSuite is steadily evolving its offerings to be more usable as it competes with other hosted systems rushing to do the same, noted analyst Rob Bois, an analyst at AMR Research. The NetSuite service is often used to support a line of business and therefore is not funded by IT, Bois noted. Therefore, it is important for the company to make the service as easy to use as possible, he said.

NetSuite 2007.0 is available now for a base price of US$499 per month plus US$99 per user per month. NetSuite is distributed in Australia and New Zealand by NetReturn,

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