First Look: NetLedger NetSuite

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted October 28, 2002
Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

NetLedger announced NetSuite, an online business software solution that is designed to automate front and back office operations for companies with fewer than 500 employees. According to the company, NetSuite adds the advanced accounting, warehousing, CRM, and customization functionality of stand-alone mid-market software applications at a fraction of the cost.

The company says that the software infrastructure utilized by most companies with up to 500 employees does not allow business processes to run seamlessly across front and back office functions. These companies run their business on separate, expensive software packages - one for accounting, one for warehousing, one for sales force management and one for customer support. Additionally, the ongoing cost of running the software and integrating data from such multiple, incompatible systems has been high. NetSuite is designed to eliminate this cost and complexity.

NetSuite may enable companies to manage all key business operations in a single, integrated system, which includes customer relationship management; customer support; accounting and payroll; warehousing and product assembly; Web store and Web presence; and employee productivity. In addition, NetSuite is delivered as an online service, so there should be no hardware to procure, no large, up-front license fee, and no complex set-ups.

NetSuite has also been designed to be easy to use. It provides graphical portal views to the application called "dashboards" that are customizable depending on the user accessing the system. Additionally, users may access it anywhere and anytime, further increasing ROI.

NetSuite layers a common, but customizable, portal user interface over three integrated functional areas - advanced back-office accounting/ERP, advanced CRM, and advanced Web presence - to enable businesses to streamline their business processes. In addition, the suite includes technologies to allow businesses to easily migrate and integrate existing legacy data into NetSuite. And NetSuite allows many levels of customization, from simple form customization to advanced business process customization using JavaScript.

Because NetSuite is several applications rolled into one, it includes customizable "centers," portal views of the application tailored to meet the needs of every type of user in a company. NetSuite includes several preconfigured centers, including Support Center, Sales Center, Accounting Center, etc. The centers are navigated via graphical "dashboards" that provide summary data important to the user and easy navigation and workflow within a center.

NetSuite's Employee Center is designed to provide self-service capabilities for all the employees of a business including expense reporting, purchase request management, and time tracking and billing. Also available from within the Employee Center are integrated calendar and task management functions. Businesses should also be able to publish company information to individuals, teams or to all employees that they can access from their Employee Center.

NetSuite includes all the capability of the company's recently announced NetLedger Advanced Accounting Suite. In detail, features in the Advanced Accounting/ERP capability include:

  • Multi-Currency Transactions and Reporting
  • Multi-Location Inventory
  • Advanced Shipping and Receiving
  • Multi-Company Consolidations
  • Assembly and Package

NetSuite includes the marketing, sales and customer support functionality of NetLedger's recently introduced NetCRM front-office application suite. This Web-based solution is designed to provide complete CRM functionality that includes:

  • Sales Order Management
  • Marketing Automation
  • Customer Support
  • Partner Relationship

NetLedger says that companies may move data from existing legacy systems to NetSuite. NetSuite also provides real-time, server-to-server XML data exchange capabilities to allow the integration of other business applications with NetSuite. It is possible to configure single sign-on authentication to enhance the user experience and allow users to move seamlessly between NetSuite and other applications.

In addition, NetSuite includes a number of technologies to support disconnected use of the application. NetSuite provides synchronization with Outlook, ACT!, Goldmine and Palm OS devices to ensure that offline calendars, tasks and contact lists are up to date.

Pricing and Availability
NetSuite is available late October, with an entry-level price of $4800/year for three users. Each additional user can be added for $50 per month. The company also offers NetSuite Enterprise Edition, a fixed-cost, unlimited user version of the application for $3750 per month.

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