On-demand hosted customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor NetSuite Inc. is rolling out expanded e-commerce support capabilities as part of the latest release of its flagship software-as-a-service platform.
The San Mateo, Calif.-based company plays in an increasingly competitive on-demand CRM space, with competition from fellow mid-market companies like Salesforce.com and pressure from larger companies like SAP AG entering the space.
Sean Rollings, senior director of marketing with NetSuite, said since SAP is trying to adapt to the on-demand world with a legacy platform designed for larger enterprises it is still more complex, expensive and difficult to change than NetSuite’s offering.
It’s been nearly a year since NetSuite’s last major update, and after getting feedback from customers, with its newest release Rollings said the company has focused on enhancing its e-commerce capabilities. Some of the new features include multi-channel, multi-store, multi-currency and multi-language support and automated “Amazon.com-like” up-sell and cross-sell capabilities that Rollings said will let users manage both their business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) operations without developing complex custom applications.
In the past, Rollings said, limitations in traditional software forced most mid-sized companies to build e-commerce capabilities from scratch that could only address the needs of either B2B or B2C sites. He added older applications like Microsoft Great Plains and Sage, designed before the pervasiveness of the Internet, are difficult to adopt to e-commerce. On the flip side, he said, newer applications from vendors like Venda and Dreamware that are designed specifically for building e-commerce sites often become isolated, bolt-on systems difficult to integrate into a core business process application.
It’s that integration of e-commerce with CRM and ERP that gives NetSuite a competitive advantage, said Rollings.
One of NetSuite’s major Canadian clients is online job site Workopolis, a NetSuite customer for the past year and a half. Workopolis President Patrick Sullivan said his company migrated from traditional CRM vendor Siebel to the on-demand NetSuite to better support its increasingly dispersed field sales team.
“We also wanted to make life a little bit easier for our IT department,” said Sullivan. As an application service provider itself, he added Workopolis didn’t need selling on the software-as-a-service delivery model. Another selling point was NetSuite’s easy integration with Microsoft Outlook, something Sullivan said some of the other vendor systems they considered couldn’t satisfy.
Probably the biggest hurdle, said Sullivan, was the migration of historical data from the Siebel system into NetSuite, something Workopolis worked with NetSuite to accomplish, including an initial cleansing of the data.
With the NetSuite CRM tool, Sullivan said Workopolis has been able to get lead list information out to its sales team more quickly and efficiently so they can go out and make the sale, and the sales team has responded well to the new system.
“We wanted it to be so easy that it was a gift,” said Sullivan.
He added it has also provided greater insight for his management team, helping them see what the sales team is up to and what may be in the sales pipeline. “That helps us see where we may need to help (the sales team) along,” said Sullivan.