I recently had the opportunity to review NetSuite’s ERP offering for a distribution industry client. This was not the first time I had reviewed NetSuite, but each time I see their product the more I am impressed by how quickly they are advancing in the ERP market.
NetSuite is a SaaS ERP vendor (Software as a Service), which means they host the ERP system. You conveniently access your ERP software through a browser and in turn, they charge you a monthly subscription fee. It is what we are now referring to as a “cloud” ERP solution.
NetSuite was founded in 1998, has over 1,000 employees, and is publicly held. The ERP company reported $53 M in sales for the first quarter of 2011, which puts them on a track to exceed $200 M in 2011. If we compare them to a typical ERP vendor that books a front end license fee, NetSuite begins to look more like a $500 M ERP vendor.
NetSuite is using a network of almost 300 partners to sell and install their ERP product. In our review we met with a partner, but NetSuite had one of their pre-sales consultants handling about 50% of the topics. The value of their partner channel is not only sales. The partners are producing add-on’s similar to the Microsoft channel, that produce a significant amount of vertical industry and cross industry application software. In our meeting we reviewed add-on products for advanced warehouse and call center management, with many more also mentioned.
NetSuite aims at the mid size ERP market space. Their strength is in CRM and the applications that make up distribution ERP which includes quoting, order processing, demand planning, purchasing, inventory, warehouse, and accounting. They are not in the manufacturing space since they do not have the necessary manufacturing modules to compete.
ERP Capabilities that Impressed Us
- Role center with dashboards
- Integrated CRM to quoting and estimating
- Integrated demand planning and CRM
- Automatic calculation of minimum and maximum quantities for inventory planning
- Real time general ledger updates
- Drill from a P&L balance all the way to the transactions that made up the balance
- “Multi” capability for company, facility, and language
If you’re consider an ERP selection project, I would recommend putting NetSuite on your long list of vendors if you are a mid size distribution company that has a need for an integrated ERP suite with strong CRM capabilities. This is especially true if you have multi company, facility, or language requirements.
You do need to consider your management’s opinion about SaaS solutions. We still see a lot of doubt in the C-level suite about storing their data in the “cloud”. Nonetheless, about 10,000 customers and close to 1 million users are using this ERP solution which shows SaaS ERP is a true contender.