NetSuite’s big new idea is SuiteBilling

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Cloud software vendor NetSuite Inc. revealed a slew of new products and updates, including a new billing offering along with a new version of its OneWorld platform, during the SuiteWorld 2016 conference.

“In 1998… we didn’t really set out to build a financial management system,” NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson said. “The big idea behind NetSuite was to build a system to run a business.”

To that end, Nelson introduced NetSuite’s newest addition to that system: SuiteBilling, which he called the industry’s first and only cloud solution that synchronizes the sales process from start to finish within a single system.

Incorporated into the company’s core enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, SuiteBilling is designed to allow businesses to choose how they track their transaction information: product-based, time- and services-based, usage- and subscription-based, or any combination of the three, Nelson said, unifying billing and revenue recognition processes in all three cases while giving business owners complete control.

Later, president and COO Jim McGeever announced a new service that will be of particular interest to retailers: intelligent order management, which companies can use to keep track of their inventory across multiple locations, ensuring that whenever an order is placed the company can ship it wherever it’s needed for the lowest cost.

To illustrate the new service’s value, McGeever told the SuiteWorld audience about his misadventures trying to buy some Christmas lights for his house last year – red and white, so he could wrap them around his trees in a candy cane pattern.

After ordering the lights from a retailer and arranging to pick them up, McGeever drove 15 minutes from his house to the store – only to discover the white lights he’d ordered weren’t in stock. They had been purchased after he called to make sure the store was carrying them, but before he actually arrived.

Twenty minutes later, McGeever left with a set of lights other than the ones he’d ordered and a personal vow to never set foot in the store again.

“Why did that happen?” McGeever asked. “It happened because the transactions didn’t speak to each other… and my experience was not unique.”

As a case study, McGeever welcomed European shipping and warehouse firm Maclaren’s head of global technology, Jim Ramsay, to the stage, where he explained how Maclaren has used NetSuite’s intelligent order management feature to consolidate its inventory into one supply list, streamlining its shipping operations.

“If a customer in Germany wants to order 500 pieces of product and it’s not in the German inventory, he can pull it from the France or the U.K. inventory and still get it to that customer,” Ramsay explained. “It’s going to make a difference in our sales.”

Most importantly, it eliminates the factor that ultimately had the greatest effect on McGeever’s experience: luck.

“You shouldn’t have luck be a key strategy for making sure your customers get what they want,” McGeever said. “In my experience in the store it was luck whether I got it or not – someone happened to walk in and take it off the shelf before I got there in the 15 minutes it took me to drive.”

Another key release announced today was OneWorld 16, an enhancement for NetSuite’s existing OneWorld platform that is designed, in founder and CTO Evan Goldberg’s words, to provide global enterprises with the agility and flexibility of a startup while meeting their complex worldwide needs.

Building on OneWorld enhancements that NetSuite announced in December 2015, OneWorld 16 includes support for global financial information; governance, risk and compliance (GRC) features and enhanced financial reporting. All of which NetSuite executives said will help global companies increase efficiency, streamline their financial reporting, and adapt business processes to both local and global financial standards, Goldberg said.

Presently the program includes country-specific localizations, including tax calculations and reporting requirements, for more than 100 countries, 20 different languages, exactly 190 currencies, and more than 120 payment methods, allowing NetSuite customers to manage transactions in more than 200 countries and dependent territories across the world.

The new OneWorld 16 also includes two new financial components, SuitePayments and SuiteTax: the former allows payment partners to enable credit card payments, manage complex alternative payments, offer fraud solutions and conduct EMV card-present solutions globally over a single cloud-based interface, while the latter centralizes all tax functions within NetSuite modules, eliminating the need for tax partners to create page-by-page extensions within NetSuite to calculate taxes.

“For a company that was initially largely targeted at mid-market companies, this growth, this globalization of OneWorld, has been incredibly impressive,” McGeever said. “However, it’s not enough.”

Other products and improvements announced during the keynotes included an updated version of the company’s SuiteScript programming language, which Goldberg said were the features that users had requested the most: unified search and reporting, and updated suite analytics in the core NetSuite platform.

“We’ve given you a lot to work with, [and] you guys have done incredible things in the past,” he said. “I want to see what you do in the future.”

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former IT World Canada associate editor turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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