Boldly Pioneering the Cloud ERP Space: A Reflection on NetSuite’s SuiteWorld16 Conference

Boldly Pioneering the Cloud ERP Space: A Reflection on NetSuite’s SuiteWorld16 Conference

This year’s NetSuite’s SuiteWorld cloud ERP conference (held in San Jose, CA) attracted over 8,000 attendees comprised of NetSuite employees, partners, and customers. The largest cloud ERP conference in the world provided an opportunity to network, learn more about the NetSuite platform, and hear from NetSuite executives about key investments that are being made to enhance and extend its core system capabilities.

For those not aware, NetSuite is the first Software-as-a-Service, cloud-based ERP platform, formed as a company in 1998 when the “cloud” was an ambiguous concept sneered at by business and technology experts alike. Now, major ERP vendors are investing heavily in the cloud and it has become THE industry standard that businesses are demanding. NetSuite has over 30,000 customers spanning all SIC industry codes, so that means that any business CAN run on the NetSuite platform. NetSuite is focused on helping both small business act big and big businesses act small, meaning that their platform is an affordable starting point for newer, start-up organizations that can also scale to support multi-entity, global operations with thousands of employees, customers, and vendors.

This year’s theme was “Make Bold Happen”, which NetSuite, and its more than 30,000 customers, exemplify through their creative use of NetSuite to tackle their unique business challenges. We are eagerly anticipating the release of some bold new functionality and existing feature enhancements.

Please note (as we were repeatedly reminded before each session) that these features are still in development and may change direction before their general release.

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  • SuiteBilling – NetSuite is planning to revamp its order management functionality to be able to support orders and invoices for any type of order its customers sell, including item, subscription, contract, and usage-based billing. Businesses are no longer selling only items, services, or subscriptions, but instead are selling all three individually or in varying combinations, so this update should be well received.
  • Advanced Revenue Management – This SuiteBilling functionality will supplement Advanced Revenue Management (ARM), which was rolled out in the latest release. ARM enables users to easily manage complex, multi-element revenue recognition rules and processes and will be capable of supporting the upcoming revenue recognition standard changes coming in 2018 with ASC 606 / IFRS 15.
  • Advanced Manufacturing & Warehouse Management System (WMS) – With NetSuite’s acquisition and integration of IQity earlier this year and eBizNet in 2014, NetSuite can now provide an end to end manufacturing and warehouse management solution ranging from production planning/execution and quality management to mobile and RF device integration and task interleaving.
  • OneWorld16 & Multi-Book Enhancements – The OneWorld (global business management) and multiple accounting book sessions were the most widely attended sessions (besides the keynote speeches, one of which included NetSuite’s CTO and Co-Founder Evan Goldberg banging on a paint spewing drum). OneWorld16 will build upon existing functionality that allows customers to manage multiple international entities, automate intercompany processes, and have “one source of truth” for global business data. Multi-book is a relatively new functionality that allows customers to operate multiple, parallel accounting books to comply with differing statutory or tax reporting requirements. It is rumored that multi-book will be offered to all customers in an upcoming release to help prepare for the changes related to ASC 606 / IFRS 15.
  • Next Generation SuiteAnalytics – While we may have to wait a bit longer for the release of this functionality, NetSuite’s reporting capabilities are undergoing a massive overhaul. Upcoming enhancements should include PivotTable like reports, drag and drop report building, multi-level data joins, real-time report previews, and the ability to use SQL code to create reports.
  • SuiteSuccess – This new “rapid implementation” methodology aims to go live on a new instance of NetSuite within 100 days. While this sounds extremely aggressive (hint – it is!), NetSuite is confident it can achieve this tight timeline by heavily leveraging out-of-the box, pre-configured system setup (based on industry best practices) and pre-built KPI’s, dashboards, and reports.  While this will not be an ideal solution for all new NetSuite customers, this revolutionary approach will be an interesting area to monitor as it has the potential to disrupt the existing ERP software space and further enhance NetSuite’s market position.

If you are considering replacing your existing ERP platform, wish to hear more about NetSuite or other cloud-based systems, or need assistance conducting a thorough software selection project, please reach out to one of the members of West Monroe’s NetSuite ERP team: Alex Persha (apersha@westmonroepartners.com), Christiana Lim (clim@westmonroepartners.com), or Ryan Fish (rfish@westmonroepartners.com)

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