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May 7, 2015

5 key announcements from NetSuite SuiteWorld 2015

The Valley's sassy cloud software firm tells us how its year is shaping up.

By Jimmy Nicholls

NetSuite, the cloud software company, is currently winding its SuiteWorld conference to a close in the sunny city of San Jose.

The boisterous – some might even say sassy – software-as-a-service company made headlines over the last year for its public attacks on rivals Microsoft and SAP, as well as its chief executive Zach Nelson’s casual dismissal of Infor.

Yet despite posting net losses of $100m (£66m) for the last year the firm remains convinced that it can capitalise on business’ steady migration to the cloud. At SuiteWorld it laid out its strategy for how it will make this happen.

1. Mobile apps

True to its competitive nature, NetSuite has launched its Android mobile app, around a year after Salesforce unveiled its own product Salesforce 1 to allow businessman to work on the move.

The package will included the three main parts of NetSuite’s platform, covering customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and ecommerce, allowing customers to manage records relating to all of these functions.

Introducing the package, Evan Goldberg, chief technology officer at NetSuite, said: "We believe in empowering companies and their employees so they can fully participate in the mobile revolution.

"Every day, mobile devices, particularly smartphones, are playing a larger role in a growing number of day-to-day business activities."

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2. Data Centres

North America, the home of NetSuite, has long enjoyed the performance advantages associated with hosting the software company’s data centres.

Pressure on Silicon Valley to open similar outlets in Europe has been mounting for some time as European regulations look likely to increase around data residency – the obligation to keep customers’ data inside their native country for security and compliance.

NetSuite has long been considering building a data centre in the Old World, and at SuiteWorld confirmed it would be bringing one such facility to our shores sometime this year. Which country it will be in remains a mystery.

3. Point-of-sales

The failure of point-of-sales software was one of the key tech stories of last year, with such programs linked to the mass hacking of US retailers Target and Home Depot.

At the same time pressure is mounting on retailers to integrate their online and offline experiences, a need software firms are keen to help out with. This in mind, NetSuite has launched its SuiteCommerce InStore, a piece of software with "comprehensive omnichannel capabilities".

Andy Lloyd, General Manager of Commerce Products at NetSuite. "It is very difficult for a retailer to deploy a unified omnichannel commerce system that delivers customer-centric ecommerce and in-store experiences on the timeline and at the price point that they can with SuiteCommerce."

4. Microsoft

Though NetSuite taunted Microsoft for its "antiquated software" last year, Zach Nelson’s view of the firm’s cloud platform Azure is clearly more generous, since the two firms announced a partnership to bring NetSuite’s products to Microsoft’s cloud at SuiteWorld.

The deal signalled a move away from NetSuite’s historic association with Amazon Web Services, though the software company made clear customers could still use AWS for their hosting needs, at least until the end of this year when the migration to Microsoft will begin.

Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, joined Nelson onstage to herald the deal: "[The] strategic cloud partnership connects our Office and Azure platforms to bring together ERP and productivity in the cloud.

"Customers will immediately benefit from reduced security risks and being able to do more with Azure."

5. Customers

Enterprise IT firms love to vaunt their latest customers at their events, particularly if they have been poached from a rival.

NetSuite did not disappoint on this count at SuiteWorld, bragging that they had been able to convince visual analytics firm Qlik to replace Microsoft Dynamics NAV with NetSuite OneWorld, a software suite that includes ERP, CRM and ecommerce, among other things.

Other recent converts to the NetSuite portfolio are financial services firm American Express, the restaurant chain TGI Fridays and Elite Model Management, which will be using OneWorld to manage their finances.

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