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NetSuite CRM & ERP Software Review

NetSuite was founded in 1998 and was the first serious provider of both on-demand CRM and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business applications. The company has subsequently become the market share leader for enterprise-wide hosted business systems.

NetSuite's majority share holder is Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and NetSuite was originally seeded by Oracle staff leaving Oracle for NetSuite, which has given NetSuite the nick name "Little Oracle". The staff, company culture and take no prisoners business drive between the two companies is not surprisingly quite comparable.

NetSuite became a publicly traded company in December 2007. The public offering raised about $161 million and earned the company a billion dollar market cap. However, since that time the stock has taken a roller coaster ride over the years. According to NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson, “NetSuite wants to be the SAP of the mid-market". While NetSuite will never truly compete with SAP's flagship ERP product, the Little Oracle company does compete well with NetSuite's software as a service (SaaS) product, Business ByDesign.

NetSuite's 10+ year high growth achievement has not been without growing pains. Product stability is questioned by many, the company has possibly incurred the highest customer turnover in the hosted CRM market and the on-demand software delivery has incurred repeated system downtime - which is especially troublesome as the company has little to no backup for its services.

Taking a lesson from its CRM rival Salesforce.com, NetSuite entered the Platform as a Service (PaaS) with its release of NS-BOS, the NetSuite Business Operating System, a development platform and environment targeted at ISVs (independent software vendors) with vertical market domain knowledge and industry expertise. Whether this new release is a knee jerk reaction to Salesforce.com's Force or whether it is a strategic growth strategy remains unclear.

NetSuite's advantages include its fully integrated front office and back office CRM and ERP application suite, an integrated e-commerce storefront add-on and a strong and growing corporate brand. NetSuite, which was previously named NetLedger, began with only hosted accounting and finance software and over time added distribution, human resources and payroll, manufacturing and CRM software. It's therefore not surprising than many IT buyers find NetSuite's ERP application stronger than its CRM software. NetSuite's disadvantages include a difficult to understand user interface, unusual and unintuitive screen to screen navigation and a portfolio of up-charges and add-on products that can make your head spin.

NetSuite competitors are generally divided among CRM software systems and ERP software systems. The company usually shows reservation when deciding whether to compete in CRM-only sale opportunities. In fact, the company will generally not pursue CRM-only sale opportunities, particularly when competing with Salesforce.com.

For sale opportunities looking for both hosted CRM and hosted ERP, the company may run into either Intacct or FinancialForce. Both Intacct and FinancialForce have no CRM system and partner with Salesforce.com.