NetSuite has released an updated version of its on-demand enterprise software suite based on Ajax rich-client technology.
An Ajax-based user interface in NetSuite Version 11 allows users to perform functions such as reporting, graphing, scheduling, Excel-like list editing and document management.
Changes to reporting include a new graphical user interface, enabling users to preview the report exactly as it will appear when run. The software is designed to allow users to manipulate data columns, grouping levels and formulas within reports. Ajax is also used for schedule management and document management.
NetSuite said it had also simplified file storage and organisation with a new hierarchical tree navigation, and expand/collapse capabilities at any level of the File Cabinet folder organisation. Search results for files are displayed online, allowing quick follow-up access.
NetSuite Version 11 also supports customisation through a scripting language called Suitescript. NetSuite said Suitescript provided an application programming interface either to NetSuite objects or to custom objects added by the user.
Suitescript can be triggered by user events such as new records, and changes to existing records, or can be scheduled to run in batch mode. The company said Suitescript could initiate functions in the NetSuite software, create or modify data in the system, communicate with external data sources or support a multi-step workflow process.
NetSuite has also introduced two mid-market vertical enterprise suites - NetSuite Wholesale/Distribution Edition and NetSuite Services Company Edition.
NetSuite has an installed base of about 75,000 subscribers, according to Gartner. The analyst firm, said that, unlike other companies offering on-demand software, NetSuite provided enterprise resource planning as well as customer resource management systems.
Although it found on-demand applications to be cheaper over five years in terms of total cost of ownership, Gartner said, "It is also important for organisations to be wary of great initial deals for CRM on-demand services.
"Issues could emerge such as a three-year lock-in, uncapped price hikes on renewals and hidden costs for increased numbers of registered users (for example, as in the case for partner relationship management), a reduced number of users which the enterprise is still obligated to pay for under contract, or new, unforeseen premium services."
Tips on choosing a hosted CRM service
- Understand the customer server-sharing model used by the supplier
- Ensure that the provider has redundancy in its infrastructure for performance, including load balancing, failover or both
- Make sure the provider offers data replication to the user company's on-site enterprise data repository and back
- Identify all hardware and software components used by the provider
- The supplier should support real-time integration with systems at the client site
- Be aware of data privacy compliance issues. For example, taking EU customer data offshore to the US and storing it.