We had the opportunity to attend NetSuite's user conference SuiteWorld, held from April 23rd till 26th 2018 in Las Vegas at the Sands Convention Center. Attendance with over 7k attendees, and a better partner / exhibitor mix than in 2017 shows that NetSuite is doing well under the Oracle leadership (my first take on the acquisition is here).
Prefer to watch – here is my event video … (if the video doesn't' show up – check here)
Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn't show up, check here):
Want to read on? Here you go:
NetSuite leverages Oracle. Not surprisingly, NetSuite uses Oracle on all levels possible. Starting from go to Market, branding, events, sales force, support, the platform, localization ability etc. That comes as no surprise as the stand-alone NetSuite never made a push from a global perspective… the attempt to go to English speaking countries shows the often seen, but wrong approach for Globalization, as the countries are not there where the largest opportunities are … see more below. Good to see the platform leverage – NetSuite using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) in Germany soon, NetSuite using 12c pluggable database capabilities and even mentioning to look at Oracle Graal – are all good proof points that the Oracle technology and platform is in good shape to power NetSuite (and other SaaS vendors, if they dare).
NetSuite unveils the Intelligent Suite. The key announcement was Goldberg unveiling the Intelligent Suite in his keynote. NetSuite has been behind in regards of AI / Machine Learning / Assistants (notably different) – so it is good to see the initiative. Who does not want their ERP software get more intelligent? But the announcement was light on details, also because the Oracle AI story is not complete (and of course NetSuite uses Oracle for this). What the benchmark customers and prospects must ask themselves is – where would the Intelligent Suite be today – had e.g. Google acquired NetSuite. That is relevant as a scenario – as the NetSuite competition can partner e.g. with Google for AI and Machine Learning… so NetSuite is off to a good, overdue start, but needs to show tangible benefits soon. The four scenarios selected are a solid start, but need more work and quick expansion… and lastly an ERP conference with no virtual assistant (with a name) and a conversational demonstration is not really up to speed with the technological capabilities that are available, and customers demand from their ERP vendors in 2018,
Globalization is the Focus. Good to see NetSuite moving faster on the topic, which has been a sore spot for customers and a missed opportunity for the vendor. NetSuite is committing to Brazil, China, Germany, India, Italy and Japan -all large economies, with a need for a ERP Suite that runs in the cloud. The good news for NetSuite and prospects is, that it is not too late, but local competition and alternatives are growing quicker and quicker… so speed and urgency is off the essence, and NetSuite management showed that at SuiteWorld. Enterprises in the target / priority countries should take a thorough look at the offering, even all the Oracle backing, making a North America centric product a global product is not trivial. Also, time for NetSuite to unveil the next set of countries as well, customers need to know more than the first step of the Globalization journey.
|Goldberg with the investment|
Continued SuitePeople Momentum. One year ago – NetSuite unveiled SuitePeople, its inhouse, organically built HCM Suite. At SuiteWorld NetSuite shows some progress, especially on the customer traction side. Oracle owning NetSuite – contrary to some (not mine) expectations – has not hurt NetSuite HCM prospects. Leveraging the pretty successful Taleo SMB suite as a Recruiting tool makes sense for NetSuite, as long as the integration is handled well. In demos (the keynote) it was one common user experience, something that is the new gold standard for integrating products (REST, declarative UX components render in a UX familiar to the user), so that's a good start. For the observer though, it's another pivot, away from organically building, to leveraging a partner (now owner), Oracle. At some other time, we must see how good the Taleo Recruiting capabilities stand up towards 2018 best practices… but for a NetSuite customer, which is suite minded, some Recruiting that is good enough, is better than no Recruiting. The irony is – NetSuite was there 2013 already, when it announced a HCM partnership with … Oracle. It did not make much sense back then to use the Oracle large enterprise HCM for the NetSuite SMB customer base – but it plugged a whole at the time. Overall NetSuite needs to understand that it has to stop pivoting in HCM (this is the 6h! Before 2013, then Oracle HCM, then many startups, then TribeHR, then partnership with Ultimate, then SuitePeople, now SuitePeople and a shot of Taleo) – and build capabilities for a key enterprise function as their customer base is moving into the contractor, contingent workforce and gig economy.
Rumors of NetSuite's demise under Oracle ownership (there were plenty) – have been largely debunked and proven as completely falseby now. To the contrary, NetSuite now has the capital and know how to take the product global, something were customers were already (190+ operating countries setup in NetSuite overall) – but the vendor was not helping them much. Good to see the focus. Equally good (and no surprise) the focus on Oracle Technology. Knowing Larry Ellison, I am sure he is enjoying having two application suites in the Oracle fold that can uptake new Oracle technology – the Cloud Suite and NetSuite. Ellison is a master at getting the competitive spirits going – all good news as long as the technology works, and the quality of the SaaS apps remains right.
On the concern side, NetSuite may not be moving fast enough yet. It needs to move to 30, then 50 supported countries fast, to e.g. counter and lead vis a vis other large ERP vendors SMB products (starts with an S…). And while I always like when vendors go back and fix something (the Commerce offering), it does not make sense for NetSuite to play in the space, while e.g. not having a full HCM Suite, no clear CRM strategy , some holes in SCM and so on. So, NetSuite not only needs to move fast, but also smart, which the vendor is doing on most aspects, but needs to do more. For instance, NetSuite needs to announce the next 10 or better 20 target countries for its Globalization / Localization plans, so customers can plan their roll outs accordingly.
But overall a good event for NetSuite (and Oracle), the North American customer base is energized, partners are present and investing, so it's execution time for NetSuite – to become more global, more complete as a Suite and leverage the Oracle technology. Stay tuned.
Want to learn more? Checkout the Twitter Moment below (if it doesn't show up – check here).And here is a Twitter Moment for the Day #1 Keynote and here for the analyst meeting.