We’ve covered NetSuite substentially @ CloudAve – to the point that I’ve run into trouble with my title: I already used NetSuite vs SAP … Round #n. A Game Changer? so what should I call this one? NetSuitevs SAP Round #n+1?
All right, let’s get serious: NetSuite launched a Manufacturing Edition today. Dennis Howlett has the details (worth a read), for now I am just reflecting on a few points as they related to our bigger themes here.
We’ve had our bit of fun on the marketing war NetSuite continues against SAP. Ben thinks NetSuite has to become a lot more aggressive with their marketing. Paul Greenberg has been a long time critic of NetSuite’s sniping at SAP. I’m in between: there’s nothing wrong with edgy, even aggressive marketing, especially when the incumbent offers up the opportunity on a silver plate, like SAP has been doing for years now.
But I’ve also said it was one thing to tease a laggard competitor with no real offering, and another to face reality when there is a strong product out there – in that respect I do think SAP’s Business ByDesign will finally be a game changer:
NetSuite will have to adopt to competing with a real product vs. a phantom. It will be a healthy change, with customers now having a choice of (at least) two well integrated SaaS offerings. In the end, customers win.
Today NetSuite did just that: compete not with fluffy marketing hype, but on the strength of functionality. And in Manufacturing, no less – a traditional stronghold of SAP. How NetSuite achieved this also reinforces another two points I’ve made here repeatedly:
- The power of expandable, flexible Suites
- The role of a thriving Ecosystem
At the recent SuiteCloud conference NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson made a strong case for verticalization, yet immediately added that NetSuite would limit development to the two verticals they know immensely: Services and Software. All other verticals are free game to Development Partners. One of the showcased extensions was Rootstock’s MRP system built on top of NetSuite. Such extensions, built on the SuiteCloude platform all tie into the NetSuite system very closely – not only on the data but also on the UI level – i.e. the additional business functionality becomes available within the NetSuite UI. In other words they run so smoothly, the fact that parts of the system were written by a 3rd party is hardly transparent to the end user – which is just the way it should be.
After Manufacturing as a strategic proof-point we can can certainly expect other verticals added, leveraging ecosystem partners, and raising the bar in the SAP vs. NetSuite competition. Now, that’s a competition I love to see – much rather then fluff slides.