14 min read

"What is NetSuite?" A Deep Dive into the Ultimate Business Solution

Searching for an all-in-one solution to elevate your business? Dive into the world of NetSuite—a trusted cloud ERP adopted by numerous organizations globally. Discover how NetSuite streamlines operations, provides critical insights, and can be tailored to suit your unique needs.

What Exactly is NetSuite?

NetSuite stands at the forefront of cloud-based business management platforms, helping organizations function more effectively. With a clientele spanning over 36,000 entities worldwide, it offers applications that seamlessly unify your operations. Core functions like finance, accounting, and inventory management are just the beginning. With options to integrate CRM, HR, and professional services automation, NetSuite presents a holistic view of your operations. Thanks to its shared database across all modules, real-time insights are always a click away. Plus, the cloud-based nature ensures reduced overheads for infrastructure and upgrades, enabling you to channel your resources towards business growth.


How Does It Work

NetSuite's prowess lies in its ability to unify various applications with a centralized database. This ensures real-time information flow and robust management of business processes—from finance and accounting to orders and procurement. To cater to diverse business requirements, modules like CRM, HR, professional services automation, and omnichannel commerce can be incorporated. The shared database concept guarantees that real-time data remains at your fingertips. As a cloud-based solution, NetSuite ensures secure, remote access from any internet-connected device. With tailored dashboards and role-defined access, it paves the way for efficient workflows and data-driven decisions.


History of NetSuite

NetSuite, which began its journey as NetLedger, has an illustrious history, charting its path from a startup idea to becoming one of the world's leading cloud-based business management platforms. Founded in 1998 by Evan Goldberg with the backing of tech titan Larry Ellison, the initial vision was to provide web-hosted accounting software, revolutionizing the way businesses approached finance.

With a substantial investment of $125 million from Ellison's Tako Ventures, the company set its sails into the vast sea of the software industry. By 2002, recognizing the need to offer more comprehensive business solutions, NetLedger transformed into NetSuite. This rebranding was more than just a name change; it introduced pivotal applications in inventory management and CRM, setting the stage for its forthcoming achievements.

Zach Nelson's appointment as CEO in 2002 was a defining moment for the company. Under his leadership, NetSuite witnessed exponential growth, carving its niche in the software market. The world took note in 2007 when NetSuite made its stock market debut with a noteworthy IPO, raising over $160 million, marking its arrival on the global stage.

However, NetSuite wasn't just resting on its laurels. It undertook strategic acquisitions to strengthen its platform:

  • 2013: The acquisition of LightCMS bolstered its SuiteCommerce platform.

  • 2014: Buying Venda, a London-based e-commerce solutions provider, extended NetSuite's e-commerce reach.

  • 2015: NetSuite made headlines with its purchase of Bronto Software for around $200 million, enhancing its CRM and e-commerce prowess.

  • 2016: The acquisition of IQity's cloud business equipped NetSuite to cater to both discrete and batch process manufacturers, diversifying its offering.

Perhaps the most pivotal moment in NetSuite's journey was in 2016 when global tech giant Oracle announced its intention to acquire NetSuite for a whopping $9.3 billion. This acquisition by Oracle, one of the leading companies in enterprise software, was a testament to NetSuite's success and the value it brought to the table. Under Oracle's umbrella, NetSuite has further expanded its global footprint, enhancing its capabilities and serving an even broader range of customers.

From its modest beginnings to its esteemed stature today, NetSuite's journey underscores the power of vision, innovation, and strategic growth.


Unpacking the 5 Core Features of NetSuite

Let’s talk about the core features of NetSuite. With NetSuite, you get a unified view of your business, allowing you to manage all your operations from one platform. Native integrations, true cloud capabilities, deep reporting, and built-in flexibility are just a few of the features that make NetSuite a powerful tool for running your business efficiently.


Unified View of Business

Unlock a comprehensive view of your business with NetSuite, empowering you to effortlessly manage all your operations from a single, user-friendly platform. With NetSuite, gain access to real-time information and powerful analytics, equipping you with the insights you need to make informed and strategic decisions. Bid farewell to the complexities of maintaining costly infrastructure and upgrading systems, as NetSuite offers an innovative cloud-based solution. This means scalability is at your fingertips, enabling you to seamlessly add new functionality as your business expands, without the worry of resource limitations. NetSuite boasts dedicated modules for essential business functions such as finance, operations, customers, employees, and business intelligence. Moreover, SuiteApps, payroll automation, HR management, professional services automation, and analytics capabilities are all within reach. Personalize your platform with ease using the SuiteCloud platform, and enjoy secure access from any device through a web browser. No matter the size of your business or the range of roles within your organization, NetSuite is designed to support and optimize your operations.

Native Integrations

Harnessing the power of native integrations, NetSuite establishes seamless communication between its various modules, making business processes more fluid. While third-party integrations often require API calls or middleware, NetSuite's native integrations ensure there’s no lag or data loss. Think of these integrations as the bridges connecting islands of information. For businesses, this translates to better inter-departmental collaboration, faster response times, and elevated customer experiences. The beauty of these native integrations is that they evolve with the platform, ensuring compatibility and performance enhancement with every update.

True Cloud

Beyond the buzzword, 'True Cloud' encapsulates the genuine benefits of cloud computing. NetSuite’s architecture is built on a genuine cloud framework, ensuring you’re not just accessing a repackaged on-premises solution online. With NetSuite, there's no need for in-house servers or intensive IT management. The platform scales seamlessly, supporting business growth without the complexities of traditional systems. Disaster recovery, cybersecurity, and automatic updates are handled effortlessly in the background. This "set and forget" mentality empowers businesses to refocus resources on strategic planning and execution.

Deep Reporting Capabilities

In today's fast-paced digital economy, staying reactive is no longer enough. NetSuite's deep reporting tools push businesses into proactive terrains. Leveraging these tools, managers can forecast trends, pinpoint inefficiencies, and strategize future campaigns with granular precision. And with intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces, even non-technical users can deep-dive into datasets, extracting actionable insights. From sales funnel metrics to intricate financial audits, NetSuite's reporting is all-encompassing, facilitating a culture of continuous improvement.

Built-in Flexibility

In the digital age, rigidity is the enemy of progress. NetSuite embodies adaptability at its core. As businesses evolve—entering new markets, launching products, or pivoting strategies—NetSuite's modular structure adapts concurrently. Need a new module for e-commerce or international currency conversion? Simply plug it in. The platform's flexibility also extends to user interfaces, allowing businesses to customize dashboards to individual roles. This ensures that each team member, from the sales representative to the CFO, receives data tailored to their unique responsibilities.


NetSuite's Product Offerings

Understanding the myriad of solutions that NetSuite offers can provide significant advantages for key decision-makers in an organization. To facilitate this, let's delve deeper into the offerings of NetSuite tailored specifically for roles like CFOs, CEOs, and IT Directors, among others.

Finance: Financial Automation at Your Fingertips

Modern CFOs and Controllers demand real-time, accurate financial data to steer the company’s direction. NetSuite's finance module excels in this arena. It automates intricate tasks like updating the general ledger, ensuring accuracy, and real-time visibility. By tracking accounts receivable and payable, it provides a panoramic view of cash flows, enabling informed financial decisions. This efficiency translates to more time for strategic planning and ensures a robust financial backbone for your organization.

Operations: Seamless Integration Across Your Operational Needs

Operational efficiency is the key to profitability and growth. NetSuite addresses the multifaceted needs of operations, offering solutions for inventory management, order management, procurement, warehouse optimization, and manufacturing. For Directors of Operations and CIOs, the centralization of these functions means real-time visibility, streamlined processes, and significant cost savings. With everything under one umbrella, it becomes easier to pinpoint bottlenecks, optimize workflows, and ensure a smooth supply chain.

Customers: Cultivating Stronger Customer Relationships

In today's competitive landscape, CEOs and Marketing Directors understand the value of a loyal customer base. NetSuite’s suite is tailored to bolster customer relationships. Its CRM tool provides an organized structure for tracking and nurturing customer interactions. The omnichannel commerce offering ensures a seamless shopping experience, irrespective of the medium your customer chooses. And with marketing automation tools, you can strategize and execute data-driven campaigns, elevating customer engagement to new heights.

Employees: Empower Your Team with Tailored Tools

A company's workforce is its most valuable asset. Recognizing this, NetSuite offers solutions that empower employees and streamline HR operations. The unified user interface ensures ease of access and usability, crucial for IT Directors aiming for a smooth tech adoption curve. Role-based dashboards facilitate personalized access to information, ensuring employees are equipped with tools tailored to their roles. The deep reporting capabilities enable HR leaders and managers to gauge employee performance, trends, and other critical metrics, fostering a conducive environment for growth and productivity.


Tailoring NetSuite to Your Business Needs

As businesses evolve, so do their requirements. NetSuite is designed with adaptability in mind, ensuring that your software tools progress in tandem with your business. Here’s a breakdown of how you can mold NetSuite to perfectly match your operational needs:

  1. Personalized User Interface:

    • Overview: In an era where user experience is paramount, NetSuite allows businesses to redesign the user dashboard according to the roles and responsibilities of individual users.
    • Benefit: A curated dashboard ensures that users have quick access to the tools and data they need, reducing search time and increasing productivity. The adaptability of the interface means that as tasks and roles change, the dashboard can be reconfigured, ensuring continued efficiency.
  2. Custom Fields and Forms:

    • Overview: NetSuite acknowledges that businesses have unique data capture requirements. To cater to this, users can design specific fields or forms that cater to their specific data storage needs.
    • Benefit: This flexibility means businesses aren't forced into a one-size-fits-all mold. Instead, they can maintain their unique operational data attributes, ensuring accuracy and relevance in data capture.
  3. Automated Workflows:

    • Overview: Automation is the buzzword of modern business operations. NetSuite’s workflow feature permits the automation of a sequence of tasks – from simple actions like notifications to intricate, multistep operational procedures.
    • Benefit: Through automation, businesses can achieve operational consistency, reduce human error, and save valuable time. Plus, these automated processes can be tweaked as operational requirements change, ensuring longevity.
  4. Custom Reports & Dashboards:

    • Overview: In the information age, having data isn't enough – it's about having relevant, actionable data. NetSuite’s reporting tools allow businesses to create bespoke reports focusing on their unique metrics of interest.
    • Benefit: Custom reports offer businesses a clearer picture of their performance. Instead of sifting through irrelevant data, decision-makers can focus on metrics that matter, leading to more informed decisions.
  5. Advanced Customization with SuiteCloud:

    • Overview: For businesses looking for deep customization, NetSuite offers the SuiteCloud platform. This toolset allows the development of unique applications, and seamless integrations with third-party tools.
    • Benefit: SuiteCloud ensures that businesses aren't constrained by the native functionalities of NetSuite. They can extend the software's capabilities, integrating other systems and ensuring that data flow across platforms is smooth and consistent.

By harnessing these customization features, businesses can ensure that NetSuite isn't just a software tool they use, but an integrated part of their operational framework, supporting and enhancing their business model.


What Type of Businesses Use NetSuite

1. Manufacturing and Distribution Companies
Manufacturers and distributors are engulfed in numerous operational stages – from raw material sourcing to the shipping of finalized products. NetSuite provides them the means to meticulously oversee each phase of the product journey, ensuring efficient work order processes, punctual production scheduling, instantaneous inventory transparency, and optimized order-to-cash cycles.

2. Retail and E-commerce Businesses
Retail enterprises, always on their toes with ever-evolving market inclinations and consumer expectations, trust in NetSuite for its integrated functionalities. This includes unified Point-of-Sale (POS) systems, consolidated sales data from various channels, inventory oversight across different outlets, and smooth e-commerce tools for digital transactions.

3. Professional Services Firms
Professional service entities necessitate a holistic system to handle their vast client portfolios, projects, and associated logistics. With NetSuite, they experience enhanced project tracking, comprehensive time and expense management, efficient resource distribution, and precise client invoicing.

4. Nonprofit Organizations
Ensuring operational clarity and effective donor management is paramount for nonprofit institutions. NetSuite equips them with transparent financial tools, proficient donor outreach and management techniques, and specialized budgeting apparatus.

5. Wholesale and Distribution Companies
With intricate supply chains, wholesalers thrive when their operations are centralized. NetSuite offers them an integrated platform, simplifying order processing, offering real-time inventory insights, fostering vendor partnerships, and ensuring cost-effective procurement strategies.

Companies running NetSuite

A myriad of globally recognized companies vouch for NetSuite's capabilities. Brands such as GoPro, Land O’Lakes, Billabong, Docusign, and Lucky Brand, spanning diverse sectors from tech manufacturing to apparel, and software solutions, accentuate the platform's versatility. Their triumphant narratives emphasize the transformative prospects NetSuite offers to businesses in search of a cohesive, cloud-oriented solution to catalyze their ascent.

NetSuite's Extensibility and Customization Features

In the ever-evolving business landscape, flexibility in operational systems is paramount. NetSuite's cloud-centric ERP platform stands as a testament to this adaptability. Designed for nimbleness, its architecture allows businesses to seamlessly expand functionalities, keeping pace with shifting operational demands. The flexibility of NetSuite's cloud model empowers businesses to swiftly adapt and overcome challenges. Beyond its dynamic capabilities, the cost-effectiveness of NetSuite's cloud framework allows organizations to scale without the burden of hefty capital investments in physical infrastructure.

1. Cloud-Based ERP Framework: NetSuite's cloud-centric ERP platform is designed for flexibility. Its architecture promotes seamless expansion of functionalities, enabling businesses to adapt swiftly to changing operational demands.

  • Agility: The cloud model facilitates rapid modifications, allowing for timely responses to evolving business challenges.
  • Cost-Effective: Without the need for physical infrastructure, businesses can scale functionalities without significant capital investment.

2. SuiteCloud: The Core of Customization: SuiteCloud, as NetSuite's primary customization tool, offers a trio of capabilities:

  • SuiteBuilder: This visual customization tool allows organizations to rearrange and redesign the NetSuite interface, ensuring it aligns with their workflow and aesthetic preferences.
  • SuiteScript: Going beyond the visual, SuiteScript grants businesses the power to script specific functionalities, fine-tuning processes for enhanced performance.
  • SuiteFlow: A tool that's indispensable for businesses desiring to automate multi-step processes, SuiteFlow ensures operations are consistent and devoid of manual intervention.

3. Comprehensive Customization Options:
Customization in NetSuite is exhaustive, and through SuiteCloud, organizations can achieve the following:

  • Custom Fields: Cater to unique data requirements by adding fields tailored to specific business needs.
  • Custom Forms: Design forms that align with specific processes, ensuring data input is structured and organized.
  • Custom Records: Store data in a manner that resonates with the business's operational strategy.
  • Roles Customization: Define user roles and permissions to safeguard data and streamline access.

4. Workflow Automation:
Beyond traditional task automation, NetSuite offers:

  • Tailored Workflows: Design workflows specific to your business operations, from lead generation to order fulfillment.
  • Notification Systems: Keep relevant personnel informed at all times, ensuring rapid and informed responses.
  • Action Sequences: Define actions within a workflow, ensuring consistency and eliminating human error.

5. Development Capabilities:
The adaptability of NetSuite extends to its development functionalities:

  • JavaScript Application Scripting: This feature offers a robust development environment, where businesses can make intricate adjustments to data management and UI.
  • API Integration: Connect NetSuite seamlessly with external platforms and tools, ensuring cohesive operations.

6. Integration Features:
Integration in NetSuite is more than just data exchange:

  • SuiteTalk Web Services: A robust tool that allows for the efficient integration of third-party platforms, from CRM systems to e-commerce platforms.
  • Data Consistency: With proper integrations, data remains consistent across platforms, eliminating discrepancies and ensuring reliability.

7. Application Distribution Functionality:
Efficiently deploying customizations is vital, and NetSuite offers:

  • Standardized Deployments: Ensure that customizations are uniformly distributed across the organization.
  • Rapid Implementation: Swift deployment means businesses can quickly benefit from their tailored solutions.

NetSuite's platform is more than just an ERP solution; it's a flexible ecosystem. Through SuiteCloud, and a multitude of customization and integration features, businesses can mold NetSuite to meet their unique operational nuances, ensuring a cohesive, efficient, and tailored business system.


Understanding NetSuite's Costs: A Breakdown

When considering NetSuite as your preferred ERP solution, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of the associated costs. NetSuite's expenses can be divided into two main categories: licensing and implementation. 

1. NetSuite Licensing Cost:

NetSuite offers different editions for their packages, most NetSuite packages start around $1,200 per month.

Modular Pricing: NetSuite operates on a modular setup, allowing businesses to choose specific modules that are tailored to their needs. Whether you require tools for finance, operations, customer relations, employee management, or business intelligence, you will be billed based on your module selections. This modular pricing ensures that you only pay for the functionalities that are relevant to your business, avoiding unnecessary costs.

Annual License Fee: NetSuite follows an annual subscription-based pricing model. The fee grants you access to the NetSuite platform and its wide range of features. The cost of the annual license fee is influenced by factors such as the number of users and the modules you have chosen. This pricing structure provides flexibility for businesses of all sizes and allows for scalability as your business grows.

For a precise estimate that matches your organization's needs, it is highly recommended to collaborate with a NetSuite consulting firm such as Kimberlite partners. Their expertise will assist you in comprehending the potential cost of NetSuite for your business.

2. NetSuite Implementation Cost:

Size and Complexity: The cost of implementing NetSuite can vary based on the size and complexity of your business. Larger enterprises with multifaceted requirements may find the implementation costlier compared to smaller entities with more straightforward needs. The implementation cost is influenced by factors such as the number of users, the scope of the implementation, and the level of customization required. Most NetSuite implementations will cost between $25,000 up to $150,000.

Module Selection: Similar to licensing, the choice of modules plays a significant role in the implementation cost. Configuring multiple modules or specific industry-centric solutions may increase the overall price. However, it's important to note that these additional modules can provide substantial value and enhance the efficiency of your business processes.

Consultation and Services: Implementation goes beyond software deployment. You may require additional services such as training, data migration, or integration with other systems. Engaging with a NetSuite consultant will help you determine these additional costs and ensure a successful implementation process.

After the successful implementation of NetSuite, businesses often choose to have post-implementation support to cater to any queries, resolve issues, and optimize the system according to their specific requirements. This ongoing support ensures that businesses can fully leverage the capabilities of NetSuite and continuously improve their operational efficiency.

In summary, while NetSuite's costs are influenced by various factors, the investment is often justified by the significant value it delivers in terms of operational efficiency and business insights. Engaging with NetSuite experts will help you derive a cost structure that aligns with your organizational objectives and budgetary constraints, ensuring that you make the most of NetSuite's capabilities.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What Are the Benefits of Using NetSuite ERP Software?

Answer: NetSuite ERP software offers numerous advantages. These include improved operational efficiency through automation, comprehensive visibility into business performance, streamlined collaboration across departments, and the ability to adapt and grow with your business needs. Its cloud-based nature also helps reduce IT infrastructure costs and ensures users get consistent software updates and enhancements. It's versatile and caters to various industries such as manufacturing, retail, professional services, nonprofit, and wholesale.

Question 2: Which Industries Can Benefit From Using NetSuite ERP Software?

Answer: NetSuite is adept at serving multiple sectors, including manufacturing, retail, professional services, nonprofit, and wholesale/distribution. The software aids in enhancing operational efficiency, providing deep insights into business metrics, and fostering cross-department collaboration. Its cloud architecture means businesses can curtail IT costs and be privy to frequent software upgrades.

Question 3: How Does NetSuite Compare to Traditional ERP Systems?

Answer: NetSuite stands distinct from traditional ERP systems in multiple facets:

  • Deployment: NetSuite operates in the cloud, allowing for access from anywhere and automatic updates, unlike traditional ERPs which might require on-premises infrastructure.
  • Customization and Scalability: NetSuite’s design supports straightforward customization and easily scales with the growth of a business.
  • Real-time Data and Insights: NetSuite offers instantaneous data analytics, giving businesses actionable insights in real-time.
  • Modules and Integration: NetSuite provides varied modules for different business requisites and integrates smoothly with third-party solutions.
  • User Experience: NetSuite's interface is user-centric and intuitive, aiming to minimize the learning curve.
  • Cost: Operating on a subscription basis, NetSuite can be more economical over time.
  • Industry-Specific Solutions: It offers solutions specifically tailored for unique industry needs.

Question 4: Can NetSuite Be Integrated With Other Business Systems and Applications?

Answer: Yes, NetSuite offers robust integration capabilities. It can seamlessly connect with a variety of business systems, from CRMs to HR platforms and e-commerce solutions. This integration aids in streamlining business processes and maintaining data uniformity across platforms.

Question 5: How Secure is NetSuite's Cloud-based ERP System?

Answer: Data security is paramount for NetSuite. The platform employs stringent encryption methods, routine audits, and multi-factor authentication to ensure the protection and integrity of data. Its cloud infrastructure is fortified with cutting-edge security protocols, ensuring business data remains safeguarded.

Question 6: How Long Does It Typically Take to Implement NetSuite?

Answer: While the implementation timeline for NetSuite varies based on specific business complexities and needs, its cloud-centric nature and intuitive design often mean a swifter transition than traditional ERP systems.

Question 7: What Training and Support Options Are Available for NetSuite Users?

Answer: NetSuite extends a broad spectrum of training and support avenues. These encompass webinars, practical training sessions, user guides, and a dedicated support crew for addressing technical issues, ensuring users can harness the platform’s full potential.

Question 8: How Frequently Does NetSuite Release Updates, and How Are They Managed?

Answer: NetSuite typically rolls out updates biannually. These updates aim to be non-disruptive and are communicated to businesses well in advance, often accompanied by detailed documentation highlighting new features or modifications.

Question 9: Can Businesses Migrate Their Existing Data to NetSuite Conveniently?

Answer: Absolutely, NetSuite is equipped to support data migration from many pre-existing systems. With its potent data import functionalities and extensive support resources, businesses can transition their data to NetSuite with relative ease.

Question 10: Does NetSuite Offer Mobile Accessibility?

Answer: Indeed, NetSuite facilitates mobile accessibility, ensuring users can tap into vital business data and functions on-the-go, catering especially to businesses with dispersed or frequently traveling teams.

Question 11: How Does NetSuite Handle Multi-currency and Multi-language Operations?

Answer: NetSuite is conceived to cater to global operations. It is endowed with multi-currency and multi-language capacities, ensuring businesses can function without hitches across varied geographies and cater to a diverse client base.

In conclusion, if you're ready to elevate your business to new heights, NetSuite is the powerful boost you need. With its comprehensive range of applications and customizable features, NetSuite will streamline your operations, provide valuable insights, and fuel your growth. It's like having a well-oiled machine that seamlessly integrates every aspect of your business. Don't miss the chance to join the global community of organizations that have already reaped the benefits of NetSuite. Start your journey towards success today and soar to new horizons.

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