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April 06, 2009

Cloudy Day for NetSuite,

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

NetSuite has announced a series of partner applications bringing their business application computing cloud together with that of

"SuiteCloud Connect for (News - Alert)" connects the NetSuite and cloud platforms, the idea being to let customers integrate their Customer Relationship Management processes with the on-demand Enterprise Resource Planning and e-commerce functionality of NetSuite (News - Alert).

This move comes about six months after NetSuite launched a marketing capaign to win over clients by offering deep discounts for those who switched over. Now the company has evidently decided that it's better business to get along and play nicely with others.

“With SuiteCloud Connect for,” NetSuite officials say, "businesses can now benefit from integration between and NetSuite," ticking off "an integrated lead-to-cash process, customer visibility for sales, and the elimination of manual processes across business units" such benefits.

Michael Fauscette, group VP, software business solutions at IDC (News - Alert), said in a release that “more of this kind of flexibility and openness is needed to unlock the huge potential of cloud computing." Most observers see the move as more of a shot in the arm for NetSuite than, with relatively few customers currently using on-demand ERP suites of the kind marketed by NetSuite.”

The various integration options provided by SuiteCloud Connect also synchronizes account information and product and pricing data between the two applications, "so that all departments can act upon information the moment it is available," NetSuite officials say, "ensuring timely and consistent operations. Stronger visibility into back-office customer data enables sales teams to address needs that go directly to improving customer satisfaction, including service issues, billing, and order and shipping status."

SuiteCloud includes a number of cloud-based integration applications built for the latest versions of both NetSuite (version 2009 Release 1) and (Spring 09). These applications were built by independent software vendors from NetSuite's SuiteCloud Developer Network, including Celigo, Boomi, Pervasive Software (News - Alert) and Cast Iron Systems.

Chandar Pattabhiram, Cast Iron's vice president of product marketing, said the key to “maximizing the value of this combined solution” is to automate common business processes and provide a common view of data.

Even today, NetSuite officials say, the two firms have many joint customers: “Hundreds of customers use NetSuite's integrated application suite to provide core business process management services like order management, financials and e-commerce, while NetSuite's OpenAir Professional Services Automation suite is a cloud-based professional services application used by customers.”

A couple weeks ago TMC's Michael Dinan reported that "in a nod social networking’s increasingly prominent place in business settings, reportedly is poised to offer a CRM application for Twitter." In recent days that service has, in fact, been offered.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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