Nestled among the product announcements from day one of SuiteWorld 2019 is the release of SuiteSuccess in the UK, an intriguing pre-configured ‘lite’ version of the real thing.
Milling around SuiteWorld, NetSuite’s annual confab in Las Vegas, you run into all sorts of interesting characters. One such person is Ted Needleman, a veteran American accounting and tech journalist.
Over breakfast, Needleman explained that the ‘E’ in ERP doesn’t really stand for enterprise in the strict sense of the word. Instead, Needleman defines “an enterprise-type business” as one that “needs capability, not necessarily capacity”.
That’s an important distinction. In a global economy, smaller businesses increasingly tussle with challenges that are beyond a more basic software package: multicurrency, supply chain management, you name it.
But there remains a point of friction: a business might require the capability of a NetSuite-like product, but find the full suite to be more than it needs (and more than it can afford). Not to mention, an ERP implementation is not child’s play.
That’s precisely the role the ‘starter edition’ of Netsuite’s SuiteSuccess solution aims to fill. SuiteSuccess is NetSuite’s pre-configured industry cloud solution. It adapts the software to a specific industry vertical with pre-built workflows, KPIs and dashboards. There are editions for manufacturing, retail and wholesale distributors, among others.
The starter edition of SuiteSuccess isn’t industry specific, though. Instead, it’s focused on capability rather than a capacity requirement, to hark back to Needleman’s observation. The starter edition will offer core ERP functionality to small and rapidly growing companies.
It’s now it’s rolling out to the UK. “We don’t want our customers to start from a blank piece of paper,” said James Chisham, NetSuite’s director of international product for EMEA. SuiteSuccess is really a methodology, Chisham explained.
NetSuite takes knowledge drawn from “thousands of implementations over the years” and essentially packages it up. Then, as the customer’s company grows they can go up what’s called “the stairway” in NetSuite argot. “You might want to do financials first,” Chisham said, “and then add something else in like CRM.”
He also insisted that the starter edition is not a low-rent version of the real deal. “From a financials point of view, the starter edition will contain everything a business needs to run financials as they start, inclusive of things like tax capabilities.
“Part of our view, we are a suite, we are a full ERP. We want to make it consumable. There will be some things that don’t appear at a starter level. But we also allow customers to add things if they need it. We recognise that businesses aren’t homogenous.”
So that customisability is there, but the emphasis is certainly on creating a soft intro to ERP software for startups and scaleups. “We have a big suite and not every customer wants to go on that full ERP journey from day one.
“SuiteWorld is all about growth,” said Chisham. “And we want an ERP that grows with our customers.” Indeed, the show’s slogan is “grow beyond”. The entire event’s symbolism and language has centred smaller, high growth businesses.
The further roll-out of SuiteSuccess (and specifically the starter edition) is further emblematic of this emphasis on the smaller end of the market, edging NetSuite away from parent company Oracle’s big-E enterprise turf.