If you are still managing your business on a patchwork of different systems, it is probably slowing you down and driving you crazy. To make matters worse, generative AI has gone from promise to reality this year, but that reality is only possible if you have your arms around all your data, which is very difficult at the best of times and even harder if you have to rely on lots of different systems.
One alternative is Oracle NetSuite, a cloud-based software suite targeted at small to medium-sized businesses. I caught up with the Evan Goldberg and the NetSuite team before their biggest event of the year, SuiteWorld 2023. My goal, as always, is to sift through the all the noise that accompanies big events and highlight the key announcements and insights that make a difference
Generative AI-Powered Capabilities Across The Entire Suite
NetSuite is an example of an acquisition that went very well. Trust me, they all don’t go well, especially in software. The numbers speak for themselves since it was acquired by Oracle, but it’s also interesting to look at how it has been leveraging Oracle technologies.
At SuiteWorld, we learned how NetSuite has been taking advantage of the new the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) generative AI service to embed generative AI services across its suite.
For example, the new NetSuite Text Enhance feature has been applied across finance, accounting, HR, supply chain and operations, sales and marketing and customer support functions to help NetSuite customers automate content generation and ultimately increase productivity.
The NetSuite team shared lots of examples of how this will work in practice, which is so important given all the hype. In finance and accounting, they explained that NetSuite Text Enhance can shorten time-consuming writing tasks such as personalized collection letters and narratives for financial reports. In supply chain and operations teams, it can help generate product descriptions, procurement orders, request letters, emails to chase delayed purchase orders, and customer updates on delivery schedules. In HR, it can help writing job descriptions and requisitions or drafting goals and performance evaluations. And the list went on with examples for sales and marketing as well as customer support.
Improving The Speed And Accuracy Of Financial Processes
In another example of its collaboration with Oracle, NetSuite has drawn upon Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Performance Management, which aims to help organizations analyze, understand, and plan strategically.
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Using Oracle Fusion Cloud EPM as a foundation, the NetSuite team has created NetSuite Enterprise Performance Management. NetSuite EPM brings together planning, budgeting, forecasting, account reconciliation, financial close and reporting processes for small and mid-sized organizations.
This means the planning and budgeting process, which is traditionally often labor-intensive, is now automated. New predictive algorithms in NetSuite Planning and Budgeting continually monitor and analyze plans, forecasts and variances to uncover and highlight trends, anomalies and correlations. NetSuite Account Reconciliation, launched earlier this year, is also part of NetSuite EPM and is used to automate the reconciliation process.
Narrative reporting, which is the non-financial information included in financial reports, can now be aligned with financial statements and data in a single report. Finance teams can also use NetSuite EPM to collaborate so they can define, author, review and publish management and regulatory information. NetSuite EPM includes Profitability and Cost Management, which highlights which customers, products and business segments perform profitably. Finally, NetSuite Tax Management will help customers automate workflows and centralize all tax-related tasks in a single dashboard.
It Is Still All About The Data
An essential benefit of NetSuite is that customers have all their data in one place and a single version of the truth.
New enhancements to the NetSuite Analytics Warehouse include the addition of links to frequently-used visualizations that will help customers track key metrics and drill into charts without the need to toggle between applications.
NetSuite has also added new data pipeline settings, providing greater flexibility to schedule data refreshes, and a new financial analysis function to identify areas for P&L improvement.
Helping Users Get Started
Many customers struggle to understand how much software they need to support their business.
NetSuite is trying to solve this problem by providing a service called NetSuite Advanced Customer Support, which engages a professional who understands both the customer business and NetSuite’s offerings to connect the dots. ACS is all about ensuring that customers can utilize as much of NetSuite as possible to maximize the impact within the organization.
As I mentioned above, NetSuite has been on a roll since it was acquired in 2016 by Oracle.
In this latest round of announcements, which like everything else in 2023 was dominated by AI, I see collaboration with the “mother ship” really starting to pay dividends. This linkage back to Oracle is a big advantage for NetSuite and plays out in many ways as we have seen from the news at SuiteWorld. One of the most significant though is that NetSuite gets access to OCI, which should give it a performance and cost advantage.
Regular readers will know I am a big proponent of suite software and believe it is far superior approach to acquiring point solutions, which put the onus – and cost – on businesses to stitch it all together. This isn’t always immediately clear, but over time, history shows that integration costs and time outweigh the benefits of so called “best-of-breed” solutions.
The overall theme of SuiteWorld 2023 is “suite up” and the NetSuite team spent a lot of time explaining how their customers achieve more value as they adopt more of the suite. It’s self-serving for sure, but also has the benefit of being very true.
The message from Goldberg is simple: NetSuite enables more efficiency and growth with less complexity. Whether your focus is top-line growth, bottom-line efficiencies or both, the value proposition is compelling and distinct from many other vendors in the market.