Wednesday, 14 May 2014 03:13

New UI takes centre stage at NetSuite World Featured

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NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson has opened the company’s annual SuiteWorld conference and exhibition in San Jose, California. His theme was ‘re-inventing the user experience’.

In his keynote Nelson highlighted the global nature of the company and its wide range of users. He also emphasised NetSuite’s channel partners, many of who built their own specialised and localised applications on top of NetSuite’s products.

Nelson then spoke of changing business challenges, and the necessity of changing corporate infrastructure with it. "The clean lines are blurring,” said Nelson. “Product companies are becoming service companies, and service companies are becoming product companies. Everybody is on the cloud and everybody has the same challenges.

"New business models require new business systems. The old models don't work anymore"

NetSuite CTO and founder Evan Goldberg then unveiled the new NetSuite user interface. “Since the day I founded NetSuite I have spent much of my time tackling one of the thorniest challenges in building complex mission-critical business applications – making them not only easy-to-use, but also enjoyable,” said Goldberg.

“Our new UI was not only designed with customers in mind, in some ways it was actually designed by customers. The result is an experience that really sets the standard for modern business applications.”

{loadpsoition graeme}

There followed a long demo of the interface – covered in a separate iTNews article.

The Americans do these giant conferences very well – even if Nelson’s keynote started nearly an hour late after a power failure. But the acrobats hanging from ceiling made up for it. There are over 6500 attendees, staying in the hotels dotted around San Jose’s cavernous Convention Center.

Over 200 companies are exhibiting, all part of the growing NetSuite ecosystem. Rapper Aloe Blacc (‘The Man’) and San Francisco funk blues band Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers are performing at the conference gala, and there are dozens of receptions and side events.

The surrounding streets of downtown San Jose are largely deserted – as in most US cities all the retail activity takes place in large suburban shopping malls – but around the convention campus things are hopping.

The place is crawling with users, NetSuite staff, partners, and press and analysts and assorted hangers on. It is late spring and already the skies above Silicon Valley are hot and hazy. Few venture outdoors – everything is accommodated within the conference complex, the lounges, the drink stations, the SuiteStore for branded merchandise (golf balls, pillows, etc.)

It all adds to the feeling of camaraderie, of belonging, which companies try to foster in these get togethers. There are 40 Australian users attending, and a large contingent from NetSuite’s growing Asia Pacific operation, which is based in Sydney.

NetSuite is an interesting company. It was founded in 1998 with backing from Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who remains its largest shareholder. It went public in 2007 and now has revenues which will exceed US$540 million this year.

That is smallish for an ERP company (industry leader SAP is 40 times bigger), but it is big in cloud terms. NetSuite, along with Salesforce.com, has been a true innovator in offering software as a service (SaaS) over the Internet, and as the rest of the industry starts to follow that path its pioneering role is paying dividends.

NetSuite still has a close relationship with Oracle. Its offers its OneWorld SaaS product as a stand alone package but also as part of a two tier combo with Oracle’s financials, which are second only to SAP’s in global usage numbers.

Its other main product is its SuiteCommerce eCommerce package, which was bolstered by its acquisition of POS supplier Retail Anywhere a year ago.

Graeme Philipson is attending SuiteWorld as a guest of NetSuite.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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