Wednesday, 06 May 2015 07:11

NetSuite and Microsoft announce cloud alliance Featured

By Graeme Philipson

Long time ERP rivals NetSuite and Microsoft have announced a long-term product alliance under which NetSuite’s cloud based financial and business applications will be more closely integrated with Microsoft’s Office 365 personal productivity tools.

The deal was announced at NetSuite’s annual SuiteWorld conference at the San Jose Convention Center in Silicon Valley. “The cloud makes for strange bedfellows,” said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson. “Nearly three quarters of NetSuite’s products are now used with other partner products. Microsoft has been a competitor with its Great Plains and Dynamics ERP systems, but things are changing.”

The two companies will still compete on one level, but have jointly announced a partnership under which NetSuite will make greater use of Microsoft’s Azure cloud, Office software and new e-commerce products.

Nelson played a short video clip from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella endorsing the partnership. “When Nadella came in I could see a change,: said Nelson. “We use Microsoft Office and Azure, and so do many of our customers.

“Tighter integration means reduced security risk and more powerful capabilities. This will help our customers thrive in a mobile first and cloud first world. NetSuite will have access to best and brightest at Microsoft to bring productivity and business suites together. This is just the beginning.”

The first aspect of the partnership is integration between NetSuite and Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory that enables single sign on (SSO). The companies said that in “coming months” they will start cloud-to-cloud integration between NetSuite and Office 365.

It will “provide seamless access to both technologies from within a single interface and improving productivity and collaboration across a variety of roles, from financials to shipping, marketing, ecommerce, business analytics, retail store associates and more.”

Nelson said that by the end of this year NetSuite will migrate from Amazon Web Services and on-premise deployments to leverage Azure as its preferred cloud infrastructure platform.

This year’s SuiteWorld conference brings together over 8000 NetSuite customers, resellers and software partners. Rapper Snoop Dog was the first act on the theatre-in-the-round stage at SuiteWorld, unloading a burst of hip-hop-poetry on the audience.

The theme of the conference, said Nelson, was disruption and how to manage it. “It’s the end of the beginning. The cloud has won. We are all cloud companies now.”
NetSuite’s web-based ERP software has 24,000 customers globally. Nelson showed data from analyst group Gartner which put NetSuite as the fastest growing ERP vendor worldwide, growing by nearly 50% last year.

“None others of top 20 vendors are cloud based,” said Nelson. He reserved special scorn for SAP, his biggest rival. “SAP believes we are an existential threat. They are trying to do cloud. They will get it eventually.”

NetSuite was founded in 1998 with backing from Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who remains its largest shareholder. It went public in 2007 and now has annual revenues of US$560 million.

In other news, Australian sportswear supplier Billabong International has selected NetSuite’s new SuiteCommerce software to implement a new worldwide omnichannel platform.

SuiteCommerce will be progressively rolled out across Billabong’s global operations to provide integration across its wholesale, retail and ecommerce operations. It will not replace Billabong’s six existing ERP systems, which it inherited through acquisitions.

Graeme Philipson is attending SuiteWorld as a guest of NetSuite.


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