NetSuite Reveals Integrated E-Commerce Solutions To Partners At SuiteWorld 2015

NetSuite on Tuesday shared its plans and its vision for expanding its line of interconnected cloud business products, especially those that power e-commerce solutions.

At the SuiteWorld conference in San Jose, Calif., CEO Zach Nelson discussed new e-commerce, content management and online marketing capabilities, as well as the San Mateo, Calif.-based ERP vendor's first partnership with sometime-rival Microsoft.

The strength of those solutions -- especially the e-commerce backbone that is increasingly powering business-to-business transactions -- is in the deep integrations with NetSuite's other back-office products, such as its ERP system, financial management tools and customer relationship management, Nelson told customers and partners.

[Related: NetSuite Kicks Off 2015 SuiteWorld Conference As CRM, ERP Wars Heat Up]

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But before talking about the new products and partnerships, Nelson started his keynote by proclaiming: "The debate about the cloud is over."

Describing NetSuite as "the first cloud company," he told partners that software vendors who don't believe in the cloud will soon be out of business.

"Historically, we haven't found a way to find common ground with Microsoft," Nelson then told attendees. But when Satya Nadella took over as CEO of the world's largest software company, Nelson said, "I could see there was going to be a sea change."

NetSuite execs connected with Nadella, and the two software companies began searching out common ground, Nelson said.

The partnership they struck is driving development of connectors between NetSuite's ERP and the Office 365 and Azure platforms.

That will yield tighter integrations with email, calendaring and many other Office 365 services, and will also reduce security vulnerabilities and add threat protections, Nadella said in a video message to SuiteWorld attendees.

While NetSuite already uses Azure internally for its development and test environments, the emerging alliance with Microsoft, which will continue expanding over the coming year, will make Azure NetSuite's "preferred" Infrastructure-as-a-Service partner.

Nelson told attendees "the next disruption coming to every industry and across industry is the omni-disruption." Businesses are looking to develop diverse channels to reach their customers, and NetSuite is focused on enabling that new paradigm, he said.

To that end, he revealed a point-of-sale solution that links the physical and electronic retail components.

The SuiteCommerce InStore aims to deliver in-store experiences that are similar to those that consumers have online, Nelson said.

"It is by definition a unified experience," the CEO said, describing the new product as "your website in store."

Steve Jones, CEO of Explore Consulting, a solution provider based in Bellevue, Wash., told CRN the product has already created new opportunities for his business.

InStore is helping the company, going on 13 years as a NetSuite partner, do "what historically has been a little daunting as a VAR," Jones said.

"We've never been able to touch retail," he told CRN.

Two years ago, Explore committed to building out an e-commerce practice, focusing on developing its expertise in design, development and digital marketing, Jones told CRN.

"We knew when we moved upstream we'd have to have some of those core competencies," Jones said.

With its deep knowledge of the NetSuite back end, and a new digital agency certification, Explore quickly won a unique retail client.

Without going into great detail, Nelson also mentioned the NetSuite Content Experience Manager, a new stand-alone system for e-commerce developers building websites and front-end systems. The product integrates technology obtained a couple of years ago through acquisition of Element Fusion.

And last week, NetSuite acquired Bronto, a marketing automation system. That technology will be integrated to round out the Software-as-a-Service vendor's omni-channel capabilities, Nelson told SuiteWorld attendees.

Bronto's marketing engine, "laser-focused" on the business-to-consumer markets, will give NetSuite's partners a powerful tool to help their customers engage customers in an ongoing dialogue, Nelson said.

Matt Haller, North America NetSuite practice lead at Capgemini, told CRN the solutions NetSuite is bringing to market are blurring the lines between ERP and e-commerce.

One of NetSuiteā€™s strengths is its ability to provide a seamless integration via its SuiteCommerce solutions to enable the "omni-channel world" that Nelson discussed, Haller said.

Capgemini, which has its North American headquarters in New York, just completed a new equipment and supply ordering system for Domino's using the NetSuite platform. It supports a network of more than 1,000 independent franchises.

"The solutions are starting to gain a foothold in B2B environments, beyond B2C," Haller said.