by Anirban Ghoshal

NetSuite updates ERP suite with new automation, analytics capabilities

News Analysis
Nov 01, 2021
ERP Systems

Oracle's NetSuite unit has released a set of new features to reduce manual processes and provide accurate and timely data to help enterprises in the decision-making process.

Credit: NetSuite

NetSuite is updating its suite of ERP applications with analytics and automation capabilities designed to reduce manual processes and provide accurate and timely data to optimize the decision-making process for enterprises.

The new products and expanded services include NetSuite Analytics Warehouse, designed to provide faster business insights; SuiteBanking, which helps customers automate key financial processes; and Advanced Customer Support Playbooks.

NetSuite, which is owned by Oracle, introduced the new products and features at its annual SuiteWorld event last week. The analytics and automation capabilities are geared toward optimizing commerce, HR, financial, project management and supply chain capabilities within its suite of products.

NetSuite targets fast-growing companies in the midmarket, typically comprising enterprises  with between $1 million and $200 million in revenue. “Oracle NetSuite is making key investments into areas that are desired by most enterprise customers in their target segment,” said Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst of market research firm Constellation Research.

Analytics and automation for faster decision-making

To better support enterprises in the decision-making process, NetSuite announced its first prebuilt data warehouse and analytics solution for its customers, the NetSuite Analytics Warehouse. It is built on Oracle Analytics Cloud and Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse and can help enterprises identify patterns and generate insights from NetSuite and third-party data.

It automatically connects to a customer’s NetSuite environment, allowing for scheduled transfer of data. The warehouse also enables customers to extract, transform, and load data from multiple sources, from spreadsheets to unstructured data, without the need for coding. It also comes with prebuilt metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators).

The new analytics warehouse is a logical and smart move as all the transactional data in the suite now has a place for discovery, Wang said. “Enterprises want to ask important business questions across functional fiefdoms and the move to an analytical warehouse makes it easier for customers to ask the business questions and get to the right answers,” he said.

In order to help companies increase productivity, the company has released new 360 Dashboards that allow enterprises to keep track of their data and daily processes. The dashboards are designed to allow users to gain insights into their business, and also to enhance automation, collaboration and streamline day-to-day tasks around critical business functions like inventory, customer, project, and cash flow management, in a single window.

In addition, the company launched a new customer support service, called Advanced Customer Support Playbooks, which are based on NetSuite’s study of data and processes from thousands of implementations. “The playbooks will help customers address operational challenges, such as revenue recognition, project profitability or supply chain management, and cross-functional processes like quote to cash,” said Craig Sullivan, group vice president, product management at NetSuite. The playbooks can help with areas such as geographic expansion, IPO preparation or merger and acquisition activity, according to Sullivan.

The playbooks are a response to customer success management trends in the market and suited for SMBs, according to Constellation’s Wang. “The playbooks take best practices and democratize them to the mid-market, which often doesn’t have easy access to and implement of industry best practices,” Wang said.

Integration into enterprise workflow

As part of the latest update, Oracle NetSuite has released features that directly integrate into the workflow process for various functional departments in an organization. These include SuiteBanking, which helps enterprises automate critical financial processes and provides insights into data such as cash flow.

“By bringing together automated accounts payable and accounts receivable processes, SuiteBanking makes it fast and easy to pay bills, send invoices and get paid, all from within NetSuite,” Sullivan said. 

SuiteBanking may have come at a good time as enterprises are looking for ways to simplify product integrations into their systems, according to Wang. “Banking integrations are hard to execute. While this isn’t a first mover advantage in ERP, for the mid-market this is a game changer,” Wang said.  

NetSuite claims this is the first unified suite that embeds fintech into cloud ERP. SuiteBanking enables customers to improve accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliation, spend management, international payments and access to working capital.

“Typically, the ERP systems automate all financial processes and stop short of providing a seamless integration to downstream payment systems to close the loop,” said Sharath Srinivasamurthy, research director at market research firm IDC. “The payments are either managed by a different system or handled manually and the information is fed back to the ERP system. This is not only inefficient, but also unproductive and may be prone to errors.”

NetSuite also announced an update into its SuiteCommerce platform designed to help enterprises refine their B2B and B2C online retail capabilities. It includes an intelligent product recommendation engine to enable organizations to personalize offers for their visitors.

The company has also updated its SuitePeople platform to automate 401(K) calculations — it has a new onboarding portal that provides a single place to review, update, and complete all related onboarding tasks in NetSuite. These simple automations save time helping enterprises generate more productivity out of  employees, according to Constellation’s Wang.

NetSuite has also updated its supply chain suite to include automations that allow enterprises control the entire supply chain process based on analytics. The new automated suite reads data such as gross profit, stock levels, factory and lead times, before suggesting decisions to optimize inventory allocation, production and other facets of businesses. This, according to Sullivan, helps manage the productivity of  organizations.

Some of the other updates include a new online payment system capability, a new invoice presentation, and new SuiteAnalytics workbook APIs for developers, for better project management. According to Sullivan, the workbook APIs enable programmatic access to a wide range of workbook capabilities to help developers create powerful business intelligence applications for NetSuite.