LAS VEGAS – As it turns 25, NetSuite is betting big on customers and partners looking to more of its offerings to drive continued growth.
The Oracle subsidiary is celebrating the anniversary at its SuiteWorld conference here this week, with company founder and executive vice president Evan Goldberg looking back at its history from an informal 15-minute phone call between the founders that led to the formation of the company then known as NetLedger, through to its purchase by longtime financial backer Oracle, to today, as it rearchitects itself under Oracle’s cloud infrastructure. And, of course, Goldberg had to point out that NetSuite was cloud before cloud was cool.
“Over the last 25 years, one thing has been constant. We give you access to the latest technologies via the cloud,” Goldberg told attendees, noting that over the years, the nature of that cloud had evolved “from a closet in an apartment to Oracle’s latest cloud infrastructure.”
In a slide highlighting that new infrastructure, Goldberg showed off the global reach of that Oracle cloud, quietly underlining a point made much more formally by company channel chief Craig West. For the first time in its history, NetSuite can now host Canadian companies in-country thanks to Oracle’s Toronto and Montreal data centres.
Over the first decade or more of cloud, data sovereignty concerns, both real and perceived, were limiting the growth of the cloud business in Canada. That has become less of a factor over the last half-decade, and West said it was never a significant concern for NetSuite’s Canadian customers and partners. This statement seems to be borne out by the company’s long history and success in the Canadian market. Rather, West made the point that it shows off the additional capabilities that the Oracle stack is bringing into NetSuite
“The goodness is, as we add AI throughout the suite, the Oracle stack is powering so much of that, and I think the benefits of [the stack] are just coming into focus now,” West said.
SuiteWorld is a technology conference in 2023, so naturally, the subject of artificial intelligence was a key point of the keynote. On a lighter note, Goldberg’s keynote was sometimes interrupted by “EvanGPT” a tongue-in-cheek take on AI that attempted to correct the founder’s grammar and, in traditional NetSuite style, threw some shade at rivals like Salesforce.
But on a more serious note, Goldberg detailed how the company is infusing AI throughout its offerings, with roles from auto-generating campaigns in its email marketing module to surfacing business intelligence in its analytics section. In a press conference after his keynote, Goldberg said that while AI would become a major part of every NetSuite module, the company had decided not to put a brand on it, viewing it as another tool the company brings to the table.
Over its quarter-decade, the suite in NetSuite has expanded dramatically, going from a simple web-based accounting ledger to a series of financials, sales, and marketing modules that saw further expansion at SuiteWorld as the company highlighted new component supporting planning and budgeting, financial close management, analytics, and support for field services companies.
And as its bag of tricks has expanded, so too has the need to land and expand with customers. While NetSuite has long touted the number of new customers it brings aboard in a given fiscal year and rewards partners for bringing in those “new logos,” the company now boasts a base of 37,000-plus companies worldwide that use its offerings. That represents a huge growth opportunity for partners who can sell across those offerings.
West called selling across the company’s product line the most significant untapped opportunity for the company’s partners, noting that partners who were good at it were going so far as developing their own “version” of NetSuite by integrating everything customers in a given “micro-vertical” need in a repeatable solution.
“We have a partner who’s built NetSuite for accounting firms. We have a partner who has built NetSuite for microbreweries, distillers, and wineries. We have NetSuite for solar installers. Right now, it’s the kind of thing we can’t get enough of because there’s so much promise in that motion,” West said.
On the main stage, Goldberg highlighted the growth success of customers diversifying their NetSuite implementations, noting that customers using its planning and budgeting and account reconciliation modules are growing three times faster than those not.
Goldberg also announced a new, more flexible licensing model that the company hopes will expand the number of users of NetSuite within a customer’s organization. It will allow customers to pay on a per-user per-module basis for the first time. This license will be first introduced in its warehouse management module, allowing customers to pay for its warehouse staff to access their required functionality without paying for the core financials or other NetSuite modules.
Goldberg said warehouse management would be “the first of many modules” to be brought under this kind of licensing soon, hinting at a new user interface borrowing from Oracle-wide design language “coming soon.”