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"NetSuite is the industry's first and only online business application
that supports your entire company—from customer relationship management (CRM) to enterprise resource planning
(ERP) to Web capabilities."
Source : NetSuite
Overcoming the Barriers of Stand-alone Business Applications
Business Applications is also known as :
Best Business Applications,
Building Business Applications,
Business Application Example,
Business Application Integration,
Business Applications Developer,
Business Applications Development,
Business Applications Manager,
Business Applications Programming,
Business Applications Software,
Business Applications Specialist,
Business Database Applications,
Business Intelligence Applications,
Business License Applications,
Business Management Applications,
Business Objects Applications,
Business Systems Applications,
Business Technology Applications,
Common Business Applications,
Computer Business Applications,
Critical Business Applications,
Developing Business Applications,
Director Business Applications,
Google Business Applications,
Hosted Business Applications.
Small and middle-market companies are the lifeblood of the economy - in all regions of the world. But many of
these companies today feel the need for a transfusion - the operational boost that can move them to a
customer-focused business with the ability to grow even larger. These small and mid-sized businesses (called
SMBs) have many of the same business requirements as large corporations; they may be smaller or employ
fewer people, but they can have equally complex business processes.
Big businesses moved from home-grown legacy systems to a plethora of stand-alone applications (sometimes
referred to in the past as "best of breed"), but by the end of the 1990's these big guys had consolidated on
running the majority of their core business on one integrated platform, such as SAP's R/3, PeopleSoft, or Oracle
applications. These integrated business applications proved invaluable in improved productivity and better
business management, but at the time, they were also expensive, complex, difficult to implement, manage and
support, with protracted deployments (sometimes years) that delayed a recognizable return on investment. For
these reasons, small and mid-sized businesses avoided these large ERP suites like the proverbial plague; at
the time, they were just too risky for a small business to undertake. Despite repeated efforts from the big ERP
vendors to capture the mid-market businesses, the SMBs simply weren't biting.
Unlike the Fortune 1000, today's SMBs are more likely to have a hodge-podge of software products in use in
their business. These applications typically share common characteristics: the financial packages, usually the
first procured, run on a standalone PC, and are the first to cause problems, as they cannot accommodate
growth in transactions, cannot scale to accommodate more users, and have severe database limitations. The
second software package a small business buys is usually tied to the nature of the business itself - an
application suitable to the vertical industry in which the business plays. And these two applications don't "talk" to
each other. Additional applications - inventory or warehouse management, customer relationship management
(CRM), T&E management, HR, etc., may be added - leaving the small business with a disconnected slew of
applications - and what's worse - the problems of manually entering and re-entering data across these
multiple products. The ramifications include lost productivity in work hours spent re-entering data manually and
attempting to consolidate data from the disparate systems; extremely high error rates, as manually entered data
is highly prone to mistakes; lack of visibility to the information necessary to make decisions; and outgrown
applications that cannot scale to allow the business to grow. The SMB is trapped by the limits of the very
technology that was intended to help the company grow and thrive.
And unlike large companies, small and mid-sized businesses face the realities of smaller budgets, fewer IT
resources, and zero tolerance for risk. They cannot withstand the long implementation timeframes or the cost of
the ERP solutions that are the mainstay of large corporations.
The Advantages of the Integrated Suite for SMBs
Addressing the plethora of disconnected applications is the first step a small or mid-sized company can take to
gain better control of its business operations and increase the efficiency of those operations. A single integrated
suite of software - often referred to as an ERP or enterprise resource planning solution - provides significant
advantages to the business, accommodating the breadth of the company's business processes, while providing
the flexibility for even small companies to tailor the suites to meet their specific business needs.
Why do I care if my applications are integrated?
Today's technology solutions for the middle market and smaller businesses have distinct advantages over their
predecessors - both the large ERP products that were installed in very big company and the standalone
applications that were traditionally installed in the SMB. New advances in technology bring mid-sized
companies the benefits of a single business management suite without the cost, complexity, and rigidity of
traditional software applications.
So let's look at these benefits. What does an integrated suite of business applications allow your business to
achieve that a collection of stand-alone applications cannot?
- Functionality. Access to all the core functionality required to run the business over time - at an
affordable price point.
- Scalability. Integrated suite solutions are designed to grow with your company. Stand-alone
applications generally "top out" without transition paths to other solutions, leaving you to start over
from scratch with a new and different application. An integrated suite provided as "Software-as-a-
Service" (i.e., software hosted online) will allow seamless growth. You can add more users, more
modules, increase your database size, and increase your volume of transactions as your business
grows without business disruption.
- Consistent data management. Stand-alone applications - sometimes referred to as "silos" - can't
easily talk to one another. Thus, small and middle-market companies spend a great deal of time
doing the same task reiteratively - entering the same data in different programs. There are some
identifiable problems with this:
It is a waste of time to reenter data over again.
It is very likely to be entered incorrectly.
It may look different in different programs (Why do I have two companies in my vendor
list - one is International Business Machines and one is IBM? Why do I have two versions
of the same customer - Robert Smith and Bob Smith - with the same address?)
Data that results from very different disconnected applications is inconsistent, so attempts
to analyze it yields the proverbial "apples and oranges" - a decision-support fruit salad.
Data isn't readily accessible - data in an integrated system can be accessed without effort
spent trying to tie or consolidate the data together.
Lack of visibility into business information that crosses either departments or standalone
Timely access to information. Because a SaaS system is "real-time" you get the
information you want at your fingertips immediately.
- Vendor management. Face it, managing a plethora of vendors with multiple 800 numbers for
customer service is not easy. An integrated suite gives you one solution supplier to work with.
- Reliable service and support. The ability to access affordable service and support is critical. It is
easier to support an integrated ERP environment than a hodgepodge of different applications.
- Clarity. With an integrated business management suite, there is a "single version of the truth" that
only needs to be entered once to be propagated to all parts of the business that need it. All business
processes, all employees who touch the application, and all the executives who make decisions for
the company see the same version of reality, in real time, all the time.
- Business process customization and automation. Only with an integrated business management
suite can SMBs actually tailor the entire business processes that underpin how they conduct their
business. Because workflow underlies the entire suite and not just fragmented parts of it, SMBs for
the first time have tools to customize the solutions to work exactly how their businesses work -
rather than having an application that dictates how the business has to be run.
- Long term cost of ownership when provided as SaaS. When an integrated suite is offered as
Software-as-a-Service - allowing businesses to subscribe to a service rather than purchase, install,
and maintain an in-house software solution - companies can better forecast and manage their costs,
and eliminate high internal IT support costs. Web-based delivery of business solutions proves the
most economical in the long run as your business needs grow and change2. Research shows that
SaaS deployments are 50% to 90% faster with a total cost of ownership (TCO) five to ten times less
expensive than traditional software.3 Cost of ownership can be complex - as it includes far more
than just the savings gleaned in original purchase and implementation. It also includes:
The time, expense and skill required to integrate the multiple applications which has to
occur each time an application in the mix is upgraded or replaced
The cost of potential disruption or downtime when the multiple products are upgraded or
new revisions or releases are installed
Time and dollars spent upgrading software and ensuring integrated systems work properly
together after each upgrade
The very positive effects of increased productivity: faster order processing, rapid access to
critical data by employees, increased ability to address customer issues immediately;
instant data for upsell/reselling, returns management, as only a few of the many examples.
The even more positive effects of timely, accurate billing with compliance to all revenue
Case in Point:
The Challenge: The Vone-Phone Company wants to run a marketing and sales
campaign to their customers - but targeting only those customers who have previously
purchased specific types of products, but haven't bought anything from the company in
the last four months.
The Dilemma: Marketing is creating an email campaign, but doesn't know the
characteristics of the people who bought the specific products. The names of the
company's clients are all in the sales force automation (SFA) database; accounting has
their purchase history information in the financial application; support and service are the
only people who know which users were unhappy with their purchased products and
returned them (and wouldn't want to hear about this new product or upgrade); and the
marketing application shows to whom they marketed in the past, but lacks any visibility
to which prospects that actually placed an order in response to the previous campaign.
The Solution: With traditional CRM or marketing systems, you don't have access to the
customer's purchase history; you cannot easily execute a campaign like this. With an
integrated business suite, all aspects of the business are managed in one application
with one underlying database. All aspects of the customer - from the original lead
through the sale, billing history and any support issues are visible to the marketers.
Because of this 360 view into its customers, the marketing department can indeed
direct a campaign at those customers who bought and enjoyed their previous product -
and paid their bills on time.
Is a modular ERP application any different than my current stand-alone applications today?
The beauty of an ERP application is that it is a suite that all works together - without this capability, you can't
have seamless business processes. Modularity comes to play mainly in how you purchase and implement your
ERP system. You may not need all applications at once, or you may want to deploy one application at a time.
They are different from separate applications in that when more than one is implemented, they fit together like
Legos and work automatically.
The Business Benefits of NetSuite
NetSuite is the first and leading on-demand complete business management suite that allows you to manage
all your back-office and front-office operations with one single system. It includes everything from inventory and
warehouse management to shipping automation, accounting, CRM, sales force automation, customer support,
listing management, ecommerce, employee productivity tools, and much more.
Using NetSuite, your entire business - accounting, sales management, customer service, employee and
partner management; and your own web stores maintenance - is integrated, so you can improve your
productivity by streamlining operations and automating processes across the company. And because NetSuite
is an on-demand solution, available only as Software as a Service over the Web, you have no costly hardware
or software fees, no expensive integration of standalone products, or difficult upgrades to contend with.
Some of the key benefits you can gain from NetSuite are:
- Unified Business Processes across the Enterprise
With a single, integrated platform for CRM, Accounting/ERP and Ecommerce, you can automate key
business functions across all departments, including sales, marketing, service, finance, inventory,
order fulfillment, purchasing, and employee management. Your employees no longer have to reenter
data in different systems, rectify inconsistent or inaccurate data, or wait for batch updates.
Instead, all your employees view and share accurate data in real time, leading to greater
collaboration among departments and increased productivity across your business.
- Increased Visibility for Better Decision Making
Customizable Dashboards offer real-time access to key performance metrics, supporting intelligent,
timely business decisions. In addition, full visibility into unified customer records results in more
efficient and highly personalized sales, fulfillment, and service processes. NetSuite dashboards are
role-based, providing "out-of-the-box" relevance to employees- individual job functions.
- Ability to Extend Processes to Customers, Suppliers, and Partners
Given today's need to work closely with partners through an extended enterprise, NetSuite offers
self-service portals that enhance both business-to-business and business-to-consumer
collaboration. In addition, proactive notification of partner-specific events accelerates process cycles
and improves responsiveness, ensuring your position as a preferred partner.
- Customization to Address Your Specific Business Needs
NetSuite is the world's most customizable Software-as-a-Service application. "Click not code"
configuration and modular implementations jumpstart your business on NetSuite. Advanced
customization with simpler, industry standard tools allows you to tailor business practices and
processes to meet your specific company and industry requirements. Because our customization
carries forward seamlessly with upgrades, we actually encourage you to highly customize NetSuite
to create your one-of-a-kind software application.
- Support for Your Compliance Goals
NetSuite includes audit trails that allow you to see changes that are made to data sets or business
processes. Actions are "remembered" so you can always know what happened when and by whom.
- Superior Value with an Affordable Solution
Built from the ground up for growing and midsize businesses, NetSuite offers affordable pricing,
accelerated implementation, and comprehensive support packages that result in unbeatable TCO.
Plus, you eliminate the costly and time-consuming integration often associated with using a
patchwork of disconnected systems. NetSuite also provides leading-edge professional services and
educational programs that ensure efficient implementation and continued, long-term success.
Times have changed. Today's SMBs have access to integrated suites of business applications built for their
particular business needs. While the business processes managed may be very sophisticated and complex,
the solutions, with their integrated processes, simpler management, easy usability, and advanced business
intelligence, are changing the way SMB's conduct their businesses ?? with price points and deployment times
far different than those encountered by large companies in the past.
Case in Point:
Challenge: A frustrated customer has called his sales rep with two questions:
"where is my current order" and -I want to order another one of the same item -
how long will it take to arrive?"
The Dilemma: The sales representative cannot answer either question: he has no
visibility into the warehouse to see if the product has been picked or packed. He also
has no visibility into shipping information to ascertain if the item actually has been
shipped and, if so, where it actually is. And because he lacks visibility into inventory,
he does not know if the product the customer now wants to order is in stock or on
back order, hence, cannot tell him how long the delivery is likely to take.
The Solution: With an integrated suite, all parties that touch the customer share
visibility into not only the customer data, but the warehouse inventory status, and the
shipping and tracking information. Whoever the customer reaches within the
company can tell him when his order was processed, the status of the item ordered
(on hold, in backlog, for example), and its whereabouts.
What NetSuite Customers Say About the Value of Integrated Business Management
PeopleNet Communications Corporation: "We had very much
followed the traditional approach to building our IT. We had Great
Plains, we had Onyx, we used Crystal Reports, and we also had to use
a lot of elbow grease to integrate those different applications," says Ron
Konezny, COO and CFO of PeopleNet. The company spent 10 dollars
in integration costs for every dollar spent on software, and much of that
integration and maintenance came from the company's internal
technology group, which was also expected to develop and support the
company's core service offering. And in the end, the integrations were
not as stable or powerful as the company needed.
Elcometer: Elcometer manufactures and distributes paint-and-surface
inspection instruments for large companies in industries such as
military, aerospace, automobile and even furniture. The North America
division, based in Detroit, MI, handles distribution and sales throughout
the United States, Canada and Mexico. The company was bogged
down with client-server accounting software from Microsoft Great
Plains. "The problem was that Microsoft Great Plains wasn't integrated
well with CRM and shipping systems. With CRM, Microsoft basically
bolted a knock-off of Goldmine," says Joe Walker, vice president of
North America at Elcometer.
Elcometer's decision to go with a hosted solution instead of a clientserver
approach has saved the company loads of cash. Walker
estimates a client-server solution would have cost a minimum of
$50,000 for a server and $60,000 for a full-time IT manager, not to
mention software-license fees. "And I still would have had quadruple
entries," he says. "I want to more than double my business over the
next five years, and the only cost-effective way to do this is with
Cartridge World. "The first thing I noticed was the global visibility -
NetSuite is certainly enabling the senior management team to have a
consistent view of everything going on in our worldwide network," says
Steven L. Yeffa, CFO. "It allows us to think, act, and work as a single
company worldwide." In the process, the company has cut an estimated
$200,000 in annual IT and administrative costs out of its requirements
to run an accurate, sustainable business.