NetLedger upgrades suite, takes new name

SAN FRANCISCO (09/18/2003) - In conjunction with upgrading its integrated ERP and CRM suite, NetLedger Inc. on Thursday rechristened itself. The ASP, in fact, assumed the name of its software product: NetSuite.

In its first official move under the new moniker, NetSuite issued NetSuite 9.0.

NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson said that the name change is an evolution of the software itself. New to NetSuite 9.0 are improvements to the dashboard, commissions' management, integrated e-commerce, and matrix lists.

NetSuite's upgraded dashboard includes customizable views based on user roles, the ability to drag and drop portlets into the dashboard, and the Xtreme List Editing feature can be used to adjust lists from within the dashboard.

Commission management enables salespeople and managers to track the commissions they are earning, as well as to model how much they could bring in from a prospective deal.

Nelson said that NetSuite 9.0 includes integrated e-commerce capabilities that enable customers to build database-driven e-commerce Web sites that leverage the product's back-office features.

Since this iteration of NetSuite is aimed at product distributors, it includes features for that class of customers, namely matrix items, serialized inventory, bar coding, and quantity pricing.

In what the company claimed to be a first for applications providers, the software integrates the UPS shipping API to ease the mailing of goods. Additionally, NetSuite 9.0 adds mail merge, streamlined activity tracking, advanced searching, and expanded report options.

The sum of these new features, Nelson explained, is "SAP-like functionality at a mid-market price."

Denis Pombriant, vice president and research director for CRM at Aberdeen Group Inc., said that such features are normally reserved in client-server products, rather than those hosted by ASPs.

"They are the kind of capabilities you typically find in higher-end products," Pombriant said.

Pombriant said that comparing them to similar features found in the traditional enterprise products, such as SAP AG and Siebel Systems Inc., is not a fair comparison.

"They are different software suites and different companies," he said.

He explained that NetSuite, for its part, offers integrated ERP and CRM that is tightly tied to a database, as well as usability features that SAP and Siebel lack.

"But SAP and Siebel still have a great deal to offer at the high end," Pombriant said.

NetSuite 9.0 goes live on Friday for the company's customers.

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