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January 31, 2023

What is Netsuite

David Ongchoco
Growth Lead @ Rutter
at Rutter
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NetSuite is one of the largest ERP and Accounting Software Providers in the world. Today we dig into what it is, how it became so big, its history and developer ecosystem and more.

What’s NetSuite?

NetSuite is a software company that has developed a cloud-based business management platform used by more than 33,000 fast-growing organizations across the globe. That platform consists of a suite of applications that help companies run their business, understand the performance of their businesses and drive major efficiency gains and cost savings.

The company’s ERP system manages core functions, including finance and accounting, inventory, orders and procurement. Customers can add options including CRM for sales, service and marketing automation, human resources (HR) for personnel records, performance management and payroll, professional services automation (PSA) to plan and track projects and omnichannel commerce for both online and in-store sales. All of these modules share a common database. Thanks to that central data source, information from across the system updates in real time and is accessible to authorized users across business functions.

NetSuite was acquired by Oracle Corporation in November 2016. The acquisition was completed for a total price of approximately $9.3 billion, which was paid in cash.

The acquisition of NetSuite was seen as a strategic move by Oracle, as it helped the company to expand its cloud computing portfolio and provide its customers with a comprehensive suite of cloud-based business applications. NetSuite was already a leading provider of cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, and the acquisition allowed Oracle to offer its customers a complete suite of cloud-based applications for finance, human resources, customer relationship management (CRM), and e-commerce.

The acquisition also allowed Oracle to better compete with other cloud computing providers, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, who were also expanding their cloud computing portfolios.

Since the acquisition, NetSuite has been fully integrated into Oracle's cloud computing portfolio and is now offered as a key component of Oracle's cloud computing strategy. The acquisition has also allowed Oracle to better serve the needs of its customers by providing a comprehensive suite of cloud-based business applications.

Today, Netsuite is part of Oracle’s cloud offering which accounts for close to 1/3 of Oracle’s overall revenue.

Is NetSuite an ERP or Accounting system?

A lot of people commonly interchange the terms ERP and Accounting software when it comes to describing NetSuite.

ERP started out as material requirements planning (MRP) software back in the 1960s used by large manufacturers. These systems were used to track inventory and production and manage the raw materials procurement.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Accounting Systems are two types of software that are commonly used by businesses for managing their operations. Although both systems serve similar purposes, there are important differences between them.

An ERP system integrates various business functions, such as finance, sales, marketing, human resources, and supply chain management, into a single system. This allows businesses to streamline their processes, improve data accuracy, and increase efficiency.

An Accounting System, on the other hand, focuses specifically on financial management. This includes bookkeeping, invoicing, and generating financial reports. Accounting Systems are generally simpler and more straightforward than ERP systems. Examples of Accounting Systems include Quickbooks, Xero, Zoho, Freshbooks and Sage.

NetSuite initially focused on providing bookkeeping and accounting services. Then, the system quickly grew to support other key functionalities, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and eCommerce.

Today, NetSuite is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system because it integrates various business functions, such as finance, sales, marketing, human resources, and supply chain management, into a single system with accounting being one of its product lines of many others. This allows businesses to streamline their processes, improve data accuracy, and increase efficiency, as well as automate tasks, improve collaboration, and make informed decisions based on real-time data. With NetSuite, businesses can manage all aspects of their operations in one unified platform, providing a comprehensive solution for managing their business.

One of NetSuite's most popular product lines is its Accounting Software

Overview of NetSuite

NetSuite is unique for several reasons, including:

  1. Comprehensive solution: NetSuite is a comprehensive solution that integrates multiple business functions, such as finance, sales, marketing, human resources, and supply chain management, into a single platform. This allows businesses to manage all aspects of their operations in one unified system, improving efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration.
  2. Cloud-based platform: NetSuite is a cloud-based platform, allowing businesses to access their data and systems from anywhere, at any time, using any device with an internet connection. This provides increased flexibility, scalability, and accessibility.
  3. Customizable: NetSuite is highly customizable, allowing businesses to tailor the platform to their specific needs. This includes the ability to add custom fields, custom workflows, and custom reports using the NetSuite API. Additionally, the SuiteApps ecosystem provides access to a large marketplace of third-party extensions and integrations.
  4. Industry-specific solutions: NetSuite offers industry-specific solutions for various industries, such as retail, wholesale distribution, and manufacturing, providing businesses with a tailored solution for their specific needs.
  5. Integration: NetSuite offers a range of integrations with other systems, such as e-commerce platforms, payment processors, and shipping providers, allowing businesses to automate processes and improve efficiency.
  6. Global capabilities: NetSuite is a global solution, supporting multiple currencies, languages, and tax regimes, making it suitable for businesses operating in multiple countries.

History of NetSuite

NetSuite is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that was first released in 1998. The software was developed by Evan Goldberg, the founder and CTO of Oracle Corporation, as a way to provide small and medium-sized businesses with a comprehensive, yet affordable, solution for managing their finances, operations, and customer relationships.

In 1998, Evan Goldberg founded NetSuite with funding provided by Larry Ellison, Oracle Corporation’s executive chairman. Then, the company was known as NetLedger and was the first company to offer web-hosted business applications to users. Many consider it to be the first cloud computing software company.

NetSuite's early years were marked by steady growth and expansion as more and more businesses began to adopt the software. In 2000, the company went public and soon after, in 2002, it was acquired by Oracle Corporation. Under Oracle's ownership, NetSuite continued to expand its offerings, adding new features and functionality to meet the evolving needs of its customers.

In the following years, NetSuite grew rapidly and became one of the most popular cloud-based ERP solutions in the market. In 2007, it was the first cloud-based ERP solution to be offered on a subscription basis, which was a significant step in the direction of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. This made it more accessible and affordable for small and medium-sized businesses.

NetSuite also extended its offerings to other countries as well. In 2011, it opened a data center in Europe to support its growing customer base in the region, and in 2013, it opened another data center in Asia.

In 2016, NetSuite was acquired by the software company, Oracle for $9.3 billion. Under the new ownership, NetSuite continued to evolve and expand its product offerings, with a focus on providing businesses with a complete, end-to-end solution for managing their operations in the cloud.

Today, NetSuite is one of the most widely used cloud-based ERP solutions in the world, with over 40,000 customers in more than 200 countries. It continues to be an important player in the market and it has helped many businesses to streamline their operations, improve their efficiency, and increase their bottom line.

Netsuite EVP and founder Evan Goldberg with Oracle CTO Larry Ellison taken from Evan's LinkedIn Post

NetSuite Product Lines

NetSuite offers several products to meet the needs of various businesses, including:

  1. NetSuite ERP: A comprehensive enterprise resource planning system that integrates various business functions into a single platform.
  2. NetSuite CRM: A customer relationship management system for managing sales, customer service, and marketing operations.
  3. NetSuite eCommerce: A platform for building and managing online stores, with features for order management, merchandising, and marketing.
  4. NetSuite HR: A human resources management system for managing employee information, payroll, benefits, and compliance.
  5. NetSuite Supply Chain Management: A solution for managing inventory, order fulfillment, and supply chain operations.
  6. NetSuite Financials: An accounting and financial management system for managing financial transactions, generating financial reports, and complying with financial regulations.
  7. NetSuite Project Management: A solution for managing projects, tracking time and expenses, and allocating resources.

These products can be used standalone or in combination to meet the specific needs of a business. Additionally, NetSuite offers industry-specific solutions for retail, wholesale distribution, manufacturing, and other industries.

SuiteApps Ecosystem

SuiteApps are a vast catalog of applications developed by Oracle NetSuite and partners that extend the capabilities of your NetSuite instance, whether through additional functionality or integrations with other SaaS solutions. There are SuiteApps for all types of industries and business needs, and most of them run within NetSuite.

The NetSuite SuiteApps ecosystem is a large and growing marketplace for third-party extensions and integrations for the NetSuite platform. The SuiteApps ecosystem enables businesses to extend the functionality of their NetSuite system by adding specialized features and integrations tailored to their specific needs.

Some of the benefits of the SuiteApps ecosystem include:

  1. Customization: SuiteApps allow businesses to add custom features and integrations to their NetSuite system, making it more suited to their specific needs.
  2. Integration: SuiteApps can integrate with other systems, such as e-commerce platforms, payment processors, and shipping providers, improving efficiency and automating processes.
  3. Access to a wide range of solutions: With over 600 SuiteApps available, businesses can find solutions for a wide range of needs, from marketing and sales to supply chain management and accounting.
  4. Cost-effective: SuiteApps can be an affordable alternative to custom development, allowing businesses to add new features and integrations to their NetSuite system without incurring high costs.
  5. Ease of use: SuiteApps can be easily installed and configured, allowing businesses to start using them quickly and with minimal effort.
The SuiteApps Ecosystem

Steps to building an integration with NetSuite

In order to go live in the SuiteApps ecosystem, you have to build an integration with Netsuite using the NetSuite API.

Building an integration into NetSuite can help businesses automate processes, streamline workflows, and increase efficiency.

Here are the steps to build an integration into NetSuite:

  1. Determine Your Integration Needs: Start by defining the goals of your integration and the specific business processes that you want to automate. This will help you to determine what kind of integration you need, such as a data transfer, API integration, or a custom solution.
  2. Choose an Integration Method: There are several methods to integrate with NetSuite, including the SuiteTalk API, SuiteFlow, and SuiteScript. Choose the method that best fits your needs and the complexity of your integration.
  3. Plan Your Integration: Once you have chosen your integration method, plan out the specific steps that you need to take to build your integration. This should include things like setting up an integration environment, configuring the integration, and testing the integration.
  4. Set up Your Integration Environment: Before you start building your integration, you need to set up an environment for your integration. This should include things like creating an integration sandbox, configuring the integration account, and setting up the necessary tools and resources.
  5. Configure Your Integration: Configuring your integration is the process of setting up the connection between your integration environment and your NetSuite account. This may include setting up API credentials, configuring the integration settings, and mapping the fields that you want to transfer between the two systems.
  6. Test Your Integration: Once you have set up and configured your integration, test it thoroughly to ensure that it is working as expected. This includes testing the data transfer, the API integration, and any custom solutions that you have built.
  7. Deploy Your Integration: Once you have tested your integration and are satisfied that it is working as expected, you can deploy it to your production environment. This will make the integration live and available to your users.

If you’re a developer or company looking to build on top of the NetSuite API, Rutter has built a Universal Accounting API that helps companies integrate with Netsuite, Quickbooks, Xero, Zoho, Sage, Freshbooks and more using one unified API. Learn more here.

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