Page Two

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2003-05-09 Print this article Print

However, NetLedger has a quirky integration strategy that may or may not work well for some organizations.

NetLedgers strategy hooks on SMBXML (small to medium business XML), itself a little-used standard proposal initially published by NetLedger for integrating accounting systems. SMBXML is easy enough to figure out, but NetLedger normalized the format to make it appealing to a variety of businesses. The problem is that SMBXML now includes fields that dont exactly match names in the NetLedger system. Again, not a big problem, but its not as easy as it could be.

There are benefits to using SMBXML, including the ability to add single-sign-on capabilities between partners over a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection.

Because NetSuite already has an accounting system built in, the fields are already created—its only a matter of using the API to populate them. Unfortunately, it is difficult to create real-time integration with NetSuite. The capability exists, but comes at an additional cost because NetSuite must run a separate database instance of a customers system on the hosted site. Most customers will be able to get by with pushing and pulling XML data in and out of the system.

Executive Summary

Usability Excellent
Capability Good
Performance Fair
Interoperability Good
Manageability Excellent
Scalability Good
Security Good
NetSuite 8.6 from Net-Ledger ( is an all-inclusive business application suite that includes CRM, accounting, product and inventory, and storefront creation capabilities. The CRM modules functionality is not as fleshed out as that of the other systems we tested, but its tight integration with the rest of the suite more than makes up for what is missing.

(+) Obviates the need for some integration work; fast performance; easy set up; account profiles display only relevant data; low cost.

(-) Some features suitable mostly for very small businesses; performance in Keynote availability test showed some glitches.

Price $4,800 per year for three users; $50 per user thereafter.

CRM Systems Go Head to Head:
Labs Director John Taschek can be reached at

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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