NetSuite Expands Cloud Offerings With Commerce as a Service

NetSuite is taking the next big step to expand its cloud services with a commerce as a service platform built on its flagship ERP backend to deliver online business applications that run on any device.

SAN FRANCISCO - NetSuite will use its cloud ERP platform as the backbone of a new greatly expanded commerce as a service initiative that allows enterprises of all sizes to manage business-to-consumer or business-to-business transactions on any device.

Called SuiteCommerce, the platform provides all the development and transactional tools to enable users to build commerce applications that run on Websites, mobile devices, social media and even in-store point-of-sale systems, according to Zach Nelson, NetSuite CEO. Nelson introduced SuiteCommerce during his opening keynote May 15 at NetSuite's annual SuiteWorld User conference here.

Nelson and NetSuite co-founder Evan Goldberg kicked off the show with a takeoff on the old "Saturday Night Live" skit "Wayne's World," with Nelson doing a creditable performance of Mike Myers' character Wayne Campbell to Goldberg's equally convincing homage to Dana Carvey's character Garth Algar.

In introducing SuiteCommerce, Nelson noted that many of its customers are using the ERP and CRM components of NetSuite together to run commerce sites and applications. Nelson says he prefers not to use the Internet-age term "e-commerce" because he believes it is too limiting at a time when development tools and Internet infrastructure have the capacity to support commerce at any scale on any platform.

In fact, he makes the bold claim that the NetSuite technology is already the fifth-largest online commerce platform in terms of the number of Web-based transactions flowing through its platform daily, behind such giants as eBay and Amazon. Further, NetSuite is the only Cloud ERP platform that is offering an integrated Web commerce platform, Nelson said.

SuiteCommerce, Nelson said, is able to support any business model and any product type and manage all the transactions fully integrated with NetSuite back-office management and accounting tools.

"By transforming the NetSuite business application into a commerce-aware platform, we enable our customers to extend the richest set of cloud operational capabilities available anywhere directly to their customers, regardless of the device those customers are using-be it a smartphone, a tablet, a personal computer, a point-of-sale system, or touch points not yet developed," Nelson said.

Besides B2B and B2C transactions, Nelson said that SuiteCommerce will be able to handle machine-2-machine business transactions in which human intervention isn't required.

The NetSuite SuiteCommerce platform includes three basic components. These include SuiteCommerce Experience, which is the page serving and development framework to assemble commerce Websites and applications to support sales transactions on PCs, tablets, smartphones and other more specialized devices.

Nelson said that major eCommerce design agencies, including Fluid, Sweden Interactive, Live Area Labs and Pod1, among others, worked with NetSuite as initial customer experience partners supporting the SuiteCommerce platform. Nelson said that NetSuite's developers have boosted the performance of SuiteCommerce because it's not storing pages; it is storing the data separately from the page frameworks. As a result, SuiteCommerce Experience is able to deliver sub-second page-load times, compared with the industry standard of two-second page-loading times.

The second part is SuiteCommerce Services, which exposes NetSuite's back-end commerce functionality and data as services to the SuiteCommerce Experience and any other commerce front-end application. These services, combined with associated SuiteCloud development tools, enable customers to develop new business logic and leverage that business logic across multiple target devices. For example, promotions can be implemented once and enabled across online, telephone and in-store transactions.

The third component is the NetSuite Commerce platform, which provides the core native business-processing capabilities to run commerce processes, including order management, inventory management and payment processing with personalized promotions, merchandising, account management and support management technologies.

Nelson said that NetSuite has about eight customers that are working with SuiteCommerce today, and it expects to gradually expand the number of customers by the end of the year.

With SuiteCommerce, NetSuite will be able to "provide a platform for rapid innovation to embrace an ever-changing business landscape," Nelson said. The new cloud platform is "the next big thing for NetSuite and the next big thing for our customers," he said.

NetSuite is offering SuiteCommerce in two versions, a midmarket edition and an enterprise edition. NetSuite SuiteCommerce Midmarket is configured for companies with smaller transaction volumes and product catalogs and is available immediately, priced at 1,999 per month. It includes the core functionality of SuiteCommerce Services, as well as access to add-on modules, including product feeds, ratings and reviews along with loyalty programs.

NetSuite SuiteCommerce Enterprise supports large-scale transaction volumes and product catalogs. It incorporates the entire SuiteCommerce offering, including the SuiteCommerce Experience and SuiteCommerce Services platform. This version will be available later this year, priced at $3,999 per month.

John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...