NetSuite, InsideView Pull Social-Networking Data into Enterprise

NetSuite and InsideView have paired to release an application that leverages social networking, including Facebook and Twitter, within both Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning. NetSuite has attempted over the past year to expand from its small and midsize business base into the enterprise, with applications that could potentially challenge SAP or Oracle.

NetSuite and InsideView paired up to release InsideView for NetSuite, an application that ports social networking functionality to both Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning, on Nov. 10. By doing so, the companies join others that have recently been attempting to leverage social networking within a business-process context.

NetSuite is a vendor of cloud-computing business management software suites, while InsideView creates applications for using social media and other sources to leverage sales processes. NetSuite's previous applications have included NetSuite for Manufacturers, which targeted SMBs in vertical markets with SAAS (software-as-a-service) applications for assembly management, work orders and demand-based inventory replenishment.

The new application, delivered natively within the Netsuite platform, integrates information from social-networking services such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It also integrates editorial sources including Thomson Reuters and Capital IQ. The data gathered from those sources can help power decisions for both front-end sales departments and back-office financial operations.

Specifically, sources such as Twitter can be monitored to ensure a supplier's brand reputation, or customer satisfaction levels; it can also be used to "proactively monitor the financial health of customers and partners to assess payment risk and improve collections processes," according to a joint statement released by both companies.

NetSuite made news earlier this year when it vowed to challenge SAP and Oracle in the enterprise-application space. To spearhead its foray into the arena, NetSuite released SuiteCloud Connect, which would allow corporate subsidiaries to run operations on NetSuite software and then send the resulting financial data to the parent company's datacenter, which could be running Oracle or SAP software.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and his family own roughly 61 percent of NetSuite, according to Reuters, with Ellison's direct stake held by a "lockbox" company in order to prevent the perhaps-inevitable conflict of interest.

When queried back in April about NetSuite's attempt to move from its traditional small and midsize business space into the enterprise, an SAP executive told eWEEK that the company remained unconcerned.

"We have thousands of customers running SAP applications in their subsidiaries," Bill Wohl, vice president of global field communications for SAP, said in an e-mail. "We intend to continue expanding the options we provide to them in terms of packaged value, TCO reduction and fit to their complex and varied requirements that only SAP can address."

Wohl added later: "What subsidiary companies want to do is connect their business processes across the system; they want to be able to run a business process. NetSuite is talking about leveraging data across the system, but what customers are telling us is that they want a business process, not a data exchange."

In response, a NetSuite spokesperson insisted that SuiteCloud Connect did more than move data through the system.

"We do allow for business process connectivity," Mini Peiris, vice president of product marketing for NetSuite, said in an interview with eWEEK, while suggesting that the platform was "not about moving data around-it's about automating the business process."