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NetLedger no more; new release and new name for ASP

The hosted CRM and accounting provider is now called NetSuite, the same name as its retooled flagship offering.

NetLedger Inc. today unveiled a new version of its NetSuite application with a new customizable dashboard, a new list-editing feature, a new database-driven Web site development tool, and a new company name to go with it.

Having grown beyond the simple accounting application the company started with, NetLedger will now be known as NetSuite, the name of its flagship offering and the name most customers already use when referring to the company, president and CEO Zach Nelson said.

In conjunction with the San Mateo, Calif., company's new name, its hosted business application NetSuite has been beefed up from the current 8.6 version to the newest release, 9.0.

Chief among the upgrades to the new NetSuite is its usability, Nelson said.

"We have SAP functionality, but it's usable by humans," Nelson said. "In this design scheme, usability is first."

A customizable dashboard is separated into user roles and includes "Xtreme List Editing," allowing for editing lists from the dashboard without entering actual records. Another new feature is United Parcel Service (UPS) integration that streamlines orders with the shipping giant. Addresses are automatically checked against UPS shipping labels to provide easier tracking of packages.

"I think it's a very nice user interface," said Denis Pombriant, vice president and research director of the Aberdeen Group, in Boston. "It's very well thought out, very ergonomic. It delivers the data you need day to day to run your business, whether from a manager or a worker-bee side."

NetSuite 9.0 will also integrate all its applications into a hosted Web site for customers, providing easy updating of inventory, pricing data and other information, Nelson said. All orders placed through an online store are automatically integrated into back-office systems.

"It's as easy for us to build a Web site as it is for us to build these dashboards," Nelson said. "[The hosted site] can work just like a salesperson, only there's no commission."

New analytical functions are also included with expanded report offerings and real-time system-to-system XML data exchange capabilities.

"One of the other things I liked is the way they've gone ahead and built BI into their applications," Pombriant said. "A lot of people would agree that's a very critical factor in further deployment. Naked CRM captures a lot of data. It's only when you start using reporting and analytics that you see what it can do for your business."

Additionally, with its new name and new upgrade, NetSuite is offering a new breakdown of services. NetSuite's entry level Oracle Small Business Suite will include the new user interface and list editor and sell for $1,400, with two users included, and $50 per user, per month for additional seats. NetSuite 9.0 will sell for $4,800 for two users per month and $75 per month for each additional user. A new, midmarket offering titled NetSuite Pro is priced at $9,000 and $75 per additional user, per month.

NetSuite essentially separates users into product companies and service companies with this latest release focused on the former. The next release will include functions for services firms, Nelson said.

From its initial foray into CRM, NetSuite has touted its integrated accounting and customer management features as a key differentiator among hosted providers.

"Lots of people have applications that will do parts of what NetSuite does," Pombriant said. "The power of this lies in fact that everything is integrated, CRM, ERP and Web pages from single data source and single application suite."


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