Article

NetSuite gets into customization game

Barney Beal

NetSuite Inc. today became the latest hosted CRM vendor to offer customization tools for its customers while also offering the ability to host new applications within the system.

The San Mateo, Calif., company is providing these capabilities with its new tool, NetFlex. Today's announcement comes on the heels of hosted CRM rival Salesforce.com's announcement of Multiforce, a tool that serves as an on-demand platform for multiple applications.

While NetSuite currently offers some customization capabilities, like the ability to edit fields, the NetFlex release encompasses Web services with an XML-based interface built on the Simple Object Access Protocol standard. The customization feature allows for the creation of custom-built dashboards with features like search analysis and industry-specific terminology and can be applied throughout NetSuite. The new product also enables development of greater industry-specific functionality with prebuilt vertical templates.

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Mouldings & Millwork, a wholesale timber broker in Sacramento, Calif., has been using the NetSuite platform for about three years. According to Mark Magee, business administrator, his company has had to outsource much of its customization work to NetSuite to add industry-specific functionality. Magee is looking forward to using NetFlex to do that work in-house.

"It will definitely be a lot more feasible to add customized features on our end without going to outside sources for coding Java script," he said. "We'll add more calculation fields, search engine fields for customer relationships and sales order processing."

The AppBuilder feature of NetFlex allows companies to make NetSuite their system of record, adding point-and-click database tables supporting one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many relationships.

Because NetSuite offers back office functionality where other hosted CRM providers do not, much of the integration work needed with competing products is already done, said Mini Peiris, NetSuite senior product manager.

"A lot of the things you would typically need to customize for in other CRM apps, it's already taken care of," she said. "With NetFlex, we're introducing an application builder to create new applications and host them within NetSuite. We're housing it within our data center and it's encompassed in the NetSuite uptime guarantee."

Some capabilities will be made immediately available with a wider roll out in April. There is no additional charge for the platform, but there may be charges for specific integrations via Web services.


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