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SuiteWorld 23 - NetSuite adds generative AI, Field Service Management, new analytics and finance automation

Phil Wainewright Profile picture for user pwainewright October 17, 2023
Announcements around generative AI, enterprise performance management, field service management and peer benchmarking in NetSuite mark the start of the SuiteWorld conference.

SuiteWorld 23 keynote arena - @philww

NetSuite opens its annual SuiteWorld conference today with a fanfare of announcements ranging across generative AI, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), the introduction of Field Service Management (FSM) based on a recent acquisition, and other capabilities including peer benchmarking. The SaaS pioneer is also marking 25 years since it first launched in 1998.

The new generative AI capabilities use technology built into the underlying Oracle Cloud Infrastructure on which NetSuite now runs, inheriting the security and privacy measures Oracle has built into the platform. Initially, NetSuite is offering the same automated creation and editing of draft content that we've seen from many other vendors, with the benefit of simple prompts grounded in NetSuite data. There are a wide range of use cases for this capability across the NetSuite portfolio, including collection letters, report summaries and narratives, emails to suppliers and customers, product descriptions, personalized email marketing, quotes and proposals, job descriptions, performance reviews and so on.

The vendor also continues to draw on traditional AI, which powers several new capabilities, including bill capture, predictive algorithms in NetSuite Planning and Budgeting, and data consolidation in NetSuite Analytics Warehouse.

NetSuite Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is a new integrated set of finance solutions built on Oracle's product of the same name, and linking to existing planning, budgeting and analytics capabilities. As well as connecting financial and operational planning, it includes process automation, such as the Account Reconciliation solution announced in July, which helps standardize and automate the complex and time-consuming tasks involved in aggregating financial data from various sources. It also offers streamlined close processes, automation of corporate tax reporting, and supports team editing of narrative reports.

There are also improvements to NetSuite Analytics Warehouse, which can now be added to NetSuite dashboards. This allows users to track key metrics and drill into charts based on NetSuite data blended with other relevant data from other systems. New configuration options give more control over how frequently data is refreshed.

Field Service Management

The addition of field service management to the NetSuite family of products follows on from the acquisition of NetSuite partner Next Technik announced last month. Its FSM product Next Service is built natively on the NetSuite platform and offers simplified scheduling and dispatch, automated inventory and customer asset management, and better visibility into real-time data.

The Next Service product dates back to 2012, when the original version was built to meet the needs of the Australian co-founders’ family-run industrial machinery wholesale distribution business. Subsequently re-engineered for broad commercial use, it was spun out as a separate company in 2018 under the leadership of Annaliese Kloe, one of the founding family. After expanding into the US market in 2018 and Europe in 2021, it now claims over 10,000 users in industries ranging from wholesale distribution, logistics, facilities management and HVAC to energy, healthcare and agriculture.

The launch of NetSuite Benchmark 360 brings NetSuite into that small bur growing band of SaaS vendors who are able to mine anonymized data across their customers' use of the product to provide helpful benchmarking. Organizations who are opted into share their data in this way can understand how their performance across key operational and financial metrics compares against similar organizations in their industry and region, and also get suggestions on ways they can get more out of the platform.

Other new capabilities announced today include the addition of subscription options to NetSuite CPQ, a new service called NetSuite Capital that allows early payment of invoices, a new digital payments solution, and an electronic invoicing solution powered by Avalara. A new app called Transaction Line Distribution allows finance users to split a single transaction across different subsidiaries, departments or product lines.

There are now localizations for Brazil and Spain, and a new licensing model that allows customers to give certain employees task-specific licenses. This has initially been introduced for NetSuite Warehouse Management, where for example a customer might want to give a warehouse employee access to NetSuite to be able to receive, store, pick and ship items without requiring a full subscription. An obvious future candidate for this type of user license might include the new FSM app.

My take

I'm on the ground here in Las Vegas for the opening of SuiteWorld and will bring further updates on the above news and other points of note after speaking to executives and customers here. Nevertheless this is already shaping up as an interesting set of announcements.

While the ability to generate draft content with AI has become a bread-and-butter offering from vendors over the past few months, this is nevertheless exactly the kind of thing NetSuite customers are likely to be looking for from the vendor. It should save lots of time for people in all kinds of roles across its customers' organizations.

The entry into field service management opens up an important growth vector for the company. The rise of mobile apps and increasing end-to-end integration means that more and more businesses need to move away from spreadsheets and point applications to have a more streamlined mechanism for booking in service calls and efficiently managing their field workforce. With the addition of subscription billing to CPQ, there's potential to help customers develop more ongoing service relationships with customers. It's also interesting to see NetSuite making a rare ecosystem acquisition. Finally, it's good to see NetSuite joining the ranks of SaaS vendors that offer peer benchmarking based on all of the invaluable data they hold across their customer base. Used wisely, this shared data can help everyone raise their game.

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