Phil Wainewright writes about the innovations introduced by NetSuite (formerly, NetLedger) – “you might call these the secret weapons of ASPs, because no one else yet appreciates just how fundamental these kinds of features are for success when delivering online services”:
– Open-source, shared-server infrastructure: NetSuite can host a hundred customers on a single $10,000 server. This gives the company an operating cost base that’s way below the $1,000 per user per year it charges its customers.
– Self-service user configuration: In NetSuite, each user can set up their own multiple views of the data they need to work with, including custom queries, tables and forms. All of this is performed using familiar tabbed screens, forms, pull-down menus and drag-and-drop layouts, so there’s no technical knowhow required.
– Real-time results: Since all of this is happening on a state-of-the-art Oracle/Linux server cluster, there’s no reason for compromising on timeliness of information. There are no out-of-date reports based on stale information: everything you see is what’s happening now in your business…ASPs recognize that the only business information that’s worth having is information that’s delivered to you as it happens, on demand, and they build it into their products right from the get-go.
– Open data access and export: NetSuite is typical in offering the ability to export data in standard CSV or IIF file formats. It has also created an smbXML interface that allows online integration with other systems, and which can also be used to export data to a separate system of your own choosing.