At the moment there are more than 40,000 businesses in the United States alone using the NetSuite ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platform, which should speak for itself in terms of efficiency. However, if you aren’t familiar with a cloud-based ERP, there are some key functions that just might highlight why this particular business management system is so appealing to businesses large and small. While it sounds a bit cliché, this really is a one-size-fits-all solution, with one major difference.
NetSuite is totally customizable, so you don’t need to settle for a simple out-of-the-box solution. And even better than that, it is now fully integrated with another leader in cloud technology, Salesforce. One company is setting the standard in the integration of Salesforce with NetSuite. California-based Celigo provides Salesforce connectors to NetSuite that are truly setting the standard for seamless integration not likely to be found elsewhere. However, before looking at how Salesforce can be integrated with NetSuite, it is important to look at the four main functionalities of NetSuite itself.
Back to Basics – What Exactly Is the Cloud
Before getting into the four main functions or features, if you will, of NetSuite, it might be wise to spend a moment talking about exactly what the cloud is. Since NetSuite is totally built on cloud architecture, it pays to have a working definition of the cloud. One very good definition explains that cloud computing encompasses:
That are located on a remote server and accessed over a network, in this case, the Internet. There is no need to buy hardware because you will be sharing a mainframe with multiple other tenants who are, for all intents and purposes, renting space in the cloud right alongside you.
However, everything is totally separate and secure so there is no need to worry that your data or information will bleed through into another tenant’s occupied space and vice versa. Many people have a rather limited understanding of what the cloud is and so only see it as shared hardware or shared software, but it is also a service in that any maintenance and upgrades are done by the service provider. Nothing is left for you to do but operate the platforms and programs you are sharing in the cloud.
It’s a work of art really and one of the innovations in computer technology that is allowing businesses to do more for less – an amazing advancement that is cost effective because you only pay for what you use. Think of it like renting office space. You wouldn’t pay the same to rent 6,000 square feet as you would for a little 500 square foot office, and so it is with the cloud. When using NetSuite, you only pay for those functions and features you integrate into the service you are contracting.
1) NetSuite Is Based 100% in the Cloud
The first, and perhaps the biggest selling point of all is the fact that NetSuite resides 100% in the cloud. There is no costly infrastructure to purchase which means that this is one Enterprise Resource Planning platform that is more than cost-effective. It is subscription based and because it can be easily integrated with a huge number of applications such as Salesforce, it can be scaled as needed so that as your business grows you can add features and functions as necessary.
2) NetSuite is a Role-Based ERP
One of the main functions of NetSuite is to allow for users to have access at various levels. While upper management can access the entire system, each user is only able to access those areas that are pertinent to his or her job. It’s like the old ‘need to know’ principle. If they aren’t to be privy to financial data, that information will not be available to them. However, there are also levels within that which are customizable by a role as well. For example, a salesperson will have the ability to track any figures pertinent to their sales, but may not be allowed to see company figures which account for each salesperson. This can be customized so that management can pick and choose who sees what.
3) NetSuite Offers Dashboards Proprietary to Those Roles
Each user will have a unique dashboard that is defined as well by their function within a company. There will be a ribbon or upper task bar that enables that user to flip about to areas they need to access, but again, not all areas will be accessible to everyone. Accounting will see a different user interface (dashboard) than a sales rep, for example, and the warehouse will only need to access a small portion of the system that tells them what is to be shipped and whether or not that inventory is in stock. The higher up the corporate ladder, the more a person can be allowed to access and it will be right there on their dashboard, which is a graphical display of everything they need to do their role within the company.
4) All of the Above Enable Seamless Workflow for Greater Productivity
Of all the functions within NetSuite, perhaps the greatest is having the ability to provide a seamless workflow that enhances productivity. For example, a business using NetSuite with a Salesforce integration will have complete integration between every function from an initial contact by a customer through to order processing, billing, filling the order, shipping the order and then on to inventory control where the stock can be kept at predefined levels. Manufacturing will have access to what is available and what they need to produce in order to keep those levels filled, and accounting can track financials simultaneously.
Understanding the Scalability of NetSuite
The beauty of having distinct functions like these is in also having the ability to scale up or down as resources are needed. Since NetSuite accesses cloud-based software, these functions can be integrated with other features as needed. For example, if the sales team needs chat integration, that function can be added to their dashboards whereas the warehouse staff may need only to use intraoffice communications to discuss orders and ask any questions necessary to do their jobs.
It is unlikely they will need a video chat feature, so their chatting capabilities may be more along the lines of a text chat function or an email feature. So, with a scalable platform like NetSuite that is located 100% in the cloud, you have every function you need at your disposal which you can add or subtract as your needs rise or fall. Without a doubt, NetSuite located in the cloud is every business owner’s dream.
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