NetSuite 'Flexes' Its Platform Muscles

by Michael Hickins

The on-demand ERP software maker introduces a new application development platform and tools to stimulate market growth.

On-demand application provider NetSuite has rolled out a set of tools to support a new vertical strategy. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company unveiled SuiteFlex, a new application development platform that allows programmers to write applications that connect to NetSuite's flagship products, a move that should ultimately mean more and varied options for small businesses that use the product.

NetSuite is promoting SuiteFlex as a solution for independent software vendors (ISVs) to make its ERP and CRM) solutions more appropriate to specific verticals through customization.

The company also introduced SuiteBundler, a component of SuiteFlex, as a way for ISVs to repurpose NetSuite applications they've customized for use by customers in a given vertical market.

NetSuite highlighted a dozen new vertical editions for NetSuite that were developed by partners in a variety of industries. "We want to see our partners take their industry knowledge and extend NetSuite with best practice services," said Mimi Peiris, vice president of product management at NetSuite.

Kristen Brown, vice president of alliances and channel sales for NetSuite, explained that the company has also initiated a developer program to support ISVs and other developers. The program includes a template development account programmers can use as a sandbox for testing and then reusing their solutions.

NetSuite also announced that SuiteFlex application and process customizations can be shared as open source. More than 100 SuiteFlex extensions are already available, the company said.

Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research, said that the arrival of a new platform benefits customers because it provides an alternative to AppExchange, a platform introduced by Salesforce.com earlier this year.

"We're still in the early phases of the SaaS marketplace and the marketplace needs competition," Pombriant said. "Having products that do this kind of outreach can be very beneficial in improving the customer experience."

Adapted from Internetnews.com.

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This article was originally published on Friday Oct 27th 2006
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