NetSuite debuts 'SRP' product push

NetSuite integrates its product with project-oriented software recently acquired from OpenAir to form a "services resource planning" combination

On-demand ERP vendor NetSuite announced a new product push Tuesday, stemming from its June acquisition of OpenAir, maker of software for project-oriented organizations.

NetSuite has been working to integrate its product and OpenAir's, and is now marketing the combination under the moniker of NetSuite SRP (services resource planning).

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The products will work in tandem, with functionality like sales automation and core financials coming from the NetSuite side, and matters such as project task management and timesheets handled by OpenAir, which is also on-demand software.

NetSuite demonstrated the integration work at a company event in Boston on Tuesday. An official showed how an employee could create a customer record in NetSuite and push it into OpenAir. Then the representative showed how to assign a consultant to the project and subsequently push information on the hours the person worked back into NetSuite for accounting.

"Sure, you could program all this stuff yourself for products that you use, but then you have to maintain that," said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson, emphasizing one oft-cited, purported advantage of SaaS (software as a service) products like NetSuite, which sees vendors handle upgrades and integrations.

NetSuite didn't provide pricing information.

Michael Fauscette, an IDC analyst who spoke at NetSuite's event, said the project-based ERP market will grow to $1.5 billion by 2010.

But since many project-based companies actually bought ERP systems geared more for product manufacturing and then customized them, the real size of the project-based market could be much larger, he said.

In other news Tuesday, NetSuite announced a revamped OpenAir product lineup that includes offerings for small, medium-size, and large businesses.

The entry-level Team Edition includes integrations with QuickBooks and NetSuite and, for a fee, Salesforce. The mid-level Professional Edition adds more powerful features, such as a configurable billing rules engine. The high-end Enterprise Edition provides the Professional Edition's features plus additional functionality, such as an API for connecting with other applications, as well as 24/7 customer support.

NetSuite's announcements closely follow Oracle's recent news that it plans to buy Primavera, a vendor Forrester Research analyst Ray Wang termed "the granddaddy of project management." Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is a major investor in NetSuite.

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