NetSuite and other vendors seeking to be tier-two players are competing on their ability to manage the complexity of integration and deploy more features quickly, Wang said.
Nelson alluded to this during his keynote, touching upon NetSuite's SuiteCloud development platform, which can be used to extend the application. "Within two years our developers will be developing only on SuiteCloud," Nelson said. "That's how rich this platform has become."
There are some 4,000 SuiteCloud developers now, he added.
PaaS (platform-as-a-service) capabilities like that provided by SuiteCloud are an increasingly strong focus for SaaS vendors, who want to give customers the benefits of flexibility and a broad market of add-ons built by partners.
There will be "probably 40" announcements from NetSuite software vendor partners at the conference, according to Nelson. Some are expected to be made tomorrow during a keynote by NetSuite CTO Evan Goldberg.
With the recent Amazon Web Services outage no doubt fresh on the minds of many at the show, at one point Nelson sought to deliver some reassurances to potential enterprise customers, revealing that NetSuite has experienced on average 99.96 percent uptime during the past six years.
The company also managed to deliver a couple of high-profile customer wins to bolster its large-enterprise message.
For one, Qualcomm has signed on to use NetSuite in some capacity. NetSuite's software "presents us with an opportunity to begin centralizing some parts of our e-commerce systems and further streamlining the management process," said Peter Rubenacker, Qualcomm's vice president of information technology, in a statement. More information wasn't immediately available.
NetSuite also is planning to discuss a deal it has signed with e-commerce company Groupon. The "deal-of-the-day" website is expected to go live on NetSuite in 26 international markets, "replacing hundreds of spreadsheets with a single cloud ERP system," according to a statement.
Groupon's international controller, John Bosshart, appeared onstage with Nelson and discussed the company's rapid expansion into 46 countries and 500 markets in just two years.
"Being at that pace of growth, we have multiple accounting systems out there," he said. "We wanted to get to one platform, one component, and get there very quickly." NetSuite fit the bill due to its SaaS deployment model and "tremendous job" handling multiple languages, he said.
Groupon signed a contact with NetSuite in early February and the first countries were up in six weeks, Bosshart added.
Also Tuesday, NetSuite announced a planned integration with social-networking vendor Yammer. NetSuite users will be able to push records from the system to Yammer for sharing and discussion with others. The integration will be completed later this year.
Comparisons will no doubt be made between NetSuite's move and Chatter, Salesforce.com's social-networking tool.
There's a key difference, Nelson said in an interview. "If we had our own client it would be somewhat anti-social," he said. "For social media to be successful in the enterprise you have to have an open strategy."
Overall, NetSuite's announcements are "a logical extension of what they have been doing," said Michael Krigsman, CEO of Asuret, a consulting firm that advises companies on how to make software projects successful. "They're riding on the increasing validation of the cloud among large enterprises as well."
While cloud-based software removes some of the technological complexities that hamper on-premises implementations, it doesn't present a cure-all for customers, Krigsman added.
For customers, "it's not just about mapping [existing business] processes to the cloud, it's figuring out how they're going to do things better."
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com