Google Apps, NetSuite take on Microsoft with tighter cloud integration

Deeper ties allow users quicker access to customer data within Google Apps and better collaboration within NetSuite

In a move that could convince more organizations of Google Apps' business-world chops, NetSuite today announced that its financial and ERP software suites now offer deeper integration with Google's cloud-based productivity services, including handy single sign-on capabilities.

Since unveiling Google Apps, Google has worked to persuade would-be corporate customers that the cloud-based suite can offer the level of security, reliability, performance, and features -- including deep integration among applications -- necessary to warrant a jump from such competitors as Microsoft.

Google Apps' extensive integration with NetSuite is striking in that it could represent a particularly viable SMB alternative to Microsoft Dynamics, the company's ERP, CRM, and accounting package. Microsoft has moved toward increasing integration among its own offerings, evident with its rollout of Dynamics and Office 365. The software giant may still have the advantage in terms of tighter integration, since it's Microsoft-only code.

According to the announcement, NetSuite now offers contextual integration with Gmail, meaning users can access relevant customer and transactional data in real time within their email. Users also are able to track customer and prospect communications by attaching Gmail messages -- or any files -- to NetSuite records. In addition, users can collaborate on Google Docs files within the NetSuite environment.

Further, NetSuite announced bidirectional synchronization between Google Calendar and the calendar in OpenAir, NetSuite's PSA (professional services automation) and SRP (services resource planning) offering. The integration means OpenAir events such as bookings and task assignments can be easily migrated to users' Google calendars.

Other benefits of the integration include single sign-on from Google Apps to NetSuite, via OpenID SSO standards. The SSO supports a flexible role-based permission models, according to NetSuite.

This article, "Google Apps, NetSuite take on Microsoft with tighter cloud integration," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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