Oracle is extending its MyLearn program, offered via the company’s University portal, to cover its NetSuite midmarket ERP products.

Like the Oracle University version of MyLearn, NetSuite’s MyLearn program — which offers courses on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and SaaS offerings such as Fusion applications — will offer courses on its product fundamentals and implementation. The courses will be available through a sub-portal, Oracle said Wednesday.

The courses, live training and on-demand modules can be used by enterprises to accelerate NetSuite implementations, simplify employee training, and identify new features in products and experiment with them for new use cases, the company said.

Under the NetSuite MyLearn program, the company offers two options: NetSuite Explorer Pass, which is free, and NetSuite Learning Cloud Support Company Pass, which is offered for a fee and is only available to NetSuite users.  

For Explorer Pass, a user needs to create a free account to access the program content, which includes a total of 63 courses on  topics such as introduction to NetSuite, accounting and finance, human capital management, inventory management, sales and marketing.

In order to get access to more detailed content, live webinars and hands-on training, a user has to choose the NetSuite Learning Cloud Support Company pass. This paid version, according to the company, offers detailed courses in multiple languages and formats, including role-based personalized learning paths, on-demand modules, live interactive webinar trainings, and practice environments.

The languages currently on offer includes English, Japanese, French, German, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

For all users accessing the NetSuite MyLearn courses library, the company provides a customizable dashboard to monitor their learning progress and recommend content, NetSuite said.

Oracle did not immediately provide information on the fee structure for Company Pass content.

Enterprise Applications, ERP Systems

NetSuite is adding a host of new features and applications to its cloud-based NetSuite ERP suite, in an effort to enhance its automation capabilities and compete with midmarket rivals such as Epicor, IFS, Microsoft Dynamics, Infor, and Zoho in multiple domains including HR, supply chain, banking, finance, and sales.

The new capabilities were announced Wednesday at the company’s annual SuiteWorld conference in Las Vegas.

NetSuite and other ERP software providers have been focusing on automation as CIOs and other C-suite leaders look to navigate challenges such as labor shortages and supply chain issues caused by geopolitical crises and the pandemic, said R Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Enterprises want to cut down the number of employee hours spent on certain processes, and so are asking for automation, Wang said, adding that automation frees up resources to focus on strategic areas and can cut down errors in repetitive tasks.

NetSuite differentiates itself from its corporate parent, Oracle, by focusing on customers in the midmarket segment that may not be big or complex enough to require, or may not be ready to implement, many separate applications.    

“The addition of the new tools feeds directly into the expansion of the suite strategy as most NetSuite customers prefer to keep all software solutions inside NetSuite,” Wang said.

NetSuite uses the SaaS model, with customers paying a subscription fee based on number of users.  NetSuite ERP is a suite of applications that work together, reside on a common database, and are designed to automate core enterprise business processes. The ERP suite is  available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure; companies need various tools and connectors to run the system on infrastructure from other cloud providers.

New tools automate routine HR tasks

In an effort to automate some human resources tasks such as wage calculations and attendance tracking, NetSuite has added a workforce management software suite to its HR application, SuitePeople. The software includes tools that can help schedule shifts, calculate labor and operational metrics, and record employee engagement.

A new visual scheduling tool, according to NetSuite, will allow companies to eliminate the use of standalone scheduling applications or spreadsheets.  It also enables teams to use a combination of forecasts, employee schedule templates, labor costs, and labor deployment models to build a staffing plan.

In order to automatically track attendance, the management suite of tools comes with a SuitePeople Time Clock that gives employees various capabilities, available via mobile devices, to record time and attendance. Time Clock comes with options for photo capture and biometric fingerprint verification that eliminate the risk of employees logging in and out of work on behalf of other employees, NetSuite said.

In addition, SuitePeople’s now can also automate wage calculations, as data from other tools such as Time Clock and scheduler can flow directly into the payroll tool for processing.

The SuitePeople Workforce Management suite is presently available in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Information on timing of the rollout in other geographies was not immediately available.

Mobile app enhances warehouse operations

NetSuite has also introduced a new mobile application, NetSuite Ship Central, as part of its warehouse management system (WMS) software suite. WMS software is typically architected to optimize warehouse tasks such as manpower allocation and inventory control.

The mobile application, which can also be installed on a kiosk device, is expected to minimize shipping costs and transit times, NetSuite said.

NetSuite Ship Central is being sold now in the US and will be available worldwide in November, the company said.

Automation speeds accounts payable

Looking to help enterprises process bills and pay vendors faster from within NetSuite’s ERP platform, the company has introduced a new tool, Accounts Payable (AP) Automation, inside its SuiteBanking application.

The tool can capture vendor bills using machine learning-based object detection and optical character recognition (OCR), the company said, adding that it comes with a bill-matching and approvals feature to avoid overpayment or fraudulent or duplicate payments.

Automated bill matching ensures vendor bills are two- or three-way matched with the associated purchase orders to ensure details such as unit pricing, quantity, and totals are accurate, NetSuite said.

The new tool comes with a vendor payment automation feature in partnership with HSBC Bank, the company added. This partnership allows enterprises to access payment options such as checks or virtual credit cards, among others.

AP Automation also offers payment reconciliation, designed to improve the accuracy of accounting with the help of a rules engine that matches and reconciles virtual credit card charges while flagging discrepancies for further review by accounting staff. 

“Having core account aspects within the ERP gives the user the opportunity to incorporate all the other data flows within the organization into their accounts payable planning and accounts payable strategy. Using one window to see the entire spend workflow and ERP data saves time and reduces errors,” said Kevin Permenter, research director at IDC.

The software is currently available in the US, and Oracle is offering free implementation, no charges for bill scanning, plus a 50% discount on the subscription fee to its first 1,000 customers for AP Automation.

CPQ tool streamlines sales process

NetSuite also introduced a new add-on sales application, NetSuite Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ). The software, according to the company, will help enterprise sales teams configure, price and quote complex products accurately and reliably, directly from with the NetSuite ERP.

While the guided selling feature is designed to allow enterprises to find the exact products and services needed from thousands of SKUs by providing an e-commerce-like catalog experience and filtering tools, the configurator feature allows enterprises to save time spent on reworking orders by applying customizable rules that ensure every configuration, across product and service features, is correct.

The add-on tool, which is priced separately from the core NetSuite ERP system, is currently being offered only in the North America region and includes features such as a proposal generator, bill of materials calculator and e-commerce integration.

ERP Systems

In a push to continue its growth momentum, NetSuite recently took a leaf out of Oracle’s  playbook to reach more cloud ERP customers, starting referral rewards and association-buying programs.  Several months after the launch of the programs, they appear to be having an effect, according to NetSuite.

The programs from NetSuite, which was acquired by Oracle for $9.3 billion in 2016, are similar to its corporate parent’s Support Rewards program, which offers enterprises deals on support costs if they reach a certain cloud infrastructure spend.

“We launched these programs as we’re looking to grow. We’re continuously looking at how can we find new ways to reach folks that we’re not talking to today,” said Ranga Bodla, vice president of field marketing and engagement at NetSuite.

Now, three months after the programs were launched, the company has seen a 20% jump in leads when compared to the same three months a year back, according to Bodla. In addition, he said, the referral programs have accounted for 9% of annual recurring revenue (ARR) from new customers during the three-month period.

The new revenue is fueling a business that already appears to be on an upward trajectory.  In total, NetSuite ERP cloud revenue was up 30% in constant currency terms for the company’s first quarter of its fiscal year, said Oracle CEO Safra Catz during an earnings call earlier this month.

The NetSuite referral program, dubbed SuiteReferral, offers rewards and other benefits to enterprises that invite peers to join the NetSuite community.

SuiteReferral program offers discounts

SuiteReferral participants will receive a referral fee equivalent to 10% of the new customer’s first year license, the company said, adding that more referrals will lead to benefits such as discounts on training as well as access to NetSuite’s Learning Cloud Support and SuiteGurus.

SuiteGurus, according to the company, is a cohort of NetSuite Support subject matter experts who can provide technical support for various NetSuite product areas including supply chain management and manufacturing, receivables and payables management, and the SuiteCommerce and SuiteCloud platforms.

There are three categories of memberships (bronze, silver and gold), depending on the number of referrals in a year, with a growing list of benefits, the company said.  

The other marketing initiative—the NetSuite Associations and Buying Groups Program—is aimed at associations comprised of groups of businesses.

“This new initiative will provide access to an engaged and growing number of businesses and valuable benefits through educational events, networking opportunities, and exclusive group discounts,” Bodla said.

Some of the buying groups already enlisted in the program include US associations such as  the Nationwide Marketing Group, the Independent Laboratory Distributors Association (ILDA), and the National Association of Wholesale Distributors (NAW).

The two new programs, according to Constellation Research’s principal analyst Ray Wang, are the company’s first and most explicit effort to continue its growth momentum in a cost-effective manner.

“Referral programs by partners drive down customer acquisitions costs and are much more qualified leads,” Wang said, adding that NetSuite’s buying groups channel strategy can scale out if they have the right buying groups.

NetSuite is sold primarily to midmarket enterprises, but has a wide global footprint, an analysis from Gartner showed.

“Oracle NetSuite’s offering should be considered by midsize product-centric organizations that are seeking a single-vendor solution,” the market research firm wrote.

The new rewards programs, according to Wang, will help NetSuite as there is an intense battle for lucrative midmarket customers.

Currently, NetSuite has over 30,000 customers compared to over 28,000 customers at this time last year, according to Bodla. The company had 12,000 customers when it was acquired by Oracle in 2016.

ERP Systems