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NetSuite 11.0 Packs AJAX, Scripts and Specialty Versions

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Posted April 10, 2006 By Dan Muse     Feedback

The newest iteration of the popular Web-based application boasts an AJAX-based user interface, SuiteScript for customization and new industry-specific editions.

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With the Oakland Coliseum and the Athletics game against the New York Yankees as the backdrop, on-demand application provider NetSuite took the wraps off NetSuite Version 11.0. The new version boasts an AJAX-based user interface, SuiteScript to allow nontechnical people to customize the application for their business processes and two new industry-specific versions.

Packed With AJAX
NetSuite has long supported AJAX (short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), but in version 11.0 the company looked to take it a step further by implementing AJAX on every application page. "There's lots of AJAX everywhere," said Mini Peiris, NetSuite's vice-president of product management. By combining several Web technologies, AJAX  lets on-demand applications quickly update to the user interface without reloading the entire browser page.

The Version 11.0 AJAX-powered user interface, Peiris said, eliminates the need for scrolling thanks to dashboard portlets that can be expanded or collapsed individually, re-designed data forms that group related information in tabs and the use of hierarchical trees to navigate more detailed levels.

Also, enhanced graphical report snapshots and trend graphs are designed to make dashboards easier to read, according to NetSuite. Bar graphs include data on each bar when moused-over while letting you drill down to a specific bar for even more detail. Every Dashboard also has a Create New bar that links to popular tasks. Customer scan modify the bars to let them access common workflows with one click.

Stick to the Script
"Every business is unique, and SuiteScript let you customize [NetSuite] to your workflow," Peiris said. SuiteScript is based on JavaScript and provides APIs to NetSuite objects or custom objects added by customers.

SuiteScripts can be triggered by events such as when you add or change a record. "Because it's based on JavaScript, it's easy to understand and build on," Peiris said. She added that the written scripts are based on parameters that are easy to change.

For example, when a new order comes in, you can use SuiteScript to send a follow up e-mail automatically based on the customer profile. Or if an account balance is more than 60 days outstanding, an e-mail can be sent to the customer explaining that the payment is overdue and outlining the consequences of nonpayment. By changing the parameters in SuiteScript, a business could customize those processes to match their workflow.

Vertical Leap
Last month, NetSuite announced its first industry-specific version — NetSuite Software Company Edition. Peiris said since NetSuite is a customer of its own application "we have best practices knowledge. It's a natural fit." The target audience, she said, is software-development firms with 25 to 250 employees.

Today, the company expanded its industry-specific push with NetSuite Services Company Edition and NetSuite Wholesale/Distribution Edition.

NetSuite Services Company Edition is designed to provide consulting and professional services firms with on-demand applications especially designed for project-based work. The new version offers role-based dashboards to let consultants and managers track the status of each project. NetSuite Services Company Edition is designed to automatically track and project metrics such as percentage completed and time budgeted and spent on project tasks. NetSuite added tracking and reporting features to help managers analyze and optimize employees' workloads, efficiency and availability.

Because NetSuite Services Company Edition integrates all enterprise applications, services firms can monitor business processes from both a project management and a cost/revenue perspective, according to Netsuite. The on-demand solution has a base price of $1,499 per month base, plus $99 per user, per month.

The NetSuite Wholesale/Distribution Edition is designed to help wholesalers and distributors manage their business cycle from lead generation through sales, warehouse and inventory management and shipping — with accounting support along the way.

NetSuite said that the business processes of small- and mid-sized wholesale/distribution companies are as challenging as those of large companies. Wholesalers and distributors face pressure from the complex requirements forced upon them by larger trading partners, global competition, slim margins and demanding customers.

Peiris said that they based the new edition on the best practices of NetSuite's existing 1,000 wholesale/distribution customers. The system links CRM with back-office inventory management, fulfillment and accounting processes. Features include advanced inventory and order fulfillment, demand-based inventory replenishment, wholesaler/distributor customer portal and CRM for distributors.

NetSuite's Wholesale/Distribution Edition is priced at $999 per month for the base suite and $99 per user per month.

The Yankees Lose
And, sports fans, the Oakland Athletics (a NetSuite customer) beat the Yankees 9-4 — though NetSuite didn't take credit for the win.

Dan Muse is executive editor of's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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