NetSuite has announced and add-on module for its hosted ERP (enterprise resource planning) software can help multinational businesses manage and reconcile their financial activities in real time.
NetSuite OneWorld can "roll up" financial transactions to the regional and worldwide level, while employing the appropriate currency rates in a given region, according to the company.
For example, a sales employee in Germany would work with and enter figures in euro, but a regional manager based in the UK could see that transaction reflected in pounds, the company said. Currency rates get updated automatically, according to NetSuite.
Similar scenarios can be applied to e-commerce Web sites. Multiple company subsidiaries could have their own site, employing various pricing, localized tax and currency factors, through a single OneWorld account, NetSuite said.
NetSuite is also promoting the module's ability to provide real-time analytics into business operations. Data can be viewed and explored through a series of dashboards tailored for specific jobs, such as financial officers or salespeople.
Overall, the module "really extends this from being an accounting tool to a management tool," said C. Sean Rollings, vice president of product and industries marketing at NetSuite.
Company CEO Zach Nelson said, "With NetSuite OneWorld, we are really taking on SAP and Microsoft GP Dynamics.”
China Martens, senior software analyst at The 451 Group, said that the announcement was primarily aimed at potential SAP customers. The German-based software giant is “stressing the international nature of its Business ByDesign apps suite”. Microsoft, in contrast, “will only be offering SaaS CRM, not a suite, and initially only in North America.”
Martens also raised questions about NetSuite’s pricing. OneWorld's $1,999 per month cost “looks a little on the expensive side when stacked up against the $499 a customer pays per month for the NetSuite product and the $99 per user monthly charge.
“As the SaaS model takes hold, customers are being a lot more cost sensitive, particularly when it comes to add-ons.”
A NetSuite customer who has been beta testing OneWorld said it has indeed provided some of the efficiencies NetSuite claims.
"Previously we had to do our [financial] consolidation in Excel, because we had three different instances of their software running," said Tod Harmon, CFO of Six Apart, the parent company to a number of popular blogging services, including TypePad. "Even when you're consolidating in Excel, you can't do it at the account transaction level like we do now."
However, Harmon added that he'd like NetSuite to beef up the module's reporting capabilities.