NetSuite adds new business insight

NetSuite Inc. restocked its analytics arsenal today with the announcement of new dashboard features and more than 20 new, pre-canned key performance indicators (KPIs) designed to give users insight into their businesses' operations.

The San Mateo, Calif., hosted CRM and accounting provider added KPIs to identify areas such as quota-bearing headcounts, commissions and new customers. Many of the KPI additions are sales related. NetSuite will also feature a new portlet to simplify the process of changing KPIs on the dashboard.

"They've definitely been building on capabilities to look at different indicators and the ad hoc query capabilities," said Laurie McCabe, vice president of Boston-based Summit Strategies. "The differentiator with NetSuite - features aside - is the fact that it's integrated with the accounting system. They can look at a completes set of indicators."

In fact, NetSuite emphasized accounting integration as a differentiator from its hosted CRM competitors, including

"The only thing missing from most CRM systems is anything about the customer," said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson. "The white elephant in the room is customer data".

In the latest release, new ad hoc querying will allow users to ask and answer "what if" questions easily via Quick Add, Quick Sort and Extreme List Editing features, according to NetSuite. The new features also include spruced up graphing capabilities and an option for users to change their screen colors. Many of the improvements arose from customer requests, Nelson said.

The features will be available at no additional charge in early February. NetSuite also announced plans to significantly increase its sales staff. The company, which has its roots in accounting software, said it signed 75 stand-alone CRM deals in 2003.

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