June 10, 2009, 1:30 PM — On-demand ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendor NetSuite on Wednesday announced a new financial planning module that customers can use to perform budgeting, forecasting, reporting and "what-if" analyses.
The module -- NetSuite's latest move to beef up its core platform by integrating with partner applications -- is based on technology from fellow SaaS (software-as-a-service) vendor Adaptive Planning. But NetSuite is selling the add-on through its own direct sales force.
Pricing hasn't been finalized, but it will likely employ a flat base fee plus per-user licenses, according to Mini Peiris, vice president of product marketing.
Adaptive Planning will host the software, meaning that under the hood, customers will be dealing with two separate cloud infrastructure platforms. NetSuite is working with Adaptive to ensure a consistent service-level agreement for customers, Peiris said.
Meanwhile, one NetSuite customer and long-time Adaptive Planning user who is already working with the new module said it is making life easier.
Previously, using the two applications together involved "a very tedious process" of pulling out files from NetSuite, working with them in Adaptive, then reversing the process, said Tom Kelly, chief financial officer of Kardia Health Systems, a Minnesota company that makes software for cardiology labs. "It [took] a long time."
ERP vendors such as SAP and Microsoft "always have their homegrown version of forecasting and budget planning," he said. But those applications, in Kelly's experience, have been less than satisfactory, and one he used "was a joke."
"By NetSuite doing this, you're really getting best of breed," he said.
Kelly, who has used Adaptive Planning as a stand-alone application for several years, said he is not concerned about SLA-related complications.
"I have never had an experience with an unplanned outage with Adaptive," he said.
Beyond that, outages that have struck various cloud services haven't caused catastrophes, he said. "I don't know of any companies that have gone out of business because of it. I've been at companies that have had [on-premises] e-mail outages that were a lot longer."
Meanwhile, NetSuite's announcement is likely just an initial step in a broader strategy, according to one industry observer.
"I do see this module/integration as likely to be a template for other NetSuite-branded modules drawing on partners' software," said 451 Group analyst China Martens.