Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

NetSuite Lands Commerce Deal With Williams-Sonoma

NetSuite, the cloud software company known for helping medium-sized companies run their business, landed a bigger one as a customer today.

At its SuiteWorld conference in San Jose, Calif., today, CEO Zach Nelson announced that cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma had picked NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce product as the backbone of its expansion into Australia.

If you think back, it was a year ago tomorrow that NetSuite moved into what it called at the time commerce-as-a-service, adding another option to the blank-as-a-service meme that tends to crop up in discussions around companies that offer pretty much anything via cloud infrastructure.

Nelson told me that Williams-Sonoma was able to roll the entire service out to four brands in three months. “It’s a very important win for us,” he said.

The point of SuiteCommerce is to create a seamless experience for customers, whether they’re buying something online or on the Web. As customers have essentially come to expect to be able to buy anything and everything online, the traditional back-end commerce engines like Microsoft’s Dynamics, Sage and others have tended to be imperfectly combined with patchwork products for selling on the Web.

The combination has never been ideal. Customer-facing bits have rarely if ever been unified with the ones that also face suppliers. That has a way of complicating things like managing inventory and supply chains. And things are getting even more complicated as machines are programmed to automatically buy things from other machines based on a predefined set of circumstances.

NetSuite built SuiteCommerce to speak directly to the core enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions that are already its bread and butter. In English, that means that the new engine comes into the process already knowing everything it needs to know about the business.

Separately NetSuite announced a partnership with AutoDesk, the design software company, that it says will speed up the process of designing and manufacturing a product, and also help take costs out along the way.

It’s also worth noting that NetSuite shares are trading at their highest levels ever today. They’re up 2.5 percent to $94.42.

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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google