Hosted CRM

While CRM is a big component of NetSuite, it's not the only tool included in the service. In fact the CRM element is just part of a package aimed at offering all the tools you could possibly need to run a small or medium sized business. The latest release - version 11 - is currently being rolled out and includes accounts, HR and customer support features alongside the CRM capabilities.

You can start using NetSuite as soon as you connect but it's best to spend sometime configuring the system and setting up its various modules. You'll find a set of startup tools that walk you through defining the information you want to use and designing the forms you need to capture it. You don't need to set up all the service components at the same time, but it is a good idea to work through them in the suggested order.

NetSuite will handle some of your telecoms needs too, including faxing, although you'll need an account with eFax to use this feature. You can link your NetSuite system to a telephone system directly, as well as synchronising records with Outlook and Palm PDAs, while emails can be sent using a variety of different templates. The platform goes a whole stage further, however, and can even be used to manage and run your corporate web presence - which includes the ability to manage an ecommerce store. And you can use NetSuite's web presence to give your customers access to their basic account information, so they can quickly see what orders they've made and how they're progressing.

The NetSuite interface takes advantage of AJAX techniques, making slow page refresh a thing of the past. You'll find the look and feel easy to modify, and that the site works in most browsers. A web services platform allows you to add functionality to NetSuite and to integrate it with legacy applications and existing line of business systems.

NetSuite's CRM tools handle a wide range of different CRM functions from sales force automation to building and managing a support knowledge base. You can use it to track and bill for time - important if you're running a service-based business. NetSuite boasts basic workflow features and it also allows you to escalate customer issues to the appropriate person. You can even use it to handle forecasting.

NetSuite's online business management model is a powerful tool for small and medium sized businesses. All the tools you need are in one place, and a common data model means that accounts have the same view of a customer relationship as your support and service departments.

This single customer view is the logical extension of the concepts behind CRM and gives the entire company access to the same information - helping make you and your team make the right decisions at the right time and, as such, NetSuite comes highly recommended.


NetSuite gets bigger and better all the time - and now adds AJAX into the mix