Netsuite ditches AWS as it kisses and makes up with Microsoft

Two hands shaking over a desk

Microsoft and Netsuite have joined forces to create a cloud alliance that will see the latter integrate its ERP platform with Microsoft Office 365, Windows and Azure.

The news marks a move away from Netsuite viewing Microsoft as the enemy to that of strategic partner and comes as a shock to those who are used to hearing the firm take aim at competitors including but not limited to Microsoft.

The partnership has many facets. The initial phase will see Netsuite integrated with Azure AD to enable single sign-on and better pasword management. Later this year, the firms will start integrating Office 365 and Netsuite with the aim of boosting end user productivity and aid more intelligent real-time decision making through enhanced BI and data visualisation.

Lastly, also this year, Netsuite will sever its ties with AWS to embrace Azure as its cloud infrastructure platform of choice. Netsuite will still support customers who have established AWS implementations.

"The world is changing, not just us but traditional software vendors too. I’ve actually moved Microsoft into the partnership slide section for the first time. We do compete with Microsoft and, historically, haven’t found a way to work together. When Satya Nadella came in, there was a sea change. We began to think about what we could do differently and we have found some amazing places to partner," Netsuite CEO Zach Nelson told delegates at the firm’s Suiteworld conference in San Jose.

“We’re super excited about this announcement. Tighter integration of Office 365 and Netsuite is going to be great for all of us. Combining those two products will be amazing. The Azure platform has a couple of key elements for us. One is using it internally and secondarily for apps you’re building - whether you’re a partner or a customer. This is just the beginning. We’re doing these things this year. There is a variety of other areas we will find great ways to partner to bring benefits to all of you.”

Nelson has previously poked fun at competitors during his keynote addresses at Suiteworld. So, what has changed? Netsuite’s recently appointed CMO, Fred Studer, for one.

He worked at Microsoft for many years prior to joining Microsoft and played a key role in the launch of Office 365.

"Fred was a really big part of the Microsoft deal. He actually made the call that made the call happen," Nelson said.

Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella didn't join Nelson on stage, but he did have his say via video link. What's more, the first email Nelson and Studer received post-keynote was from Nadella to congratulate them on the deal.

"The cloud presents an unprecedened opportunity for organisations to transform. Today, we are just beginning to see what is possible with unlimited cloud computing and rich platforms to reason over data in real-time. [This partnership] opens the doors to both front and back offices," Nadella said.

"Together, we are focused on empowering the smallest of incubators to the largest of enterprises to see the opportunties and thrive in a mobile-first, cloud-first world."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.