SuiteConnect Sydney held on 5 April 2023 was a sell-out event and the first time NetSuite hosted its customers and partners since 2019.

“We have incredibly loyal and engaged customers and are fortunate to be in a position where we are helping businesses overcome the challenges of today,” NetSuite general manager of Australia and New Zealand, Scott Wiltshire told Retailbiz in a post-event interview.

“In the retail industry in particular, we are helping businesses do more with less by driving productivity and efficiency. SuiteConnect is our premiere event outside of SuiteWorld in Las Vegas – a flagship event for us, and we were fortunate to have our founder, Evan Goldberg in Australia, along with some executives from our global business team, to announce our new products. This demonstrates our investment in our customers and our ongoing commitment to helping them achieve their business goals.

“While our customers admit that times are tough, they are still looking to grow, be profitable and keep an eye on profitability and cashflow. Companies in Australia and New Zealand are resilient – it’s engrained in our culture to be up for the fight and look for solutions to the challenges.”

Product announcements

At SuiteConnect, NetSuite announced a series of new product innovations to help organisations run more efficiently and increase their bottom line.

NetSuite SuitePeople Workforce Management is a human resources solution to help onboarding and performance management by streamlining shift scheduling, automating wage calculations, and simplifying workforce time and attendance tracking.

“It’s part of our SuitePeople HR solutions, designed to put structure around processes for employee engagement, which is important given the challenges around finding and retaining employees. Retailers are reliant on a good quality workforce to provide good customer service – happy employees translate to happy customers,” Wiltshire explained.

NetSuite SuiteCommerce is an integrated e-commerce solution, designed to automate the front end of sales orders when fulfilling in-store and online purchases. “It offers a range of functionality including personalised recommendations and catalogues, quoting capabilities, visibility into real-time stock levels, and price and volume discounts.”

NetSuite Analytics Warehouse consolidates and centralises access to business data, including NetSuite transactional and historical data, as well as data from other cloud or on-premises applications. “This is supported by Cash360 which provides a configurable dashboard for complete view of cashflow which helps simplify cash management.  It offers visibility and links to key activities such as current cash balance, cash flow forecasts, accounts payable and receivable balances, as well as cash flow trends.”

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting offers analytical solutions to give a business better control and visibility for more insightful, smarter decision-making. “It automates manual budgeting and forecasting processes, typically replacing spreadsheets or notes and connects to multiple systems.”

Customer challenges

While Wiltshire acknowledged that inflation and rising costs are of concern, staff shortages are an even bigger concern for businesses as they become desperate to fill roles.

“NetSuite helps organisations with visibility around customer demand through our Planning and Budgeting solution, as well as our CRM. We are looking ahead – what’s in the future? What’s demand going to look like and how am I going to handle it? Then we look at our Analytics, Warehouse and Demand Planning for inventory management and order management systems; what products do I have and what do I need to fulfill? How do I get it? Where is it? And then what are the costs – the actual costs with shipping, tariffs and duties included, particularly if products are being imported from overseas. That’s where the challenge of currency fluctuations also comes in,” he said.

“Having visibility has never been more important because you need to predict your costs to manage profitability and fulfill orders quickly at a profit. To have alerts, dashboards and workflows around supply chain costs gives you incredible agility. It also gives retailers comfort to know exactly what their costs are, to ensure they’re making the right decisions around their pricing strategy.”

Focus on growth and profitability

NetSuite works with many companies that are still in growth mode, serving a need for businesses that have outgrown accounting packages or are moving from an ERP with multiple integrations to different disparate systems, according to Wiltshire.

“They’re looking for complete visibility and a single source of truth, which is where we add value,” he said.

“While our customers are eyeing growth, their priority is profitability – which is what our latest product announcements focus on. How do we help customers tackle the challenge of staying profitable?

“Looking ahead, given NetSuite customers are incredibly loyal, we expect them to bring more of their systems or processes inside NetSuite. They will continue to show resilience and that fighting spirit we see in Australian and New Zealand retailers, and we will continue to help them provide the best service to their employees and end customers.”

What’s next for NetSuite?

At SuiteConnect, there was a lot of engagement at the Learning Lab.

“This was designed to help people understand our adoption, education and optimisation services. Essentially our solution is updated   twice a year, with two major upgrades and all customers are on the same version. The system doesn’t get older; in fact, it gets newer,” Wiltshire said.

“There are two different trajectories; the system that’s growing and the customer who is growing their business, so it’s important to have optimisation services that we call advanced customer support. Our education services like learning cloud support, a cloud-based online and in-person hybrid learning service, helps businesses get the most out of NetSuite products.

“Our investment is about how we close the value gap between what businesses need and what they already have. NetSuite has a team of individuals dedicated to each customer, so they can understand their business and the industry that they’re working in. We’re constantly innovating and helping our customers find new ways of doing more with less.”