#NSW13 | Have Your Cake & Tweet it Too?

#NSW13 | Have Your Cake & Tweet it Too?


Since my early days of working at NetSuite in 2003, I wondered openly to my close friends & colleagues — “…is NetSuite a Rock Star company? Or is NetSuite instead a rock band that future Rock Star companies will look back to as the source of their inspiration…?” Think Robert Johnson for “Led Zeppelin”, or “Big Star” for “R.E.M.”, or “The Pixies” for “Nirvana”…

Back in 2003 I was hired as the first member of NetSuite’s Professional Services team to work on web store implementations. This year, “Ten Years Gone” at SuiteWorld 2013, in the more technical SuiteCommerce Advanced track — NetSuite’s recent acquisition play towards an e-commerce hit — a lyric from CEO Zach Nelson’s keynote kept echoing through my head… “Omni-Channel Commerce… “. What I realized is that NetSuite isn’t just aiming for an e-commerce hit album by providing an Amazon.com-like experience for the rest of us… No, instead NetSuite has raised its sights in an attempt to provide a whole new genre of commerce — a web-based transactional layer for each of its five core verticals, and beyond. The facet-based e-commerce infrastructure, built on a contemporary Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), web services seemingly always in mind, within a truly “responsive-design” framework — a model that when it comes together, will very likely get the crowd to their feet…

Zach Keynote Omni-Channel Commerce

And then while in another technical break-out session, a different lyric from CTO & Founder Evan Goldberg’s keynote resonated with me: “Unified Billing…“. In productizing the Contract Renewals module for NetSuite and later embracing Zuora’s “Subscription Economy” in full — I know all too well the members-of-the-band challenges of “omni-billing”. Sure, recurring billing is tricky — but throw some physical products or professional services in the mix — and most recurring billing systems fall over. Likewise, try billing customers over time or for time itself in a “Product Economy” app, and it gets really confused… what is the SKU — an hour, a day, a month? So when NetSuite announced its forthcoming release of “Unified Billing” at SuiteWorld 2013, I could not be more thrilled at that power chord riff… What could be more exciting to a billing geek than being able to bill for all products (things), services (time), subscriptions (recurring over time) and usage (tracked consumption) *on a single invoice*. Enough tracks there to fill at least one hit album, if not more…

Evan Keynote Unified Billing

So, needless to say — when NetSuite announced the selection of local Sacramento band “Cake” to play SuiteWorld 2013 — in similar fashion I was left wondering “…is Cake the rock band that NetSuite is asking to be compared with…?” Maybe I was reading too much into the choice of act — but the people I asked at the event who knew of “Cake” were definitely excited to see them live, as was I… But most of us were left wondering — is this the ideal event or venue to see one of the better alternative bands of the 1990s? Meaning, would “Cake” really be able to entertain, or better yet *rock* this mostly corporate technology crowd in San Jose? When lead singer John McCrae ended “Cake’s” rather bland set with “…Come out to a *real* “Cake” show, and you’ll hear some great music…”, I concluded that “Cake” is no longer a band of Rock Stars, if they ever were…

However, If NetSuite can pull off either one — or better yet *both* of “Omni-Channel Commerce” *and* “Unified Billing” — then they will be well on their way to a Grammy-winning album or two… //jp


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