NetSuite and AI - SuiteWorld 2023

NetSuite’s Evan Goldberg Looks to ‘Quantum Leap’ from AI

For 25 years, NetSuite has been all about helping growing companies do more with less. Now, advances in AI portend a “quantum leap” in the company’s ability to deliver on that promise to customers, founder Evan Goldberg said in his kickoff keynote at SuiteWorld 2023.

A speaker who joined Goldberg on stage described AI as changing how humans and computers interact in ways even bigger than the iPhone and Mosaic browser did over recent decades. The challenge falls on every organization to figure out how to use AI well.

“How do you enable employees and customers to access data and information very quickly, to get answers, generate insights, make better decisions, and ultimately have the impact on intellectual labor that the steam engine had on physical labor?” asked Martin Kon, president and COO of Cohere, an Oracle partner that develops large language AI models.

“How do you enable employees and customers to access data and information very quickly, to get answers, generate insights, make better decisions, and ultimately have the impact on intellectual labor that the steam engine had on physical labor?"

Goldberg offered examples of how NetSuite is embedding AI capabilities into its products to improve business processes and decisions.

  • NetSuite Planning and Budgeting uses AI-based predictive analytics to help financial managers learn from data and fine tune their forecasts.
  • NetSuite Bill Capture uses document object detection and optical character recognition (OCR), augmented by AI and machine learning, to bring invoice data into NetSuite faster, with fewer errors, and with no manual effort. The data recognition tools learn from previous invoices to improve accuracy. “It’s a perfect example of AI in everyday tasks,” Goldberg said.
  • NetSuite Supply Chain Control Tower uses AI to predict potential supply issues, alert planners and buyers, and offer options to help resolve the problems.

Looking near term, NetSuite will offer text enhance capability using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s (OCI) generative AI service. Text Enhance will do tasks such as writing purchase or sales descriptions based on core requirements. Its focus will be on providing practical help within a person’s daily workflow, by embedding Gen AI capabilities that draw on a company’s data within NetSuite. “We’ve taken this great generative AI capability and contextualized it within NetSuite,” Goldberg said.

Don’t wait to start using AI in production, advised Kon, whose company focuses on applying AI to enterprise use cases. “Pick something and start with it,” he said.

Talking with Goldberg on stage, Kon compared this moment in AI’s development to when businesses were first deciding whether they should run applications in the cloud—a movement NetSuite helped build starting with its founding in 1998. Early cloud adopters gained a major advantage, he said. Likewise, he encouraged leaders to find a business operation where they can use AI now in production at scale.

“That’s what I think is going to separate the winners and losers,” Kon said.

"Text Enhance will do tasks such as writing purchase or sales descriptions based on core requirements. Its focus will be on providing practical help within a person’s daily workflow, by embedding Gen AI capabilities that draw on a company’s data within NetSuite."

New NetSuite products drive growth and efficiency

Moving beyond the AI innovation story, Goldberg acknowledged the tough economic environment: high interest rates, tight financial capital, fierce competition, and pressures to drive efficiency and cost savings.

“But there’s more to life than belt tightening,” he said. “The goal is to grow your business—the ‘accomplish more’ part of accomplish more and spend less.”

Goldberg noted several times how NetSuite customers with higher growth rates tend to use more of the suite to drive and manage that success. Customers of NetSuite Planning and Budgeting, for example, are growing their sales transactions at nearly three times the rate of NetSuite customers that don’t use that module. Among manufacturers, those using NetSuite’s Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ) module are growing 50% faster than NetSuite manufacturer customers that don’t. Such correlations underpin the SuiteWorld 2023 theme of SuiteUP.

With that backdrop, Goldberg highlighted a series of new NetSuite cloud services aimed at helping teams deliver better insights, run more efficiently, and increase revenue and cash flow:

  • NetSuite Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) bundles NetSuite Planning and Budgeting, Account Reconciliation, Financial Close Management, and Enhanced Reporting. Together, they connect the financial planning, financial close, and reporting processes to give decision-makers better visibility
  • NetSuite Capital lets companies accelerate accounts receivables payments by submitting invoices and getting paid early. It’s a way to borrow against AR without taking on a loan.
  • NetSuite Pay helps companies onboard new merchant accounts, with prenegotiated rates and fees.
  • NetSuite Electronic Invoicing helps companies deal with e-invoicing, which many countries are now requiring. The service is powered by longtime NetSuite partner Avalara.
  • Field service management for NetSuite helps ensure that companies’ field teams have the right information, equipment, and assignments to serve customers in one trip. It’s based on NetSuite’s recently completed Next Technik acquisition.
  • NetSuite Analytics Warehouse lets NetSuite customers pull data from a mix of sources inside and outside the software suite. Now, analysts can embed those visualizations directly into NetSuite dashboards.
  • NetSuite Benchmark 360 lets organizations analyze financial metrics and compare them with metrics from similar organizations in their industry and region. It also provides recommendations on how to improve. “Wouldn’t it be great to compare your performance against your peers?” Goldberg asked.
  • NetSuite Flexible License Model allows companies to buy smaller slices of NetSuite products so they can give more employees access to a limited set of features at a lower cost. The model starts with NetSuite Warehouse Management System (WMS), so staff can access just what they use for pick-pack-ship work, for example. “You pay for what you need,” Goldberg said.

AI depends on good, complete data

As companies apply AI to enterprise use cases, they’ll need accurate and comprehensive data to feed those models. Because NetSuite puts all application data in one place, the data customers use for AI is more likely to be up to date, accurate, and accessible, and to represent all facets of the business, Goldberg said. “As you use more of the suite, you’re going to get more powerful AI, because AI is only as good as the data that you feed to it,” he said.

Goldberg left the audience with a vision of how NetSuite will continue to weave AI throughout its product lines, giving people in finance, HR, operations, and sales insights they wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

“The breakthroughs that we’ve seen recently make it seem like this time is as revolutionary as that time 25 years ago when we introduced the cloud,” Goldberg said.

"Because NetSuite puts all application data in one place, the data customers use for AI is more likely to be up to date, accurate, and accessible, and to represent all facets of the business."

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This article was written by Chris Murphy, Senior Content Director at Oracle NetSuite, and was originally posted to the Oracle NetSuite Blog on October 18, 2023.