Being a veteran of countless ERP solution user conferences, I’m actually shocked to tell you that I’m really excited about the upcoming SuiteWorld 2012 event in San Francisco, May 14–17.

Normally when you attend a user conference hosted by a major ERP vendor, it’s quite a daunting task. Users, employees and partners are encouraged to wear numerous colored ribbons as an adornment to their conference badge to identify not only the industry vertical within which they operate but which solution(s) they might use or support. That extends the usual badge glance to an embarrassingly exaggerated stare while you try and figure out if the person you’re talking to is using the same solution hairball as you are.

With NetSuite, every single user (and we are talking thousands) who attends SuiteWorld will be on the same base version—and that’s a HUGE advantage. Why?

Customers aren’t limited to which partners / add-ons they can consider using because ALL of those partners are interfacing to single version that is always current.

Partners aren’t limited to which customers they can target because ALL of those customers are on the current version.

NetSuite itself doesn’t have to waste valuable development resources supporting multiple older releases of the application because EVERYONE is on the same page. Pretty cool!

Those are three relatively short statements which on their own are rather innocuous, but the key here is that nobody is operating on their own. When you become a NetSuite customer or partner, you’re joining a global community. What does that mean? How does it compare to traditional on-premise ERP solutions?

With an on-premise application, have you ever wondered what your annual maintenance fee is ACTUALLY going towards? Your average non-SaaS application is supporting in the neighborhood of six to eight previous releases of the application. So while the on-premise ERP vendor might tell you that they are spending 15% to 25% of annual revenue on development, is that on NEW functionality or on maintaining partners and customers who are on older but supported versions of their application?

On the other hand, every development dollar that NetSuite spends is actually going into future functionality—responding to customer requests and enhancing solutions based on our roadmap.

So in the words of the famous musketeer, D'Artagnan: "All for One & One for All"

Gavin Davidson — Vertical Market Expert, Manufacturing