If I would have told you one year ago that Microsoft and NetSuite would be collaborating, you may have balked at the thought. However, two months after SuiteWorld 2015, here we are, awaiting the second prong of their “alliance” to be rolled out. So what could cause two of the leading competitors in the mid-size ERP software market to come to the table and work together at all? Because NetSuite and Microsoft value their customers happiness, and sometimes in order to make your customers happy you have to make a deal with a rival. And this deal comes in the form of a NetSuite Office 365 Integration application that should be rolled out in the following months.
This is not the first time competitors have come together over the mutual interest of their customers. Apple, Microsoft, and Google have all had to find ways to work with each others platforms and applications because they understand that they have mutual customers. Some people, like me, have a penchant for Apple hardware but prefer to run Google software. So Google and Apple have worked out a way for me to get the software I want on the device that I want by working together. They respect my opinions as a consumer and see more value in improving my current customer experience than attempting to get me to defect to one platform or another entirely.
The situation with Microsoft and NetSuite is not that different. Some companies prefer NetSuite to handle their ERP, CRM, and/or their eCommerce needs but still rely on Office 365 for administrative and business intelligence purposes. And as the adoption of both NetSuite and Office 365 continues to rise so does their number of mutual customers. So instead of ignoring this information both sides have agreed to work together to improve the customer experience for a growing percentage of their customers.
Value from a NetSuite Office 365 Integration
Not many details about the scope of the integration have been released. NetSuite’s press release only mentions “seamless access to both technologies from within a single interface.” However, with a little imagination it’s not hard to speculate about the potential for value behind a NetSuite Office 365 integration.
A large amount of value can be created through a proper integration of NetSuite and Excel. Even though there is pressure to move past spreadsheets, they are still in use by a majority of businesses today and in the right hands can be a valuable tool. If NetSuite took any notes from third-party developers that have already created Excel-NetSuite integrations we may see features like, the ability to update or delete NetSuite records while in Excel, removal of the need to import CSV files between the platforms, and the ability to use NetSuite saved searches on records stored in Excel.
Also, I imagine a large amount of value being created with the integration of NetSuite and Microsoft’s business intelligence project, Power BI. Power BI is an ever-improving collection of BI tools that allow people to visualize and dissect data in all kinds of useful ways. Considering how much data is stored in NetSuite and what Power BI can do with that data it’s easy to say a lot of people will find this useful. Additionally, a built-in integration of NetSuite and Power BI will make NetSuite an even more complete solution and much more attractive to brands that wish to dip their toes into business intelligence.
We won’t need to speculate for long, as the integration should be rolling out in the next few months. However, with what can be created here, it’s not hard to see why this integration has happened. I’m sure there is more to be imagined. If you think I missed something worth talking about, bring it up it in the comment box below and as always thank you for reading!
**Update** It would appear that the native NetSuite office 365 integration project has fallen through the cracks. NetSuite often accompanies these announcements with fine print about “forward looking statements subject to changing” and this is a perfect example of why. **Update**
Jeremy McCourt is an content producer in the enterprise software industry that focuses on NetSuite and related cloud-based software solutions.
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