Netsuite 'glad to help rival SAP with their ERP'

Zach Nelson, chief executive at Netsuite, has publicly thanked rival SAP for renewing a cloud computing licence with his company, instead of using its own software.

Nelson told delegates at this week’s SuiteWorld conference in San Francisco: “Many Fortune 500 companies also run Netsuite, but we’re most pleased to say that SAP runs Netsuite. It has just renewed its licence.

“We’re delighted to be able to help them run their operations.”

Nelson later explained that he was referring to a $1 million deal at SAP acquisition SuccessFactors.

The claims prompted a swift response from SAP, which said that “in only six weeks” following its acquisition of SuccessFactors last year, it implemented SAP cloud systems including Business ByDesign across the new unit. However, it did not directly address whether or not it used Netsuite for some SuccessFactors operations.

Nelson insisted during a press briefing that “as a public company” Netsuite could not say it had signed such a contract if it had not done so. He added that Netsuite switched off its own instance of SuccessFactors, used for employee reviews, after SAP bought that company.

He added that he nevertheless recognised the popularity of SAP among businesses, and that many SAP-based companies were implementing Netsuite to enable faster ERP rollouts as they establish new business units.

“Many companies know they are always going to have SAP,” he said, “but you see companies putting in Netsuite in their most pressing environments, where they want results and can’t wait 36 months for SAP to show up and implement it.”

Nelson has had combatitive words for SAP in the past - but these are perhaps unsurprising given that Netsuite is approximately half owned by Larry Ellison, chief executive at SAP’s arch rival, Oracle.

Last December, Nelson claimed SAP was effectively forced to make a multibillion dollar entry into cloud computing with its SuccessFactors acquistion, because industry needs were changing and customers were tiring of multi-year on premise deployments.

“The acquisition of SuccessFactors doesn't solve SAP's core problem,” he said. “No company runs its business on SuccessFactors – it's fine for HR stuff but it's not a management suite.”

SAP said this week at its Sapphire conference in Orlando that it was “accelerating” its cloud strategy, announcing cloud solutions for different lines of business to manage people, money, customers and suppliers.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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