At SuiteWorld 2022, Oracle NetSuite’s annual conference held in Las Vegas, they announced that the company is adding an array of new applications and features to NetSuite ERP, which is based in cloud technology. These new apps are designed to improve NetSuite Automation capabilities.
This improvement will allow NetSuite to compete with rivals like Zoho, Epicor, Unit4, Acumatica, Infor, IFS, and Microsoft Dynamics in a variety of sectors, which include banking, HR, sales, finance, and supply chain.
As company leaders are now being forced to navigate problems resulting from one geopolitical crisis after another, including the pandemic, they are starting to turn their attention to automation for solutions.
In an effort to reduce the number of hours employees are spending on different low-value processes, companies are turning to automation that can free up resources by helping workers make fewer mistakes by doing repetitive tasks.
This way a company can use its resources on more strategic areas of the business.
In a business environment increasingly being influenced by digital innovation, Oracle NetSuite ERP is targeting the types of companies that do not have the resources or ability to build entire systems from the ground up and need a pre-packaged solution that can be easily deployed.
Let’s see what’s now become available in NetSuite ERP.
Accounts Payable (AP) Automation
NetSuite AP Automation is one aspect of their SuiteBanking application and currently available in the U.S. According to NetSuite they have developed the first unified platform for embedding financial technology into ERP. This way businesses get quick and easy access to a range of financial services from within just one suite.
However, these same capabilities have been flourishing among European accountants who have been using Countingup, Xero, AutoEntry, QuickBooks Online, Modulr, Dext, and a number of other third-party fintech and transaction capture apps.
In which areas can NetSuite automation help AP?
It can more easily and quickly capture vendor bills with fewer mistakes by eliminating the need for manual data entry since it automates the bill capture process in its entirety.
Bills are simply scanned with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and AI/ML (Machine Learning) object detection, which captures applicable information, such as vendor name, PO number, what was ordered and in what quantity, along with pricing.
All these details are then changed into digital text, so NetSuite ERP can automatically create a record of the bill. This is done with the help of machine learning from previous bills and then pre-populates the relevant fields.
With a side-by-side picture of the bill, AP teams can then review and approve.
Bill Matching & Approvals
To avoid paying fraudulent bills, duplicate payments, or overpaying vendor bills, AP personnel can use automated bill matching. This will allow for vendor bills to be two- or even three-way matched with exact purchase orders to verify that details like quantity, unit pricing, and totals are correct.
When businesses use SuiteApprovals, incoming bills are sent to the right AP personnel to be reviewed and approved.
Also, automated reminders can be used to ensure that bills are paid on time and there are no late charges or undue debts piling up.
Automated bill paying can improve the speed and accuracy of bill paying processes. Payments to vendors are processed using HSBC services, allowing for payments to be made by check, ACH, or a virtual credit card. The business’ bank account is still used to back up payments.
The HSBC virtual credit card is built into the system, offering qualified businesses a secure and easy way to pay their vendors without having to maintain a standard credit card, which comes with more risks.
The ‘single-use’ credit card number is automatically generated and so offers the payer an added layer of protection and peace of mind. Vendors are informed when the payment has been successfully made.
Reconciliation of Payments
Automated payment reconciliation can increase accounting data accuracy by eliminating the need for a manual reconciliation, which is far more prone to errors. This allows for a speedier period end closing.
A rules-based intelligent engine gets busy matching and reconciling charges on the virtual credit card while also flagging any discrepancies, so the AP personnel can review them.
In addition to that, any missing entries, like bank fees, can be automatically created, eliminating the potential for more errors while also saving more time.
This is actually a dashboard that gives users a complete view of their HSBC online accounts, including payments history and upcoming payables.
It was the customer needs of American businesses that initially drove the banking aspect of this function. We are still waiting for Oracle NetSuite to inform us of its plans for extending this functionality to open banking APIs, which would certainly broaden its reach internationally.
Oracle NetSuite is currently making available to implement AP Automation for free, with no bill scanning charges, plus they are offering a 50% subscription discount to the first 1,000 customers wanting this function.
Human Resources (HR) Automation
To automate certain HR tasks, Ocarle NetSuite has incorporated a workforce management software into its SuitePeople application to manage issues like calculating wages and tracking attendance.
Using these tools, management can schedule shifts, keep a record of worker engagement, and calculate operational and labour metrics.
An innovative new visual tool will enable businesses to do away with standalone scheduling apps or spreadsheets. Teams will also be able to combine data from forecasts, scheduling templates, labour deployment models and costs to develop staffing plans.
For employees of retail stores, scheduling has always been their top pain point, because they not only need flexibility in setting up their schedules, they also want as many days and hours as possible.
However, the spreadsheets that many NetSuite clients typically use to set up schedules these days are sadly too inadequate.
To automatically track attendance, NetSuite EPR’s management tools also have a so-called SuitePeople Time Clock, which can collect biometric fingerprints and photo capture from employees. These options do away with the risk that one employee could log in and out of work for another employee who didn’t actually show up on that day.
Using these additional SuitePeople functions, HR can automatically calculate wages since data from Time Clock can now go right into the payroll tool to be processed.
SuitePeople’s Workforce Management tools actually come as a result of NetSuite having acquired Adi Insights in May 2022. This functionality is currently available in Australia, Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand.
Eliminating Manual Configure, Price & Quote (CPQ)
NetSuite CPQ is a new capability that came as a result of the company’s acquisition of Verenia in January 2022. This allows businesses to generate complicated sales proposals reliably and accurately right from Oracle NetSuite ERP.
This app is capable of totally replacing manual CPQ spreadsheet processes while providing guided selling features that help businesses determine the product SKUs that should be included in the proposal. Also adds the correct pricing, and automatically generates the quote.
What is amazing about this functionality is that it can transform this quote into an actual proposal and once approved, it becomes the Sales Order (SO). Validation rules are used for sure to ensure a correct configuration.
A bill of materials is automatically created, which is linked to NetSuite ERP production modules to manage tasks like work order assembly and work in progress. In the end, everything appears in the financial module.
By providing users with the filtering tools and a catalogue experience like you find in e-commerce transactions, the configurator feature enables businesses to save the time that they would otherwise spend on reworking orders by implementing customizable rules that make sure that every configuration among all product and service features is as it should be.
NetSuite CPQ has proven to be helpful to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, however Oracle NetSuite may next find a CPQ solution they can acquire that is designed more for services. Since NetSuite has many professional service clients in the market, they will be happy being offered such functionality.
This add-on tool is priced separately from the basic NetSuite Cloud ERP system and is only available in North America at the moment. It includes features that automatically generates proposals, calculates a bill of materials, and enables e-commerce integration.
Warehouse Management Mobile Application
NetSuite has now introduced an innovative new mobile app called NetSuite Ship Central. It is part of the company’s warehouse management system (WMS).
A WMS software is usually tasked with optimising warehouse tasks like inventory control and allocating manpower.
This new mobile app can be installed on a mobile kiosk device and has the ability to minimise transit times and overall shipping costs.
The Ship Central app was developed to eliminate many of the steps it takes to prepare shipments, to streamline multiple shipments at once, and provide real-time tracking of shipments.
NetSuite Ship Central is now available in the U.S. and according to Oracle, and their plans were for it to be made available worldwide by November 2022.
Further Additions From SuiteWorld 2022
Intercompany netting automates the processes involved in transactions occurring among linked businesses. This can be very useful to most of Oracle NetSuite ERP customers that operate multiple international branches.
A revamped Rebates & Trade Promotions handles administrative tasks involving trade offers and discounts, to ensure that you always offer your customer the best price. Ii is crucial for any business if they want to compete effectively in the current environment. In the wholesale distribution market, this can make all the difference between a profitable wholesale company to one that is not really.
Wrapping It Up
NetSuite’s innovative new apps provide the types of functionality that customers worldwide need.
All in all, these newly added applications should help Oracle NetSuite ERP to remain competitive in the midsize business ERP market.
Founder Evan Goldberg and Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit executive vice president said in his SuiteWorld 2022 keynote speech that NetSuite continues to rapidly grow. As proof, he claims they have added 5,000 new customers between 2021 and now.
With the exception of bank reconciliation and machine learning data capture tools, which are not really new, the tools mentioned above are the type of high-tech enhancements you should expect from an innovative ERP software.
These new features are being driven by demand from aggressive-growing international companies that are in continuous search of automation solutions to help them grow even faster, reduce more costs, and increase operational efficiency.