Back in the 60s the Cold War left pushed for a solution to the U.S./Soviet ongoing conflict that they termed "peaceful coexistence."
NetSuite with its last two announcements, virtually on top of each other, seems to be aimed at selective version of that very same solution - peaceful coexistence with salesforce.com and SAP.
NetSuite & salesforce.com: From Cloud to Cloud First, last week, NetSuite announced SuiteCloudConnect with its partners - in particular, Pervasive, Cast Iron, Boomi and Celigo - set of tools and connectors/APIs that would allow customers to integrate salesforce.com CRM
applications with NetSuite ERP applications. Apparently this took salesforce.com by surprise with CEO Marc Benioff responding (according to MyCustomer.com)
"I don't know anything about this." "No one called me, no one talked to me about it. I don't know what it does. I've never had a customer contact me about Netsuite integration."
Actually, there's no reason he should know anything about it until he reads about it nor is there a reason anyone needed to call him. So that doesn't indicate anything in particular. But more on this later.
NetSuite and SAP
Within a week of the salesforce.com "we should all get along" announcement, NetSuite released their newest version of their "global edition" OneWorld, which adds the SuiteCloud Connector for SAP
so that companies with large investments in SAP on premise systems can retain their investments and still run divisions or a "local" entity in another nation on NetSuite. This is ERP-to-ERP, unlike the salesforce.com connector which is ERP-to-CRM.
NetSuite and Peaceful Coexistence
I've been a critic of NetSuite's sniping at SAP, as I am a critic of any vendor who spends time denigrating other vendors rather than standing on the merits of their products and their provided customer experience. However, this time they're making a wise move, actually focusing on their strengths and exploiting the holes in both SAP and salesforce's portfolio. The hole in the SAP portfolio is their lack of a SaaS product - that was supposed to be filled by Business By Design, their currently low profiled or backburnered SaaS product aimed exactly where NetSuite is aiming. For salesforce.com, they just don't have ERP products. NetSuite does.
All in all, nothing in the world of technology is as simple as it seems. Will this be as easy as web services based on common standards seem to make it? I doubt it. But is it a good strategy? If NetSuite manages to make it cost-effective it will be. Zach Nelson is striking while the iron is hot, which may be an arcane dated expression, but its a really smart strategy.