SaaS News: NetSuite, Northgate Arinso, Taleo

Lots of coolness in the SaaS world...I took a number of interesting briefings this last week or so.
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor

Lots of coolness in the SaaS world...

I took a number of interesting briefings this last week or so. All of them were positive, interesting and solidly focused on the SaaS (Software as a Service) market.

So, in no particular order, let’s get to them.

Northgate Arinso – I’ve covered HR vendors for a long time. In my Software Intelligence days at Accenture, the team covered more than the domestic HRMS solution community. I remember one of those firms very well: Peterborough. Peterborough was a dynamo within the U.K. market and beyond. They provided contract payroll services for firms and played in the same markets as Ceridian, ADP, Paychex and others.

Fast forward to the present and we find Peterborough has become part of Northgate Arinso – a firm with a lot of HRMS offerings in several formats. The recent briefing focused on euHReka. This product is a multi-tenant solution of SAP’s HCM product. Northgate has leveraged their BPO expertise re: SAP HCM apps to create this SaaS offering. The company reports over 50 countries using the solution in over fifty countries.

A great deal of our call focused on the configuration tools the company has developed to expedite the value delivery and shorten cutover times for customers of this SaaS solution. If you’re considering a SaaS HR product, you should at least check out Northgate’s speed to value delivery capabilities as a benchmark against other potential solutions.

Taleo – There’s been a lot of chatter in tech circles about the superiority of SaaS delivery models over on-premise products in this economy. My channel checks with a number of SaaS-based HRMS vendors seem to support those market observations. Taleo shared a number of market/sales stats with me that indicated their SaaS experiences are creating a lot of favorable deal flow for them. 2008 was Taleo’s best year ever.

We also discussed Taleo’s Talent Grid on the call. The Talent Grid was announced last year and contains three components:

1) a knowledge exchange/repository where customers share best practices, ideas, etc. This will be live in late Q2 this year. 2) a solution exchange where Taleo partners will create complementary applications or add-ons via Taleo APIs. Taleo already has 50 partners lined up now 3) a talent exchange where the numerous Taleo customers can share the resumes of applicants they have reviewed but do not have an immediate need for.

The idea that an HRMS solution set can be more than a transaction processing application is certainly appealing and the Talent Grid concepts put Taleo in the same SaaS league as Salesforce.com, NetSuite and other vendors who have created rich ecosystems for partners and customers to participate within.

NetSuite NetSuite has upped-the-ante when it comes to making its product line, development platform, etc. more attractive to software developers, channel partners and customers. The company announced this week its Suite Cloud Development Network.

This network extends the NetSuite NS-BOS (business operating system) and other tools of NetSuite’s. The Suite permits new business partners to be added to the NetSuite family fast and build new add-on applications even faster. The end result is a solutions ecosystem that NetSuite hopes will eclipse that of larger rival Salesforce.com in deep, thorough business solutions.

What can we expect from this ecosystem:

- the number of software partners may not be a large as those who have come to use Salesforce’s Force.com and Application Exchange environments - but! - NetSuite is planning to find more software partners who possess the ability to develop entire business applications, deep vertical applications, etc. NetSuite is not necessarily in finding large quantities of widget builders.

All for now… (our plane is landing)

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