NetSuite Integration Simplified
NetSuite is Software as a Service (SaaS) that combines accounting and ERP programs, CRM tools and e-commerce capabilities in a single packaged offering. With NetSuite, users from different departments such as sales, accounting, and support access customer information through a single record, eliminating data redundancies and inconsistencies.
Integrated from end to end, NetSuite reduces the need to connect ERP, CRM and e-commerce applications. Like other SaaS applications, however, it leads to the creation of cloud silos--pockets of accumulated enterprise data residing in the cloud that need to be integrated with on-premises legacy applications and systems as well as social media platforms (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) and other Web-based software.
With hybrid architectures becoming more and more common, an effective integration strategy is crucial for enterprises currently deploying NetSuite and/or other SaaS applications. This article discusses several approaches to NetSuite integration.
Custom Hand-Coded Integrations
One approach to NetSuite integration with existing applications (both on-premises and off) is to develop your own integration code. With this approach, in-house developers and IT staff write customized connectors to integrate NetSuite with different systems in the enterprise.
A holdover of the early days of SaaS when few cloud integration solutions were available, hand-coding is still preferred by some organizations since it allows them to customize connectors to suit particular use cases.
Hand-coding, however, has several disadvantages that undermine the benefits of deploying SaaS and other cloud applications.
- Cost: Due to the painstaking nature of hand-coding, custom integrations can result in significant time investments and exorbitant costs. Because in-house developers are preoccupied with writing integrations, other IT projects receive less attention and become delayed. The complexity of integration projects may also require outside consultants, driving up costs.
- Technical Complexity: For enterprises with large and complex architectures, custom integrations are complicated projects that require technical expertise and specialized skill sets. This means that non-technical personnel such as business analysts must rely on developers to write custom integrations. This can slow down deployment times and delay the automation of business processes.
- Scalability: In cases where only two or three systems need to be integrated, custom hand-coded integrations can be accomplished in a manageable and timely fashion. As systems grow in complexity and the number of points that need to be integrated increases, hand coding becomes difficult and unsustainable as an integration solution.
- Maintenance: Even after hand-coded connectors are deployed, in-house developers need to perform on-going maintenance and upgrades for the integrations to run smoothly. Moreover, each time NetSuite releases an upgraded version of its SaaS offering, existing connectors may need to be manually upgraded as well.
NetSuite Integration Offerings
Although integration between ERP, CRM and e-commerce functions is built into its core SaaS offering, NetSuite offers additional integration solutions.
Teaming up with third-party integration providers, NetSuite offers SuiteCloud Connect, a series of packaged solutions for integrating with leading on-demand and on-premises enterprise applications and systems such as Salesforce.com, SAP, Oracle, and Google Apps. NetSuite also offers training courses and consulting services for users who require assistance and support with integration projects.
Although NetSuite integration offerings underscore the need for integration in today’s IT landscape and reduce the burdens that come with hand-coded integration solutions, they do have some limitations.
First, SuiteCloud Connect only provides integration solutions for a handful of systems, leaving out a host of other applications. Moreover, the SuiteCloud platform is limited to extending and customizing NetSuite offerings, making it difficult to integrate a full range of applications and systems according to best practices.
Finally, although NetSuite’s training courses and consulting services can provide expert opinion and guidance on specific integration projects and use cases, SaaS integration will still require a significant amount of time, money and headaches without the right tools and technologies.
CloudHub: Integration for the Cloud Era
CloudHub is a fully cloud-based Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) that is changing the game in cloud integration. As a true platform for building, maintaining, and running integrations, CloudHub enables users to connect the cloud and enterprise in a simple yet flexible way.
A number of features set CloudHub apart from other cloud integration solutions:
- Integration Apps: As an integration platform, CloudHub enables developers to write custom connectors for NetSuite and other SaaS offerings and share them with other users as packaged integration solutions. These custom integration applications expand CloudHub's rich library of out-of-the-box Anypoint Connectors that are tested, reliable and user-friendly to non-technical users. At the same time, CloudHub is open and flexible enough for developers to customize integrations to suit specific use cases.
- Secure Data Gateway: CloudHub’s Secure Data Gateway enables developers to integrate and orchestrate NetSuite with on-premises legacy systems in a simple fashion without custom coding or compromising enterprise security. This eliminates the “cloud silo” created by deploying NetSuite and other SaaS applications.
- Monitoring and Visibility: Because monitoring and management capabilities are crucial for ensuring that integrations operate smoothly, CloudHub comes with a browser-based management portal. This enhances visibility into flows, messages, and other services, enabling users to monitor uptime and performance.
- Open Platform: As an open platform, CloudHub allows users to easily migrate applications and systems on and off, giving you the capability and flexibility to integrate everything: SaaS, enterprise applications, social media platforms and more. CloudHub isn’t associated with just one particular SaaS application either, allowing you to build integrations that do more than just extend NetSuite.
- Cloud Features: A fully-based cloud platform, CloudHub includes essential cloud features such as multi-tenancy for data security and isolation, elasticity and scalability, self-service provisioning, and a pay-as-you-grow pricing model.