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Thread: iCode Everest or Netsuite? - Looking for an "all-in-one" small business solution

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    Posts
    5

    iCode Everest or Netsuite? - Looking for an "all-in-one" small business solution

    Starting a new business from the ground up, and I'd like to do it right the first time.

    I was leaning towards iCode Everest Advanced, and planning on hosting the entire suite on a server at my ISP... ...but have just come across new information on NetSuite's hosted solution, which is sounding pretty good too...

    What I'm looking for:
    - all in one business management(!)
    - ecommerce
    - CRM
    - inventory management
    - sales & shipping
    - integrated payments system

    ...is that everything?

    Am I on the right track with iCode, or should I be looking at a wider range of solutions?

    I contacted CoreSense, but the $15,000 startup fee left a sour taste in my mouth...(I don't think they fully understand the 'small' in 'small business'...!)

    It's only myself for now, with another person possibly joining me in 6 months. I'd like to 50-90% online sales, but also have the ability to access a type of POS internal to the office (it's an automotive performance shop that sells performance and OE parts, as well as having a 'service' component and shop with face-to-face customer relations...)

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    36
    Dear Bryan,
    Take a zero off that $15,000 start up fee. CoreSense is a big time business application developer, international networking. You business will not need the resources. Well, hopefully you will in a few years.

    There are many less expensive solutions which implement:
    "- all in one business management(!)
    - ecommerce
    - CRM
    - inventory management
    - sales & shipping
    - integrated payments system"

    Some even offer real-time inventory. If you are planning to carry an inventory, you should make sure that your resources can supply you within hours of an order. Back-orders are a death sentence for a new company trying to sell online. I wouldn't worry about an inventory management system at this point. Use old-fashioned pen/pencil manual counting every month until you learn the nature of your business. Tweeking an inventory control system can be twice as expensive as the original development. Let your business grow into the technical requirements and react to your growing business with technology.

    If you are going develop a web site to sell your services and products, have a good comprehensive CRM strategy in place and be consistant with it. Offer customer communications that are part of your web site via chat, message boards and offer as much information on the products and services you sell.

    Best of luck,
    Russell Smith
    Landisnet
    http://www.mawebcenters.com/kate123w...net/index.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52
    If $15000 seems high you will be floored with the quotes you get from iCode and Netsuite. I was really pumped with what we saw at iCode, then they came back with a $59000 quote. We were floored!



    We are looking for essentially what you had listed:

    - all in one business management(!)
    - ecommerce
    - CRM
    - inventory management
    - sales & shipping
    - integrated payments system
    + we want our accounting working in the same system/database

    The only thing we may have that you don't is multi-currency.

    We only have 10 users yet the quote from iCode was $6500 for the base license, $13,000 for the additional 8 licenses and $27000 for implementation/training and on site expenses.

    Netsuite came back with $20,000 for 3 years of license. In all, these companies who are pitching their solutions for small and medium companies are not realistic. $60,000 is not an enterprise wide deal for a fortune 1000, but at the same time it's not a solution you are going to get many 10 person, 2 year old companies to bite on.

    Over the past week I've been tempted to start up another business that brings such solutions to market at a price that is really for the small companies of the world

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    Posts
    5
    Originally posted by mutahman
    If $15000 seems high you will be floored with the quotes you get from iCode and Netsuite. I was really pumped with what we saw at iCode, then they came back with a $59000 quote. We were floored!

    We design, produce and distribute storage cases for digital products (www.slappa.com) and we sell to retailers, importers and directly to customers online.

    We are looking for essentially what you had listed:

    - all in one business management(!)
    - ecommerce
    - CRM
    - inventory management
    - sales & shipping
    - integrated payments system
    + we want our accounting working in the same system/database

    The only thing we may have that you don't is multi-currency.

    We only have 10 users yet the quote from iCode was $6500 for the base license, $13,000 for the additional 8 licenses and $27000 for implementation/training and on site expenses.

    Netsuite came back with $20,000 for 3 years of license. In all, these companies who are pitching their solutions for small and medium companies are not realistic. $60,000 is not an enterprise wide deal for a fortune 1000, but at the same time it's not a solution you are going to get many 10 person, 2 year old companies to bite on.

    Over the past week I've been tempted to start up another business that brings such solutions to market at a price that is really for the small companies of the world
    Hey mutahman,

    I actually ended up choosing 'NetSuite Small Business' shortly after posting this question, $90/month per user (not their full blown 'Netsuite Enterprise' system for $399/month per user, or somewhere in abouts that).

    I met with them at their local office to discuss the product in detail and to tell them what we were looking for, our rep even pulled one of the web techs down a few times when we started to get a bit technical with what we were looking for in regards to the website functionality.

    To date, I've been very happy with the features and flexibility of the system.

    Major warning: the learning curve is steep.

    To be fair, I did opt out of any training they were offering, and any setup work they quoted, to save an additional $5-6k. I felt that since I was starting from the ground up, and had no data to import, I could get by (I was also relying on my 3 years of business degrees to help me out - lets just say they were rusty!)

    They did have a few 'getting started' type web seminars that I logged into and participated in, and I know they have other presentations in their "NetU" offerings that I have yet to try. Plus there is an online forum which you can subscribe to and seek help with others. I haven't hit any roadblocks that bad yet, and with the 'Small Business' application you get 3 free tech support emails per month... ...not much, but it's something, and I have yet to use those too!

    The entire 'Help' sections were very well thought out, and quite extensive. Nice little things like if you're on a page in the application and select 'Help' it brings you directly to THAT page's help page, and tells you just about everything you'd need to know about the page your looking at. Also, all the input fields are 'help clickable'(eg. if you're staring at a box field that wants some type of information punched into it, but your brain simply cannot process what it's asking for, click on the field description to get a more detailed answers as to what it's expecting from you - neat! saved my butt more than a few times)

    re multicurrency: The system is setup for it. I am currently using CAN, US, Euro and British Pound.(at launch time, it will only have CAN)

    Pros & Cons:
    Pros - too many to list quite frankly! highlights are everything you and I asked for and then some I've never even thought would be possible (eg set your minimum stock level, and when inventory quantities drop below that, warnings are sent, and a PO is automatically generated...). Dashboard is really nice, you can customize it to give you just about any sort of an up-to-minute info/report you'd like, so when you log in you have an instant overview of profit/loss, inventory sold, web stats, whatever! There's tons, I could go on and on, but I don't want to sound like a sales man, check it out yourself... ...I know iCode and Netsuite can give you access to a live demo of the application, should you want to mess around.

    Cons - my biggest gripe is that the system was clearly built for people moving from QuickBooks, who are familiar with how that system was developed and works, rather than a 'lets build this in a logical way'. It's not hugely bad, but while learning the system you can't help but laugh at how it was laid out at times (okay, it may simply be that way to me being a System Administrator for MS products through the years - Win95/98/NT/2000/XP, NT/2000/2003 Server, Exchange 5.5/2000/2003, IIS, SQL, etc, etc - so you kind of get used to how things get laid out, it's not just MS, I work with Adobe and Macromedia product on a daily basis as well, and it's all about the same UI...). I didn't realize this until I signed up to a web seminar, where they demonstrate how easy the system is to use, because a lot of the functions are the same in QuickBooks and Netsuite. Great marketing to get people away from QuickBooks (#1 business app!), not the greatest for non-QuickBooks folk. Which is fine really, like any app, it only does so much, and when you've figured that out, you'll be fine like I am now. Or just take some training.

    [as I’m rereading this, I should note that Netsuite has a variety of ‘Roles’ which are all customizable. When I log in, I log in as the 'Administrator' so I see all and can do all which may also be why it’s a little, err, ‘complex’(?). Should you change your ‘role’ to, say, an ‘accountant’, you’d only see accounting items and not shipping, website, POs, etc, etc – so my biggest con, may not be a con at all…sorry!]

    iCode vs Netsuite
    Originally I was quoted $1600 for an iCode licence. In the time I waited to buy (trip to Europe, meeting with tuners), they switched CEOs and direction. When I called them back to sign up, I was requoted $21,000. My reaction to Mr.iCode rep "ha ha ha ha ha - 'click'" (I admit, not very professional, but I'm a SMALL BUSINESS with LITTLE START UP $$$ - why would I want to sink 1/3 of my start-up funds into a software package?? morons I tell you! yes, you Mr.iCode CEO!)

    In that time Netsuite had also released their new online product (no more "Oracle's Netsuite" requiring a $$$ Oracle backend, hardware, etc) which I am so glad right now that I chose! How can you go wrong with a 100% hosted app (that allows you to back-up!), accessible from any web browser, with everything built-in, +ecommerce website and hosting for $90/month?!

    One thing I'd recommend to someone looking at Netsuite, or any licensing software package, is really sit down and think about how many licences you need. Does every employee require one, or can some 'share' (hey, if it's 'per licence' and only one person uses it at a time, it's still legal, no? ) May save you a few bucks.

    My eCommerce website should be live next Friday (finalizing legal, design, etc). Feel free to check it out. It’s honestly nothing special, key word here is “clean”. It's been a long time in production, but that all been because of my end, credit card processing companies(!!!), banks, website design, and not Netsuite. I think they had my company access setup in about 4 days.

    Hope some of this helps future readers.

    Bryan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52

    good news

    Hi Bryan

    Good news on your side!! I'm glad you were able to get things running smoothly.

    The only concern I have with Netsuite is (as I menioned earlier)....we are growing at a steady clip and in 3 years time we will have dumped a LOT of our compny information/ transactions/ customer data into the system and who knows if in 3 years the license prices go through the roof (like you experienced with iCode). If that happens we're stuck and potentially screwed. When Netsuite goes public I am certainly buying the stock, but I'm not 100% sure the hosted model works for us

    I really do appreciate the detailed response!!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    Posts
    5
    The software does have the ability to download the data into IIF or CSV files.

    That is currently how I am performing weekly backups.

    As with any sideways move in software, you'd most likely need to perform some sort of import/export to transfer your data, so I don't feel it would be a huge deal to move away from Netsuite in the future should I ever need to...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52
    Bryan

    based on your comments about Netsuite I e-mailed them back today (actually mailed over to iCode as well). While iCode never responded, Netsuite came back and they are going to work with us to meet our target price without cutting functionality (they actually gave us a new quote today). We are now going through all of the small print, but I have to say, these guys wanted the business. I told them about my 2 concerns (pricing after the initial license and the transfer of files) and they are (a) writing into the contract that they'll not increase pricing more then 10% after the initial license and (b) noted that CSV files, as you stated, are easy and virtually free to download.

    So while iCode (who was the front runner at least in my opinion) decided to be the snobbish, non-responsive, "we sell software to small business's that are not small business" company, Netsuite came and got the business.

    It looks like, barring any unseen roadbumps, will be going with Netsuite.

    Thanks a million for the feedback!!

    MTM

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    Posts
    5
    hey, that's awesome. do I get a commission?

    in a few month, if you have time, I'd be interested in seeing a followup post with your feedback on the product.

    good luck, and I hope all works out for you and the company.

  9. #9
    Anyone who is looking for a complete Web host with e-com, email, check out, the works... should check out TekInteractive (www.tekinteractive). They have great customer support, and are fantastic at what they do! For examples check out www.grabillhardware.com, www.doitbest.com, www.fwchamber.org. I would recommend Tek to anybody!

    A J Miller

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    158

    Kudos to NetSuite

    I have to admit I thought maybe that NetSuite was more focused on the mid-market these days, but muthaman's experience shows they still "get" the small business market.
    I agree with Bryan that it would be great to hear how things work out down the line.
    -Dan

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52
    we have the contract and SOW in hand....all looks good so we'll probably sign off in the next week

    Our set up is a full soup to nuts implementation, with 8 users out of the gate, so it will be interesting to see how well we (as a group) take to the system and how much it helps.

    I will surely keep you posted.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    1
    Great info guys. Please keep us up to date. I am considering implementing NetSuite also.

    Jim

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    5

    Icode direct vs. Icode VAR

    Sorry I joined this thread a bit late for Mutahman...
    As a VAR for Icode, I think they have a great product - but in their direct sales operation, they don't get the customer service and support part. Fortunately they are moving more towards a Reseller channel.
    As a certified Icode VAR we have been successful in supporting our many Icode installations, with better service and lower costs than Icode direct. We have implemented clients from 5 to 100 users, and continue to support them.
    I'd be happy to discuss with anyone who is interested, and to provide references etc.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52
    Cyberdov...thanks for the post. If I would have found you earlier I would have certainly talked with you. In short, Netsuite wanted the business and did what it took to get it (which for us was very aggressive pricing). While I did like the iCode software they just lost me with pricing. They just don't seem to understand that a 2 year old business with 7 employees cannot invest $40-50K in software and then spend another $10-15K on hardware and implementation. I believe someone over there needs to recognize that there are companies like us who want a full soup to nuts solution for 10 users for $10-15K. We are still in the implementation stages with Netsuite, so I cannot yet comment on the software (we're tinkered with it but not yet put it into play)....but from what they are doing they (at least in my opition) are playing the game the right way. They are building market share rapidly by creating LOTS of beach head accounts, they are agressively marketing the company and they continue to upgrade the features of the software. The thing that puzzles me about iCode is that software is free (I was in the enterprise software biz for 11 years)...so why they would choose to stick to their guns on pricing instead of playing ball and getting a killer international reference account is beyong my comprehension. As do all the software companies, sell licenses at 20% of the list and make your money on the services. The fact they would not do that sent me a message that they are not really out there for the small business like us, they want the medium sized business's

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    5

    Icode's strategy

    I am also mystified by Icode's strategy. It does appear that they are moving towards a breater reliance on the VAR channel, which will be good for them as well as the customers (and of course the VARs). A 10 user license should be less than you stated - total (including implementation/training but without new hardware or customizations) should be $30K. Thanks for your reply.

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