Both blogger Dennis Howlett and NetSuite Senior Vice President Mei Li responded to my analysis of Howlett's article on NetSuite's debacle with Nurse Staffing Unlimited.

Here's Howlett's comment:

And Li's:

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I'm not sure what to make of this, although it's kind of nice knowing that someone other than my PR department and my mother read my blog.

Howlett takes offense to being called a muckraker. Myself, I've dreamed of being one ever since 7th-grade history, when we read how Ida Tarbell, the quintessential muckraker, helped put an end to the Standard Oil monopoly. Also, according to Li, there is no lawsuit being filed by Nurse Staffing, contrary to information posted on a website that Howlett references in his article.

NetSuite may very well have its share of disgruntled customers. The negative comments on Howlett's blog seem authentic.

But I hear the same doesn't-fit-my-business-model anger from staffing companies on Quickbooks, Dynamics and Salesforce almost every day. Li's response shows that NetSuite takes this seriously and has been putting the systems in place to better manage client expectations.

Howlett comes off as disingenuous. He drops the Nurse Staffing bomb in one post, fails to share the meat of NetSuite's version in the next, and finishes up by saying it was a "he-said, she-said" affair.  That's yellow journalism, not muckraking.

Biased in favor of NetSuite? Maybe, but only so far. TempWorks Enterprise kicks patootie compared to both Oracle's E-Business Suite and NetSuite.

P.S.

Full-text of Li's email to me:

I'm VP of Corporate Communications at NetSuite. I saw your recent post on a blog by Dennis Howlett that reported some unsubstantiated facts about NetSuite. I would like to offer some facts to you in relationship to the blogger Dennis Howlett and Tara Rose, the person he quoted in his blog.

In Mr. Howlett's comment on your blog he states: “Do you not think I do my research? Have you seen the reply offered by NetSuite to certain of the matters?”  Interestingly enough, NetSuite did provide Mr. Howlett a response related to his original post. However, it should be noted that in his blog about our response, Mr. Howlett omitted all of our comments related to Ms. Rose. Of course those comments paint a very different picture of the engagement, and our exact comments provided to Mr. Howlett on this matter are as follows:

"A primary customer you quoted, Tara Rose, the nurse heading up one effort, neglected to tell you critical facts, leaving a misleading characterisation of her experience with NetSuite. First, NetSuite delivered exactly what Ms. Rose asked for, and she signed off on the project every step of the way. She participated in the design of, and signed off on, the requirements document describing the significant customisations that she needed for her nascent start-up. She also signed off on the NetSuite implementation which met the functionality specified in the requirements document. In fact, she was so happy with the implementation, she actually agreed in writing to be a NetSuite reference. Unfortunately, following signing off on the implementation, Ms. Rose decided to further change the scope of the requirements, and it appears her business plans may have taken a new direction.”

“We strive to make every customer happy. In the case of Ms. Rose, we're not sure what else we could have done. Ultimately, she wrote 'I fully believe that the NetSuite program is a good program but unfortunately my company requires too much customization ... at this present time I do not have the financial means to do this.’"

So now you have both sides of the story. We don't know why Mr. Howlett has neglected to mention any of these facts in his blogs. However, he does state clearly in his blog on NetSuite's response: "I didn’t set out to be fair or balanced," so that is one possible explanation.

On one other item in your blog you say that Ms. Rose has filed a lawsuit. To the best of our knowledge she has filed no lawsuit, and in fact the Better Business Bureau considers the complaint she filed closed.

Sincerely,

Mei Li
SVP, Corporate Communications
NetSuite, Inc. www.netsuite.com

Tags: Salesforce, Industry, QuickBooks, Dennis Howlett, Dynamics, Ida Tarbell, Muckraking, NetSuite, NetSuite Senior Vice President Mei Li, Nurse Staffing Unlimited, Oracle E-Business Suite, Standard Oil monopoly, Tara Rose, TempWorks Enterprise