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NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson expects toothbrush commerce

Also says Big Data is really about Little Data

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Toothbrushes will go online and encourage you to buy new ones once their bristles wear out, according to Zach Nelson, CEO of software-as-a-service outfit NetSuite.

Speaking at an event in Sydney today, Nelson occasionally suggested he and NetSuite's founders may be a candidate for consideration as a “genius visionary.” He wasn't entirely serious with that assertion or the toothbrush prediction, but both had kernels of truth in them.

The genius side of things Nelson attributes to NetSuite's 1999 as a Larry Ellison side project that championed software-as-a-service before the term became fashionable or the concept seemed feasible. Nelson clambered aboard in 2002 and at the event explained how his decisions had steered the company towards success.

The context for the bristly analogy is Nelson's belief that e-commerce will soon be everywhere, including computer-equipped cars in which sensors become aware consumables like wiper blades need replacement and prod drivers to stump up for a new set.

NetSuite calls that kind of scenario “omni-channel” commerce, and has geared up to deliver it by divorcing its back end from the user interface. The company pitches that split as good news for developers, who can be freed from the drudgery of coding different user interfaces for the myriad devices users insist on using.

Those capricious consumers also insist, Nelson said, on having tremendous fun and a consistent experience even when they hop from device to device across the day. Even business buyers demand such treatment, he believes, and want B2B services to look and feel as lush as those offered by the very best online retailers.

Those demands mean that Big Data is a means to an end, Nelson said, with the end being production of “Little Data” that allows the creation of tailored, just-in-time offers when customers land on a site.

NetSuite says it can do that kind of thing. You don't need to be a visionary genius to predict that claim. ®

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