An emphasis on customer and user expectations will have a profound influence on the evolution of business applications towards an on demand model.

This was the prediction of Paul Greenberg, author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light: Capturing and Keeping Customers in Internet Real Time and president of US-based customer relationship management (CRM) consulting firm, the 56 Group, as he addressed delegates at the partner conference of on demand vendor, Netsuite last Friday.

“You have some skin in the game here,” said Greenberg to delegates. “And you have a huge chance, especially with the latest Netsuite version 11 release, because the company continues to advance faster than any other software company out there.”

He said the latest customisation features of the vendor’s latest software release, complemented by last week’s launch of its SuiteFlex application development platform, had the potential to revolutionise the use of business applications throughout the enterprise by giving users more of what they actually want.

“You have the opportunity to develop highly personalised, vertical solutions that are not just interesting add-ons,” he said.

The web-based, on demand software delivery model is best placed to capitalise on the advent of the era of the social customer, he added. Just as CIOs and employees use applications, there are just as proactive a customer group, empowered by the age of blogs, advocacy and personalisation.

“The problem with most vendors is that their business logic in dealing with the customer is broken – it’s the user experience that counts, not the products.

“Products and services are no longer where the value resides,’ he said, citing the example of internet telephony company Skype whose thriving user community can directly influence the features and functions it develops. “54 million customers is where the value resides,” he added.