SAN JOSE — My first cloud computing conference, and the anticipation of the crowd is palpable as people from around the globe have gathered at SuiteWorld 2014. The Commonwealth is well represented – so far; I have met Aussies and Brits, as well as an expat Canadian who works for NetSuite in San Mateo – sweet!!
This year’s conference is the biggest SuiteWorld to date; over 6500 attendees, and 200 sessions. There are more than 100 NetSuite partners in attendance, and I learned that an astonishing 70 per cent of all Netsuite implementations are as a result of work involving this group.
This preamble is in contrast to NetSuite’s beginnings, when early employees in 1998 had a big idea of the cloud. During the opening keynote, CEO Zack Nelson outlined that there was a great deal of scepticism and doubt that anything like the cloud could work, and in particular for enterprise resource planning (ERP) because it is the hardest system to build. But NetSuite founders had a vision that they fulfilled to deliver an online system that would enable companies to run their business.
Being one of the first to offer a cloud ERP system, Netsuite is clearly reaping the benefits of its efforts.
Quoting industry stats from Gartner, NetSuite moved into the top 10 and grew its market share by 41.67 per cent last year. Others in the top 10 include Microsoft that grew by 5.17 per cent; Sage grew by 0.87 per cent and SAP had negative growth at -1.45 per cent of market share.
And here is another important Gartner statistic; 24 per cent of companies are now ready to move their critical systems to the cloud. Clearly there is a great deal of opportunity for Netsuite to continue to grow its success.
So what has made the NetSuite approach so appealing? NetSuite has brought the power of large enterprise systems to small and midsize businesses to enable these businesses to run smarter. Nelson emphasized that the flexibility of their system, the seamless sharing and integration of information, provides efficiencies and scale to decision-making and operations as key factors for their users.
It is those factors that have also enabled NetSuite Partners to secure new business from companies who have adapted NetSuite as their platform to meet their unique business requirements. In fact, there are 20,000 companies across the globe creating new business models on NetSuite.
3 cloud questions every business should answer
NetSuite also sees that more and more new businesses are cloud based, and therefore want to have a cloud based operating system. These businesses are turning to NetSuite as their provider of choice because they feel intuitively aligned with what NetSuite offers.
So with the above information as the backdrop, Nelson identified three key ideas that businesses need to address:
- Omni channel: businesses need to solve the problem of omni channel commerce; how to recognize someone when they come to your website, your phone; etc. Customers will be coming at you from different channels; how do you interact with them?
- Products are changing into services and vice versa; how to manage this shift?
- Are you future-proofing your business? Businesses don’t have the time, or resources, to take a year to try a new idea, and need to stay ahead of the curve. How rapidly a business can prototype and set up new business models will be a crucial factor in future proofing your business.
The remainder of Nelson’s two hour presentation focused on more NetSuite history, growth, and product / service development, culminating with product introductions and client testimonials which demonstrated how NetSuite can help businesses effectively address the above 3 ideas.
So what does the success and growth of cloud ERP, and in particular that of NetSuite, mean for IT, ERP, and business in general?
It is clear from the Gartner report that NetSuite is experiencing phenomenal growth. Subsequent sessions I attended where further information on product development was shared clearly show that NetSuite is not finished yet. It is not resting on its laurels by any means, but is continually trying to see how it can further improve what it already has, and what other new offerings it can develop and deliver to satisfy new and existing customer needs.
In fact, by its own demonstration, it appears that NetSuite has been working hard to address for itself those three key ideas that Nelson posed.
And it is because NetSuite is doing what it is doing the way it is doing it, it is my hunch that is why those three ideas coalesced as a guide, so to speak, to what NetSuite has chosen to do itself for itself – manage the Omi channel; turn products into services and services into products; and be future proofing their business. How smart.
Alignment with the cloud is important; it is not going away and is growing. Like NetSuite did, those in IT, ERP, and business in general can ask themselves what are they doing or going to do, to address those three ideas.
Just as with NetSuite, those answers can provide guidance and insight as to what can or needs to be done. An important exercise that in and of itself can be very helpful in determining important choices and critical priorities.
NetSuite’s business solutions are impressive. As a business owner, NetSuite Partner of more than five years, and first time SuiteWorld attendee told me, he has learned so much more about the capabilities of NetSuite and what doing business in the cloud can offer.
If the Gartner statistics hold true, and cloud growth continues as projected, there is a lot of opportunity to be realized.
Its not too late to enter the cloud, and to see where exploring those three key ideas will lead you.