Built to Run a Business: NetSuite’s Secret to Customer Success

Posted by Paul Farrell, VP of Product Marketing, Oracle NetSuite

A key factor in NetSuite’s success from Day One was the overarching goal of the company. NetSuite was built to run a business. The suite includes many outstanding capabilities, built in from the ground up, including: pure cloud architecture; built-in Business Intelligence; customization framework; ecommerce; and more. These are all incredible capabilities, but its core mission -- software built to run a business -- has always been a subtle misunderstood differentiator.

It’s amazing how many other competitive products out there started off with a different focus. That focus was not running a business. They were created to run a sales force, a shop floor, a warehouse, an HR team or the accounts. Then out of this primary goal, many years later, other functions where then shoehorned in, built on foundations that were not fit for purpose. For example, there are several solutions out there that are based on simple sales force automation foundations that morphed into CRM and then finally the rest of the business functionality was added. Their mantra is the customer is the center of everything. However, the way you sell to and interact with your customers may be very different from the way you need to financially structure your business because of geographic or tax constraints. However, if the product was designed purely for financials, the account is at the center of everything, forcing you to sell to customers based on your financial structure. The same can be said for the shop floor, where the work center is the center of everything, or the HR system where the employee is the center, etc.

Users want a system that caters to their role. A warehouse manager wants the system to be based around the product and the warehouse as that is their entire world. Not that they want to forget the customer, or the accounting impact but it is not their focus. A product that is centered around the general ledger or the customer is going to get in the way of doing their job.

With NetSuite, the core of the product puts all the key business functions on an equal footing: Account; Customer; Product; Service; Order; Person. They are all seamlessly linked together in a common business model. Then surrounding that are the industries. There are two distinct types of industries service industries (Software, Service, Financial Services) and product industries (Manufacturing, Distribution, Retail). Again, similar to business functions many solutions started off supporting one type of industry and then morphed in to supporting another. As a result, you get a manufacturing product trying to support the services industry and vice versa. It might functionally work but are users going to enjoy creating works orders, work centers and parts, capture WIP and in general use manufacturing terminology and concepts to run a software installation project. The same can be said for a distribution company using functionality that was built to support the financial services industry. It might eventually work, but it will feel like pushing a boulder up a never ending muddy hill. Companies will spend forever customizing it to try and make it fit. All they end up with is an unsupported system, that no one understands, no one likes and barely does the job. NetSuite was built to run product- and service-based businesses from the beginning. Whatever the business it provides the terminology, workflows and reports needed for that type of company.

Moreover, for hybrid businesses it will simultaneously look as though it were designed to run both depending on what part of the business you sit within.

Businesses are made up of many people carrying out multiple distinct roles. One of the real issues that ERP has had over the years is that many times it is purchased by one group and then forced on the others with the promise of producing consistent information and consistent results. For example buying the product that was originally built for CRM, is great for the sales force, clunky for operations ; and a nightmare for finance. Or the product built for finance is great for accounting, clunky for operations and a nightmare for sales. The result is generally long implementations, budget overruns, massive complex customizations, bolt on systems delivering subpar results and locking customers into a version of the product for years to come. NetSuite was built to run a business: from Day One it was optimized to manage the multiple distinct roles every business has. So, when the controller of a software company logs in it looks like it was just written for them. When the warehouse manager logs in it looks like it was written just for them; when the salesperson logs in it looks like it was built just for them. Even when the customer logs in it looks like it was built just for them. NetSuite users therefore learn the product more quickly, enjoy using the product, leading to faster implementations, quick ROI, better quality of data and more productive effective businesses.

SuiteSucces, recently announced by NetSuite, is a manifestation of all of this. SuiteSuccess was engineered to solve unique industry challenges that historically have limited a company’s ability to grow, scale and adapt to change. Most ERP vendors have tried to solve the industry solution problem with templates, rapid implementation methodologies, and custom code (trying to force that round peg into the square hole). NetSuite took a holistic approach to the problem ensuring every single aspect of the solution and delivery is oriented around the customer’s industry and roles within that industry. There are four pillars to the solution.

1) Build: develop a complete unified suite covering all elements required to run a business.

2) Engage: Leading practices for each industry including all capabilities, workflows, BI, reports, roles required for each industry. Allowing customers from the first sales engagement understand the product and how it will support the business.

3) Consume: A re-imagined consumption model using NetSuite’s industry stairways allows companies to consume capabilities based on their business needs.

4) Optimize: Continuous improvement of all aspects and consumption of the solution.

NetSuite was built to run a business and handle the complexity and variances real businesses encounter. That is why NetSuite is the leading cloud ERP, delivering rapid ROI to its customers with unrivalled referencability within the industries it serves.

If you have a business to run, you should always look to NetSuite.

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