Callidus, Bazaarvoice Detail Their ROI with NetSuite

Posted by Tony Kontzer, Guest Blogger

There's been a persistent notion that the cloud hasn't been ready to support enterprise-level ERP. Try telling that to Bazaarvoice and Callidus Software, two companies that have seen the rapid ROI that can be achieved with NetSuite ERP first hand.

Both companies were on hand at last month's SuiteWorld 2014 gathering to share their experiences. For Bazaarvoice, those experiences have been varied.

The nine-year-old product review-sharing network has been running on NetSuite OneWorld since its relative infancy, a decision that has kept it off of the QuickBooks-Great Plains-SAP re-implementation treadmill that's been typical of young, growing companies, Evan Trimble, the company's financial systems administrator, told SuiteWorld attendees.

Since adopting OneWorld in 2008, Bazaarvoice's revenue soared from less than $20 million to almost $180 million last year, its staff has grown from fewer than 100 to more than 800, it's opened offices all over the world and its systems have scaled seamlessly in support of all of that growth. Along the way, NetSuite has helped the company simplify numerous tasks, from managing multiple legers to adding legal entities to performing reconciliation.

"The simplicity becomes your friend," said Trimble. "It's boring to talk about, except that it makes life a lot easier."

That's not to say there haven't been issues. For instance, Bazaarvoice found itself in recent years having to compute back sales taxes, and while the company was able to use NetSuite for the international portion of that task, it had to turn to another tool to handle its more complex domestic computations.

The company also outgrew the limitations of NetSuite's native support of ACH transactions, but adding NetSuite's electronic payments module solved the problem, and then some. Bazaarvoice was able to start leveraging NetSuite's saved searches to address its reporting needs, creating a report within the new module in two hours that saves the company's accounts payable manager four hours every month.

What Trimble clearly likes best about NetSuite is that most issues can be addressed by adding modules or making changes within the NetSuite environment.

"We like to stay inside the applications we already have," he said. "Integrations are expensive to build and expensive to maintain."

Trimble's co-presenter, Shamyo Chatterjee, didn't need a reminder of that fact. Chatterjee, CIO of sales and marketing software-maker Callidus Software, remembers the pre-cloud days when his company was running on 14 disparate applications—software as varied as Microsoft Dynamics, Marketo and Neocase. In other words, Callidus, which was founded in 1996, was on the treadmill that Bazaarvoice managed to avoid.

"It was really a nightmare," Chatterjee recalled for the SuiteWorld attendees. "We used to spend a lot of time just doing lights-on type of work. We were on call at night for almost 11 years."

The nightmare ended in 2006, when Callidus decided to move both itself and its product to the cloud, and it subsequently turned to NetSuite as the engine that would power that migration and the company's ongoing operations.

The company jumped in with both feet. It adopted OneWorld, OpenAir, and a range of modules, from CRM, financials and support to revenue recognition, recurring billing and T&E. It hasn't looked back since, amassing 2,300 customers and 2.5 million users of its CallidusCloud suite in more than 160 countries, and growing revenue from $70.9 million in 2010 to $112.3 million in 2013.

What's more, Callidus was able to complete eight mergers and acquisitions over the past three years, as well as build up its offshore development operation in India, all without adding to its IT head count, Chatterjee noted.
If it sounds like it's been a wild ride for Callidus, it has. From completely redefining the company to enduring an historic economic downturn and, finally, to managing a period of great opportunity and growth, Callidus has relied on NetSuite to help keep the insanity to a minimum.

"Had it not been for NetSuite," said Chatterjee, "I think our company would have had to overcome incredible hurdles."

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