Of Platforms, Dreams and Leaps of Faith

As I write I am flying at 33,000 feet on the final leg of my return journey from Manila, where I spent five days at the second annual team-building event for NetSuite's international product managers and Platform Solutions Group (PSG). Incredibly, the 20- plus hours of delay-ridden travel, grumpy cabin crews and airplane food haven't dampened my euphoria from the PSG team’s shared experiences and the potential for what this talented group can do to help our customers and their businesses.
The NetSuite PSG team was formed in our Manila office a little over two years ago with the express intention of leveraging the SuiteCloud platform to deliver international localization and compliance capabilities for our global customer base and to deliver mid-market functionality for specific verticals. Some examples of its work are support for recent value-added tax (VAT) rate changes for the U.K., the PH Edition for businesses operating in the Philippines, and a new version of the NetSuite Software Company Edition.

The PSG team works closely with the international and vertical product management teams, which provide insight on market demands and customer needs and collaborate within our agile development process to deliver on those requirements with seamless and timely releases. As such, these teams operate on the cutting edge of what the SuiteCloud platform can do and are constantly testing the boundaries of what is possible. They often make requests and offer suggestions to the core product teams on how to move those technologies forward to open up possibilities for our customers and partners.

Trying new things and exploring boundaries has become second nature for us at NetSuite. As far back as 1999, our founders had the foresight to build NetLedger, the first true SaaS accounting application, before anyone had attempted such a thing. In that spirit of exploring boundaries, this past weekend in the Philippines I found myself snorkeling in tropical waters, swimming with the kinds of fish that you see in aquariums or TV documentaries, eating fresh rock lobster and sea urchin, visiting a penal colony, touring a mangrove swamp in a large canoe, holding a baby crocodile and, in a fit of perhaps questionable judgment, sampling the local delicacy Tamilok as a dare with other folks on the team.
The team got down to business at the Manila office with a two-day “development sprint” to explore both what was possible to build on the SuiteCloud platform, with a focus on utilizing the SuiteFlow Workflow Manager. We were pushing each other and trying new things, and I was reminded of the early days of NetSuite and the thrill of being part of a small team that was setting lofty goals and punching above its weight to deliver on them.

My task, in addition to critical Starbucks runs, was to create email templates utilizing CRMSDK tags that would be triggered at various points in the workflow we were defining. This put me at the edge of my comfort zone as these days I don't get to dabble in technical aspects of product development. Thankfully, the excellent Help on this topic produced by our technical writing team saved me from certain embarrassment!
This is a roundabout way of sharing two key messages. First, it can be liberating and rejuvenating and inspiring (and possibly profitable) to occasionally push the envelope, go out on a limb and try new things. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean something as radical as eating creatures found inside of rotting mangrove trees, but in the case of your business and career, there’s definitely some merit to the saying “you have to speculate to accumulate.”
Secondly, the power of the SuiteCloud platform and of SuiteFlow in particular is really quite astonishing. What the teams were able to achieve in just a couple of days or less was remarkable, particularly when you compare it to what would have been possible using pre-Internet technologies and without an integrated business suite. Indeed, one of our newest team members has just joined us from a certain large German software company, and he was blown away by how quickly things came together on his team. In the hands of talented developers such as our PSG team and with the power of focus, literally almost anything you can dream of is possible.
There is a reason why I named this particular team-building activity the “Sprint of Dreams” and I challenge you, in this the Year of the Rabbit, to take a leap of faith and see which of your own dreams for your business and the expanded use of your NetSuite deployment across your company you can make come true, too.

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