SuiteWorld 2017: NetSuite promises “business as usual” post Oracle acquisition
Business Management

SuiteWorld 2017: NetSuite promises “business as usual” post Oracle acquisition

NetSuite will remain almost unchanged despite its recent acquisition by Oracle, according to the company’s leadership.

“It's really been business as usual, and there's been very few changes,” said NetSuite Executive Vice President Jim McGeever at this year’s SuiteWorld conference in Las Vegas this week. “There is almost no change whatsoever.”

Oracle acquired NetSuite for $9.3 billion last November, but plans to run the company as one of its Global Business Units, industry-focused semi-autonomous business groups which have their own organisational structures.

McGeever promises this arrangement means NetSuite’s day to day operations will remain largely unchanged, both internally for its customers and partners.

“All that's really happened, we've exchanged one set of shareholders who wanted growth, now we have shareholders who want growth, but they know what they're doing and more importantly, they actually have resources to help us do it.”

 

Expansion

In his keynote, NetSuite founder and former CTO Evan Goldberg, now Executive Vice President of Development, said the acquisition meant “more, more, more.”

“We're now part of a company that spends over $5 billion a year just on R&D. We're investing more in the product than ever before. We're hiring more people than ever before.”

“The fit between Oracle and NetSuite is fantastic. The products work best for the types of companies that they're targeting. “

Much of the focus was on how Oracle’s resources would fuel NetSuite’s growth and allow rapid expansion globally. Over the next year, the company plans to double the number of data centres it operates in from five to 11, with new locations in Chicago, Frankfurt, Australia, Singapore, Japan, and China. The company also plans to expand the number of field offices from 10 to 23 globally and expand in a number of Oracle development centres around the world.

“Leveraging Oracle’s global scale, we are able to massively accelerate NetSuite’s vision of bringing a single unified suite to companies all over the world,” said McGeever. The ability to “leverage Oracle’s massive recruiting machine” means NetSuite will be able to expanding globally far quicker than the company was previously able to do under its own steam.

“We had the product localised, but we didn't have support for it. We didn't have people who could do support in German or Italian. Oracle's got a lot of people who speak a lot of languages, that's what we get leverage.”

As well as resources, the association with Oracle could be a boon. NetSuite for a brief period was licensed by Oracle as The Oracle Small Business Suite. Reflecting back, McGeever said working with such a big name at the time helped gave NetSuite – which was much smaller at the time - the perception of stability in the eyes of customers. And post-acquisition, he plans to use that association to get the NetSuite name out there faster.

“For example, no one in Japan has any idea who NetSuite is. But they all know Oracle. And that's true in Europe as well. It [the Oracle brand] gives you credibility and gives you stability. Certainly, in the non-English speaking countries, you'll see a lot more leveraging of the Oracle brand.”

 

New features and treading on toes

NetSuite also announced the launch of SuitePeople, it’s new Human Resources offering built using expertise from its acquisition of TribeHR in 2013, and SuiteSuccess, a unified Cloud industry solution tailored to eight different industry segments.

Throughout the conference, we’re told that NetSuite and Oracle’s own ERP offerings will continue to co-exist, and that the former is not intended to be a stepping stone for the latter.

“There is no strategy to start with NetSuite then when you're larger you move to Oracle,” said McGeever. “There is no bright red line where you have to switch.”

“It doesn't make sense to start with NetSuite and move to Oracle. That makes no sense for Oracle or for the customer.”

The plan seems to be that NetSuite will continue to target midsize companies but will scale with those customers as they grow, while Oracle will continue to remain focused on the large enterprises. In lieu of an enterprise focus, McGeever said that SuiteSuccess (a saccharine product name if there ever was one) will allow NetSuite to better target smaller businesses and better target micro-industries.

One example he gave was University Campus bookstores. “It's not a market where we hope to get five or 10%, we expect to get every single one those. And you will see us do that again and again and again: You'll have big industries, and within those industries, you will see really micro-focused SuiteSuccess.”

 

Culture clash?

Talking to NetSuite staff, there’s often the talk of company culture and being like a family (despite no mention or sign of former CEO Zac Nelson). Oracle, for better or worse, does not boast such a stellar reputation. But NetSuite’s former execs aren’t worried about being swallowed up by the big brother.

“The roots of NetSuite is Oracle,” said Goldberg. “I started my career in Oracle, I started the company with Larry Ellison (Oracle's founder and former CEO). It's not like we're an alien being. I'm working with people I've known for years, and truly respect and trust.”

“Over the 18 years we were an independent company we developed a different culture. I think we did break from some of the aggressiveness there, but we were targeting a different type of customer and that's reflected in how we ran the company.”

“But again, it's not an alien being. I think we can fit really well, and especially since we've been given this opportunity to operate independently, we can fit really well with the Oracle culture and also preserve what's been great about the NetSuite culture.”

Aside from the quality of customer service, there was, however, little talk about how NetSuite’s Cloud native mindset could help drive change within Oracle, a very large company trying to transform itself. Having always been a SaaS company,  it surely makes sense for Oracle – a company still playing catch-up in the Cloud scene, to make use of NetSuite’s expertise in the field.

 

Also read: 
Oracle and NetSuite deal set fair to make waves in ERP

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect. Writes about all manner of tech from driverless cars, AI, and Green IT to Cloudy stuff, security, and IoT. Dislikes autoplay ads/videos and garbage written about 'milliennials'.  

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