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Hidden gem among ERP Systems

Thursday 04 January 2018

'Hidden gem among ERP systems'

NetSuite: a new Special Interest Group (SIG)


Oracle has been working on a phased acquisition of NetSuite for some time. This will be made official on 1 June 2018 – which means it is high time this ERP program was given its own place within OBUG. Johan Pintens will be doing just that very soon. He is the managing partner of the Belgian firm Dynappco (part of the Cronos Group), and on January 19 he will be launching the first NetSuite SIG gathering, to be held at Dynappco in Kontich (just south of Antwerp). The larger annual event AppsConnected18 organised by OBUG will be held on 14 June 2018 and NetSuite will be in the spotlight there, too.


NetSuite already had customers in the Benelux before its acquisition by Oracle. It had been working very hard to bring its ERP package to Europe over the past two years, when it was acquired by Oracle. Johan Pintens very much enjoyed working for Oracle over many years. His great enthusiasm for NetSuite led him to switch from Oracle to the Cronos Group in June 2017 in order to set up a service-providing firm around NetSuite. It was given the name Dynappco.


Johan explains: "I have spent more than 20 years working with ERP systems. NetSuite is a hidden gem among them. I think it is an excellent solution for SMEs. It looks good, it is well thought out, complete, stable, very configurable and it integrates well. There is an organisation behind it, which presents itself not as a software designer but as a real in-depth supplier. That's why I am so excited about it. It is a very competitive product, so I think we are going to hear a lot more about it".


At Oracle, Johan got to know OBUG president Janny Ekelson and vice-president Gerard Stam. He discussed with them the possibility of setting up an ecosystem for NetSuite within OBUG. This led to the NetSuite Special Interest Group, which celebrates its official launch on January 19 with an intriguing event about the ERP system. Johan is now working to identify as many interested NetSuite users and partners as possible to contribute to the new SIG.


There are currently around 120 NetSuite user organisations of very different stripes in the Benelux countries. Some are companies with their headquarters in the Benelux, others are subsidiaries of American or other foreign firms. Johan has now identified 108 organisations; of those, some 60% have responded positively to the new SIG initiative.




The event on January 19 is one of a number of initiatives SIG NetSuite plans to roll out in order to bring users, suppliers and partners together. Future sessions will be set up according to a fixed pattern. Each session will in any event cover four points, explains Johan:

  • - An existing user will present his/her project and show how NetSuite is used within it. After all, NetSuite is a highly configurable product. It can do an awful lot out of the box, but the great thing about NetSuite is that you can also adapt it very specifically to your own needs.
  • - Sharing configurability, tips and tricks and experiences of using the program.
  • - Solutions on the periphery. NetSuite has a large ecosystem of peripheral applications – invoice scanning, electronic signatures, integration with banks, etc. We call these Suiteapps. We plan to explain one of them each time. On the 19th, we will tackle planning and budgeting in the cloud, giving partners the opportunity to present a particular offer to the user community. After all, OBUG's mantra is that we want to create a platform for the users and the partners who contribute to this ecosystem.
  • - In addition, of course, we want to continue to respond to questions and expectations from the user community.


The acquisition by Oracle has significant advantages for NetSuite customers. Everything has doubled:

  • - The R&D investment in NetSuite has doubled.
  • - The investment in the sales channel has doubled.
  • - And the footprint – the data centres from which NetSuite is deployed – is being expanded. NetSuite has 5 data centres, but Oracle has 19. All of which adds up to a much greater innovation and deployment speed than was possible previously.

NetSuite represents a very significant expansion for Oracle. Traditionally, Oracle has been very strong in the on-premise market, for example with the E-Business Suite. But the Cloud market is growing all the time. NetSuite is now the cloud offering for the SME market at Oracle, which comprises companies with between 10 and 1000 users.

SMEs are very dynamic – certainly in comparison to larger organisations. They are often new companies, or companies which are being taken over by the next generation, brimming with ambition. NetSuite links in well with that. The Deloitte list of the 50 fastest-growing companies includes many NetSuite customers.

According to Johan Pintens, concerns around privacy protection in the cloud are very much a thing of the past. There are various reasons for this. One of the most important is familiarisation. "We know what we like and we like what we know. People now understand how the cloud works better. They realise that it also offers real advantages such as scalability, data protection, upgrades and service provision. Which means the cloud can make life easier for companies. The cloud is attracting particular interest from SMEs. It also offers sufficient guarantees in terms of uptime, and the costs are very predictable. The speed and simplicity of expanding is a fraction of on-premise installation".


80% of the NetSuite market consists of the service (in the broadest sense), wholesale and distribution sectors. On top of that, there are also others such as retail and non-profit. The great thing about NetSuite is that it has been constantly developed since its creation in 1998, into the mature platform it is today. It is not as big as e-Business Suite, but it does offer very specific functionality for various sectors of industry.

Oracle's pricing is a frequently recurring topic of conversation, but Johan has a good answer to it. "The sale price and returns need to be in balance. NetSuite is more expensive than a smaller package, but it offers excellent opportunities for growth. You can compare it to buying a house – if you know there are children on the way, you're better off buying something bigger because then you won't have to move again later", he says with a grin. And he adds a tip: "As a customer, you mustn't be afraid to negotiate on price. The fact that NetSuite is deployed in organisations of different sizes also means that the price needs to be adjusted to the size of the customer".




NetSuite was set up in 1998 by the software developer Evan Goldberg under the name Netledger. As NetSuite Inc, the company has grown to become one of the biggest players in ERP and e-commerce in the cloud. Since its founding in 1998, NetSuite has had close links with Oracle. In the year that NetSuite was founded, Oracle's co-founder Larry Ellisso invested €114 million of his own money in the company. NetSuite opened two large European data centres in late 2015: one in Amsterdam and one in Dublin.


In April 2016, NetSuite announced the expansion of its business-to-business activities to the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (Benelux). This accelerated expansion involved opening NetSuite's Benelux head office in Amsterdam and a strategic alliance with Deloitte in Belgium. In late 2016, Oracle acquired NetSuite for the sum of €8.4 billion in order to extend Oracle's cloud services. Today, more than 40,000 firms and subsidiaries work with NetSuite.



More information

The structure of the software differs from that of other ERP supplies. NetSuite OneWorld is best viewed as a framework with basic functionalities to which sector-specific functionalities can be added. These additions are known as 'editions' by NetSuite. An edition contains all the basic functionalities which are required for a particular industry.


For a summary of the most important editions, associated prices and functionalities offered by NetSuite, you can request the NetSuite Whitepaper free of charge.


When implementing an ERP system, there are many factors to take into account. The ERP Guide lists the most common mistakes made when implementing an ERP in the cloud. This guide is made available free of charge by the European Knowledge Centre for Information Technology.


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