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Overcoming Skepticism About SaaS ERP

Thu, 09/08/2011 - 5:00am
Interview by Manufacturing Business Technology

Ranga Bodla works in industry marketing for NetSuite, a leading integrated web-based business software suite, including business accounting software, ERP software, CRM software, and e-commerce. He recently discussed SaaS ERP with Manufacturing Business Technology in this brief interview.

MBT: What are some of the biggest misperceptions you see when it comes to SaaS ERP?'

Ranga

Bodla: Probably the biggest misperception about SaaS ERP has to do with customization. There is a belief that on-premise ERP is infinitely more customizable than cloud ERP when in fact the opposite is true. Many users often customize their on-premise system. Because these customizations break during ERP upgrades, often times organizations literally are version-locked into an older version of their ERP.

Contrast that with SaaS ERP, where companies can develop new functionality in a matter of weeks instead of months or years, and carry over all customizations seamlessly to the latest release of the application.

The other big misperception about SaaS ERP has to do with security.

There are misperceptions that SaaS is not as secure as on-premise software. However, the reality is that data security issues are not something that are unique to cloud. In fact, on-premise systems risk security breaches every day, and many on-premise breaches may simply not make the headlines given they're at small companies. Many mid-size organizations have no dedicated tenured security personnel at all, or very limited personnel, to secure their on-premise data. However, with the growth of cloud computing, it is important for cloud vendors to pay close attention to data security and commit to the highest standard of data custodianship.

NetSuite continuously updates its security based on new threat intelligence, and has a dedicated organization to monitor and manage it. It's important to recognize NetSuite is audited continuously to the latest rigorous security standards.

NetSuite knows, and has always known, that providing customers top level security is critical to our customers and to our company's success. Therefore, NetSuite has focused on security as job one since the formation of the company. In fact, we hired our current chief security architect as one of our first four employees to ensure that we maintained best security practices from the inception of the company.

NetSuite's multi-million dollar security investment, team tenure, and 10+ years of security experience is likely much more than other smaller pure cloud ERP vendor's investments, as well as likely more than that of mid-size businesses who are running their own on-premise ERP systems.

MBT: How might an informed discussion on the available options change the way manufacturers purchase ERP systems?

Bodla: Once manufacturers understand how SaaS ERP addresses these issues, the discussion can move to how SaaS can enable better performance. Companies leveraging SaaS ERP don't have to hire large IT staffs and worry about maintenance and upgrades, but rather can focus on how they will grow the business moving forward.

MBT: One of your recent customers, EeMax -- the No. 1 manufacturer of tankless water heaters -- selected SaaS over on-premise or hosted options. Which key areas do you think supported Eemax's conclusion to go with SaaS ERP, based on their business needs?

Bodla: There were a few key areas for them -- cost, visibility, and anytime, anywhere access. Not having to worry about investing in IT systems means they can invest in the business and their future growth.

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For a more in-depth profile of EeMax's experience with SaaS ERP (and the opportunity to ask questions during our live Q&A), join us on Thursday, September 8th for a webinar hosted by Manufacturing Business Technology and Netsuite. Click here to register for FREE.

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