NetSuite's Australian office yesterday said it intended to extend its drive to capture Salesforce.com customers by significantly undercutting its rival's prices on its customer relationship management (CRM) offering.
NetSuite announced its price-cutting drive, called "RenewForce", in November last year. It was only intended to be in place until 31 December.
Because Australia came in so late, only just before Christmas, and because of strong interest, NetSuite VP of international sales Johnny Jones said, the company had decided to extend the offer by a quarter to 31 March, solely in Australia.
The deal has already seen NetSuite sign a couple of Australian companies onto its CRM product this month in deals worth around $100,000, Jones said, although he couldn't say who they were.
The hope with the push, according to the executive, was that once companies were using NetSuite's CRM, they might also move over to the other offerings.
Late last year, NetSuite signed Campus Living Villages to its OneWorld offering. The company manages or develops 50,000 beds over 50 campuses in Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK. OneWorld allows companies to manage multiple subsidiaries with one NetSuite account, which handles different currencies, taxation rules and reporting requirements.
Campus Living Villages has signed on for 100 licences for now, but has expansion plans to double that in the next few years. The deal was worth millions, Campus Living CFO Joanna Wakefield told ZDNet.com.au.
According to Wakefield, the company's current systems were "at screaming point". CEO Iain Rothwell agreed, adding that the MYOB general ledger system the company was using was not optimising staff time.
"We employ some pretty skilled and clever accountants, but I can tell you now at the moment most of their time is engaged in producing the month-end results. There's very little analysis," he said. "We want to move to where the financial month end cycle is actually a seamless process. And in fact, we can pay accountants for what I think accountants do best, which is analyse."
The software as a service model suited Rothwell. "We didn't want to invest our limited capital ... in hardware and boxes in our head office," he said. "We simply didn't even have the resources to maintain that type of model."
We didn't want to invest our limited capital ... in hardware and boxes in our head office
Campus Living Villages CEO Iain Rothwell
Yet there had been some resistance to using software as a service. The conservative accountants were frightened that their data would "disappear into the ether", Wakefield said and they had heard horror stories of systems going offline and slow response times. Rothwell considered these stories to be outdated.
Rothwell said that the company had looked at around half a dozen various platforms before deciding on NetSuite.
Campus Living Villages decided against Oracle and SAP because the match wasn't right. "In my past life I've done large Oracle financial implementations," Rothwell said. "I can tell you now that when you're contracting a whole range of different contractors in, you add a degree of difficulty to the process that can become quite difficult and adds risk to the process."
MYOB was discarded because the company felt it had outgrown it. A subsidiary in the US was using Intuit MRI, but was convinced by the NetSuite system.
The roll-out will begin mid this year using New Zealand and the UK as a pilot, with Australia and the US to follow. The general ledger will be the first feature to come online. "We're going to buy a Ferrari and use it like a nanna for a while," Wakefield said, adding that once the ledger worked, the other features could be added. "I think the biggest risk is that we don't properly use it," she said.
Other companies who have signed up with NetSuite are the Ethan Group with 300 users and Global Aviation which has 36 subsidiaries.