For NetSuite customers, price, availability and performance of applications outweigh the desire to have their data kept inside the country, the company's CEO Zach Nelson said today.
Zach Nelson (Credit: NetSuite)
"While there's a psychological impact in saying 'I want it next to the coffee pot, well at least I want it in the country'... what customers really care about is the availability of the data, the security of the data and the performance of the application," he told journalists in Sydney today.
NetSuite used to have a datacentre servicing its customers in Australia via a deal it had with NetReturn which was distributing its products in Australia. However, when NetSuite bought back its distribution rights, it decided to move the data in that centre back to Sunnyvale in California.
"We didn't really see any impact," the CEO said, especially as to the performance of applications and happiness of customers. He also said he was unsure as to the number of datacentres in Australia that were of the standard to host the applications involved.
"At some point we may come back and build an Asian datacentre, right now it's in Sunnyvale," Nelson said. The location of such a datacentre would depend on where the most customers were.
Currently NetSuite has 400 customers in Australia, more than it had in the UK. Australia was "one of the shining lights" in the current economic environment, according to Nelson. It was the only country in which the company continues to hire.
Two analysts at the event didn't agree with Nelson's assessment of customers' datacentre beliefs.
"The location of the data in the cloud is of major concern here in Australia. I see that as being fundamentally at odds with the concept of cloud computing," Intelligence Business Research Services advisor James Turner said. "It's certainly becoming more of a sensitive issue with the clients we're speaking to," Gartner research VP Brian Prentice agreed.
Nelson agreed that some verticals, such as health and government had "higher concerns" but said that there were many industries which were distributed and price sensitive to engage NetSuite. "I think there would be far more verticals that would be comfortable with this approach than uncomfortable," he said.
On the government side, he said NetSuite was working with the US government on putting some of its information in the cloud. NetSuite's cloud offering was perfect for making information available, he said.
Given that the Federal Government in Australia was also looking at making more information available via its government 2.0 initiatives, Nelson also saw opportunity, but wasn't overly optimistic.
"Selling to government is always very difficult. But at least they're interested in moving information that should be in the cloud into the cloud," he said. He admitted that NetSuite's lack of an Australian datacentre presence did put it at a disadvantage there: "I can imagine the public sector wanting to be local, but we'll see."
The verticals in which NetSuite was dominant were the services industry, distribution and e-commerce. It had recently signed agreements with third-party suppliers for manufacturing and retail specialist customisation and was set to go with a third-party supplier for a supply chain and warehouse management specialisation.
The iPhone version of OneWorld
NetSuite today also spruiked its new iPhone version of its OneWorld software — downloadable for free at the iPhone App Store since 24 September.
Field service users can call up customer histories, browse related cases, and see issues filed by customers. Executives can browse financial trends, watch dashboards, see specific information on key performance indicators as well as generating report snapshots and scorecards.
The company also today announced a new version of its OneWorld software for companies with legacy Oracle environments. Customers are able to use OneWorld at the divisional level, while continuing to use the Oracle systems at the corporate level. The two systems are connected via the company's SuiteCloud Connect for Oracle.
The NetSuite software was more customisable and flexible than the Oracle systems servicing the corporate company, NetSuite said.
Nelson didn't believe that this competed with Oracle as he claimed it wouldn't have been cost-effective to have run Oracle in those divisions NetSuite was targeting.