NetSuite pitches automation, eyes high-growth markets in APAC expansion

Oracle-owned cloud software vendor is looking to expand its operations in markets such as Indonesia and the Philippines, through a stronger partner ecosystem and "full suite" integrated platform that features automation.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

NetSuite is eyeing a wider Asia-Pacific footprint in "high-growth" markets and will look to do so by building up its partner ecosystem. The Oracle-owned cloud software vendor also hopes to win customers over with a "full suite" integrated platform that features automation and delivers beyond ERP functionalities.

Organisations in the last two years had been accelerating their digital transformation and figuring out how to operate in a hybrid work environment, said NetSuite's founder and executive vice president Evan Goldberg.

At the same time, they faced supply chain disruptions and had to look to new geographies to regain resilience, Goldberg said during a briefing with Asia-Pacific media at NetSuite's SuiteWorld conference in Las Vegas this week.

Amidst the need to manage fluctuating costs from a volatile supply chain and support a hybrid workplace, companies had to ensure people had access to the same consistent data regardless of where they were, he said.

NetSuite executives are touting the value of a "full suite" software platform that offers a unified view and efficient manageability across key business operations, including inventory management, manufacturing, customer support, sales, and workforce management. This also ensures more accurate data analytics and forecasting.

Automation, in particular, plays a crucial role in easing and speeding up business processes, according to Goldberg.

NetSuite Accounts Payable (AP) Automation, for instance, simplifies and automates bill payment processes including data capture and payment and reconciliation.

Unveiled at the conference this week, the new offering helped businesses streamline key processes that were slow, tedious, and error-prone, said Goldberg.

With the tool, NetSuite said organisations could decide when and how to pay vendors, giving them control over their cashflow.

Goldberg believes automation will continue to play a key role as 5G and edge computing technologies extend service delivery and data access, particularly in operating environments of industries such as manufacturing, logistics, and retail.

Asked how NetSuite tools would evolve to support these new requirements, he pointed to opportunities for the use of robotics in warehouses and factories and bringing automation earlier in the operational lifecycle. The creation of work orders, for instance, could automatically trigger production processes.

Small companies would be able to access such "end-to-end" automation, not just big manufacturers, he noted. "Automation is the name of the game," he said, adding that it would enable employees to be more productive and effective, focusing on processes that generated more value for the business as well as tasks that still needed human judgment.

Coupled with artificial intelligence and analytics, automation would further help organisations manage rising costs and mitigate the effects of a volatile supply chain, he said. Automating more, eliminating errors and gaining efficiencies would be increasingly crucial as margins thinned, he added.

Partners key to APAC growth

That NetSuite offers a full suite software platform that offers beyond a single ERP function is the key message it also wants Asia-Pacific customers to take away, according to NetSuite's Asia-Pacific vice president KK Pan.

"There's a unified pla8tform we're operating with a single data source that can be easily shared throughout the organisation, functions, and processes," Pan said in an interview with ZDNET. "It's also about helping our customers scale as they grow."

In Asia-Pacific, he said NetSuite was seeing high growth in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand, where there were growing communities of unicorns, high-growth young companies, private equity firms, and startups.

Markets such as Indonesia and the Philippines also had large local populations that were young, he noted, adding that India was another market the software vendor was looking o grow its presence.  

To drive its expansion plans, Pan said NetSuite would focus on building its partner ecosystem and enabling them to better service these growth markets.

Channel partners played an important role in developing localised functions, he noted.

India, for instance, was a huge market that was significantly diversified. He said partners that could assist NetSuite in localisation and productization were especially in such markets.

The software vendor was "expediting" its frameworks for local partners to better sell, implement, support, and build applications on top of the NetSuite platforms, Pan said. He pointed to its SuiteCloud Developer Network (SDN), a tooling platform designed to enable its partners to build specific functions tailored for a customer's business requirements.

"It's how we gain velocity and localisation in a country and vertical," he said, adding that the vendor had SDN partners in markets such as Japan and South Korea.

Apart from developing localised functionalities, partners also played a key role in providing support in markets where NetSuite did not have a direct presence, he noted.

The software vendor has operations in Singapore, Japan, China, the Philippines, and Australia and New Zealand. Customers outside of these markets in the region are serviced by its channel partners.

Apart from training and better enabling its partner ecosystem to support customers, NetSuite also is exploring plans to expand its operations in some markets.

Indonesia, in particular, was a market the software vendor was "seriously" looking at and where it night put in more sales resources, he said.

Asked how many partners NetSuite had in Asia-Pacific as well as its growth rate in the region, Pan declined to provide specifics, saying only that it currently had "hundreds" of partners. He said the region was seeing growth rates that were "on par" with the vendor's global numbers.

NetSuite said its ERP cloud revenue clocked a year-on-year growth rate of 27% in its first quarter 2023, ended August 30 this year.

Its customers in Asia-Pacific included PropertyGuru, Carousell, ShopBack, Ninja Van, Jollibee, and LalaMove.

Based in Singapore, Eileen Yu reported for ZDNET from NetSuite SuiteWorld 2022 in Las Vegas, USA, on the invitation of Oracle NetSuite.


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