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Growth, growth and growth. Isn’t everyone, especially in the worlds of business and politics, talking about growth these days? And as observed at the recent SuiteWorld 2022 hosted by Oracle NetSuite, businesses are looking to the certainty of data to find new paths to profitability and indeed the growth they crave.
As he addressed proceedings in the last week of September, Oracle NetSuite founder and executive vice-president Evan Goldberg remarked that even if there were an alien invasion, people would still be talking about growth.
Yet at the same time, the conference highlighted the fact that economies in key territories are in post-Covid transition, and are also about to be hit by the threat of inflation, meaning disruption is rife. In truth, dealing with untrammelled growth may not be on the agenda – consolidation and coping with harsh business realities may be much more likely.
So how difficult is it for businesses to adapt to such dynamics and new industry realities so they are more capable of reacting to market changes to achieve what they need?
Pondering these key issues, Oracle NetSuite’s senior vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Nicky Tozer, says she has yet to see much in the way of negative changes in her region of responsibility, but reveals that a new reality is emerging among the company’s customer base as to what their priorities are.
“With the pandemic, we saw a huge change very quickly. And then we have to find a way to manage and then we saw a change based on [the fact] that some customers are going to thrive because of the pandemic scenario. Others took the time when they couldn’t trade to get their systems in place. And then that stabilised throughout the rest of the two years or so. I think we’re only [now] starting to see…people not delaying projects indefinitely and saying, ‘We need to think about this [now]’.
“We have talked about growth, growth and growth for the last five years. And in our customer base, growth has been driven by international business or by [introducing] different products or services. We’ve talked about growth, [yet] you will have noticed [at SuiteWorld 2022] that most of the discussion is around doing more with less. So how to increase productivity and efficiency through automation. How do you get better control of your supply chain? How do you better manage your cash flow? How are you going to manage the impact of inflation? Workforce costs? How are you protecting your margins?”
Such issues are real and central to the future of firms of all sizes in all places. Firms such as Cellebrite.
How Cellebrite is using NetSuite
Israel-based Cellebrite describes itself as a global leader in partnering with public and private organisations to transform how they manage digital intelligence in investigations to protect and save lives, accelerate justice and ensure data privacy.
The company aims to aid organisations in mastering the complexities of legally sanctioned digital investigations, with a digital intelligence investigative platform and services to unify the investigative lifecycle and manage digital evidence and provide technology to bring justice to victims of crimes.
To date, the company has offices in Israel, Germany, Brazil, Singapore and Australia, and its technology has been purchased by 6,700 public safety agencies and enterprises in over 140 countries and used in more than five million cases across the globe.
The company has four lines of business in terms of product types: collect, review, analyse, manage. Collection and review involve unlocking a phone, getting the data out, encrypting it and decrypting it, and then analysing what’s there. The analytics products business is about understanding this type of information and connecting the dots for law enforcement agencies.
Cellebrite vice-president of global information systems Emmanuelle Gutterman has worked at the company for eight years, the last seven of which with NetSuite technology. When she joined, there was no information systems unit and she was engaged to head the information systems unit, which has as many as four different enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems around the globe.
“We had two different CRMs [customer relationship management systems] so I started working on consolidating the solutions we needed and wanted. I wanted a cloud-based solution at that point,” she recalls. “After many years of background with ERP systems, I had worked with Oracle applications, and with SAP, and all those on-premise type solutions [on which] you would spend millions of dollars. And so, understanding that, we can just say, ‘Okay, the infrastructure is not mine, it moves to the cloud’.”
The other issue was complexity. The ERP systems did not talk with each other and Gutterman wanted one global system so that the company could reach its goals of growing and expanding and going public, which eventually it did.
“We had to have one solution, globally. I think it took three or four months after I travelled to the US to see what type of systems [were available] to draw a roadmap of how we’re going to merge them all into a cloud-based SaaS [software-as-a-service] solution,” she recalls
After implementing all finance-related systems through NetSuite, including fixed assets, billing and accounting, everything else Cellebrite has implemented so far is associated with inventory management and manufacturing. Things are not stopping there, notes Gutterman.
Addressing supply chain issues
“We are in the middle of the last implementation that we’re doing this year, hopefully, which is the MRP [material requirements planning] to see how we can help our business overcome supply chain issues. That’s a huge thing,” she says.
Most businesses would agree. In fact, dealing with supply chain issues has been one of the largest operational issues that companies have had to deal with in the post-Covid climate.
The company has two NetSuite releases a year and has undertaken a roll-out region by region and at each different location, Cellebrite expanded the core solution with localisation. “When we reached Israel, we had to do all the manufacturing solution implementation. When we hit Germany, we implemented the multi-currency [elements] and so forth. Every region presented another expansion ability into what NetSuite could do,” notes Gutterman.
With the software well established and working for the company, it seems its plan with NetSuite is delivering as expected. But when asked if she’d do anything differently if she were to start again now, for better business outcomes, Gutterman says she would have expanded the way the company had set up things such as being able to cope with an accounts payable (AP) automation solution such as the one NetSuite launched at SuiteWorld 2022.
“[I thought] what are we going to do? Are we going to go with a vendor that we have identified as providing something that fits our needs, or do we wait for the product to mature and take the embedded net new AP automation? It’s a question that a lot of people are trying to understand. I just say to the development team, ‘When do you gain full visibility [and] what does the communication look like?’ This gives advance insight into what solutions the team is working on. And I think being based in Israel is a challenge because [the software is] very, very US focused.”
But there is a clear future roadmap, and this involves the need to deepen and expand existing solutions and work on better integration with non-NetSuite software. “Hopefully, we’re going to be very successful with the MRP and that implementation,” she says. “We’re looking to see what NetSuite comes up with next because we are early adopters of everything they’ve done. [We have had] a discussion on Suite billing and Suite tax; we need to implement all of them. Our CRM systems are different to NetSuite – it’s Salesforce – so [we need] better integration between Salesforce and NetSuite.”
And there lies the plan. A strategy to cope with the changes that are coming. And the one thing that is certain to come is change – and solutions need to support these new dynamics.
NetSuite’s Nicky Tozer says conversations with customers such as Cellebrite are now not necessarily centred around supporting growth but instead around how the software they’re investing in can be used to help them control their business. This conversation will likely continue for some time.