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SUITEWORLD | PH to remain important to NetSuite amid global expansion

LAS VEGAS — The Philippine operations of NetSuite, now known as the Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit, will remain important to the company’s strategy amid global expansion plans.

Evan Goldberg, Executive Vice President for Development PHOTO: MELBA BERNAD

We are opening new [development centers] ones [elsewhere] but certainly Manila will remain important to our strategy. There is no change there. We will continue to hire great people. Some of the SuiteSuccess components will be built in the Philippines,” said Evan Goldberg, Executive Vice President for Development, in an interview with members of the Philippine media during the Oracle+NetSuite SuiteWorld conference held in Las Vegas last month.

“The expansion in Asia means we are going to be needing more people in the same time zone, and that strategy is going to directly [benefit] our operations in the Philippines.”

In Southeast Asia, NetSuite currently has operations in Singapore, it’s regional hub; and the Philippines, which handles customer support and R&D. “We have an amazing team [in the Philippines],” said Goldberg who founded NetSuite 18 years ago after leaving Oracle.

Leveraging Oracle resources

Across Asia Pacific, NetSuite plans to put up data centers in Australia and Singapore, followed by Japan and China. As for development centers, NetSuite will leverage Oracle’s development centers in China, India and Japan.

Under the GBU’s expansion plans across Southeast Asia, operations will be established in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and eventually, Indonesia, leveraging existing Oracle office spaces, according to Lee Thompson, Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan, in a separate interview with the Asian media.

From left: Graeme Burt, Director of Growth & Emerging Markets, JAPAC; Thomas Kim, Managing Director, Philippines; Lee Thompson, Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan; and Zakir Ahmed, Sales Senior Director for Asia. PHOTO: MELBA BERNAD

Thompson said the GBU will focus on digital online marketing and seminars to reach out to new customers in Asia. He noted that while NetSuite previously didn’t have offices in most of Southeast Asia, the markets were served by its direct sales team in Singapore.

Thompson said that there are three kinds of early adopters of NetSuite in Asia: small companies growing very quickly; businesses that want to sell to other markets or regions;  and companies that have subsidiaries across the region and are looking for a technology that unifies all subsidiaries on a single platform.

Great momentum

“We are seeing great momentum in terms of customer acquisition and growth numbers in Asia,” adds Zakir Ahmed, Sales Senior Director for Asia. Significant interest have been coming from companies in the retail, distribution and wholesale businesses, according to Ahmed.

“Many companies are now seeing the value of NetSuite. The plan was always to create a hub in Singapore and with success we will branch out into ASEAN.”

Ahmed said that while Oracle has acquired NetSuite, the unit will remain independent, and thus, there will be no changes in current operations.  “[Customer] relationship hasn’t changed; they [customers] will still deal with the same account managers.”

Channel network

While NetSuite has direct sales teams, it will also tap its network of 80 partners across the region to reach out to new customers, mainly the small and medium enterprises, according to Graeme Burt, Director of Growth & Emerging Markets, for Japan and APAC.

“Our strategy is to have a very strong, deep-skilled partner community to be able to best serve our customers,” said Burt.

Thompson added that Oracle and NetSuite’s partner programs will be kept separate for now, with no immediate plans to integrate the programs or increase prices.

Hiring intentions

While NetSuite will not be putting up a data center in the Philippines, the GBU will be hiring more developers and customer support [representatives], according to Thomas Kim, Managing Director for Philippines. Kim said that the Philippine operations’ headcount has been growing  24% year-on-year.

Kim said that there are no plans yet to merge Oracle and NetSuite offices in Manila. “NetSuite Philippines operates very differently from Oracle Philippines in the sense that we have a very large shared services center in Manila, and you can’t get rid of it because it supports our entire global business. It is that important.”

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