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NetSuite brings Philippines closer to the ‘cloud’

REGINALD Singh, NetSuite vice president for Asia (second from left) discusses the relevance of the “cloud” in the country. James Dantow (second from right), NetSuite general manager, shares how most local businesses have migrated to enterprise resource planning (ERP). VANESSA B. HIDALGO

The Philippines is facing “dynamic” challenges in the fast-changing landscape of business and technology.

Attributed to the economic growth experienced by the country, it became a viable contender for expansion across the globe.

Reginald Singh, NetSuite vice president for Asia, discussed in a round table meeting five key business challenges that Asian countries are gearing up for.

Among the key challenges are: Tighter labor market and higher material costs, declining demand from the West, a need to focus on innovation, research and development, coping with fast-changing business development and learning the ropes of a customer-centered system of engagement.

“They need a system that is more agile. A system that will enable them to get information about what their customers are buying and what are their buying habits and patterns,” he added.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions.

In the Philippine setup, Singh said that ERP is no longer a foreign word to most business owners.

He said that most Filipino companies require that their ERPs be flexible, cost-effective and scalable.

James Dantow, NetSuite general manager for the Philippines, observed that most Filipino companies are “frugal.”

“They are very careful about spending their money. They are always on the look out for cost-effective measures. This is the reason why we offer a ‘pay as you go’ approach. We can tailor-fit a system for an organization so that the money saved will be redirected to growing their business,” Dantow said.

Cloud solutions and ERPs offer a way out of data loss through proper handling and storage of valuable data.

“The ‘cloud’ business is experiencing a strong growth in Asia. There is a rapid-rate of adoption,” Singh said.

The country, which is frequently visited by typhoons and weather disturbances, is prone to losing data which is stored in physical infrastructure.

However, he pointed out that security, loss of control and integrity are issues hounding the reliability of the cloud.

Asked about the security of cloud services, Singh answered, “Here in Asia, we talk to them about security. It’s all about education and assurance. Our system incorporates an audit trail wherein there are various layers of security features that insures protection of data.”

The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are preparing this year’s economic integration, and Singh believes that the adoption to the cloud will be “a great enabler and will definitely benefit the market.”

“It will also drive the growth of ERP in the market,” he said.

Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines recently joined NetSuite .

The organization is now running its core business processes through an integrated software system.

For 25 years, the nonprofit organization has been using on-premise software.

“We’ve noticed that our current software and accounting system were already obsolete. So we turned to Kaisa (consulting firm) and they led us to NetSuite,” said Cecile Alcantara, president of Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines.

The foundation is a recipient of the NetSuite Solution as a software grant from the NetSuite.org corporate citizenship program.

This program offers free and discounted subscriptions to qualified nonprofits and social enterprises.

Also included in the package is a three-person volunteer team called “suite volunteers”.

Alcantara admits that she and her crew were not techie people. They were surprised to learn that it took only two months to migrate data from its previous software, customized financial records and reports, and initiated work that will bring together projects, beneficiaries, donors and vendors to supply project-related goods and services.

“It started out as something alien to us. It is a journey we are taking with NetSuite,” she said.

In this journey, Coca-Cola Foundation is looking at P2.5 million worth of savings in NetSuite training and software licensing costs. The grant is a one-time deal with NetSuite and is subject to renewal.

Alcantara notes that with adoption to NetSuite, they have improved productivity and freed up resources to improve efficiency. The staff now saves two days worth of work in a week.

Since 1987, Coca-Cola Foundation has reached out to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos by providing them improved access to education, clean water and better economic opportunity.

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