INQUIRER.NET

SMEs moving to the ‘cloud’

EVEN smaller businesses are moving to the “cloud.”

Take the case of Microventures Foundation Inc. (MVF) and MicroVenture Inc. (MVI), the organizations behind Hapinoy, which works with more than 4,000 microentrepreneurs in Luzon and the Visayas, most of whom run small variety or “sari-sari” stores.

Ann Juliet Go, director of operations for Hapinoy, says that for most microentrepreneurs, recordkeeping is a tedious task and quite a burden on the women behind the stores, many of whom have not completed basic education.

“We needed a system to manage our finances. We did not see monthly reports. Everything required manual input,” she says.

Thus in 2013, Hapinoy co-founder Mark Ruiz suggested that the group go online for help in making sense of the numbers. Their search for the right system led them to NetSuite, which has become an invaluable partner in managing the group’s financials, expense reporting and donor tracking.

Through NetSuite’s Corporate Citizenship Program—which offers free and discounted subscriptions to qualified nonprofits and social enterprises—Hapinoy received a software grant from Netsuite.org.

“We checked out their website and followed the step-by-step process and then we were in,” she adds.

With the help of PGE Solutions, Hapinoy and MVF now run on NetSuite’s unified system and real-time data access. “The customer support is incredible. We, as a foundation, can now give accurate monthly reports to our donors,” she says.

Aside from data gathering and storage, NetSuite also provides free customization for its benefactors.

For MVF, a customized database made up of beneficiaries and marketing tools were made available. While for the social enterprise side, accounting activities and real-time data access are now a click away.

“With NetSuite, we are able to provide on-demand insights for decision-making. We can see if a project is working or not from a financial perspective and decide if we are going to move forward with the project. It’s allowing us to serve our constituents much faster and more effectively,” says Go.

Two more nonprofit customers were awarded grants to streamline their business processes: Cartwheel Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on nurturing indigenous Filipino heritage through culturally relevant education and Virlanie Foundation, which provides shelter for children who need special protection.

“These three organizations are doing important, meaningful work in the Philippines,” says James Dantow, NetSuite senior vice president for Worldwide support and general manager for PH. “Our community effort is paramount to our success here.”

He describes NetSuite’s work with nonprofits as its “best asset and a big part of our backyard.”

NetSuite has been operating in the Philippines for eight years.

With over 1,000 employees, it takes pride in the efficiency and productivity of its Filipino employees.

“We employ smart people. We leverage them to look after the people of the world,” he says.

The Corporate Citizenship Program is an avenue wherein employees lend a helping hand to empower more than 500 nonprofits and social enterprises. The “Suite Employees” work closely with the organizations to deploy the NetSuite system.

Through the NetSuite software, Go narrates that the Suite employees were there to guide them from day one.

Armed with patience, the volunteers taught them the skills to handle the software.

“Now, we can expand the business of our micrentrepreneurs through smooth coordination with partners, closely monitoring our finances and also offer transparency to our donors,” she says.

Reginald Singh, vice president for Asia, says the company’s customer base in Asia has grown by 66 percent.

This growth is attributed to the growing cloud awareness and adoption across the region.

“We have a healthy and growing partner ecosystem. So we turn our eye to deliver better product experience. Even mid-size and smaller business are harnessing the power of the cloud as a tool to get to know their customers better. Thus, giving them better service,” says Singh.

According to Singh, technology has leveled the playing field.

Most large companies want the agility and flexibility of most startup companies, while small companies are thinking big thanks to the opportunities given by technology.

NetSuite’s role is to give them that added competitive edge to survive and thrive in the market.

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