The challenge of the post digital enterprise

The challenge of the post digital enterprise

Customer engagement in the age of disruptive technologies is key theme at SuiteWorld 2012.

How businesses operate with other businesses and respond to customers is critical for enterprise success today, says Zach Nelson, chief executive at NetSuite. "It is a customer driven revolution," says Nelson, in his keynote speech at SuiteWorld 2012, the annual user conference of the cloud computing company.

Customers don’t want to interact with your website but with a myriad of devices, he says. “They want you to recognise them across everyone of these channels.”

Think of the best customer experience provided by Apple and Amazon, he says. Because of this, your customer is expecting your company to deliver on the same set of expectations.

Nelson says today's customers want real time response and interaction. "They don't want an email two weeks later."

Businesses, on the other hand, expect their suppliers to have insight into their business relationships, and assume they will deliver a B2B experience as compelling as a B2C website.

"This is the future," says Nelson. "How do you tie together a compelling user experience with operational excellence to deliver on the promise the customer expects?"

Nelson says the three big trends in technology are social, mobile and the cloud. “If you are still figuring out how to go to these you are going to have serious problems,” he says.

It is a fundamental transformation, he says. Every company is realising is has to be a cloud company and is looking at its internal operations. You are no way a cloud company if it takes you six weeks to process an order, he says.

One of the big “eye openers” for him was how some of the most innovative mid-market companies are “skipping an entire generation of technology” and going to the cloud, he says.

Some of these companies are NetSuite customers and include GoPro, one of the biggest successes in Silicon Valley, Playdom, a division of Disney, and Evernote.

William D Briggs, deputy CTO at Deloitte, says new expectations from customers will affect operations.

“The post-digital ecosystem is borderless and limitless, extending far beyond the four walls of your business,” he says. “The most successful post-digital efforts will be driven by customer engagement."

He says the "disruptive forces" of analytics, mobile, cloud, social and cyber, provide companies with an “amazing opportunity opportunity to innovate".

“Rethinking how you do things is the opportunity in front of us now with innovative technology,” says Briggs. “Could we do something different?”

He underscores the importance of CIOs working closely with business groups as these disruptive technologies abound. “How do you balance the realities of your job – with keeping the lights on with doing the right investments and ongoing innovation on the side?”

“CIOs that try to go and create their own 'Skunkworks' R & D teams and say, ‘I am going to create a mobile app that I think the head of sales is looking for’, almost always fails,” he says. “We need business involvement throughout."

NetSuite rolls out commerce-as-a-service platform

By Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service

NetSuite is going up against vendors such as Demandware in the market for cloud-based e-commerce platforms, announcing a new product, SuiteCommerce, during the SuiteWorld conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

While NetSuite has offered e-commerce technologies for some time, this product aims to up the ante and replace first-generation e-commerce platforms, which largely revolve around purchases made through company websites.

Today, e-commerce customers buy not only through websites but also via their smartphones, social media and in-store kiosks, said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson in an interview prior to the conference.

"It's not just about the website anymore," Nelson said. SuiteCommerce is build to handle all types of today's transactions, as well as ones done through "interfaces not yet defined," he said.

Some of the latter may come through machine-to-machine purchasing scenarios, Nelson said. For example, a surgical robot could automatically order new surgical needles it uses as supplies run low, he said.

SuiteCommerce, under development for several years, consists of two main new pieces. One, called SuiteCommerce Experience, is used for building user interfaces across multiple device types. The other is a set of services for connecting interfaces built with SuiteCommerce Experience to back-end components in the core NetSuite system, such as for payment processing and order management.

Customers who decide to use third-party tools to build out user interfaces for their e-commerce efforts can still use these services, Nelson said.

And companies that already have an ERP system from the likes of Oracle and SAP can deploy SuiteCommerce as a stand-alone system, and then integrate its data back to their core ERP, according to Nelson.

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