Moving on, moving in.
Why I left the competition to join Fusion5.
Those who know me, acknowledge that I take what I do seriously. And very, very personally.
So, after many years of working with some of the best-known global and local ERPs in the business, I’ve moved to a new company, and am championing a new (to me) ERP application.
To be honest, some of the ERPs I’ve worked with over the last 15 years are now a bit old hat. While the rest of the world has embraced the cloud and mobility, many of the more established applications are making slow progress in the catch-up game. As a result, they’re increasingly hard to sell because of gaps in functionality, and the market perception that they are teetering towards end-of-life, instead of powering towards a new lease of life.
Now, the reality is that these solutions are strong and reliable. But as they have to be provisioned on physical servers, and that’s always a prime area for cost-cutting, they are underperforming through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, underperformance is a tough market perception to overcome.
And for some of the well-developed but newish-to-New-Zealand ERPs, the lack of local support and domain knowledge in the advanced manufacturing space, for example, is equally off-putting to potential adopters. The product may look great on paper, have lots of customers elsewhere in the world, and be competitively priced, but the lack of on-the-spot expertise has been a bright red warning flag to potential customers. With some justification, local support and development capability remains non-negotiable for many.
So, moving right along, what ERP caught my eye? And why?
Time and again, I came up against NetSuite (and Fusion5) in competitive sales pitches. And they won the customer project more often than not. NetSuite became my nemesis. Each time we got the bad news, our team would shake our heads in despair and say “crikey, those b*ggers again!”. These things are never just dumb luck, so I had to ask myself why is it that NetSuite and Fusion5 continue to win hearts and customers?
In the end, I did a reality check, and decided that if you can’t beat them, join them. And to be honest, the combination of NetSuite and Fusion5 has been a breath of fresh air in my career.
It’s fair to say that I’m a happy man. First off, I’m championing New Zealand’s No. 1 cloud ERP. And secondly, I’m excited to be part of one of New Zealand’s own success stories (warning – sales pitch ahead!).
From a four-person team in 2002, Fusion5 now has over 400 staff, nine offices in New Zealand and Australia, and 800 clients - and growing. We’re also the largest and most awarded NetSuite partner in Australasia. And, of course, we represent a wide range of other leading business applications, including some impressive world-beating solutions that we’ve developed in-house. Our collective depth of knowledge is vast, and the internal processes, particularly around delivery, are professional and first class. So, when you couple a winning product with a dynamic technology company, and then look back over your shoulder at where you’ve been, there is a vast chasm, not just a gap.
If you ask me what’s more important to your business success - partner or product – I’d have to say partner. You’re going to go through a lot together, so cultural alliance is critical. It’s the “can you work with these people? Are they good people to work for?” that drives outcomes.
I love NetSuite, it is a great business suite. But in truth, we can make any solution work for you given enough budget and patience. (Although we prefer to not stretch either of these!).
We’ve got a culture in New Zealand where the majority of ERP decisions are made through the RFP process. And the cultural fit of your future ‘bed-mate’ is usually awarded less weight than the fit of the product (bed). Potential customers are basing their decisions on the functionality of a solution, without understanding that the partner match (think experience, knowledge, integrity, reliability, resources, references) is by far and away more instrumental in the success of the application.
You can see why I’ve made the move, but what’s in it for Fusion5? How am I going to add value to the business and our customers (i.e. why did they hire me?).
As well as 15 years’ experience of working with ERP solutions, and 10 years of technology experience before that, I have a wide network of business leaders who trust my integrity and credibility as an ERP advisor. My reputation is important to me, so my business network is built on others believing in me and my ability to deliver what I promise.
Then there is my natural effervescence and fun attitude. But you’d have to ask around to verify that one. My hat and colourful shoes are part of my personal brand. They not only make me easy to spot but reflect my belief in the importance of differentiating yourself in the market.
As I sit here at the beginning of my journey with Fusion5 and NetSuite, I know I’m on the cusp of something great, which interestingly has been Fusion5’s tag line – from Good to Great.