A start-up’s ERP system must support even the wildest of dreams
Innovative companies on an upward trajectory present unprecedented challenges for ERP operations. Accountor Enterprise’s Juha Kuivainen explains how these challenges can be met.
Start-up companies are like planes flying through turbulence that could change not only their course but also the destination. Their business models are in a state of flux, as product concepts change and revenue models evolve. These companies must learn quickly and operate in an agile manner. Their path to success is paved with correct and timely choices made in response to the ideas that arise and to the circumstances and opportunities that present themselves.
What is the role of an ERP system in the development of evolving business operations that are continuously expanding and becoming more international?
‘Conventional ERP solutions can’t adapt to rapid changes, which are part and parcel of a start-up’s day-to-day life. Creativity, innovations, the necessary degrees of freedom, and scalability factors create requirements that can be met only through novel enterprise software solutions,’ says Kuivainen, who is best described as Accountor Enterprise Solutions Oy’s NetSuite evangelist.
Proud member of Finnish startup scene
Alongside Accountor Enterprise’s other experts, Kuivainen offers support and assistance to companies that have been global from the word ‘go’. The special enterprise software that meets the needs of forward-looking companies is NetSuite. Globally developed and locally applied NetSuite is implemented by roughly 40,000 companies, the solution is now conquering Finnish and wider European markets.
Finland’s active start-up environment offers fertile ground for a revolution in the approach to enterprise resource planning. ‘You need a change in mindset,’ Kuivainen emphasises, adding: ‘An experimental approach, with testing, learning, and quick decisions – even some wild ideas – these are the stuff that start-ups are made of.’
Kuivainen illustrates his view with an example: ‘One of our clients told us that they’d been dreaming about a prototype that could be implemented online in the following year. We rolled up our sleeves and delivered a prototype in the space of a few hours.’
Social enterprise resource planning
NetSuite has been on the pages of numerous success stories, such as those of Airbnb and Spotify, both companies that have become household names. Similarly to many of its customers, NetSuite, established in Silicon Valley in 1998, has experienced a rapid rise from start-up to listed company. In 2016, the company was acquired by Oracle.
‘NetSuite is used more via mobile devices than traditional ERP systems are,’ says Kuivainen. ‘Customer accounts, partnership networks, and ecosystems can all be found in the same cloud. In social enterprise resource planning, the communication and collaboration extend across organisations’ boundaries, and diverse services and applications can be freely connected to one another,’ he continues.
The process of getting a modern enterprise software solution up and running looks very different from the implementation of a conventional ERP system. ‘In the past, you needed coders, but now implementation consists mainly of the visual design of business processes. The projects are composed of sprints and workshops. The development environment is controlled by the customer, who is not tied to any single supplier by a contract,’ explains Kuivainen.
NetSuite encompasses a wide range of cloud-based services, from financial management, enterprise resource planning, and delivery chain management, through sales, marketing, and customer relationship management, all the way to advanced utilisation of business intelligence and electronic trading. Decentralised services are light and agile. The global NetSuite ecosystem actively generates value-added services with the assistance of an open development environment.