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NetSuite helps run companies and not just a department: Gary Wiessinger, senior VP, Oracle

By Shelley Singh

LAS VEGAS: NetSuite is among market's pioneers for business software, having sold its growing family of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), e-commerce, and other applications since 1998. In 2016 Oracle completed its acquisition of NetSuite. NetSuite’s addition enables Oracle to expand its ability to support customers of all sizes in more industries and more countries. On the sidelines of the recent SuiteWorld meet in Las Vegas, ET caught up with Gary Wiessinger, senior vice president of product management, overseeing product strategy and design at Oracle NetSuite to discuss evolution of ERP, migration to cloud and the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have on business software. Edited excerpts:

ERP has been used for a few decades and has evolved from client server to on premises to cloud and now benefitting from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) etc. What’s the future of ERP? How relevant is it for companies?
ERP as a term is dated but as a concept it will never go away. It is about the automation and control. It is really about operations — mainly back office operations for any kind of organisation and that is never going to stop.

It has evolved from some mainframes stuff to client server, on premises, cloud. The last big shift to cloud is still happening and the next big shift is AI and that is not just ERP, but CRM, commerce, HR etc. These two eras are overlapping —cloud and AI. Without the cloud I don’t think AI can happen.

AI is dependent on two things, one is ability to process enormous amounts of data. The other is accessibility of big data. That’s made easier by cloud and some of that stuff could not happen in on-premise world. So, cloud enables AI. Those are the next two big transformations — AI and cloud – and they are happening at the same time. We are going to see more automation and better collaboration and AI helps do those things.

Is NetSuite ready for both?

Ofcourse. NetSuite delivered business applications over the internet way ahead of any other provider. A big reason why we exist is that NetSuite is a system to run companies and not just a department. With NetSuite you do smaller implementations and the platform gives you the ability to adjust to changing needs along the way. ERP will be around forever and will get better. 

Oracle chief executive Mark Hurd talked about hype around AI and it will be more integrated to the apps rather than be stand alone. Is AI able to deliver some big advantage or is it early days to have some kind of meaningful impact?
It is early days. It is unproven. I firmly believe AI will play out not nearly as much as everyone is claiming. The hype curve happens in any new technology as everyone jumps on, because they want to have conversations like this — it’s the big new ..


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