Hosted US enterprise resource application planning (ERP) vendor NetSuite has landed its largest UK customer since its launch here at the beginning of 2004, in a deal with a branch of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
The Waltham Forest YMCA branch, known as Forest, has cut IT costs from £220,000 to £80,000 annually by standardising its entire business operations on a single, hosted NetSuite Enterprise platform.
James Nicola, Forest YMCA's volunteer ICT strategic director, said the organisation thought it would be cheaper to replace its old systems and standardise on Microsoft, which it has largely done.
But when it came to replacing ageing Dos-based accounting system, spreadsheets and Access databases, Nicola said Microsoft's Navision Great Plains ERP product was too costly to implement and support.
Forest needed to integrate 60 disparate databases so that staff could get a single view of YMCA members - like a mother using its gym facilities who might then make use of its childcare service - as well as of its supporters and government agency partners.
Nicola said the hosted delivery method of NetSuite "fitted very well with our strategy of trying to take away as much work from the IT department as possible. It also made sure that all the functions would be available to Forest employees wherever they are."
The deal also allowed Nicola to achieve his aim of maintaining a year-on-year static budget line, as NetSuite charges per user. And after a short pilot involving eight members of financial staff, the software was rolled out to 250 Forest users.
"Our site licence will allow for growth and allows me to reduce my role to the managing of contracts," said Nicola.
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