On-line Retailing/e-commerce in Australia

David Odgers (eBay, Sales and Marketing Director) notes that ecommerce in the US and UK has roughly double the proportion of retail sales as in Australia ( 8% vs 4%).  The US market ecommerce growth has been on an upward trend for the past decade as per the following graph:






NetSuite are running a webinar on why online retail performance in Australia has been slow. Keynote speaker will be Phil Harpur from Frost & Sullivan.

Its on Tuesday March 13th and 1.30pm – Register via this form.

Forrester White Paper – Two-tier ERP Strategy

This is an excellent read for companies that are medium to large in size. It looks at the confronting questions of how to equip subsidiaries with integrated business management—without the high costs required for the SAP, Oracle or other ERP systems they run at headquarters.

It’s Time to Clarify Your Global ERP Strategy, for a look at how two-tier “hub-and-spoke” ERP can offer greater speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

I received my copy on the NetSuite site and the link below goes to that landing page. Read it in association with our Compare ERP Guidebook.

In this white paper, Forrester discussed how the main players can fit in with various strategies, covering Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Netsuite &  Epicor. Below is a diagram explaining the typical single-hub model, paper explains other options and when to use them.

2-tier ERP

NetSuite Attacks MYOB & Quickbooks with JCurve

Mid-market cloud ERP vendor NetSuite is planning  to launch a basic accounting package for small business in July through its Australian partner, JCurve. The accounting package will be a version of NetSuite’s financials module.

“It’s directly aimed at giving an alternative to QuickBooks and MYOB, and will be priced accordingly,”

JCurve Chairman Graham Baillie, interviewed at NetSuite’s first user conference in San Francisco, said.

“We will be beta testing it next month.”

The accounting product, as yet unnamed, would include a set-up wizard to help small businesses with installation and would most likely cost $49 per user per month, in line with Australian market leader MYOB. Users and features could be added at extra cost and small businesses could move directly to the full version of NetSuite by turning on all the ERP features.

JCurve plans to release another cut-down product of NetSuite soon afterwards called JCurve Lite that adds CRM to the accounting package. No price had been finalised for JCurve Lite. The two new versions would join JCurve’s sole product, a small-business version of the cloud ERP program that was limited to 20 users and also sporting the set-up wizard. This version would be renamed JCurve Premium. Small businesses had shied away from JCurve Premium because it was such a large step up from using spreadsheets and an accounting program, Baillie said. All three small-business versions would only be available in Australia through JCurve. There are plans to sell the software through IT resellers.
At the inaugural user conference in San Francisco NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson said the vendor planned to roll out the cut-down versions to other markets.

“We have every intention, as JCurve becomes more successful, to make it a global program,”

Nelson told BoxFreeIT in an interview.

NetSuite New 2-Tier Strategy

NetSuite will tie departmental and divisional implementations of NetSuite’s cloud-based OneWorld suite with a core on-site ERP system from the likes of SAP or Oracle. It will utilise a connector from Informatica.

Interest in two-tier ERP is growing significantly, according to a report from Constellation Research. Forty-eight percent of respondents to a recent survey the analyst firm conducted said they were considering such a strategy, up 27 percentage points from a 2009 survey. More details and Graphs.

A single monolithic ERP does not work for many companies. This is often due to Global companies having different businesses in different parts of the world eg some countries may have their own warehouses while others outcource to a 3PL company.

As well as NetSuite, some of the larger vendors are themselves developing 2-tier strategies. SAP for instance has both BusinessOne and Business ByDesign as options for 2-tier markets.

Cloud ERP Vendors

The Cloud/SaaS CRM market is quite a bit more mature than the Cloud/SaaS ERP vendors. Definitions in this arena are constantly getting re-hashed by vendors and a bit of qualification may help here.

Most of many of the vendors can help you move your ERP application into the Cloud – basically picking up your current hardware and software solution – and putting it into a vendor data centre.

For the purists, this is not good enough as this type of solution lacks a few things:

  1. Shared hardware – often called multi-tenant
  2. Shared resource – or virtualisation

Why are these important?

They are important for a couple of reasons, firstly shared hardware means that you pay less for the hardware than if its 100% dedicated to your ERP system needs. The second reason is that sharing hardware means that you have better flexibility – to increase the resources you need or to reduce them.

Typically, a server in your own data centre may be 15-30% utilised across the business day. You may only use it at 100% capacity once a day or even once a month. By sharing hardware you can share the costs of this expensive and underutilised resource. Similarly, if you start to grow rapidly then adding more computing resource is easier than buying and adding new hardware resources.

The knock-on benefit is that its ‘easier‘ for a vendor to offer you SaaS licence terms – that is a rental model of $x per user per month, rather than the typical licence model.

Are they important to you?

Let the vendors quarrel about the technical aspects of this. The key question is the importance of this to you and your business? If its critical then unfortunetly at this point in time it limits your choice, unlike the CRM market where there are a number of good options.

Use our ERP Checklist as a time-saving way to start comparing vendors.

If ERP you will want to look at Netsuite, Plex Systems and SAP Business ByDesign will meet the needs of the purist. Note that other SAP solutions won’t meet the strict criteria set out above and the ByDesign solution is not yet formally released in this region.

If there any other vendors who can meet this criteria – please let me know.

Workflow in Netsuite

Workflow is one of the key benefits of improved processes coming out of ERP – here is a video on a Travel request within Netsuite. If this is important to you – add it to your ERP checklist – our starter template available here.

ERP Vendors – netsuite

Interested in Netsuite and use Gmail – here is a quick video on integration.

Netsuite Hairball Video

An amusing video that takes a quick slap at competing vendors.

ERP For Small To Medium Businesses – Simple ERP

This section applies to Small and specific Medium Businesses – if you are a medium or large business see ERP Solutions.

ERP for Small Business

A typical business will go through a range of growth phases. Moving from an accounting package and ten spreadsheets to an ERP is one of them. A typical scenario is where a company has a simple accounting needs served by MYOB and needs additional capabilities to support growth. There are a number of options:

  • Simple ERP
  • Full ERP

Clarify the reasons you need ERP to ensure you find a successful solution here by downloading the free ERP Checklist that will help you safe time in defining your requirements.

Simple vs Full ERP solutions for small business

A Simple ERP and a Full ERP come from different places and have different objectives. I may well upset some vendors here, but there is usually a lot of overlap between what a Simple ERP can do and what its bigger rival can do. Some of the vendors of Simple ERP will probably argue that they are not ERP at all, but being popular is not our objective. A Simple ERP is often based upon a strong and robust finance base, then has been extended into other areas such as stock control. An ERP package has usually been designed and built as a complete package.

Depending upon your business, a Simple ERP may be good for today but not support future growth. Whereas an ERP may be overkill for your current and future needs. In this market there are a lot of companies who wholesale/retail products which may well only need a Simple ERP solution. Another area that delineates the market is Human Resources and Payroll. HR modules are common but many Simple ERP and ERP vendors only offer a Payroll export feature.

In these scenarios its open for you to consider either an on-site or Cloud based ERP solutions.

A supporting Guidebook for this area is the Accounting or ERP Software Guidebook.

Vendors to consider

MYOB Business/Enterprise



SAP Business One

Microsoft Dynamics ERP