Lonely Planet replaces ‘expensive’ SAP and Salesforce.com with NetSuite

By Sooraj Shah
06 Jan 2014 View Comments

Global travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet has selected NetSuite OneWorld to replace SAP R/3 4.7 and Salesforce.com as its business management software globally, as the company was reluctant to pay what it felt was an "expensive" fee to upgrade its existing system.

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In an interview with Computing, Lonely Planet's online platform manager, Darragh Kennedy, said that it looked into the SAP upgrade but realised it was going to be expensive and would take a long time and a lot of resources to carry out.

"We then took the opportunity to look at several alternatives in the European market and NetSuite had been around since 1998 so they were relatively mature in the cloud space, which is not something many companies can really claim at the moment," Kennedy explained.

The publisher looked at SAP's Business ByDesign product but Kennedy said that it "didn't have the same maturity as NetSuite".

Lonely Planet's required a comprehensive system that covered HR, finance and logistics.

"We needed demand planning, project management, warehousing and manufacturing and as NetSuite had been moving in to the manufacturing space, they were probably the closest we were going to find in terms of a one-stop shop for all of the workflows," Kennedy explained.

Another reason NetSuite was selected was because of its partner ecosystem, Kennedy said.

"It's important which partners we can leverage to ensure that we can get different features for different requirements. It means we're now working with quite a few of NetSuite's partners to provide a whole ERP experience," he said.

These partners include SPS Commerce, a supply chain management solution provider, and Infinite Cloud, which handles payroll solutions.

Kennedy said the main factor that led him to adopting NetSuite was that his existing systems required too much investment.

"Salesforce is a fantastic CRM and SAP is a great system but it takes quite a lot of investment. We were faced with a huge and expensive upgrade that would have to run again in a couple years' time and it wasn't really providing any major competitive advantage to the business," he said.

"So when we consume the software-as-a-service (SaaS) part of the rental fee, then we get two updates a year and we're always running on the latest version of software. We haven't wasted capital on licences, if you want to scale up or scale down, we can now move those licences accordingly. It's not that SAP and Salesforce weren't meeting our direct business needs, it's more that the nature of those larger software agreements are not flexible for the business of today - [business] is moving a lot faster than those types of environments," he added.

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