It has been one of the long-running skirmishes of Netsuite’s annual UK events at this time of the year for the local press corp to ask the question: `OK, what about European data centers?
To which Netsuite, usually in the form of either CEO Zach Nelson or CTO Evan Goldberg, to respond with: 'it’s coming, it’s coming’. Well now it is come. It, or more specifically, they, are in the present tense.
Two new European data centers were announced at the NetSuite annual London jamboree, and they are expected to be fully operational before the end of the year. One is in Dublin and one in Amsterdam, each running core NetSuite suite code as full European-based entities.
This removes one of the major stumbling blocks the company has faced in the European marketplace, and may indeed create something of a major surge in NetSuite activity and implementations. It means that all those potential customers which have held fire on making a move to a SaaS implementation because the core applications code was being run in the USA and therefore – potentially – open to prying eyes with the right contacts in certain organisations, can find their doubts and fears on that score assuaged.
Those businesses will now be able to work with NetSuite as they would any other European-based service provider, with all their data stored and processed within the EU and therefore far more likely to pass any tests about data sovereignty and compliance with local Governance regulations.
It should also put the company in a better position than some other US-based SaaS-base services deliverers, where the common suggestion is that their `European data centers’ are actually just dedicated racks in their US datacentres. That latter approach does, however, answer one important question for European users – the one about energy consumption.
Some CIOs will be faced with possible questions, and perhaps even penalties in some bigger enterprises, if using European datacentres pushes them over a limit on their total energy consumption.
This issue should be mitigated, if not entirely removed, by the fact that both datacentres are powered by 100% renewable energy sources.
Given that until this week those European fears of data vulnerability had arguably been real, the little factoid delivered by Evan Goldberg during his keynote – that Europe is now one of the biggest centers for applications development on Netsuite – is quite surprising. It would suggest that there is now a real groundswell of pressure in the apps development area just waiting to come through. It will be interesting to see just how big this will be once the data centers are fully up and running.
More from Goldberg
In other Golberg keynote announcements, he said that an updated version of the SuiteGL General Ledger was now "ready for disruption" and pushed it as an example of a new trend that will be underpinning many future developments from the company. This is re-design of the user interface so that it much more like a web service and therefore far more oriented to what use can be derived from the information than being a repository for dry data.
For example, in SuiteGL the addition of Custom Segments as a function means that users can rapidly pull together data that can build useful business management functions, such as identifying which product or project is the most profitable. Goldberg said:
This allows users to identify and develop relationships between segments.
The associated demo even attracted a ripple of applause, which for anything to do with general ledgers must be considered a minor miracle in its own right.
There are also developments in the realm of advanced revenue recognition which could prove to be quite important foe some businesses as a new revenue recognition standard is now coming into play. Goldberg explained:
The new standard means that some companies will come up against the fact that: `this may now apply to you’.
That same design approach now also being used in the new In-Store solution for the retail trade, which brings in-store sales operations in from the cold and integrates it with the rest of the omni-channel retailing management solution the company already offers.
Last, but not least, was a quick mention that the Android-based version of Netsuite’s mobile client interface now includes full Netsuite functionality. A version for Windows mobile devices is also "coming soon:. Given the company’s increasingly prominent partnership with Microsoft (whose CEO Satya Nadella made a fleeting video appearance in the keynote) this will hopefully not become the annual substitute for European data centers questions.
Of course the arrival of European data centers is a crucial development for Netsuite, and the timing of its announcement with the demise of Safe Harbour is uncannily apposite. But the underlying trend of turning previously 'dry' business systems of record and management tools into far more pro-active tools for business development and change could have a more long-term impact.
Disclosure - at time of writing, NetSuite is a premier partner of diginomica.