Over the past 2 years using and managing a NetSuite implementation I’ve seen it help reduce the impact of crazy events in a number of ways. Certainly these are true of most “Software as a Service” applications but NetSuite stands out because of it’s ability to handle the vast majority of your critical business functions.
In my previous job, as Director of Operations at a NetSuite customer, one of my worries was what happens if some kind of big event occurs. Even though I was fairly confident that we’d do ok with each of them I often thought through scenarios and tried to figure out the impact on the business.
Here are some examples where I think having a SaaS system like NetSuite can really help.
If you live anywhere where you get a lot of snow on occasion you’ll have experienced the conundrum; “I’ve got a lot to do, should I risk the long drive into the office or just stay home.” What happens when the weather is particularly bad and most people can’t make it in? Does your office come to a grinding halt?
With NetSuite in place the standing rule can be, stay at home, work from there. You don’t put employees at risk on the roads, and, customers and prospects can still get the service they expect.
How often do big weather systems shut down your office and strand employees at home?
Now of course everyone should stay home when they’re sick. And you should rest. This is normal and every office can handle a few people out. But what happens when there is a widespread flu outbreak?
Every business should plan for the situation where leaving the home, and coming to the office is not advisable because there is a more widespread flu outbreak or other such illness that scientists warn us about. Could your company still operate if everyone has to stay at home?
Most midsized and small businesses I know simply don’t have the ability to get decent redundancy in their systems.
One customer I knew had a storage failure one day. They lost 7 years worth of company data and files. When they went to restore using backups they found that they were corrupt and couldn’t be loaded. They went out of business.
Fires happen. Power in your building fails. Servers fail. Drive Arrays Fail. While the probability may be low just what would you do if it did occur? Could you keep operating, either from a different location or on different hardware?
Recently a marketing team was preparing to do a promotion that needed to go out that day. Then the power went out in the local area. Did they get the promo out? Of course. Zip home, hop online and hit the “execute campaign” button.
Laptop/Desktop Failure or Change
Have you ever lost a laptop, or had a desktop fail? Just what is on those systems? Do sales reps keep customer data in excel files? Is the Quickbooks database on there? Do you have customer sensitive data on individual workstations?
Being able to simple switch machines and lose very little is a wonderful experience for both the user and the IT guy. There’s a lot less yelling while the data is recovered. Or a lot less crying if the machine has been lost.
I like this particular category as a separate one. There’s a different set of probabilities involved. How often to individual users or your server get brought to their knees by viruses?
In my experience it happens. Perhaps one out of ten users for a day a year. Again, it’s very nice to be able to move a user to a different machine while removing the virus, and not have your company data at risk from them.
Almost every company has an anti-virus solution in place. But what happens when they do hit?
Maintaining connection to remote offices, in a secure fashion, can often be a pain. By having all the information hosted, in one place, there’s less to worry about and the remote office is just as productive as your own. It’s also much easier to get a remote location up and running as you expand.
All these situations come down to the same thing. Stuff Happens. Your data can be safe and you can get access to it from anywhere. Seems simple.
So what are you doing to make sure that this is the case for your company? Consider: Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Customer Support, your WebStore.
What about my Internet Connection? What if I lose my Internet?
This is a fairly common question. One that I have multiple answers for.
First, it’s normally your connection, and it’s relatively painless to put in a redundant connection in the office. It’s way cheaper than redundant servers and disk arrays.
Second, internet outages tend to last for minutes, not hours. In these cases it’s like electricity. You can send people home and they still can work.
Third. For remote, or on the road folks, like sales reps, it’s now fairly affordable to get them cellular wireless cards for their laptops. Depending on where you live. Heck, in emergencies you can access Netsuite on your iPhone or similar device.