Leading customer centric innovation

Reginald Singh, vice president for Asia, NetSuite. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

Reginald Singh, vice president for Asia, NetSuite. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

Some days he finds himself having breakfast in Manila, but ends his day with dinner back in Singapore. On a regular basis, he travels to India, China and Hong Kong to monitor and support his team in the region. Reginald Singh said he has his work truly cut out for him. Singh is the vice president for Asia of NetSuite, the cloud-based software company based in California. Of late, he said his schedule has been more hectic than usual, especially because Asia is now one of their most important markets, fueling their rapid growth.

NetSuite Inc. is one of the world’s leading vendors of cloud computing, primarily geared towards small and medium-sized businesses. The company groups its services into four main suites, which are enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management, e-commerce, and professional services automation. They also offer their “NetSuite OneWorld,” which offers all four services plus additional capabilities for multinational companies.

The corporation was founded by Evan Goldberg, who now holds the title of chairman and chief technology officer. One of its major stockholders is Lawrence “Larry” J. Ellison of Oracle, who gave part of the initial funding to the company in 1998. The company was listed in the New York Stock Exchange in December 2007. This was also the same year that NetSuite decided to open its Philippine operations, with James Dantow at the helm.

Singh pointed out that Asia is a very important market for them, especially as the economies grow, and competition becomes stiffer. He said NetSuite becomes even more significant as Asian businesses now face several key challenges, such as tighter labor markets, higher material costs, and declining demand from the west.

“There’s real need to be innovative, and to develop these regional brands and to take advantage of the growing markets that we’re seeing in Asia, as the middle class expands and consumption significantly grows.” Singh said. He added that there is more focus now on innovation in research and development in this age of the consumer, where customers are telling businesses what they want, amid a fast-changing business environment.

In talking about information technology (IT) systems, meanwhile, Singh noted that the discussions are now more inclined toward “customer-centric” systems, unlike in the past, where IT systems were merely used to generate invoices, facilitate transaction processing and the like.

Looking at the Asian markets, Singh said they have also seen evolving ERP trends in Asia. Among these include incorporating mobile, analytics and collaborations into ERP systems; the use of cost-effective and scalable systems to expand operations; and employing real-time data for customer-centric organizations. More importantly, he said, “Asia is on a massive cloud adoption.” In particular, he noted the rise of software-as-a-service-based ERP adoption. “Cloud gives you the agility to quickly respond to changes in the business environment. The infrastructure is set up. You don’t have to talk to multiple companies to put the infrastructure, implement the service, and implement the hardware,” he said.

During a media conference, Singh, along with the tech company’s managing director for the Philippines James Dantow, also announced that more customers are now enjoying the services of NetSuite. Among those present were consumer company Big Chill, Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Far Eastern University, and even two IT strategy and implementation consultancies based in Manila— Kaisa Consulting and Questronix Corp.

These days, Singh said that a lot of Asian companies are migrating to the cloud. Awareness is a key factor, he said, but the primary driver is the pressure on their businesses. Singh explained, “A lot of these pressures are causing businesses to look at the systems they have that support their business, and they’re finding that what they have doesn’t measure up.” He experienced this first hand because he himself came to know of NetSuite about five years ago, when they got the services of NetSuite while he was in the finance department of Gillette and Procter and Gamble, and later another company called the Knowledge Universe.

“I’ve always had a passion for the transformative power of systems in an organization especially in finance,” he said. It came as no surprise to him when he eventually joined NetSuite.

Despite having a hectic schedule, which includes regular travel across Asia, Singh said he still has enough time to enjoy a good balance between his work and personal life. He likes to go to the gym and enjoys listening to music, a passion he has held since his college days in Fiji. “I used to be a deejay a long, long time ago in Fiji, and I still dabble in that from an amateur perspective, just for fun,” he related.

Another thing that he likes doing is taking his nine-year old daughter to as many concerts as they can watch, like Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift, and even One Direction when they go to Singapore in the future. In the end, it’s all about having passions and sharing them with your family, he said—be it passion for technology, music or sports, as long as it makes you happy and fulfilled.


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