NetSuite CEO: “The cloud is the last computing platform”

“I really do believe that this is the last computing platform.” That was the claim made by NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson this morning in front of customers, partners and industry experts at SuiteConnect 2016 in London.

“We’ve gone through a lot of transitions in technology,” Nelson said. “We’ve gone through the mainframe era because disks were expensive and CPU was expensive. Then we went to the PC era where disks got cheaper and CPU got cheaper and now we’ve gone to the cloud era which really straddles both of those worlds. And my argument is that, those were 20-year disruptions, but this is the last disruption. This is it.

“And that’s a very dangerous thing to say, it’s usually the last thing a CEO says before he gets fired. But what is there after all of your data - your personal, business and home data – is available on any device, anytime, anywhere? There’s nothing else. This is it. The people who win this battle are going to win for 100 years, not 20 years.”

It’s certainly a view that has been working well for NetSuite. The company now has 5,000 employees, has its platform being used by over 30,000 organisations, registered revenue of $741 million in FY15 and has grown by 30 per cent in each of the last 16 consecutive quarters.

This growth, according to Nelson, has been achieved through investing in three main ideas:

  • Embedding Artificial Intelligence into business processes, i.e. “making your business processes intelligent.”
  • Embracing hybrid business models, which is “probably one of the most important disruptions happening in every industry across the world. There’s no such thing as a product company or a services company or an as-a-service company anymore, all of these business models are beginning to merge.”
  • Realising that change is the only constant in industries across the globe, such as experimenting with new business models and responding to new competitors.  

He also spoke about how every company is now a cloud company, the power of understanding “what you and your customers are doing” through data aggregation and how the cloud is enabling entirely new capabilities and introducing modern business models that simply weren’t possible a few years ago.

“If you’re not building your business on the cloud, you’re probably going to be a 5 year company, not a 100 year company,” Nelson concluded. That’s a message for any business to take heed of.