I spend a lot of time in Australia running CloudCamps that attracts a wide variety of participants – industry, government, startups and education all attend the events. One group that tends to be missing at CloudCamp however, and from the broader cloud discussion, is the large resource related companies.Often these companies are using massive amounts of data, have particular geographical constraints and are concerned about the security and privacy impacts of a move to the cloud.
I was interested then to hear from NetSuite about GMC Global, an Australian headquartered consulting firm that works with the global mining industry. GMC Global has three distinct businesses – supply chain, maintenance planning and education with 84% of its workforce comprising consultants who spend an aggregate 90% of their time working in remote mining locations.
Historically the services resource planning (SRP) aspects of GMC Global’s operations were handled with legacy applications and a predominantly spreadsheet-based approach. GMC Global detailed this confusing mix as Sage ACCPAC for inventory, invoicing and financial management; Quicktime’s timesheet system for time and expenses in Australia and Asia; and a spreadsheet-based system used in North and South America. None of these systems were integrated, leading to inconsistent global processes, data inaccuracy, as well as regular delays in the availability of information.
A requirement for reduced back office overhead,a single system across its operation and real time visibility into resourcing led GMC Global to search for an alternative solution. They settled upon Netsuite’s Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution and rolled it out after an astoundingly short eight week implementation period. The system is now handling five offices worldwide along with 180 full-time employees and contractors in Australia, Asia, North and South America. GMC Global are using the solution across a variety of functional areas including project management, time and expense, global billing, resource management and reporting.
In talking up the benefits of their new solution, GM of Global Operations for GMC Global, Thomas Hynes said that;
Our business depends on effective resource management and accurate tracking of time, so having access to timely data that we can easily convert into an invoice is critical for us. NetSuite PSA enables us to have up-to-date information and visibility globally, which is making a very big difference to our business. We can now report with a level of accuracy and confidence that we didn’t have before, and significantly less time – it really is a significant improvement.
While I’m always wary of vendor case studies, the very fact that someone in the hyper risk-averse resources industry is prepared to go on record as having moved to a cloud solution speaks volumes about the changing way in which cloud is perceived by these sorts of industries. This story is certainly a coup for NetSuite, but more than that it’s a coup for the cloud computing industry overall.