Russ: Hi, I’m Russ Capper and welcome to BusinessMakers USA. Coming to you today from Nashville, TN. And I’m pleased to have as my guest Glenn Saunders, President of Kraft Enterprise. Glenn, welcome to the show.
Glenn: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.
Russ: You bet. Tell us about Kraft Enterprise.
Glenn: So, we are a NetSuite and adaptive insight solution provider focusing on small to mid-market. Really delivering business management systems and corporate performance management systems across the Southeastern United States. Focusing on operational and accounting software systems as well as budgeting, forecasting, and reporting and analytics. Kind of the output of all the operations and accounting finance information that goes into the ERP system.
Russ: Ok. All of that very critical information.
Glenn: Driving better business decisions, helping executives make the right call at the right time to move the business forward and know where they’re steering the ship.
Russ: Ok, it seems to me, with a little bit of a background, way long ago in the whole IT world, that man, it’s more challenging than ever, more complicated, and more necessary than ever.
Glenn: It is. With the advent of Cloud and the newer technologies, it’s much easier to transform a business using these technologies, but it certainly becomes more challenging because it’s coming at you so much faster, and of course, the space is much more crowded. Everybody is trying to be the next big cloud player. One of the advantages that NetSuite is, that they were really the first one to do it, even a year before Salesforce. So they really have a basis in the technology and understanding of what it takes to build a worldwide cloud based organization. But it certainly is a challenging and interesting marketplace as everybody is trying to move into that subscription model, with software as a service and cloud based technology.
Russ: So it seems like here towards the end now of 2016 I no longer seem to hear, ‘oh no, I’m not going to put my information on the cloud.’ It seems like we’re beyond that now. Is that right?
Glenn: 99%, I would say, are definitely there. There’s still some smaller companies that choose to, you know, I want to back it up on my key fob and take it home at the end of the day. Some interesting things that are going on though, even Microsoft has basically said, they’re going to stop delivering their ERP products on premise, which is what they’ve done for, since they acquired those companies starting in 2000. Part of it is Satya Nadella saying, ‘we’re going to be a 20-billion-dollar cloud company.’ Oracle, obviously, purchase of NetSuite. It’s a race to the cloud and it’s certainly getting crowded there, but from a technology standpoint, in a growing company there’s no reason to put it on premise that makes a whole lot of sense for organizations anymore.
Russ: Ok, wasn’t it Microsoft’s cloud business, that just this last financial reporting period that went through the roof and caused their stock to go up?
Glenn: Yeah, a lot of it is their Azure cloud computing platform where their hosting all of that, and then they have various apps that are hosted on that platform. And that can range from ERP business applications, CRM is a big one for them. They’re really targeting Salesforce with their new Dynamics 365 offering which encompasses Office and some other stuff as well. And we also provide Dynamics GP support and partner with that application for some of our people that are on premise and want that flexibility of having an on premise application. So, try to mirror what our customers want from that perspective.
Russ: Ok. It seems to me, not that you’re in this business, but the on premise business, you know, transferring to the cloud now has really kind of changed the hardware business, too, has it not?
Glenn: It has, it has. I think you’re seeing more people putting in datacenters and selling shared space inside, so it’s just seamless to the organization. And a lot of these IT service providers are now doing private clouds, which is where you’re seeing the large organizations that want more control of what applications get adopted, and they start to do that and kind of have a hybrid public/private cloud environment to manage all of their applications and infrastructure. So it’s definitely, definitely the space where everyone is going. I don’t know too many places that are selling million dollar servers and software and everything layered anymore.
Russ: So what about this serious category called cybersecurity? My goodness, it looks like it’s total warfare. I mean you guys must be involved in that, I mean, on the good people side, not committing cybersecurity.
Glenn: You know when people put their business out there on the cloud there is that inherent risk. You have to make sure you have the SSAE type to SOC 2, SOC 3, or SSAE type 16, whatever it is to make sure the application is secure but you still have to do thing internally as well. We have an affiliate at KraftCPAs who provides that service to make sure, you know, social engineering is a big thing. You drop a key fob in a bank parking lot, it’s got a little tag on it that says ‘Wedding pictures,’ somebody’s going to pick it up, stick it in a thumb drive and guess what? So, you want to make sure you have, the vendors you partner with are very secure, but also make sure you have the securities inside your organization for how you adopt policies and procedures.
Russ: But isn’t it true at the end of the day you can’t be assured that you’re going to keep the bad guys out?
Glenn: No, I think anybody should understand if somebody wants to get at your data, they can. You know, the attack that took down all the major websites last Friday was just a bot distributed denial-of-service attack, and it’s about securing what you can the best that you can. Some of the interesting things going on with Blockchain and other kind of crypto security are going to help but there’s always going to be somebody out there that can figure it out, unfortunately.
Russ: The only advice I ever heard that makes sense is try real hard to know when you’ve been hacked and have an action plan in place to kind of protect as much as you possibly can. But man, also it seems like today everything has gotten more complicated and sophisticated and important. You see things that have happened, like to a couple of airlines, or like, they’re out of business for 3 or 4 days sometimes. When you look at running an airline without the system, it must be hundreds of millions of dollars in expense over those breakdowns.
Glenn: And I cant remember exactly what caused Delta’s big crash not too long ago, but it was something very small and minute down in their data center there down in Atlanta that wiped them out for 3 or 4 days, and without a plan of action in place, not just from a recovery and disaster standpoint, but if you do have these vendor contracts, making sure what their SLA is, what their guaranteed time, what the repercussions or action plans are to make sure you’re back up and running in a timely fashion. I think one of the great things about partnering with NetSuite is that they guarantee a 99.5% uptime. They typically average about 99.8%. You know a lot of large ecommerce sites are driven by them, and they have a really great plan of recovery to their various datacenters across the country. If there’s a disruption in one they can fall over to another one very quickly, and I actually think the Oracle acquisition is really going to bolster them across the world because Oracle, obviously, is a much more global organization than NetSuite is. It should be interesting to see how that development plays out over the next couple of years.
Russ: So tell us a little about Kraft Enterprise customers. I mean, do you do business with people all over the country, or are you mainly Nashville centric, are they Fortune 100, or are they Fortune 2000? What are they like?
Glenn: You know, most of our companies are mid-size growing companies looking to evolve and really transform the way they perform businesses, and prepare for the next level of growth. And we actually do business across the country. We are doing implementations right now that range from the Southeastern United States all the way out to the West coast. That’s one of the great things about cloud technology is it doesn’t necessarily matter, you don’t have to gather in a conference room for months on end to do an ERP implementation anymore. You do need some face to face. Usually at the beginning and at the end are the best times to do that. The majority of our customers I would say are probably in the 5 million to 50 million, 500-million-dollar range, depending on what they’re trying to do and what their end goal is. We are seeing a lot of customers as well that are more the upper range of the mid-market, that 100-500 million dollar that are looking to transform how they are doing business from an accounting standpoint and finance, and doing more of a digital transformation. Empowering users with more information based on the cloud, using NetSuite’s dashboard reporting and business analytics capabilities.
Russ: Ok. So how long have you been with the company?
Glenn: I’ve been there 10 years.
Russ: Ok. How long have you been the driver of the ship?
Glenn: We’re a membership organization so we all have various levels of ownership from a partnership perspective. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as President for, I think, a year and a half now, somewhere around 13-14 months, and it’s been great. We have a great team and a great organization and our primary driver is employee success and customer success, and that’s really what drives us as an organization, is making sure that our people are happy and taken care of and making sure our customers are achieving the goals that they want to.
Russ: Great. Well Glenn I really appreciate you sharing your perspective with us.
Glenn: Thank you so much.
Russ: You bet. Alright, and that wraps up my discussion with Glenn Saunders, President of Kraft Enterprise. And this is BusinessMakers USA.
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