When NetSuite started its business back in 1998 with the vision of bringing the power of traditional applications used by the world's largest enterprises to smaller companies via the web, the Internet itself was just starting in Latin America. In 1999 Latin America had only 5.7 million users (1.3% of the total population) and it wasn’t until the late 2000s that Brazil, one of the strongest online markets in the region, would see its first broadband connections.

In recent years, however, huge technological development has followed economic advances in Latin America, and recent studies show that businesses and consumers in the region are eager to adopt the cloud to start benefiting from the SaaS model.

Gartner recently released a study saying that “adoption of SaaS continues to grow and evolve regionally within the enterprise application markets.” According to the research, SaaS revenue in Latin America is forecast to total $419.7 million in 2012, up 27% from $331.1 million last year, with Brazil and Mexico driving a majority of adoption and revenue opportunities.

Growth of the SaaS model in Latin America is also reflected in a NetSuite survey of IT directors and managers of large corporations in Latin America across multiple industries. Almost one-third of the respondents indicated that more than 25% of corporate-wide software licenses/seats within their organizations are delivered as a service, and 60% of the respondents indicated that they would consider the SaaS model in their next ERP upgrade/migration.

According to the NetSuite survey, Latin American IT professionals rank the ability to access cloud-based solutions from everywhere as a key benefit of the SaaS model, closely followed by ease of implementation and cost reduction. Other benefits such as seamless upgrades and reduced upfront investments were also cited.

It’s important to have a clear understanding of differences in product offerings while assessing your future SaaS ERP to make sure your company doesn’t fall into the “wolf in cloud’s clothing” trap. Concerns to address when considering a cloud solution include the ability to customize to meet unique business needs, availability of localized content, performance and business continuity—each of these was mentioned by respondents to the NetSuite survey.

NetSuite, as the pioneer in the cloud business management, has been preparing for the Latin market and addressing the concerns mentioned in these studies, combining built-in customization ability with Portuguese and Spanish translations, local statutory reports and other compliance functionalities, and a state-of-the-art web architecture that provides a great user experience even with low bandwidth connections.

Matheus Carvalho, Localization Product Manager – Latin America