Posted by Mark Troselj, Vice President and General Manager, ANZ, NetSuite
For Seeing Machines, an innovative Australian company that makes sophisticated facial recognition technology to track fatigued and distracted drivers, basketball sensors that help NBA and college teams improve their shooting and technology for 3D laptops, a disconnect between its state of the art products and the assortment of on-premise and disparate business management software systems it was using was stark.
The business, founded by four researchers in 1997 out of the Australian National University and commercialised in 2000 to help machines understand driver fatigue and distraction in people by tracking and interpreting human faces and eyes, has grown rapidly. It now boasts two subsidiaries, three offices and one warehouse and recorded AU $21.2 million in revenue in 2015.
Yet, a combination of Salesforce.com, MYOB and Excel spreadsheets required extensive ongoing maintenance, did not easily support multiple subsidiaries or currencies and limited visibility across the business. In particular, the version of Salesforce.com Seeing Machines was using was heavily customised for functions it was not designed for, such as creating invoices, tracking inventory and more, creating problems with every software update.
Seeing Machines knew it needed a system that could not only meet its existing needs but its future needs as well. It evaluated a wide range of options, including Epicor, Sage X3, SYSPRO, Aggresso, Pronto and Microsoft Dynamics, before selecting NetSuite, largely for its multi-currency capabilities, including the Australian and US dollar, the peso, British pound and the Euro to help support its growing export business in 10 countries.
“We started with 30 FTEs, and have now grown to more than 150 employees with a lot of locations” said James Walker, CFO of Seeing Machines. “We knew we needed a software system that could up to our business.”
Indeed, Seeing Machines isn’t just growing, it can lay claim to saving lives. Since January 2015, Seeing Machines' technology has detected and intervened in over 120,000 fatigue events globally. Its disruptive innovation led the company to be awarded the Most Innovative Product, the Most Innovative Medium Sized Business and in the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Australia at BRW's Most Innovative Company Awards 2015.
Since its NetSuite implementation, Seeing Machines has experienced 13 percent growth and add to its growing product set thanks to the ease of use and strong reporting of the system.
"If we didn't have NetSuite, we would have had a lot more pain trying to keep track of our growth and report on it, which would have had a flow on effect to what we could achieve,” Walker said. “We probably wouldn't have even known we had the 13 percent increase!"