Ad Agency Finance VP Reflects on Fourth Different NetSuite Implementation

Barney Beal, Former Content Director

November 27, 2019

When it comes to implementing NetSuite, Stewart Ellner knows of what he speaks.

That’s because Ellner, currently the vice president of finance for advertising agency Oxford Road, has put the system in at five different companies.

Four years ago, while working at Veritone, another advertising technology company, Ellner got his first taste of NetSuite when he met a NetSuite employee who introduced him to the cloud-based ERP system.

“I was floored at how well thought out it was,” Ellner said. “I liked that it was more of a database and you could extract information through saved searches.”

After getting NetSuite successfully up and running at Veritone, Ellner moved on after two years, joining Prolecto, a consulting company. While there he helped accomplish two implementations of NetSuite, one at RingDNA, a maker of inside sales management software, where he ultimately became vice president of finance in 2017.

It was there that Ellner was introduced to the revenue recognition features of NetSuite. A software as a service (SaaS) company, RingDNA needed the advanced revenue management to manage financials in a subscription-based business, particularly as ASC 606, new rules for recognizing revenue were fast approaching.

“I was sold on NetSuite almost immediately,” Ellner said. “I have a technical background even though I’m in finance so when I did my first project at Veritone, I saw the power of it. For a midsized market and with its pricing I realized NetSuite was a better program.”

That’s not to say that implementing NetSuite was a slam dunk at every one of his stops. At no place was Ellner the sole decision maker and, given that they were different industries, he still needed to perform his due diligence. NetSuite just kept coming out on top.

What’s more, Ellner has seen the evolution of the product in just the past five years.

“I’ve seen vast improvement in the ability to grow, get insights, the dashboards that it offers, the mobile app,” he said. “One of the things I’ve learned quite a bit about NetSuite is we constantly are learning more and more. It’s made us feel more and more valuable.”

Indeed, since he first implemented NetSuite at Veritone, the company has made significant additions to its platform, including SuitePeople for human resources, SuiteBilling for complex billing scenarios, SuiteCommerce InStore to unify the in-store and online shopping experience, acquired and extended Bronto commerce marketing.

And, of course, it was itself acquired by Oracle, powering its global expansion, added data centers and, most recently, the news that NetSuite will move to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for better performance, scalability and security.

Ellner has seen some of that development first hand. He just finished his fifth implementation when he joined Oxford Road. The move has paid off with substantial gains in reporting, shorter month end close and an integration with the Strata ad buying system that will give the firm the ability to provide far more detail in its invoices and interactions with customers. Also, in the five years since Ellner first implemented NetSuite at an ad agency, NetSuite has introduced SuiteSuccess, a new methodology for implementing and supporting customers that includes pre-built KPIs, dashboards and roles for specific industries, including Advertising Agencies.

“The people at NetSuite I’ve worked with—I’ve enjoyed working with every single one of them,” Ellner said. “It’s been a great experience. If it wasn’t, I’d be off to the next program.”

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.