Lonely Planet dumps SAP, Salesforce.com for NetSuite


Travel Guide Books

news Business software giant NetSuite has revealed that Australia-headquartered travel publishing firm Lonely Planet will consolidate its business systems on the vendor’s OneWorld platform, ditching existing systems from rivals SAP (R/3 4.7) and Salesforce.com in the process.

Established in Melbourne more than 40 years ago, Lonely Planet is one of the world’s most successful travel publishers, with 350 employees, 200 authors and more than 120 million books printed in 11 different languages. According to the company, it is the number one travel guide book brand in the US, Australia and the UK, with more than 150 million unique users visiting its website every year and more than 11 million apps downloaded.

Information consumption has changed considerably in the publishing industry over the past decade, which has forced Lonely Planet to change its business model to remain relevant, as the traditional book industry declines.

“The reality of fast-changing market conditions means we need to stay ahead to generate future revenue and remain relevant,” said Gus Balbontin, chief technology officer of Lonely Planet, in NetSuite’s statement. “This is the main driver for moving our entire IT strategy to the cloud, so we can gain greater flexibility to move quickly with the market as it changes, and to expand our footprint globally. With our business model changing in such a big way, we can’t rely on a heavily customised and costly ERP solution to give us the agility we need. This is why we turned to NetSuite to give us the required flexibility, speed and agility to more easily achieve our broader growth strategy.”

Lonely Planet reviewed a number of cloud solutions in the market, but found NetSuite was the only company that could provide all the ERP components it required in a single solution, according to NetSuite’s statement. The vendor claims that OneWorld delivers real-time global business management and financial consolidation at “a fraction of the cost” of traditional on-premise ERP solutions.

The software also provides numerous benefits for global businesses like Lonely Planet, “driving finance and operational efficiency, delivering real-time visibility and consolidation, and providing flexibility for customisation to corporate and subsidiary needs”. The move to NetSuite OneWorld will enable Lonely Planet to align operations across finance, sales and service, while handling complex taxation rules and reporting requirements for the five countries it has a footprint in, all from a single solution.

“NetSuite can give us control of our ERP back, rather than being part of a black box in a server room that is owned and controlled by somebody else,” said Balbontin in NetSuite’s statement. “The ability for us to manage our own reports, the flexibility of accessing data that we need and not having to worry about upgrades and maintenance costs are major bonuses that give us the ability to operate at a much lower cost than what we currently have today. The open code also makes a big difference to us in terms of being able to scale faster and be the masters of our own destiny.”

Lonely Planet plans to deploy NetSuite OneWorld, including financials, customer relationship management (CRM), demand planning, project management, warehousing and manufacturing. The platform also provides multi-subsidiary, multi-language and multi-currency support that will allow Lonely Planet to manage its operations in real time by consolidating financials for five to ten different currencies, automating reporting and performing cost of sales analytics in Australia, the US, UK, India, China and new markets it enters.

Looking beyond the initial OneWorld deployment, Lonely Planet is also exploring Ecommerce opportunities with NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce Platform.

The news comes as NetSuite has revealed a number of new Australian customers over the past few months. In August the company revealed that two mid-level Australian retailers, Indian handcraft store Tree of Life and veterinary and pet healthcare supplier Vet-n-Pet, had deployed a broad swathe of its e-commerce and business management software.

In July it was a clutch of Australian manufacturers including Headland, Precision Mechatronics and BA Equipment Group, in May it was fast-growing Mexican restaurant fast food chain Guzman y Gomez, and in March NetSuite revealed a new customer was Sydney-based sustainable packaging company BioPak.