NetSuite chief takes aim at Microsoft's Great Plains

Calls cloud offering a mid-market "Stone Age hairball"

NetSuite’s CEO, Zach Nelson, has rubbished the company's cloud computing competitors, comparing Microsoft’s ERP solution, Great Plains, to a "Stone Age hairball".

In Sydney for his company's SuiteCloud APAC 2010 conference, Nelson claimed customers had migrated en masse from Microsoft to NetSuite from late 2009.

“A year ago we had 80 customers and every one of them was replacing Great Plains,” he said. “Suddenly, you had this great move from that classic mid-market Stone Age hairball to the cloud.”

Nelson also claimed NetSuite’s competitors had been been spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about the viability of the wider cloud computing sector.

“I think as we move into 2010 there are a number of myths that our competitors still propagate,” he said. “I actually think this is more than myth making, it really is almost propaganda. With propaganda, it takes the myth and says the opposite of what is true.”

Nelson claimed it was a myth that complex processes could not be run in the cloud.

“I think you can actually run more complex processes and it’s actually easier to run complex processes,” he said. “It is easier to consolidate in the cloud than to do business on premise.”

Similarly, Nelson defended the cloud from claims that it was overly complex and was not geared toward long term usability.

“The second major myth about cloud computing is it isn’t as customisable as traditional applications," he said. "I believe the exact opposite is true – it is simpler. It’s gone from code to point and click.”

“The third [myth] is that when people use cloud, they install apps, customise it and then never use it again. [People think] it will cost them $1 million to re-implement it.”

Nelson also claimed security was a non-issue when it came to the cloud, arguing that it was “... the last question on people’s minds.”

Nelson last year attracted criticism from industry analysts after he claimed that the battle between cloud and on-premise applications had been all but won by cloud-based providers.

Microsoft declined to comment for this story.

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