NetSuite's CEO Cashes in on Cloud Mania

An exclusive interview with Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, reveals the challenges and rewards of being the leading ERP-as-a-service provider

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People mean a lot of things when they talk about "the cloud," but if you want to know where the revenue is going, look no further than SaaS (software as a service). Salesforce leads the SaaS pack with $2 billion in revenue for its latest fiscal year. NetSuite pulled in just a tenth of that for FY2010, but in some ways it's a more ambitious player, because it offers ERP as a service -- a core enterprise software category that, in the past, has been last on the list to trust to the cloud.

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Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, thinks that reluctance has been replaced by enthusiasm for the quick deployment, continuous innovation, and low maintenance of SaaS. A former executive at Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Network Associates, Nelson joined NetSuite as CEO in 2002. Between then and now he has witnessed the industry's long, slow ramp-up to today's feverish interest in all things cloud -- an environment he sees as ripe to capture a new wave of customers.

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