Thursday, November 20, 2008


So my job is to give away fairly complex and powerful software. The downside of this is that it can be virtually impossible to serve small charities-- they have enough complexity in their lives as it is.

My company just did a press release and a podcast on nonprofits switching from Microsoft Great Plains to NetSuite. This was part of a broader story of folks from different industries making the switch from Great Plains to NetSuite.

As I read our press release and listened to the podcast I was struck by how similar yet different charities are from "regular" businesses. And how the differences are really hard for a standard commercial company like us to wrap our head around.

Take for example Imagine!, a human services agency that is part of the announcement. Buried in the press release is that fact that they turned to NetSuite first for Case Management. Case Management! Then they found out the system they bought for case management could replace Great Plains and their time tracking ap and their payroll and more.

As anyone in the charity world knows, case management is a really hard problem and there are a bunch of software solutions already out in the world. The key to their sucess was probably that they were a larger organization operating a social enterprise... a social business in their nonprofit. That meant there was less of a gap between how they look at the world and how the NetSuite software wants you to look at the world.

But I wonder is the really compelling story them choosing NetSuite for case management rather than the non-sexy back office financial applications. I wonder which resonates with your average charity more.