Solar Industry Finds Sun in the NetSuite Cloud

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NetSuite Inc., the industry’s leading provider of cloud-based financials / ERP and omnichannel software suites, has announced a number of new solar industry customer wins as businesses have adopted NetSuite’s cloud business management solution to power growth in the rapidly expanding solar market.

New customers, including Qbotix, SimpleRay, Sustainable Power Group (sPower) and Technica, are relying on NetSuite to run their mission-critical business processes from procurement and inventory management, to order-to-cash, to sales and support. With NetSuite, these new customers are enjoying many benefits including reduced IT costs and administrative overhead to channel resources into a laser focus on innovation, superior customer service and end-to-end business efficiency. These and other innovative solar industry companies, such as Suntech America and Sunetric, have achieved new degrees of agility in the highly competitive and fast-paced solar industry.

Solar industry market has huge growth opportunity but is facing both business and technology challenges.

After generating a record 4.2 gigawatts of new solar installations in 2013 in the U.S., market researchers expect an additional 5.2 to 6.3 gigawatts of capacity to be added in 2014, building on the U.S. position as the world’s leading solar market outside of Asia-Pacific.

Solar industry distributors, manufacturers and power producers face volatile market conditions and huge cost pressures. Frequently, these companies have in place fragmented on-premise ERP and other software and systems that obscure visibility into key financial and operational metrics and require high degrees of manual administrative and IT labor. This diminishes agility to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities and introduces needless costs in lost productivity and IT systems maintenance. These legacy systems leave distributors and manufacturers struggling to maintain optimal inventory levels in the face of constant price fluctuations; for instance, solar panel prices have fallen between 60 and 70 percent in recent years to a record global low of 63 cents per watt as of Q2 2014.2 Companies with overstock are often forced to sell at a loss as solar panel pricing continues to drop. These pricing pressures add to the need for full visibility across the solar supply chain and balance sheet, as well as forward-looking demand and financial forecasting to anticipate market changes. At the same time, many solar industry distributors and manufacturers have not fully capitalized on their ecommerce potential because of standalone websites that don’t integrate with inventory and financial systems; while manufacturers face obstacles in managing and optimizing component procurement and production to meet fluctuating customer demand.

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