Glenn Hofmann | NetSuite Solution Provider | Atlanta

A Reflection on KES and a Look Forward to the Future of ERP Systems and NetSuite

Welcome to the KES Employee Spotlight Series. Our goal, at KES Systems Solutions, is to introduce you to the members of our team and provide valuable insight into Cloud ERP trends and NetSuite topics, and share our business philosophy — all from a KES employee’s point of view.

Featured Team Member

Glenn Hofmann, Managing Director

1. How would you describe your role at KES?

I am the managing director at KES and, as such, I have the privilege of leading this incredible team.

2. Can you tell us about your professional background?

I started as a computer programmer but quickly learned that my real passion was around solutions. So, I moved to business analysis and project management roles, which eventually lead to heading up IT teams focused on supporting company ERP solutions. At one of my former companies, we selected NetSuite as a replacement solution and from there I was hooked on its unique capabilities and functionality. Later, I decided to become an independent consultant helping companies move to NetSuite, but I missed the comradery of a team, so I joined KES Systems Solutions (KES) to lead their NetSuite practice. Once KES decided to be 100% focused on NetSuite, I moved into the managing director role.

3. In your opinion, what differentiates KES from other NetSuite consulting firms?

I would say three things:

    1. While our slogan “partners for life” may sound like marketing fluff, we truly live by that motto. We are very selective when hiring team members to ensure they are passionate about their customers and want to partner with them for the long haul. When we assign a consultant to a customer, that consultant takes the time to learn about the customer's unique business situation and remains the primary contact to ensure quick and efficient solutions in the future. This focus on 1x1 customer relationships is not typical in the NetSuite consulting world.
    2. Our company is 100% focused on NetSuite. While most consulting firms support multiple products, we only do NetSuite. Not only is this the only solution we support for our customers, but we also use NetSuite internally, so every employee, in every role at our company, uses NetSuite.
    3. We are more than just a consulting firm. We have developed seven KES NetSuite Extensions to extend NetSuite capabilities, we have partnered with many of the leading NetSuite integrated solutions, and we offer short-term accounting services for our customers. We are truly a full-service NetSuite partner.

"We are very selective when hiring team members to ensure they are passionate about their customers and want to partner with them for the long haul."

4. What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

I've worked for many companies and with different teams over the years, which has allowed me to observe management styles and interactions among team members. The current team at KES is by far my favorite to work with. Not only are they all passionate about helping their customers, but they are also quick to jump in and help each other. I feel like a proud dad whenever we have the chance to get the team all together.

5. What do you see as the biggest challenge that KES faces?

Probably the biggest challenge for us, as a small company, is getting our name out to the general business community. We have a great reputation with our existing customers, and they are our primary source of referrals. But getting our name in front of a larger set of potential customers can be a challenge. Luckily, as we have taken a more comprehensive approach to marketing and our reputation continues to grow, we are seeing more prospects coming from avenues outside our traditional referral sources. As part of this, we recently announced a new customer referral program.

"The current team members at KES are not only passionate about helping their customers but also quick to jump in and help each other."

6. What accomplishments are you most proud of at KES?

Without a doubt, my proudest accomplishments are our KES NetSuite Extensions and Customer Care Plans.

  • Extensions - When I started at KES, the idea of investing in something without knowing there was someone to buy it was a new and scary idea, but I felt this was critical to our long-term plans. After the success of our first KES NetSuite Extension (Billfinity), we released six more, and it's always fun to see the excitement when we release a new app. KES NetSuite Extensions are now a primary revenue stream for KES.
  • Customer Care Plans - The idea of offering heavily discounted support services to our customers had some team members concerned, but customer care plans have easily been the most popular program we've ever rolled out at KES. It's a win-win — our customers get support and services at a reduced and known price, and we have consistent revenue and well-planned staffing.
7. What is your view on the ERP/technology future?

We continue to monitor the ERP world to see what the potential next “it” ERP solution will be. But rather than seeing potential up-and-coming replacements for NetSuite, all we see is NetSuite continuing to expand and take more market share. With 32,000 customers in 217 countries and territories, we believe NetSuite will continue to own the mid-market ERP space for a couple of reasons. 1) NetSuite is a true cloud-based software, and it became clear during the pandemic that many of the pseudo “cloud” solutions failed the big remote transition test. 2) Organizations are seeking to be more streamlined and nimbler, so customers are moving to NetSuite for its comprehensiveness and efficiency.

As for the future of technology and functionality within ERP solutions themselves, we see two big game changers.

  1. I don’t think it is groundbreaking to say that the future of ERP is in the cloud, especially after the big move to remote employees that forced companies’ hands to make their ERP solution available anywhere, anytime. But as organizations moved to a cloud ERP solution, the challenge of how to ensure constant uptime, fast response, and comprehensive and secure data management quickly becomes apparent. So, we believe that effective cloud ERP solutions must have more than good functionality — they must also have a very solid underlying infrastructure. Said differently, you can’t just take an on-premises solution, put it in a data center, make it available for remote access, and say you have a true cloud ERP solution built for the enterprise. NetSuite was built from the ground up for the cloud, and more recently, Oracle took this to the next level with their Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) data centers that all NetSuite customers are being migrated to — bringing an advanced underlying infrastructure optimized for NetSuite. We believe this is going to further separate NetSuite from other ERP solutions.
  2. As for functionality, we see a big change on the horizon with systems starting to incorporate more AI, so rather than only reporting on past activity, systems can start to do more advanced predictions of future activity and make recommendations. This goes way beyond demand planning for inventory and instead looks at things like cash flow, margin changes, changes in payment patterns, shipping delays, etc. NetSuite has started incorporating some of this into its 360 dashboards, but we think this is only scratching the surface, and eventually, ERP systems will be able to use both internal and external data and inputs to help organizations more proactively manage their business.
8. What’s next for KES?

First, we want to take what we are doing and just make it even better. To this end, we plan to:

  • Ensure we stay plugged into the NetSuite roadmap to understand what is coming next for NetSuite, so we can share this with our customers and help incorporate new functionality for them
  • Continue to invest in our team to ensure we have the most knowledgeable consultants and developers possible
  • Continue to invest in our KES NetSuite Extensions to bring additional functionality and new solutions that our customers want
  • Continue to refine our Customer Care Plans to provide exceptional value and services to our customers

Beyond this, our goal for 2023 is to expand our reach even further into the NetSuite community. This means reaching out to new groups of potential customers, building out more focused vertical solutions, and of course further expanding our team.

For more information on how the KES NetSuite consulting team can help with your business systems challenges, please contact us. We would love to connect and learn how we can help!