Interview with Managing Partner Stephen Wolff and CEO Mark Myers at MHI
We sat down with Managing Partner Stephen Wolff and CEO Mark Myers at MHI to ask them about what is at stake for companies in today’s competitive landscape, why they are looking to automate and turning to advanced ERP systems like NetSuite.
Many businesses are looking to further automate. When you talk to executives what are their biggest pain points? Has that changed over the past year?
Stephen Wolff – The challenges driving automation have not really changed – just accelerated. COVID forced companies into accelerating their timelines. Typically, a huge percentage of commerce happens offline. To stay relevant, businesses had to increase their online presence.
More importantly, businesses find they need to automate to keep up with an accelerated economy. Since there is a labor shortage for many positions, companies that in the past depended on manual employee-driven processes and operations cannot easily scale.
From a macro perspective, today’s economy can be characterized not by a labor shortage but a “willingness” shortage. Participation rate is down, and job opportunities are up. Americans want to reenter the workforce but where they can participate with more impactful contributions than tasks like order entry, order taking, etc. Due to inflation and other factors, they will be expecting to earn more as well in exchange for these contributions.
Higher wages for repetitive mundane tasks combined with a reduction in willingness to do those tasks means that businesses will pay a premium to attract labor. From an economic standpoint, this is costly for a company that doesn’t have capable technology. For businesses that don’t have the option to automate or won’t consider it, it could become difficult to remain competitive. The cost of software is fairly stable and less reactive to the economy. Once the technology is in place, companies can process higher volumes of transactions and other data more efficiently and be more responsive to their customers.
At a strategic level, what challenges do current technology stacks often pose for organizations?
Stephen Wolff – Many companies are operating using legacy software that is not flexible enough to meet the demands of dynamic business environments.
Before a company expands its capabilities and services, the underlying infrastructure has to be solid. Setting up a new product line, selling in new ways or creating a new point of interaction with a customer or vendor all become extremely difficult on top of legacy software, which only supports existing workflows. Companies are evaluating their structure from top-down and often find that changing the business means they need to change the tools they use so that they can scale. This often means migrating to a modern ERP system.
What makes implementing a modern ERP system like NetSuite so important to an organization’s success?
Stephen Wolff – We predominantly work with middle-market businesses, and we see that companies of this size are dealing with competitors from both the top-down and bottom-up. From the top-down, mid-size companies have to compete with consolidation plays — that is, organizations that are several magnitudes larger than they are. No matter what sector a company competes in—software, services or products—there are almost always bigger fish to contend with as many industries move through consolidation phases. From the bottom-up, mid-sized companies also have pressure to continually innovate as an incumbent because the barriers to entry for starting a new business are increasingly lower.
Many startups can become serious challengers. Service levels, response time, availability of products and services, even invoicing – all become critical to the business. Having the right ERP system means significant increases in operational efficiency, responsiveness and the ability to both provide enterprise-grade levels of service as well as explore new ways of buying, selling and interacting with customers at a rapid pace.
Initial implementation of an ERP solution requires customization and integration. How does a business get up and running quickly with a modern ERP system like NetSuite?
Mark Myers – That’s where Myers-Holum Inc. comes in. MHI believes in onsite staffing. This is a huge differentiator. With over 200 in staff, we can usually staff locally. With the introduction of NetSuite Analytical Warehouse (NSAW) this month, MHI will bring our 20+ years of Data & Analytics to NetSuite customers using a packaged data warehouse that supports integration to third-party applications!