SuiteWorld kicked off with the fourth Hackathon4Good. The event brings together people from NetSuite, its partners and customers. Their goal is to create a piece of software that tries to solve a challenge presented by a non-profit organisation. This year only one non-profit organisation benefitted but presented two challenges that it faces.
NetSuite solves the first BrightPoint Health challenge
BrightPoint Health is a non profit organisation based in New York. IT was founded in 1990 to help AIDS sufferers who were also dealing with substance abuse. Since then it has grown substantially. It delivers integrated healthcare services to those communities and individuals suffering from poverty, discrimination and lack of access.
Across New York city there are an estimated 65,000 homeless people (defined as those without stable housing). Over the last year alone BrightPoint has delivered services to 40,000 people in 175,000 interactions. 80% of those people were homeless.
Enterprise Times spoke to Sophia Alexiades, Senior Director of Finance at BrightPoint Health at the hackathon. BrightPoint is a rapidly growing organisation who replaced their legacy DOS based solution in 2014 with NetSuite. The cloud-based ERP solution has massively improved the life of the finance team at BrightPoint. When Alexiades joined in January 2014, the month end process took 90 (yes 90!) days. Once NetSuite was implemented it dropped that to 15. That may still seem high but that is one of the challenges that the organisation faces and one it that could not be solved simply.
NetSuite has already solved several major issues for the company. It has enabled its dramatic growth that saw the opening of four new locations in 2016. In revenue terms the company grew to $90 million in 2016 and is forecasted to reach around
$150 $98 million in 2017 according to Alexiades. NetSuite has already significant improved her life at the company. Consolidation across the four companies is much easier and it is now possible to produce historical reports for analysis.
The next challenge(s)
NetSuite is not the only system in use at BrightPoint. There are eight separate systems that assist with different accounts processes including two that will be replaced by Coupa later this year. There are also at least four separate operational systems that are HIPAA compliant and record patient interactions. This leads to two challenges that BrightPoint asked the development teams to solve.
The first was named Operational Excellence and it’s about the mission. With so many different systems in place it takes time to consolidate data in to a single location for analysis. That analysis is used by the organisation leadership to plan ahead and identify trends in services used by locations and resources. Currently that data is moved to Excel which takes time and has limited reporting capability. The challenge was for the teams to work out a way of using the NetSuite capabilities, including analytics, to ingest data and produced management reports or dashboards in a timely manner. The dashboards had to provide such things as revenue per provider, visits per day per location and other metrics.
The second challenge was Accounts Receivable or show me the money. Understanding the current cash position of BrightPoint is difficult. Currently it receives a cheque from an insurer but not the details immediately about what it applies to. That is downloadable and manually applied in each of the separate medical systems. That allocation is time consuming and hinders the recording of the cheque in NetSuite. Currently the only way to understand the current cash position across the organisation is using a manually updated Excel file. The ideal solution would enable NetSuite to provide as near a real-time cash flow position as possible.
Twelve teams with more than sixty team members competed this year in the Hackathon4Good. Armed with a flipchart and laptops the teams spent eight hours designing coding and presentating their solutions. The atmosphere in the event room was intense, collaborative and dedicated. Breaks were brief and hardly stopped the work. NetSuite technical support and BrightPoint staff were on hand to answer questions as the teams worked towards their final presentation.
It was interesting to see that on average there was one woman per team. This is apparently slightly higher than last year. Hopefully that trend will continue to grow. NetSuite is a strong supporter of women in tech and they continued their support of the Grace Hopper Foundation conference last year.
The Winners – Ino Health and F8
The judging panel that included senior Netsuite’s David Geilhufe, Senior Director NetSuite.org and Evan Zuckerman, CFO at BrightPoint Health, announced two winners.
The operational excellence challenge was won by Ino Health. They delivered the most visual solution integrating iCharts and Google Maps into their solution. This clearly appealed to the judges as was one of the stand out projects in their approach to the solution. Their solution delivered the eight key reports on a single screen initially and drew in data from all of the available sources.
Ultimately the real winners of the competition were BrightPoint Health. Speaking to Alexiades after the event finished she commented that what the day had given her was several new ways of approaching the business problems that they faced now and into the future.
This was a well attended event and what was most impressive was the mix of partners, customers and NetSuite employees. Many people dropped by the event with the aim of participating in future and this event should grow in strength. Participants learnt new skills and made new relationships with fellow developers in the industry. Teams were often mixed up and multi-national. This didn’t seem to affect the quality of the entrants and there were some notable and innovative solution on display.
Dave Guilhufe commented that like previous years the non-profit participating in the event would gain immeasurably from finding out what was possible in NetSuite. Many of the ideas on show are likely to turn up within their systems over the coming months. In previous years some of the teams have continued to work on their projects delivering a final solution pro bono to the non profit organisations. It is not known whether BrightPoint will do this.
This is just one of the CSR initiatives that NetSuite has organised at SuiteWorld 17 which helps to develop the community spirit amongst its developers