Cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) has helped one of Australian leading dotcoms — and the country’s biggest online property portal — transform work processes that used to take days into real-time activities.

News Corp’s REA Group is the publisher of realestate.com.au. Norm Duce, its executive manager, business services, said the company replaced multiple disparate legacy software systems and manual processes with a single instance of NetSuite’s OneWorld. It uses the system to manage mission-critical business processes, including financial consolidation, purchasing, order management, billing, revenue recognition, multi-currency management (13 currencies) and multi-country tax compliance management.

“REA Group’s size and services are continuing to grow rapidly and it’s vital that we have an ERP system which can cater for our various complex needs,” said Duce.

He said OneWorld played an important role in helping REA realise these global growth aspirations by simplifying, consolidating and automating processes that once produced significant bottlenecks in the organisation’s workflow.

“It helps us to accomplish more, with less effort, freeing up time to focus on key priorities like delivering a strong customer experience and expanding globally.”

Since switching to NetSuite in 2015, the company said it has dramatically improved operational efficiency and realised significant productivity gains, freeing up employees’ time to manage revenue recognition processes and global consolidation. Processes that previously took several days to complete can now be done in real time.

REA Group has also gained the scalability needed to handle large volume transactions. The NetSuite OneWorld implementation has provided a strong foundation for REA Group to enter and manage new markets.

Keeping up with the sheer speed of its growth in recent years proved to be a challenge for REA Group’s financial operations, due largely to multiple legacy systems which struggled to scale efficiently for increased transaction volumes and business growth.

NetSuite OneWorld was chosen due to its ease of customisation, multi-subsidiary management capabilities and its flexibility, scalability and agility to meet the company’s future global expansion needs.

Despite the scale and complexity of the deployment — which was assisted by Netsuite partner Annexa — the implementation came in on time and on budget. This is no mean feat in the difficult work of enterprise resource planning.

Among the benefits of the new system:

  • Real-time global financial consolidation REA Group can ensure financial consistency across its 14 countries of operation, through a single financial system of record that provides real-time visibility into financial performance. Rapid growth in the Australian market has led to aspirations of similar successes abroad. REA Group now owns and operates property web sites in ten countries including casa.it, Italy’s second-largest real estate site, and iProperty, a group of leading real estate portals in six South-East Asian markets (Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Thailand).
  • Multi-tax support Productivity, usability, and compliance gains from the platform’s multi-tax capabilities have already proven valuable for REA Group’s operations in Luxembourg, where the implementations are currently underway.
  • Automated upgrades Instead of requiring each REA Group office to periodically roll out system patches that could risk systems fragmentation, the business benefits from automatic updates, ensuring a seamless and consistent experience while adhering to local regulation and compliance requirements.
  • A flexible and agile platform REA Group can customise NetSuite to meet its business requirements and needs and to integrate with other systems.
  • Native cloud solution Version lock, painful upgrades and maintaining on-premise systems can all be avoided.
  • Data-driven decisions With a unified platform, REA Group has real-time access to a single source of data across its entire business to make better-informed decisions.
  • Real-time business visibility and business intelligence REA Group said it can gain real-time insights into key business performance indicators for a unified view across its head office and subsidiaries from a single version of truth.

Ross Spriggs, managing director at Annexa, said, “REA Group is the perfect example of how true cloud infrastructure can equip Australian businesses with the scalability to set the pace for other world markets and expand across borders to achieve international success.”

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