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The Top 25 Newsmakers of 2006 – Number 23: Netsuite Canada Marc Huffman

NetSuite Canada GM led the charge for the software as a service movement here

Software as a service (SaaS) became big news in 2006. Leading that charge is San Mateo, Calif.-based NetSuite, a firm founded by Larry Ellison of Oracle

NetSuite is also trying to move the SaaS revolution into Canada.At the forefront of that movement is Marc Huffman, the general manager of NetSuite Canada.

Huffman has a lot of work to do because SaaS requires a leap of faith: Company data, under NetSuite’s plan, is stored elsewhere.

He also faces rivals such as Salesforce.com, which also opened a Canadian office and is kicking at his heels. The biggest challenge will come in the mid-market.

About 62 per cent of medium-sized companies in Canada still aren’t familiar with the term SaaS, and educating the market is a major challenge, Michael Hyjek, research director of customer segments with IDC Canada, said in an interview earlier this year.

With the release of Version of 11 of its flagship product with AJAX support, NetSuite is trying to move past traditional CRM.

NetSuite’s approach is to tie together many browser-based applications for accounting, sales force automation, support, service, marketing, warehousing or inventory and others into a suite targeted at the mid-market space.