Why IT Matters: Oracle Netsuite and the Common Data Model

During this segment of Why IT Matters, we interviewed Kate Daniels from Oracle Netsuite and talked about international aid, both the good and the bad, and technology as an infrastructure for nonprofits. Kate shares the considerations Oracle gave to the Common Data Model and why they decided it’s better to participate and align than to be concerned about competition. We also had fun talking about the differences working at large vs. small organizations and how our energy changes every room that we enter.

To learn more about the Common Data Model, visit this page on our site.

The following are excerpts from the interview. All quotes are from Kate Daniels.

On the Common Data Model

“We had to recognize that our product doesn’t do everything. We are not a monitoring and evaluation tool, we are not an impact measurement tool. And the sooner we can sit in the truth of this [sic] and recognize what we do really well, as well as our gaps, the sooner we can build the right team to serve nonprofits. We are only as good as the people and the products we sit shoulder to shoulder with.”

“When we started thinking about how to link the information you can derive from NetSuite to the information you need in a monitoring and evaluation system, we had to think more in terms of integrations and the connectivity of data. In the past year, both Microsoft and Oracle/Netsuite were approached by a couple of common customers who wanted us to be mapped to the Common Data Model. That was the moment when we thought, well if we want to delight our customers then we need to think about how our product interacts with other products.”

Oracle Netsuite began thinking about how they could be a part of the solution. Rather than focusing on their own data model, they asked the question, “what’s the data model our customers want to use and how do we fit into that.” This led the team to worry less about the competition and focus more on the future value to the business, the customer and the ecosystem.

“Yes, it is a risk to align ourselves with a competitor, but is the risk greater to do it or not to do it? In the end we decided it would undermine our ultimate interest to be part of the nonprofit community to not engage in the Common Data Model.”

“Microsoft threw the first pitch and I applaud them for that. But as we (Oracle Netsuite) become mapped and as other tech partners come on board, that model is no longer the Microsoft Common Data Model, it’s THE Common Data Model for nonprofits. Into which many technology companies contribute and after which many international ngo’s will be able to benefit. That’s going to improve efficiency, facilitate efficacy, it’s going to make things cheaper, faster, smarter and allow leaders of nonprofits to do their work in a way that is more robust and be better stewards of donor funds. We’re proud to change the DNA of the Common Data Model by virtue of our contribution.”