Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland As, is now in the software game, with NetSuites Jan. 4 announcement that it has appointed Beane to its board of directors.
NetSuite develops on-demand ERP (enterprise resource planning) software and sells it as a service. Bean manages a low-budget but winning Major League Baseball team. Where do the two converge? Around mathematics, according to NetSuite officials.
"Billys outrageously successful approach in changing the game of baseball by using facts to supplement instinct is very similar to the transformation our customers undergo when they move their business to NetSuite," said Evan Goldberg, chairman, co-founder and chief technology officer of NetSuite. "We are all excited about the insight Billy will bring to NetSuite and our customers."
Beanes talent as a manager was brought to the fore in the 2003 book "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game," by Michael Lewis, which highlights Beanes use of mathematics and gut instinct to turn around the As fortunes. Beane relied on a combination of gut instinct and sophisticated statistical analysis to suss out (and recruit) undervalued baseball players. Even as one of Major League Baseballs poorest teams (the As payroll ranks among the lowest in the sport), under Beanes leadership, which began in 1998, the As have qualified for the playoffs in five of the past seven seasons. In 2006 the team advanced to the American League Championship Series.
In news reports, Beane said it was NetSuites unconventional selling approach and its connection to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison that appealed to him most.
Ellison, a multibillionaire, owns about 41 percent of NetSuite.
Apparently, Beane is also a NetSuite customer.
"I have seen firsthand how NetSuite helps the As run our sales and marketing organizations more effectively, and I look forward to helping other companies use our knowledge to improve the performance of their organizations," said Beane in a statement.