NetSuite is a cloud-based business management software that helps companies manage all facets of their organization. From CRM to accounting to manufacturing and distribution, NetSuite is an extremely powerful cloud-based platform that will rapidly increase operational performance. In considering NetSuite, your company is already on track for growth—but it doesn’t come without some foresight and strategy. And while NetSuite’s SuiteSuccess program offers preconfigured, industry-specific implementation plans to get businesses up and running on the software faster, it’s not a “set it and forget it” solution. Here are some of the top NetSuite implementation tips to ensure success.
Identify Pain Points & Business Processes
The first—and most important—step when considering any new software should be identifying pain points and business processes associated with your current software stack. Often referred to as a business process review, the point of this intensive exercise is to wholly understand your business, processes, and challenges.
NetSuite is a powerful tool, but without a true understanding of how it should be used in your specific business—and why—you will never fully leverage its capabilities. That’s why conducting a comprehensive business process review is critical; it helps you align processes and thoughtfully plan, build, and utilize NetSuite to accomplish your unique goals and help you weather the storms of growth.
While having a third-party team perform the review is ideal, it’s not necessary. But remember the saying, “Cannot see the forest for the trees.” Often times, end-users are so ingrained in the day-to-day details of their job, they cannot see how it plays into the overall strategy of the organization. Typically, third-party partners are able to see the bigger picture and how each department’s processes and intertwined.
Tip: To get the most value from a BPR, they should be independent of any implementation project and conducted in an unbiased manner unless otherwise requested. If using a third-party partner for a BPR, be cautious about being “on the hook” for licensing and implementation services after the review is complete.
Consider Bringing On a Partner
NetSuite was designed to be a modern and user-friendly ERP system, but it does require some specific knowledge in order to be implemented and utilized to its full potential. While it is possible to implement NetSuite using only your internal staff, you should ensure they have the proper knowledge to do so—ideally, someone who holds an active NetSuite Administrator certification.
If this is a new implementation and you don’t have internal resources, it’s advisable to bring on a third-party firm to assist with both the licensing and implementation. Contrary to some beliefs, purchasing software from a Value Added Reseller (VAR) means you receive the same great product with the added benefits of senior-level expertise, personalized support, and more—for the same price as buying directly from the vendor. While bringing on a partner for the actual implementation does add extra costs, it is well worth it when you consider that, on average, between 55% and 75% of all ERP projects fail, according to Gartner. While reasons for failed implementations vary, it can often be chalked up to several reasons: poor planning, lack of resources, inefficient communication, and limited knowledge around technical specifications and/or business processes.
Having a certified NetSuite Solution Provider on your side will help you avoid the most common pitfalls and set you up for success. To become a NetSuite Solution Provider, firms must have a solid working knowledge of financial accounting, ERP, and CRM solutions for mid-market and enterprise customers. To ensure their network of providers is of the highest quality, NetSuite supplements partners’ expertise with training opportunities and certifications.
Fun fact: Did you know that 360 Cloud Solutions has been a NetSuite Solution Provider since 2002 and has completed more than 400 successful implementations?
Build the Right Internal Team
To achieve a successful NetSuite implementation, it is important to assemble the right internal team. Believe it or not, this is often one of the biggest mistakes companies make when implementing new software of any kind. While gaining executive- and management-level buy-in is important, don’t forget to include end-users (from every department) from the beginning. These are the people who will provide a plethora of information and detail around processes, needs and requirements, roadblocks, and opportunities—more than those who only oversee. This information is invaluable when it comes to a successful NetSuite implementation.
Once determined, it’s crucial to communicate the importance of the project to the team members. The people on your implementation team should be dedicated to the cause and ready to spend time on the ERP project so that the final solution is fine-tuned to your organization’s particular processes. While this will likely take time away from completing day-to-day responsibilities, the efficiencies the software create down the road will be well worth the extra efforts. Depending on the time requirements, some companies opt to back-fill the position to keep things rolling.
Utilize an Agile Methodology
When dealing with a full-scale NetSuite implementation, it is best to use an agile method. According to Wrike, “agile is a process by which a team can manage a project by breaking it up into several stages and involving constant collaboration with stakeholders and continuous improvement and iteration at every stage.”
With a more traditional approach, development happens in the background with little to no input or collaboration from the implementation team. Using an agile methodology for a NetSuite implementation allows you to test and approve sections of the project as they are completed—providing tremendous flexibility and transparency for your organization. This prevents scenarios in which you would wrap-up the project only to realize that a mistake was made in the very beginning.
NetSuite is powerful, but it’s not magic. It takes planning, resources, communication, and a high degree of expertise to get it running right. By keeping these four NetSuite implementation tips in mind, you will get a running start with the world’s #1 cloud-based ERP system.