Carrying Out a Successful NetSuite Implementation

NetSuite continues to be one of the fastest growing management systems globally – so, with as many businesses as ever looking to implement their NetSuite solution, I thought it was time to take a look at what makes NetSuite implementations successful.

Nobody with any experience in the field would call any ERP implementation easy. As recruitment consultants we’re insulated from the worst of it, but I speak to clients looking to migrate to NetSuite all the time.

The details are different – a poorly planned installation missing support for key business systems. Lack of training. An incompatibility due to clashing versions that nobody saw coming. The results are the same – employees complaining that the system doesn’t work and doing their best to ignore it.

I even hear it about NetSuite occasionally – but over forty thousand organisations use NetSuite. You don’t get those numbers if people abandon your system – we know it works! It’s just important to make it work for your business.

How can you ensure a successful NetSuite implementation?

Step one is in the development roadmap. If yours isn’t clear (or worse, you don’t have one), you’re already in trouble. But if your roadmap is clear and your project plan is correctly laid out, you can provide clear, easy-to-follow prep documents for your core users and keep stakeholders updated.

It’s particularly important that stakeholders understand the project scope. The stories I hear from clients looking to migrate ERP systems are often centred on using a platform that couldn’t handle the business’ size, or that wasn’t right for what the client was trying to achieve.

Having the roadmap in place makes it clear to employees and stakeholders what is realistically possible. It allows them time to prepare for any changes in how the business operates. These documents aren’t just for the implementation team.

Each milestone on the roadmap should be clearly defined and realistically achievable within the timeframe. They should each also be one person’s responsibility. I know these points are obvious – but they get missed more often than you’d like to think!

NetSuite implementation timeline

While I do advise you to make sure each milestone can be achieved in time, it’s also important to be flexible on go-live dates as unforeseen issues will arise. Building these at the roadmap stage allows them to be planned and budgeted for. This also means less stress as the project rolls on, and more stress means more mistakes.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is the question of data. Collecting all relevant data and re-working it to suit the new systems is a long, tedious job which involves a lot of quality assurance work. Which records can safely be dropped? What needs doing with the rest of the dataset – does anything need splitting out? How many records may have inaccurate or incomplete data?

Your implementation team has to be able to handle all of this as well as the nuts and bolts of the specific NetSuite configuration you’re using. Someone should be tasked as a liaison between the team and your employees as enough jargon is involved in implementation that translation will become important.

Remember that NetSuite implementation is intended to help your company see and seize opportunities, not cause trouble. Done right, you shouldn’t see that ‘this doesn’t work’ frustration – the systems will slot into place and the training will cover the gap.

Successful NetSuite implementations, in my experience, all start with a strategic roadmap, properly designed and made easy to follow.

Without one, you may end up building problems into your structure – or even failing to provide the resources you’ll need for the implementation.

Take these notes seriously and you should be looking forward to a successful implementation – assuming you have the team you need! And if you’re having any difficulty, our NetSuite team would be happy to help you source them.