How Long Does a NetSuite Implementation Take?

​It’s been a couple of months now since a new client, during a call with them, asked “I know what my vendor told me, but how long does a NetSuite implementation really take?”

I walked them through finding the answer for them (and in the process learned a lot more about their requirement) and thought nothing more of it at the time. Since then, though, I’ve thought about that call (and others with similar questions, even if they weren’t as up-front about it) quite a lot.

How Long Should You Allow for a NetSuite Implementation?

The first thing to remember is that people measure these differently. Does the clock start ticking when you decide to implement NetSuite? During planning? When your team starts actioning changes? Do you stop measuring it on the go-live date or later? If later, do you stop when the project wraps? When your team have fully integrated NetSuite into their processes?

You might want the answer to any of these in different circumstances; time from first decision tells you how long it will take to be live once you sign on. Time from planning gives you an estimate you can use to engage your business while you’re assembling your team. And time from first action is useful for budgeting for your consultants, as well as how long disruption may unfold for.

Ending points are pretty arbitrary. For these purposes I’m going to be thinking of go-live day.

Planning Phase

For me, too, the planning period is where it really starts; progress isn’t being made until the plan begins to come together and the team is assembled. You can’t really decide on your team until you have your plan, either – and then you’ve got to bring in whatever specialists you don’t have.

There can be real delays here if bringing in your resource isn’t handled quickly. One of my colleagues working IFS, Chris Finch, recently wrote about why the current market forces businesses to move quickly on candidates. He’s right, but there’s another reason; it brings the day your implementation is done and your system is running closer.


How long it takes to actually bring your system up and running is a function of the size of the team you use and the scope of the project. The scope is mostly affected by business size (number of employees, but also number of locations) and business scope.

If you’re starting your planning period and you want to shorten time to actions beginning, it’s never too early to start looking at potential candidates. Why not give me a call so I can put my network to use for you?