Before you embark on your NetSuite implementation journey, here are some key points you should consider.
- NetSuite offers top-notch tools for running your business on a unified platform, catering to various aspects from sales to accounting.
- This advanced cloud-based business management suite is fully customizable to suit your industry and business needs.
NetSuite Implementation: Step-by-Step Guide
Before you begin, it is essential to gain the support of stakeholders, your team should have dedicated time to analyze the suitability of ERP implementation at this time and the reasons why NetSuite is the ideal solution for your organization.
It is significant to note that only some NetSuite consultants follow the same path. However, these steps can be altered, and require touchbacks.
1. Discovery and Analysis
This process plays the role of conducting thorough research for the project. This phase involves posing and answering crucial questions related to the implementation:
- Identifying high-level goals.
- Defining the project scope.
- Identifying potential integration systems.
- Determining migration systems.
- Performing a NetSuite gap analysis and discussing customization options.
- Having the internal team fill out a comprehensive business process questionnaire (BPQ).
- Conduct discussions on requirements and business processes.
PROTIP: A consulting firm can devote approximately 50-150 hours of the NetSuite ERP project to gathering and documenting requirements for your NetSuite implementation. NetSuite consulting prices vary by partner but are typically between $150 and $250 per hour. The options are to pay at this stage for a high-quality discovery and analysis phase, or paying later due to potentially missed requirements and costly change orders.
Planning establishes the timeline, identifies main resources, and assigns responsibility to internal and external teams.
- Establishment of key team members and responsibilities (project manager, executive sponsor, subject matter experts, developers, analysts, and others as needed).
- Lead user onboarding (controller, CIO, and others as needed).
- Establishing a project timeline, including weekly or monthly status meetings and key milestones.
- Process engineering involves outlining how old processes should convert into new processes compatible with the NetSuite Business Requirements Document (BRD), which has been completed, reviewed, and signed by stakeholders.
- Establish a comprehensive budget for the project, including software licenses, hardware, training, and consulting fees.
- Identify and select an experienced NetSuite implementation partner to support the project’s objectives and define their roles and responsibilities.
3. Installation and Configuration
The Installation or Development Phase marks the initiation of the NetSuite implementation process, where the insights gathered during the discovery phase are translated into actionable steps.
- During this stage, the focus is on setting up and installing NetSuite to create the foundation of the ERP system.
- Expert technical teams collaborate to configure the software to match the specific needs of the organization.
- This includes defining user roles and permissions, company preferences, and initial system settings.
This is where you begin experimenting with the NetSuite software.
- If necessary, migrate data from the previous system.
- Configure key NetSuite processes such as “procure-to-pay” and “order-to-cash” as well as other business-specific processes outlined in the phase planning.
- Create an account chart and account balances.
- Configure NetSuite preferences such as accounting, shipping, cost, and security.
- Configure NetSuite module settings based on previous phases’ requirements.
- Create automation, integrations, workflows, and customizations based on your needs.
Data Migration: Data cleaning and migration usually coincide or overlap. This is where you transfer data from your legacy systems to NetSuite.
The significance of proper training in the success of an implementation is often underestimated, particularly after external resources have completed their role. Users who lack adequate training may not be able to utilize the application without the ability to rely on experts. Effective training enables users to quickly adapt to the system and identify any issues with NetSuite functionality early on.
Training sources include:
- An initial handover from the implementation team.
- Courses provided by NetSuite.
- NetSuite partners provide proprietary training courses.
- Workshops and training materials tailored to the users by the implementing partner.
- Online tutorials and guides.
Pro Tip: Initiate the training process during the execution phase, preferably before the testing phase. This approach allows users more time to familiarize themselves with the platform before the implementation is completed.
- Developers will test individual system components for bugs and unexpected behavior throughout the NetSuite installation process.
- This will allow them to troubleshoot any unexpected errors quickly.
- Along with technical testing, it is critical to ensure that end users have the opportunity to test the software before it goes live. This is User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
- Actual end-users test the software during UAT to validate business processes and determine whether the system meets the requirements outlined during the discovery stage.
- This is also an excellent opportunity to introduce users to the system and assist them in understanding how to use it to achieve their objectives.
Once installed, configured, and thoroughly tested the system is ready for deployment into a live production environment.
- The deployment date should be communicated throughout your organization to ensure that everyone anticipates and is prepared for the change.
- At least a majority of employees involved should have confidence in using the system before deployment. This is why it is recommended that the training phase should begin well before your go-live date.
- NetSuite, like any other software implementation, requires support after it has been configured and deployed.
- Along with upgrades and routine maintenance, you may want to expand the functionality of your NetSuite setup by adding additional modules or customizations.
- It is not only the software that requires long-term support; you need to ensure that you have the resources in place to provide ongoing training and support using the system as required.
NetSuite Implementation Checklist
- Establish a Budget and Timeline: Unforeseen circumstances may arise during the implementation, so having a well-defined budget and timeline is vital. Ensure estimates are in place for potential budget overruns or delays in the expected go-live date.
- Secure 100% Buy-In: A successful NetSuite Implementation requires full buy-in from all stakeholders. From account managers to executives, ensuring everyone is enthusiastic about the upgrade and willing to adapt to the new system is crucial for a seamless transition.
- Emphasize Transparency: NetSuite consultants are adept at process analysis, but challenges may arise during implementation. Maintain open and honest communication throughout the process to address any issues promptly. Encourage team members to express their needs, expectations, and concerns for the best project solutions.
Tips for Successful Netsuite Implementation
To ensure a successful NetSuite implementation, emphasizing the significance of your relationship with the implementation partner cannot be overstated. They play a crucial role in tailoring the system to meet your specific needs and guiding you through the entire process. However, there are several actions you can take to ensure the implementation’s success.
- Form a cross-functional project team internally to oversee the selection and implementation process. This team will gather feedback from various users to ensure a comprehensive understanding of your requirements.
- Allocate sufficient time for training as the transition to a new system and processes can be a significant change for your staff. Adequate training will help them adapt and embrace the new system effectively.
- Implement a robust change management strategy to address the disruption caused by the implementation and ease the transition for your team. A well-planned approach will enhance user adoption and reduce stress.
- Document the new processes thoroughly, even if it may be time-consuming. This documentation serves as a valuable training manual for your team, ensuring consistent adherence to the newly established processes.
- Consider using the NetSuite Sandbox, despite the additional cost, as it provides a safe environment for users to familiarize themselves with the system without affecting production data. This enables them to learn and experiment freely, promoting a smoother transition.
Make the Most of Your NetSuite Implementation
A successful NetSuite implementation requires a significant amount of effort, from obtaining executive approval and confirming requirements to correctly configuring the system and testing its effectiveness.
This is why it’s critical to have a solid NetSuite implementation project plan to guide your activities, as well as a clear understanding of your business, users, and objectives.
The system’s success, however, is ultimately determined by how effectively your employees use it.
Having the right digital adoption platform in place to onboard and train employees can mean the difference between success and failure. After all, faster adoption of a new ERP system like NetSuite means faster realization of its ROI potential.
What is NetSuite?
NetSuite is a comprehensive software suite that can handle virtually every aspect of the business. NetSuite is comprised of the following modules, which are linked by a single data source:
- ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
- (PSA) Professional Services Automation.
- (CRM) stands for Customer Relationship Management.
- Financial Software
While implementing NetSuite is less complicated than installing each application individually – for example, one application for CRM, another for ERP, a third for financials, and so on – it is still a complex process. Implementing NetSuite is unquestionably beneficial given the numerous benefits it provides.
What Is NetSuite Implementation?
The process of integrating and customizing NetSuite software to meet the needs of a growing business is known as NetSuite implementation. Different company’s implementation process can be different because each has distinct business needs, preferences, and circumstances. However, most of the time, the NetSuite integration process involves data and system migration, customization, and user training.
While NetSuite claims to cover functions for any small, medium, or large business, most NetSuite implementations begin in the mid-market startup phase, as financials become more complex. However, there are no hard and fast rules for implementing NetSuite. There is only prioritization based on your company’s needs.
How much does NetSuite cost to implement?
NetSuite implementation costs can range from $10,000 for a quick start to $100,000+ for a mid-sized company or even $1,000,000+ for a large rollout with hundreds of users. It all depends on the scope of the discovery and research stage, the particular requirements you have, the size of your company, the amount of data that needs to be migrated, and the employee training required. NetSuite pricing varies, and implementation is only a portion of the total cost.
What happens to our data if we decide not to use NetSuite anymore?
NetSuite allows you to export your data in standard file formats like CSV or Excel, allowing you to keep your data even if you stop using the system. If necessary, you can also consult with NetSuite about change management, data retention, and migration strategies to your freshly installed ERP.
What are the best practices for a successful NetSuite ERP implementation?
To ensure a successful NetSuite ERP implementation, consider using the following best practices:
- Careful planning and a well-defined implementation plan.
- Engaging a dedicated team, including a strong project manager.
- Collaborating with a reliable NetSuite implementation partner with experience in ERP deployments.
- Conduct thorough use-case testing to validate system functionality.
- Providing ongoing support and go-live support for a smooth transition.
Why should my company choose a cloud-based NetSuite platform for ERP implementation?
Opting for a cloud-based solution like NetSuite offers several advantages, including:
- Real-time visibility into business operations,
- Accessibility from anywhere, and
- Lower costs compared to traditional on-premises systems.
How long does a typical NetSuite implementation project take?
The duration of a NetSuite implementation project can vary depending on the complexity of your business processes and customization needs. Generally, implementations can take a few months to complete.
Can NetSuite fulfill the specific needs of my industry?
NetSuite is a flexible ERP solution that can be customized to suit various industries. With a wide range of modules and features, it can accommodate specific industry requirements such as supply chain management, inventory management, financial management, and more.
What role does a NetSuite implementation consultant play in the process?
A NetSuite implementation consultant provides expertise and guidance throughout the implementation journey. They help design and configure the system to align with your business needs, ensuring a smooth and efficient deployment.
How does NetSuite improve business functions and operations?
NetSuite streamlines business functions by centralizing data and automating processes, leading to increased efficiency and better decision-making. It offers real-time visibility into various aspects of your business, enabling more informed and strategic actions.
Can a NetSuite implementation benefit both small and large companies?
Yes, NetSuite is scalable and suitable for businesses of all sizes. Whether you are a small startup or a large enterprise, NetSuite can cater to your unique needs and grow your business.
How can NetSuite implementation benefit businesses and streamline their operations?
- By leveraging NetSuite’s capabilities and collaborating with vendors, businesses can streamline their operations, reduce manual work, and gain real-time insights for better decision-making.
- The management plan emphasizes efficiency, allowing teams to focus on critical tasks and optimize productivity.
- Ultimately, investing considerable time and effort in the right place proves to be a game-changer, providing businesses with a competitive edge and numerous benefits in the dynamic business world.
Is the implementation process continuous, or does it have a fixed endpoint?
The initial implementation is a crucial step, but it’s important to note that ERP systems like NetSuite require ongoing monitoring, updates, and improvements to adapt to changing business requirements and technology advancements.
What are the key considerations for a seamless NetSuite Implementation?
- When engaging in a NetSuite implementation, it is essential to consider the needs of the business and secure buy-in from all stakeholders, including clients.
- Success in implementing this advanced ERP solution requires hard work and a dedicated team leader overseeing the project management.
- With clear visibility and transparency in the implementation plan, team members can work together efficiently, addressing any bumps in the road that may arise along the way.
What are the essential steps to consider before implementing a new ERP system like NetSuite?
Before starting the implementation process, companies should focus on thorough planning, understanding their specific business needs, selecting the right NetSuite implementation partner, and engaging key business leaders throughout the project for a successful go-live.