It’s been said that a NetSuite implementation is only as good as the team that implements it. I don’t know if that’s 100% accurate, but there definitely is some truth to it. ERP implementations are challenging, and the statistics on their success rates are not encouraging. But, you don’t just want to succeed with your ERP implementation, you want to accel! And the best way to accel with a NetSuite implementation is with a NetSuite implementation partner.
A NetSuite implementation partner is a third-party consultant dedicated to helping new NetSuite users implement the platform. These partners are usually but not always the same partner that helped you purchase NetSuite. This guide helps users breakdown why these partners are valuable as well as help them choose the best NetSuite implementation partner for their needs!
What Do NetSuite Implementation Partners Bring to the Table?
Experience/Expertise- Consultants dedicated to the implementation of NetSuite bring a unique level of experience and expertise. Some of these partners have been through over 50 implementations. That kind of experience is a valuable resource when undergoing a large and complex project, such as an ERP implementation. You can bet they have seen their share of failure and success and can use that experience to keep your implementation on track.
ROI – On top of ensuring your implementation is successfully completed, . A good partner will get intimate with your business processes and find ways for the NetSuite platform to improve them. NetSuite has a lot to offer in terms of pre-built modules and customizable possibilities. Without an experienced partner, it could take months, if ever, for your Netsuite configuration to run optimally.
Proven Methodology – With all that experience and expertise comes a proven methodology. When implementing by yourself, you may not know where to begin or what questions to ask. Through experience, a NetSuite implementation partner will have a concrete process to take your implementation from start to finish reliably and measurably.
Each partner has a different methodology, but at eMerge Technologies, our 7-step NetSuite implementation process goes like this:
NetSuite Community Experience – Over the years, the NetSuite community has expanded rapidly. There are tons of specialists, partners, and solutions that go well with and are even built on the NetSuite platform. These partners and solutions solve niche needs for the various types of NetSuite users that exist.
A NetSuite implementation partner will have experience with these solutions and partners and quickly point you in the right direction if the need for one comes up. This experience can prevent you from reinventing the wheel through risky customizations, learning lessons the hard way with inferior solution providers, or simply going without.
Trusted Resource – Just because you have finished your NetSuite implementation does not mean that the work is done. Maintaining optimal ROI from NetSuite is an ongoing process. NetSuite upgrades twice a year, and the community will continue to develop new and improved third-party solutions. Finding a partner you can trust within the NetSuite community is not always easy. If you’re happy with your NetSuite implementation team, you will have a trusted source of information when it comes time to make changes or upgrade. Not to mention the added benefit of continuing a relationship with a company that knows your business and unique NetSuite configuration.
Do You Need a Partner?
New NetSuite users may not know what they don’t know when it comes to the implementation. So we have put together a checklist to help new users determine if they should spend the resources on an implementation partner or implement on their own.
Do you have NetSuite-specific experience on your team already?
Has anyone in your accounting or IT department been a part of a NetSuite implementation or used Netsuite? I say Netsuite specifically because NetSuite-specific experience is a significant factor in determining the success of the implementation. I have personally seen large companies with robust budgets crash and burn during the implementation process simply because there was ZERO NetSuite-specific experience on the team. NetSuite has its nuances and complexities; if you’re not familiar with them, it can cost you time and money.
How complex is your NetSuite implementation?
The complexity of your implementation will be a big factor in determining if you should seek outside help.
In our opinion, there are three kinds of implementations:
- Simple – Implementation is pretty much functional out-of-the-box; the customer is a single entity with no complex processes and no add-on modules or customizations required. Less than 10 users.
- Normal – Implementation is for single or multiple entities that have minimal functional gaps and add-on modules needed. Company uses a single currency and language. Between 10-100 users.
- Complex – Implementation is for more than one entity with multiple locations, currencies, and languages. There are multiple functional gaps and more than one integration need. Over 100 users.
We recommend seeking a partner for any implementation that is considered normal or above.
Do you have the resources in-house?
A NetSuite implementation will require extensive resources from the accounting department, a project manager, a system admin, and depending on precise needs, a developer. If more than the ERP module is implemented, it could require input and time from specific department heads.
Now, even if you have these resources available in-house, it’s important to understand that the implementation can turn into a full-time job in itself, and ERP implementations take weeks or even months to complete! So you’ll need to make arrangements for the implementation teams typical responsibilities otherwise, you could end up overworking and frustrating your employees when you’ll need them at their sharpest.
So if you don’t have these resources available or you can’t divert the resources to implement your ERP full-time, it may be best to bring in a partner to augment your team.
How to Choose the Best NetSuite Implementation Partner?
Once you decide if you need a NetSuite implementation partner, how do you know who’s right for you? Here are 5 factors to consider when choosing the best netsuite implementation partner for your business:
Partner Reputation: Take the time to ask around the community about partners you’re considering. An ERP implementation is a big project and comes with inherent risk. So, it’s valuable to get a feel for the reputation of possible partners before you make a commitment.
Here are a few resources you can use to learn about NetSuite partners:
First, there is the NetSuite unofficial NetSuite community on Reddit. They are friendly and don’t mind speaking directly.
Next, you can use the “NetSuite Professionals” message board to get info on potential partners. This website spun off the NetSuite Reddit community and is run by unbiased participants of the broader NetSuite community. They even have a slack channel, which you can join Here!
Finally, you can use G2Crowd or Clutch.co. Both of which collect reviews from NetSuite users on the various companies that resell and implement NetSuite. You can also use these sites to create a shortlist of NetSuite partners you may want to use for your project.
Company Culture: Culture is important because you will be working with these people for weeks or perhaps even months. They will effectively become an extension of your team. You’re going to want to make sure there won’t be disruptive friction between your internal team and the external resources you bring in as it could get in the way of an optimal implementation.
Proximity: Easier said than done in 2020, and something to look past as long as COVID-19 is still a around. However, under normal conditions, it’s ideal to find a partner that you can meet in person, works in the same time zone as you, and has familiarity with your cultural and regional conditions.
Company Experience: Experience matters, and is the main reason why you are hiring a partner in the first place. Make sure that the partner you are purchasing has an extensive history of successful NetSuite implementations and has past customers willing to vouch for their effectiveness.
It would be ideal for your implementation partner to have industry-specific experience on top of NetSuite-specific experience. There are partners who focus entirely on specific industries such as retail or software.
Company Size: We have found that it is better to go with a smaller firm than a large company. The prices are more competitive, and the experience is often the same or even better with smaller companies. You also won’t have to worry about being treated like a number with a more personal relationship between you and your implementation team.
How Much Does an Implementation Partner Cost?
Implementation partners usually fall somewhere in a range of $130 to $250 an hour; with the larger more established firms, charging at the higher end of that range.
The number of hours you’ll need will vary widely with the complexity of your project. NetSuite Implementations themselves can cost anywhere from $25,000 to over $100,000.
Hopefully, this guide helps you make optimal choices for your upcoming NetSuite implementation! There are a lot of pros to using a partner, you just have to decide if it’s worth it for your business.
If you have gone through a NetSuite implementation, with or without a partner, write about your experience in the comment section! Maybe your experience can help users who are about to take the plunge themselves.
If you want to learn more about NetSuite implementations in general, go ahead and check out our complete NetSuite Implementation Guide!
Jeremy McCourt is an content producer in the enterprise software industry that focuses on NetSuite and related cloud-based software solutions.
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