How Much Does a NetSuite Implementation Cost?
NetSuite implementation costs can be between $25,000 – $100,000 depending on factors such as complexity, modules selected, company size, and more. These implementation fees are worth it if you want to get the maximum value out of your NetSuite implementation. However, it is important to know these costs exist when deciding if the NetSuite ERP is right for you.
This guide will do its best to break down the process of the NetSuite implementation with attention paid to the value and cost of each step and then discuss other factors that can go into a NetSuite implementation cost based on a company’s individual needs.
The reason the costs range so widely for NetSuite implementations is due to the fact that every company is different and will have different needs. So it’s best to use this guide as a way to get a ballpark of the cost of your NetSuite implementation as opposed to a way to get a precise figure.
It is also important to note that this guide will assume you will be using a NetSuite partner to help with your implementation, as this is how the vast majority of NetSuite implementations are done.
Finally, if you want to learn more about the entire NetSuite implementation process, you can check out our full guide on NetSuite Implementation.
NetSuite Implementation Phases
A NetSuite implementation is a complex undertaking; so complicated that the best way to do it is through several key phases.
This chart below is eMerge’s unique way of tackling a NetSuite implementation. Each partner may look at it differently, but there are a few key steps that are worth discussing as they will take up the bulk of the costs related to the implementation.
Speaking of time, it is also important to understand that when you’re using a partner to help with your implementation, time is the main metric for how they will bill you.
Each partner’s rate is different. As of July 2022, it’s common for partners to charge between $170 – $250 per hour for their labor. Anything below $150 usually means the partner is using resources outside the United States. So, if you hear a low number, ask where their resources are based. There are plenty of talented NetSuite experts from around the world. However, if their team is based in a different time zone or speaks a different language, it could impact the project negatively, as communication and regular meetings are key to a successful implementation.
Discovery and Planning – I’ll lump these two together as they are similar in the experience from the client’s point of view. If the partner you’re working with is experienced and competent, the planning phases will take up a significant portion of the amount of total hours.
During these phases, the partner will get to know your business thoroughly so that when it comes time to execute, there are no surprises and few hiccups.
I like to say that a NetSuite implementation is a lot like writing an essay. The better the essay is planned, the easier it is to write. However, it will cost money and create delays when you want to edit something in your NetSuite implementation. This means planning is paramount to ensuring the project stays on budget and finishes within the agreed-upon timeline. So don’t feel alarmed when half the hours are used and NetSuite hasn’t been logged into. It is all part of the process.
At the end of the planning process, you should be handed a “Business Requirements Document” or something to that effect. That document is the plan for your implementation and will be a guide for both parties to work on when the execution phase starts. It will also be a great resource to go back to much later after the implementation is complete. Future partners can use the “BRD” to quickly understand your business from a NetSuite process point of view and quickly pick up where other partners have left off. The “BRD” is part of the value you get when using a partner to do your implementation.
Execution: Execution is where the bulk of your remaining hours will be used. This could physically mean several things. However, it will mostly be configuring NetSuite to match the business processes you discussed with your partner during the planning phase and as outlined in the BRD.
Additional Factors that Influence NetSuite Implementation Costs
Outside of the core implementation, there are a number of things that will expand the scope of the project and thus expand the costs.
Here are a few things you can expect to add to your NetSuite Implementation costs.
I think this goes without saying, but the larger your company in terms of employees, revenue, and locations, the more expensive your implementation will become. Larger companies usually have more complex needs and processes. These processes will take more time to plan and execute during implementation.
NetSuite does a lot more than financials in 2022. Modules like CRM, Advanced Financials, WMS, SuitePeople, Inventory, Advanced Manufacturing, and more are all available to license through NetSuite. The more modules you purchase will mean more processes to set up, workflows to create, and fields/forms to configure. All of these modules will add more time to implement and thus add to your implementation costs.
Unlike modules and company size, training costs are probably something you might overlook. During the implementation, most partners will walk through processes and best practices with their clients so they can at least use the platform when go-live comes.
However, to get the best value out of the NetSuite platform, it is critical to create a budget for all team members who will be expected to be users of the platform. This is especially true for the NetSuite administrators as they are the Swiss army knife of users and can be helpful to all departments when it comes to NetSuite issues.
NetSuite training not only helps users understand NetSuite better, but the updates and new features of NetSuite are informed by evolving industry best practices. So staying current with NetSuite training is also a great way to stay up to date with industry best practices and the competition.
NetSuite has a wealth of training information available here. For the maximum value we recommend budgeting about $4,000 for administrator training for the first year and then half of that per user per year after that. Of course, this is closer to an ideal scenario, and we understand many businesses may not have that type of budget to devote to training. However, a NetSuite training budget is something we strongly consider.
Depending on your company’s size this may not be a big deal. However, you should expect to spend at least some employee time exporting data from legacy systems and importing it into NetSuite. However, larger businesses may find it more efficient to license an ETL tool such as Jitterbit to pull data out of legacy tools quickly, massage/clean it if needed, and then import it into NetSuite. For medium-sized companies, you could be looking at $2,000 – $4,000 for ETL tool licensing. For larger companies, Migration can be a months-long process and cost $10,000 +.
Integrations are another important cost to consider. NetSuite has a robust API that can connect with just about any other software tool on the market. Not only that, but NetSuite is popular and has been around for so long that many of the popular applications already have pre-built connectors available for purchase.
We strongly recommend purchasing these connectors while you are implementing NetSuite because once you finally get up and running, you don’t want to put a department offline again just to set up a single integration.
The price for a single stand-alone connector will run about $4,000 per year. If you need a considerable amount of integrations, you may want to consider purchasing an integration platform or (IpaaS) that can help you build and customize your own integration applications using a low-code interface. These usually run from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on your needs.
The last factor I want to discuss is customizations or optimizations, as they’re sometimes called. NetSuite can do a lot for your business out of the box. And even if it can’t, NetSuite also has a library of pre-built applications that fill in other functional gaps.
However, one of the best features of NetSuite is that it is built on a platform that allows for a tremendous amount of customization. You may find yourself in a situation where NetSuite handles 99% of your needs out of the box, but there is the one last bit of functionality that NetSuite does not do. In those situations, you can turn to developers that are experienced with NetSuite and have them hand-code you the functionality you need into your system.
Of course, it is hard to say how much a customization would cost without specific knowledge, but NetSuite developers do cost a similar amount to NetSuite consultants and range between $150 – $250 an hour. When speaking with your NetSuite implementation partners, it’s important to get all of your requirements out in the open in the beginning. That way they can tell you which features you can buy from NetSuite, which you can get from the app store, and which you’ll need to code yourself.
Closing Remarks on NetSuite Implementation Cost
At the very least, I hope this article got you thinking beyond licensing fees when considering NetSuite costs. The NetSuite implementation costs are considerable and should impact your decision on what ERP to purchase.
If you think I missed any factors to NetSuite implementation costs or have any questions about anything I discussed, please let me know in the comments below.
For more information on everything NetSuite implementation, check out our 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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