- NetSuite Implementation
- Sep 12
- 4 mins read
Top 5 Reasons NetSuite Implementations Go-Bust and How to Avoid them!
The Office fans will remember when Kevin dropped the chili. When you think about it, a failed NetSuite implementation is almost as sad as Kevin dumping 5 gallons of home-made, “famous,” chili on the office carpet.
Both involve a colossal waste of time and resources on display for all to see, leave a huge mess that can affect everyone in the office, can leave people in near-tears while they desperately scramble to clean things up, and finally leave everyone involved and even those watching from a distance, shaking their heads.
So what causes these epic and costly failures? And how can you make sure to avoid it without making these mistakes? Looking back on our experience, we came up with a list of the top reasons NetSuite implementations go bust and how an implementation team can avoid them in the future.
Please also understand that this article is not meant to bash NetSuite as a choice for ERP. All ERP projects have a scary-high implementation rate. And NetSuite’s deployment of SuiteSuccess and other programs have greatly decreased the chances of a Kevin-sized mishap.
1.NetSuite isn’t the right platform.
At eMerge Technologies we love NetSuite, that should be given by now, but you have to face the fact that it is not the end-all-be-all platform for every business. There are way too many industries for NetSuite to placate natively. Right now, NetSuite natively favors the following industries:
- Retail and Ecommerce
- Advertising, Media and Publishing
- Professional Services
Outside of these broad industries, NetSuite still finds plenty of use. However, it is important to take a good hard look at your requirements, budget, and technical resources before pulling the trigger on any ERP implementations, NetSuite included.
The lesson here is not to get sucked into an ERP solution just because of the hype around it. NetSuite has earned the hype don’t get me wrong, but they still are not the solution for everyone. You still have to do your homework and shop for the right fit for your business!
2. No NetSuite Experience on the Implementation Team
Recently, I overheard of a project that invited one of the larger ERP consulting firms to manage a NetSuite implementation. Even though the ERP consultancy had decades of experience implementing ERP for enterprise-sized companies, this particular implementation still failed spectacularly.
The lesson here is NetSuite-specific experience trumps all others. A small niche team of consultants can easily outperform a large firm due to the technical and functional nuances of the NetSuite platform.
One of the best ways to ensure that your NetSuite implementation succeeds is to put together a team of consultants, admins, project managers, and developers who have a history of success with the platform.
3. User-Side Functional Gaps
With NetSuite implementations, you’ll quickly begin to realize that the customer is not always right. Sometimes they are not even close. If users are not familiar with the NetSuite platform before it is implemented, they can find themselves playing catch up at the worst time.
Lack of functional knowledge is something we see time and time again. Usually, users can make it until the User Acceptance phase of the project before the functional knowledge gaps become painfully clear. How can the users ensure the implementation has gone according to contract if they are not do not understand what they are looking at? Unfortunately, they can’t. This usually leads to a low quality implementation of the platform that makes a reimplementation a foregone conclusion.
So what can NetSuite customers can do to prevent this kind of implementation?
- Understand being Netsuite functional does not happen overnight,
- Understand users will need resources (Documentation, live-training, online resources, books, etc)
- Start training before the implementation begins
4. Lack of Buy-In at the Top
If the C-Suite doesn’t understand the opportunity NetSuite provides than they’ll be hard pressed to provide the support and resources the platform will need to perform optimally.
Maybe you got them to rubber stamp the budget but if they aren’t developing a new business strategy around the cloud platform then the long term outlook of realized benefits get dimmer by the day.
Perhaps, the executives are hesitant to make a cloud solution their main system of record or they still are apprehensive about using a cloud solution at all. Whatever their reasons may be, it is important to make sure you have the executives on-board and better yet, excited about what NetSuite can do for the company. Otherwise, you could end up without the resources or strategy to optimally implement NetSuite or even finish the implementation at all.
5. Weak Project Manager
A weak project manager can sink a NetSuite implementation in a number of ways. The Project manager is responsible for keeping everyone on the same page and the project on schedule, under budget, and within scope.
When the implementation gets going, usually the users will realize there is more they can do with NetSuite. Then they will try to cram a bunch of new ideas into the original plan. This creates a lot of confusion as each of these new ideas can dramatically change the scope, budget, and schedule of the project. If the project manager does not properly communicate the ramifications for the changes to the client or fails to keep the project moving, the project usually heads south really fast.
Of course, it would be ideal if the customer has a full understanding of the platform before the scope is created as we mentioned earlier. However, the project manager can save the users from themselves with the right planning.
It is also strongly recommended that the project manager has experience with NetSuite implementations. As we learned from our earlier point, generic ERP experience does not guarantee a successful NetSuite implementation.
There is no guarantee to a successful NetSuite implementation, just like there is no guarantee of any ERP systems implementations. But if you follow the advice from this article, you can dramatically increase the chances of your next NetSuite implementation to be a success!
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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