ERP implementations are notoriously tough to get right. The statistics on their failure rates are unsettling, to say the least; I’ve seen some estimates at over 50% failure rates. However, even with these scary numbers, the value of a modern ERP is too vital to the business, to not have one. So you’re going to take the plunge, eventually. The only question is, on what side of that 50% will you land?
If you’re reading this article, it’s because you’re here looking to commiserate with the lessons learned from other people who have experienced a rocky or even failed NetSuite implementation. Or it’s because you’re about to start your own implementation, and are looking for tips to succeed. If you’re the latter, congrats, you’ve already taken your first step toward success, as preparation is a large part of a successful NetSuite implementation. If you’re in the former category, I hope to hear your story in the comments.
Be Prepared for the Commitment
Implementing NetSuite takes up time and can even be considered a full-time responsibility. If the internal team responsible for the implementation also has other full-time responsibilities, then prepare for stress and possibly even burnout.
It would be best to have the internal implementation teams full attention placed the completing the implementation and then returning to whatever responsibilities they held initially. If that is not possible, then look to augmenting the team with more outside resources to lighten the burden on the internal team.
Train Users During the NetSuite Implementation
The implementation process can take a couple of months to be completed. Use this time to train the new users on the processes they will be expected to handle. This is helpful for a few reasons.
- If the users are trained on their processes before the testing phase, they’ll be more likely to spot errors before the external resources head out.
- Once it’s time to Go-Live, your team can hit the ground running
- Trained users can better identify configuration changes that could make life easier for their departments earlier on
Keep it Simple
Customizations are a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from competitors, gain extra value from the platform, and better fit Netsuite to your unique business. However, customizations can complicate the implementation process, cause issues during major releases, and can even compromise the overall performance of your environment.
So, in the end, its best to look at customization as a last resort when all other options have failed.
If possible, change internal processes to fit with NetSuite as opposed to the other way around. Also, look to extend NetSuite’s core functionality with add-ons from NetSuite before going to third-party developers.
Perhaps, this is the most important bullet point on this list. When doing my research on this topic and talking with experienced NetSuite users and consultants, this point came up time and time again.
Look to Third-Party Consultants Over NetSuite Professional Services
NetSuite is an amazing platform; there is no denying that. So it may come as a bit of a surprise that the services team behind the product itself is not always the best way to go for the implementation. However, that is just the case when it comes to NetSuite implementations.
The majority of the community seems to be in agreement on this topic. It is widely considered better to look at third-party consultants as opposed to going through NetSuite professional services.
Ideally, you’ll want a third-party consultant with extensive experience with NetSuite implementations, experience with your specific industry, with a local office in your city.
Consult with the Unofficial NetSuite Community
Within the enterprise software industry, sometimes it’s hard to get straight answers. Either someone wants to get paid for their advice, or they’re trying to push you towards a solution that benefits them somehow. This lack of transparency can be especially frustrating with NetSuite as there is not a lot of specific information available online, and training is expensive.
To gain access to the information you can rely on, I would recommend getting involved with the unofficial NetSuite community. The Unofficial NetSuite community is a group of NetSuite users and professionals that is more concerned about helping the community than pushing solutions or services. With the unofficial NetSuite community, you can get unfiltered information from people you can trust, that has been in your specific situation.
You can find the unofficial NetSuite community by checking out the links below. They have a website, are active on Reddit, and even have their own slack group for fast answers and instant messaging.
Slack Group – Highly Recommend!
If you’ve experienced a Netsuite implementation, please let us know what you’ve learned from the experience by commenting below. Our hope for this article is to help as many NetSuite users as possible, and the collective wisdom of the NetSuite community is one of the best ways to achieve this goal!
If you’re looking for more information to help you through a NetSuite implementation project, check out our guide for Why NetSuite Implementations Fail as well as our complete NetSuite ERP Implementation Guide for 2023!
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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