NetSuite Sandbox Overview
Ever make a simple mistake that takes hours or even days to clean up? With NetSuite, it’s unfortunately possible.
You could think a new integration would boost efficiency. However, not long after “go-live,” you get a message from your staff accountant asking what happened to the financial reports, because they have changed quite a bit overnight. It turns out the new customization has errored and entered a number of realistic-looking but 100%-not-real transactions to the books.
Now you’ve upset accounting because they have to spend hours combing records for the fake transactions; making corrective journal entries. And the high-and-mighty C-Suite is frustrated because now they’re looking at the financial reports that might be contaminated with misleading data. This error could cause days of stressful and tedious work just to get back to square one. Effectively turning this excellent opportunity to boost efficiency into a setback, and not a good look for you in the company.
So how can this all be completely avoided? A NetSuite Sandbox, of course! A NetSuite Sandbox is a NetSuite test environment that you can log in to and find an exact copy of your NetSuite production account, including data, customizations, and configurations. As the name sandbox suggests, this is your playground. Here you can test and play around with ideas and see their impact without risk to real data in your “production” account.
With a Sandbox account, you could have tested the integration before it went to production and spotted whatever ridiculously-tiny error that led to such a colossal waste of company effort and resources.
Benefits of a NetSuite Sandbox
The benefits of sandbox environments go way beyond testing an integration. There are quite a few reasons to consider getting a sandbox for your NetSuite account.
- Use the sandbox to test customizations early in the development to avoid expensive application rewrites later on
- Take troubled customizations from production and move them to the sandbox to work the bugs out.
- Try out third-party bundles especially ones that are not explicitly “Made for NetSuite” before they mess with production data
- Train new employees on current business processes or train veteran employees on new business processes
- Test custom transactions before they impact the GL and reports
- Check the ramifications of deleting old records before you find out they were important
- Share a copy of your environment with consultants so they can see for themselves, make suggestions, and test improvements, without hindering production
I feel like I can keep going here, but you get the idea. The sandbox is a copy of your NetSuite environment that you can do whatever you want in without affecting production data. Not every business will use the sandbox the same way.
Types of NetSuite Sandbox Accounts
There are 3 types of NetSuite Sandbox accounts available to all NetSuite users. Each has its own unique purpose.
Standard Sandbox Account – Single environment with a copy of your customizations, configurations, and data designed to test, train, and optimize your configuration hindering production
Premium NetSuite Sandbox Account – Same concept as the standard NetSuite Sandbox except optimized for larger businesses with higher volumes
Development Account – Mostly the same idea as the standard NetSuite Sandbox except it is not populated with the data from your production account. The development account is used more strictly for testing customizations, integrations, and new Suiteflows that do not need customer data. You can also just share your development account with outside developers to provide a staging area for them to develop and keep sensitive data hidden.
How to Know if You Need a NetSuite Sandbox
At the end of the day, a NetSuite Sandbox Account decision is about risk management and tolerance. Everyone handles risk their way, and some businesses are more comfortable with risk than others. However, not all NetSuite users are the same, and some are risking more by not getting a sandbox.
So we came up with a list of high-risk indicators. The more of these bullet points pertain to your situation, the more you should consider a NetSuite Sandbox.
- Rely on third-party applications or customizations to close key gaps in functionality such as integrations..etc
- Have a significant number of real-time integrations
- Share your NetSuite account with outside consultants and developers
- Have a significant amount of employee turnover or train new employees in batches
- Have little NetSuite development/administrative experience on your team to fix issues that could have been caught with proper testing
NetSuite Sandbox Pricing
Another thing you can do find out if a NetSuite Sandbox is for you is to weigh the risks against the costs of the sandbox. Consider the the daily costs to your business if the back office was shut down. Then compare that number to the price of the sandbox.
NetSuite Sandboxes are priced in annual licenses that cost a fraction of your NetSuite configuration list price. NetSuite Standard Sandbox is around 10%, and Premium is around 20%, and these prices can be negotiated.
How to Get a NetSuite Sandbox?
You can get a NetSuite Sandbox from the same place you went to get NetSuite; whether that is a VAR or directly from NetSuite.
It is ideal to get a sandbox during the initial purchase; however if you realize you need a sandbox later you can still get one.
A NetSuite Sandbox can be a great way to insure your company against accidental disasters. It just depends on how much risk you’re willing to stand.
If you business is currently using a NetSuite Sandbox, leave a comment below for other NetSuite users who may be on the fence about getting one!
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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