NetSuite Implementation -The Right Way

Planning your NetSuite implementation ?

The reason you are reading this post is because you are either evaluating NetSuite ERP or have just purchased NetSuite licenses and are looking out for how to successfully do a NetSuite Implementation or because you are trying to find a NetSuite Partner. In either case you are at the right place.

If you need to run your business on a unified platform NetSuite is your best option. You get every thing from CRM, Accounting, Financial management, Inventory management, Supply chain, Project management, Order to cash, Procure to pay, Manufacturing in one single system. You name it and you should ideally have it in NetSuite.

In this blog post we will be discussing how to get your Implementation right. I will be dividing this blog into 4 sections and guide you with the details:

  1. Before NetSuite Implementation
  2. NetSuite Implementation – Process
  3. Post NetSuite Implementation
  4. Key Success factors for NetSuite Implementation

What do you need in place before you start the NetSuite implementation ?

Build a team you can trust

Customer Role Description Tactical Responsibilities
Project Manager Provides leadership within the project team and is responsible for overseeing the NetSuite implementation. The Project Manager will work with the Partners Project Manager on scheduling and planning guidance.    Has an understanding of the overall goals of the implementation and is able to make and/or act upon most implementation decisions.  This role is responsible for managing all Customer resources and tasks to adhere to the project schedule. Attend all meetings.
Point of contact for all day-to-day project operations.
Coordinate business process owners and Customer project team.
Manage decision making resources.
Serve as gatekeeper for project issues log.
Point of contact for project status.
Manage all Customer tasks and assignments
Administrator Responsible for overseeing the configurations of the implementation.  Should have an understanding of the overall goals of the implementation. This role will be responsible for all configuration tasks when implementation is completed and responsible for ongoing administration. Attend all meetings.
Point of contact for all day-to-day configuration sessions.
Learn Customer specific configuration.
Manage configuration decisions.
Manage user acceptance tasks, including testing documents.
Manage ongoing NetSuite Administration
Business Process Owners Responsible for designing and approving business process flows for each department. Decision making on configurations for all areas within the Scope.
Define processes and approvals.
Perform all user and system testing.
Review existing NetSuite  reports and searches
Extended Team Responsible for approving and testing the NetSuite functionality. Learn NetSuite application ahead of rollout.
Test configuration for usability, system and user acceptance testing .
Test processes against business processes and day to day management of organisation
Responsible for first line of defence for support questions
Executive Sponsor Responsible for providing resources needed for a successful implementation. Attend critical checkpoint meetings.
Promote process changes.
Serve as an escalation point for project issues

Success Tip: You should work with a NetSuite implementation partner to speed up your go-live process and ensure that the system is configured right.

Be ready for the change – Have a change management strategy

While you implement NetSuite in your organisation, you might need to change the way you currently operate. This may put a lot of people in discomfort. It is important that people are well educated on the change and you have a good change management strategy in place.

Focus on your training Needs – Have a internal Expert

Training forms one of the most crucial aspect for your NetSuite Implementation success. Well trained teams can use the system more efficiently and produce higher ROI. Consider spending a good amount of time on training your team.

Having an internal expert on NetSuite helps a lot. Either you can hire a person on your payroll or you can simply ask your implementation partner to provide you one. But you for sure would need someone to handhold your users to do the right stuff in the ERP system.

Get your data ready

Moving to a new ERP system is a complex enough task for your internal team as well. All your data owners should have the legacy data downloaded into CSV formats and gone through the cleaning activity so we have consistency of data while the data gets uploaded in NetSuite. This is a labour intensive and a time consuming process but one of the most important part of your Go-Live strategy.

To Summarise the before NetSuite Implementation needs:

Build A team you can trust on the NetSuite Implementation project

Make sure that the people dedicated on the project have authority to perform their role well.

Be ready for the change – Have a change management strategy for NetSuite Implementation

NetSuite Implementation can change the way you work today. Keep your team well informed of the advantages of change to come.

Focus on your training Needs – Have an internal Expert

A system is as good as people can use it. Train your team so they can use the system right.

Keep Your Data Ready

Your legacy system might not have all the data well structured and your team might have to do some data cleaning activity. Ensure the data cleaning activity is done well.

What is the process of Implementing NetSuite?

NetSuite recommends to use a methodology popularly known as NetSuite One methodology. This methodology consist of 7 Phases, the last phase being the post implementation phase which is more of support and maintenance. So for consideration of upto Go-Live it is actually 6 phases.

NetSuite-Implementation_-Infographic

Now that you know what all you need to be ready with before starting your Implementation. I have tried to define Steps for Successful NetSuite Implementation Process

  1. Define Project Charter & set expectations

    Discuss you goal of the implementation , Define escalation matrix and agree on frequency and how the project teams would communicate with your NetSuite partner.

  2. Analyses of your business Process

    The NetSuite partner will analyse your business process and try to architect how your business processes will fit the NetSuite ERP. This is one of the most important step in your entire implementation. You go wrong here and you might look at an implementation failure. So ensure your best team is made available while the analysis of your business process is done by your NetSuite partner.

  3. Business Requirement Documentation

    All what your team and the NetSuite partner discussed and architected needs to be well documented. This documents form the very basic while you try to optimise your system later or if there are any changes required later in the cycle of implementation.

  4. Define Customization and Integration Strategy

    Incase your team finds the need to customise the system due to some business specific needs or might want to integrate NetSuite with a third party system it is best that these requirements are discussed now. The sooner in the process of implementation the customisations and integrations are discussed the better it becomes for the implementation partner to architect the system.

  5. Design, Configure and Customise NetSuite

    Once the scope is well defined, the Customisations and Integrations are documented and you approve the same, your NetSuite Implementation partner will need an official signoff from you so the necessary configuration, Customisation, and Integration can be started.
    Once the configuration is complete your partner will do an internal round of testing before the system is given to your users.

  6. Test the configurations

    It is important that you test the configurations done by the partner so all the processes and scenario’s discussed during the Business requirement process has been configured right in the system. This activity ideally needs to be done by your core project team before the system is given to the actual end users. This will avoid any confusion and result in higher end user adoption curve.

  7. Getting your live data in the ERP system

    Once you have tested the system and are comfortable with the process flows and use cases, the NetSuite implementation partner will started uploading your legacy data. You will need to ensure that the data provided to upload should be clean and error free. Once the legacy data is uploaded, your system is considered live.

  8. Get your end users trained on NetSuite

    While you are live the most important thing to ensure is that your users can efficiently use the system. Training your team is the final step and the one which results in higher adoption if done well. Ensure all your users know what they have to do in the NetSuite ERP system.
    This will be officially end of the the NetSuite implementation and the next steps will land up into the post-implementation process.

  9. Post Implementation improvements

    Although not officially a step for NetSuite implementation team but this is more to do with how your system should keep up with optimisation changes which will need to be done due to business changes, Improvement in processes, or innovation needs.

What Do you do once you Go-Live with your NetSuite Implementation?

Once you are live on the NetSuite ERP you your thought should not stop. With NetSuite platform capabilities there is a lot more you can do. Think of innovative processes which can be automated on the NetSuite ERP. If you are short of ideas, get in touch with a NetSuite Partner Like Aarialife and get some help.

NetSuite being a cloud based ERP provides you with 2 upgrades every year and this will give you many more features with each of its new release . Do read through the release notes and try to understand how those new features can help.

It is a good idea to get into a support contract with your Implementation partner and let the experts maintain your system.

Below are Key Success factors for Your NetSuite Implementation

In order to ensure a successful transition into NetSuite ERP environment, you must take care of the following points to optimise the NetSuite implementation results

  • Define and document measurable corporate goals and objectives to be achieved from the NetSuite ERP implementation
  • Demonstrating commitment from Key Project Drivers and Project Co-coordinators
  • Setting the practical, realistic and achievable expectations from the implementation across the Organisation.
  • Project coordinators should abide by the time commitments as laid down in the project plan.
  • Key users should be knowledgeable and good communication skills
  • Project coordinators should have leadership skills and drive to enforce organisation wide culture change
  • Disciplined documentation and strict adherence to process and quality standards
  • Strong emphasis on building skill and learning environment by focused key user and end user training
  • Executive Sponsorship : Visible and ongoing ownership of the project by senior management is crucial. Senior management must be active and available participants in the process to ensure that effective decisions are made.
  • Timely resolution of pending issues to prevent delays in the implementation plan.
  • Clearly stated project standards to which all participants adhere.

The quality of the project team affects the quality of the deployed solution. Your goal must be to dedicate the best, most talented resources of the organisation to the implementation. The resources must be empowered to resolve key issues in a timely manner and possess deep knowledge of internal business processes and business objectives.

Some frequently asked Questions on NetSuite Implementation

What is NetSuite implementations?

NetSuite Implementation is a process by which your Implementation partner configures and customises your NetSuite ERP system so that it becomes more relevant to you business processes.

How long does it take to implement NetSuite?

The time to implement NetSuite depends on how complex your business processes are and the scope you define. A NetSuite ERP implementation can range from 4 months to a year.

How much does it cost to implement NetSuite?

The cost to implement NetSuite depends on the scope you define for the implementation. Implementation is a resource intensive activity and the costs are directly proportional to the number of resources deployed on the project and the time it takes for the project to complete.

Is NetSuite an ERP system?

NetSuite is a cloud based ERP system which is completely scalable. It automates your front end as well as back end processes. NetSuite also provides you flexibility to customise the processes as per your business requirements.

Is NetSuite a CRM or ERP?

NetSuite is a unified system having CRM as well as a ERP capabilities. One advantage with NetSuite is that the CRM and the ERP system are on the same platform and use the same database giving the user a seamless integrated user experience.

Is NetSuite hard to learn?

NetSuite is considerably easy to learn compared to other ERP systems. NetSuite has a modern User Interface which makes navigation easy.