Guide to successful NetSuite implementation

Implementing an efficient and reliable software platform is essential for all business owners who want to automate their processes and integrate departments seamlessly.

However, the implementation of such software depends heavily on a well-thought-out strategy.

Here are a few statistics to help you understand the challenge you’re up against.

  • 80% of customers are unhappy with their implementation
  • 57% take longer than expected
  • 54% go over budget

In this NetSuite implementation guide, I will discuss why the strategic plan is important, the reasons for failure in software implementation, an overview of NetSuite implementation, a step-by-step implementation process, and its benefits.

Why there is a need for a strategic plan for integration and implementation services

An efficient and reliable strategic plan for software implementation is important for all business owners who want to automate their business processes and integrate departments using a platform like NetSuite. 

This is because, without a proper plan, business owners may face fragmented business processes, department denial, and unsuccessful software implementation. 

  • First, we will need to identify your business needs accurately. For this, proper participation from all departments is required to list individual department needs and pain points.
  • Second, you need to define your goals and KPIs accurately. Business goals guide implementation, and KPIs help businesses measure their progress. This alignment of strategy, participation, and measurement provides the much-required direction and focus in the implementation process.
  • Third, you must involve a dedicated NetSuite implementation partner during the strategy planning phase. Such NetSuite implementation partners always have some expert and experience-backed advice on implementing NetSuite using best practices and avoiding common mistakes. Their consulting services include implementation, integration (possibly using SuiteApps), customisation, support, and training, which can be crucial for a successful deployment.

Lastly, a strategic software implementation plan is ideal and essential for a successful NetSuite implementation. 

Thus, do your proper business needs analysis, define your goals and KPIs, involve a dedicated NetSuite Solutions Partner, and read our NetSuite implementation guide to stay focused and move in the right direction during your NetSuite implementation phase.

What is a NetSuite Implementation?

A NetSuite implementation is setting up and configuring the NetSuite software to meet a business’s specific needs and requirements. This includes customising modules, integrating with other systems, and training users to use the software effectively.

Common software implementation problems

During my years as a NetSuite enthusiast, I have witnessed many software implementations face major setbacks and ultimately fail despite the best efforts of business owners. 

I have already discussed the first and foremost reason—inadequate strategy—that needs to be addressed properly during the implementation phase. However, other key reasons exist for the common failure in software implementation.

Poor stakeholder participation

When important stakeholders are not included in the implementation plan and decision-making processes, the implementation tends to invite denial. This creates a big mismatch between available software tools and business needs, resulting in a failed implementation in terms of user adoption. 

Lack of training and support 

Employees are not adequately trained to adapt and use the new system efficiently. Sometimes, employees rely on old processes due to a lack of training, nullifying the need for a software platform. 

Excessive customisation

Yes, the solution must perfectly fit individual business needs, but too much customisation makes the system fragile and hard to maintain. It also creates barriers to future upgrades and integrations. 

Bad data management 

Data migration from old and legacy systems to the new software platform is always tricky and needs to be done properly in phases. However, failure to accurately migrate data and its inconsistent transfer to the new platform can cause a big operational setback and the loss of important business information. 

Lack of post-implementation support

A software platform like NetSuite needs to be monitored, maintained and optimised continuously to fulfil emerging needs and tackle technical issues that arise during the course. A NetSuite consultancy for regular support and maintenance is required to maintain the system’s performance and reliability.

The benefits of a NetSuite implementation

A NetSuite implementation benefits a business by enhancing operational efficiency and improving decision-making processes. The following are some of the main advantages of implementing NetSuite.

1. Integrated platform for business processes

With NetSuite, different business functions, such as financial, sales and marketing, inventory, and customer relationship management, are integrated into one platform. This leads to fewer redundancies and improved operational efficiency. Also, departments can work together using a common language, improving communication and coordination.

2. Real-time reporting and visibility

NetSuite offers instant visibility to critical business information, leading to better operations decision-making. The software comes with advanced reporting and analysis tools, providing valuable insights into business processes and identifying patterns. Real-time data improves agility and quick response times.

3. Flexibility and scalability

NetSuite grows along with the business. The platform is built with scalable architecture, allowing companies to add new functionalities and modules as required without much hassle. This ensures the software is flexible to changing business demands and supports growth in the long run.

4. Better compliance and security

NetSuite has built-in features that help businesses comply with regulatory guidelines and laws. Robust security protocols safeguard sensitive and critical business information, ensuring business trust and continuity. The system is also frequently audited and updated to maintain integrity and reliability.

5. Advanced CRM functionality

CRM in NetSuite helps businesses manage customer relationships effectively. The platform provides a 360-degree view of customer information, assisting sales in creating personalised and targeted marketing campaigns. Better customer insights improve customer service and boost customer satisfaction.

A step-by-step solution for NetSuite ERP implementation

NetSuite implementation should be systematic and orderly, following step-by-step procedures for a successful outcome. It is important to note that not every NetSuite consultant follows the exact path. 

However, this template provides the most success for our clients. Here is my complete NetSuite Implementation guide for businesses to follow during the implementation process.

1. Set goals and requirements

Identify exact needs and goals from the beginning of the ERP solutions implementation process. This requires a needs assessment and input from all stakeholders. Objectives should be defined clearly to ensure the overall business strategy aligns with the software implementation.

2. Choose a NetSuite implementation partner

The next crucial step for success is choosing the right project implementation partner. A good NetSuite implementation partner offers valuable expertise and experience, providing expert advice and guidance in every process stage. 

3. Create a proper project plan

The project plan outlines the implementation process’s scope, timeline, and required resources. The plan acts like a NetSuite implementation guide and roadmap for the implementation project, guiding it from the beginning to the end. Include milestones and checkpoints to monitor progress regularly and solve any issues and concerns.

4. Configure and customise the system

This step involves setting up and customising the NetSuite platform according to specific business requirements. Different platform modules, such as financials, sales orders, inventory control, etc., are tailored to fit company workflows. However, customisation should not outweigh standardisation. Too much customisation can lead to poor data integrity and hard-to-manage workflows.

5. Perform data migration

This is the most critical stage of the implementation process, requiring proper planning and execution for success. Data from old and legacy systems is transferred to the new NetSuite platform. Ensure the data is validated and cleaned before migration to ensure integrity and consistency. NetSuite implementation partners usually implement specialised tools for data migration to ensure the process is smooth at this stage.

6. User training

Training employees to use the software efficiently is crucial for implementation success. So, conduct proper training sessions before going live with the system to ensure all users are well-versed and comfortable using it. Also, support and necessary learning materials should be provided during and after the training to solve any questions and concerns. A NetSuite consultancy can provide tailored training programmes for user groups according to their specific needs and business workflows.

7. Test and validate the system

Before going live with the NetSuite platform, the system is tested thoroughly to solve any issues or errors. Different workflows, integrations, and data validations are checked at this stage. A pilot phase with a small group of users is conducted to identify potential issues and make required changes.

8. Launch and observe

The NetSuite instance is launched after testing and validating the system. The software is closely monitored during the initial launch stages to ensure everything works fine and to solve any problems. Partner with a NetSuite solution provider for support and maintenance during and after the implementation to ensure system performance and reliability.

9. Evaluate and enhance

After the implementation, the system is continuously monitored to evaluate and enhance according to changing business requirements. Different workflows and processes are reviewed regularly to make necessary changes, improving efficiency and effectiveness in operations. NetSuite implementation partners can offer support and guidance post-implementation to ensure the business’s goals and objectives are met.

Still unsure about implementing NetSuite?

Are you feeling unsure about going through with a NetSuite implementation? 

Do you have specific questions about my NetSuite implementation guide or need a NetSuite Solutions Partner? 

Jacopo Consulting has years of experience with the NetSuite platform, and we can help you with everything from implementation to customisation and support.