How To Prepare For Your NetSuite Integration

August 1, 2022

Did your business dedicate multiple systems to optimizing your team and helping it grow? You may have realized that while all those systems work well separately, they can’t always communicate effectively. To realize your goals and outmatch the competition, you need the right data at the right time in the right format, working in perfect synchrony.

Nowadays, many companies are choosing to replace disjointed business systems with a fully integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. Oracle’s NetSuite cloud-based ERP system is the leading solution for managing and automating your business processes. NetSuite handles financials, eCommerce, inventory management, human resources, and customer relationship management, all in one system.

Integrating NetSuite into your business model often creates the challenge of moving data between multiple systems, setting up brand new workflows, designating owners, and plenty more. How you approach your NetSuite integration will determine the future or failure of your business. Prepare for this exciting process with the following tips and tricks.

What Exactly is a NetSuite Integration?

NetSuite is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that eliminates the need to use different ERP, CRM, and eCommerce systems, streamlining your entire business. As a cloud-based business tool that places data from your operations at your fingertips, NetSuite was designed to automate your manual business processes and ensure the future scalability of your company.

What isn’t is a one-size-fits-all solution for every business. You might already be using certain accounting platforms like Quickbooks, meaning NetSuite integration would involve the flow of information between your new ERP system and an existing database or application. This flow of information can be ongoing or triggered from a record change or event, such as a new sales opportunity.

Additionally, data migration and integration are not the same thing. Migration is not ongoing, and the movement of data is always mono-directional. If you decided to change from Quickbooks to Netsuite, you would do a one-time migration of data. With integration, you would continue to use another third-party system, like Salesforce, in connection with NetSuite.

Benefits of a NetSuite Integration?

Integration brings separate systems together for streamlined communication, giving your business the advantage of accessing a single solution for all your needs. Without interfering with the individual systems, integration allows the pooling of diverse system functions and acts as a welcome alternative to complex customization.

Because NetSuite is such a flexible ERP solution, it can be applied to a wide range of business applications. Whether your business focuses on eCommerce sales, network security, logistics, or something else entirely, NetSuite offers modules that can enhance financial performance and overall efficiency for your business.

NetSuite integration offers businesses several key benefits

  • System reliability: A seamless integration gives businesses a reliable solution that provides accurate data and results.
  • Robust features: The combination of more than one system gives your business access to more features.
  • Data security: When another solution is connected with NetSuite, customers continue to experience a high level of data security.

Lastly, NetSuite can be connected to a variety of existing platforms to give businesses an additional level of customization and functionality.

Types of NetSuite Integrations

When approaching NetSuite integration, there are several options to get information from Point A to Point B -- and sometimes back in the other direction. Here are the most common types of NetSuite integrations and their primary focuses.

API

An API (application programming interface) integration involves a real-time, secure connection between the legacy system and the NetSuite cloud-based system. An API is a type of web service that relies on software architecture to accomplish the integration.

In many cases, an API will have a user-friendly interface that makes the transfer of data and integration simple and seamless. Fortunately, there is an API built into NetSuite for a large number of integrations. But, if you need something more customized, you’ll likely need experienced support.

Flat File Integrations

A flat file is a database typically stored on a host computer system as unstructured data. Flat files are often binary or plain text files (XML, CSV, TXT, JSON, etc.). Each line of text in a flat file holds one record with fields separated by tabs or commas.

Files need to be read completely into the computer’s memory before they can be accessed and manipulated. Flat file integration works well for bulk data transfer, such as with older accounting systems. There may be errors, however, if there are problems during data transmission, so a validation process is vital to ensuring your books agree.

Bidirectional Integration

Bidirectional integration involves the push of information from one application to another and then the transfer of information back in the opposite direction. For example, your company might have an existing CRM system that it wishes to keep. You can set up bidirectional integration so that information about opportunities is shared with NetSuite and data related to contacts and orders are transferred back to the CRM. In many cases, an API will have a user-friendly interface that makes the transfer of data and integration simple and seamless. Fortunately, there is an API built into NetSuite for a large number of integrations. But, if you need something more customized, you’ll likely need experienced support.

iPaaS

iPaaS refers to a third-party integration platform, which is a cloud-based service that integrates your data, application, and processes. Some of the top third-party integration tools include Jitterbit, Dell Boomi, and Celigo.

These solutions allow users to achieve easy data exports and avoid costly errors. Many have a variety of pre-built integrations tailored to the needs of specific use-cases, industries, and departments. The downside is that some technical skills may be required for their use, and they involve additional costs.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before a NetSuite Integration

Before you decide to extend the functionality of NetSuite with a new or existing vendor, it’s important to make sure you have all the information you need. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you launch a NetSuite integration project:

What is your business’ cloud strategy?

  • How does a NetSuite integration fit with any existing cloud strategy?
  • Do you have staff and consultants that can help you create a winning plan?

How much NetSuite expertise does your internal team have?

  • How does a NetSuite integration fit with any existing cloud strategy?
  • Do you have staff and consultants that can help you create a winning plan?

What are the specifics of your NetSuite configuration?

  • What optional features are enabled in your NetSuite account that will impact this project?
  • Are you using the OneWorld edition of NetSuite to manage multiple entities within a single account?

Do you know how you want the integrated system to operate?

  • How do you envision your integrated system operating?
  • Are there any custom fields you’ve created in NetSuite that might impact your integration?

Are there any licensing requirements for the integration?

  • Will you use a separate NetSuite user for the integration process?
  • If there will be a high volume of data transfers, will this require a
    NetSuite Cloud Plus license?

How long will the integration take?

  • Do you have a particular timeline?
  • Are you flexible with your start dates?

When working on a NetSuite integration project, it’s not uncommon to encounter challenges or generate a list of unanswered questions. When these arise, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable integration partner in your corner that can provide guidance and support.

NetSuite Integration Challenges

Like any platform, NetSuite has its own nuances and quirks associated with integration. Here are just three challenges you might encounter with NetSuite integration:

Data Transfer Rates

When multiple records have to be moved with an integration, the time it takes for those records to be moved increases.

Large and Complex API

What can also add time to your integration is choosing the right API. There are plenty of options with NetSuite, but not all of them work for every business situation. It takes some experience to identify the proper steps to integrate effectively and be able to troubleshoot issues.

NetSuite Concurrency Governance

NetSuite only permits a certain number of simultaneous connections with every license. If you have multiple NetSuite integrations, it’s possible that you will get error messages. If this happens, you could utilize architecture solutions, or purchase additional licenses depending on your unique situation.

NetSuite Integration Checklist

Naturally, some NetSuite integrations are quick and seamless, and others are more involved. However, they all require some degree of planning to eliminate potential setbacks and bottlenecks. Here is a NetSuite integration checklist you can use that focuses on four main components of a successful project that you can utilize to get the best possible results.

People

As with any project, a successful NetSuite integration depends on the people you have on your team. Make sure you account for the owners and users of all data and applications. Find out how their unique perspectives shape the requirements for the integration in advance.

  • Who owns and uses the data and applications involved in your NetSuite integration?
  • Is there a separate person responsible for managing the data?
  • Understand the goals of all stakeholders and resolve any potential conflicts
  • Figure out how you will control access to the data.

Processes

Create a detailed map of how data will flow from one point to another. While some data might flow directly from NetSuite to another application, there could also be stops along the way where data checks or modifications may be necessary.

  • What are the endpoints for your data? Are there any midpoints?
  • What needs to happen to the data as it moves from one place to another?
  • How is data validated to ensure integrity?
  • What happens if there are errors?
  • Does the data need to meet certain security requirements, such as being PCI-compliant?

Applications

The application you choose to integrate with NetSuite will be a vital consideration for your project. Take some time to understand how this particular application will not only interact with NetSuite but also enhance your user experience.

  • What application(s) are you integrating with NetSuite?
  • How do the different applications you want to use depend on NetSuite data and processes?
  • Are the applications you are integrating cloud-based or on-premises?
  • Will you need to address any issues with the data, such as regional pricing or currency differences?
  • Define any rules with the application and data, such as access controls and update schedules.

Data

Finally, it’s paramount that you have a strong handle on the way your integration will affect your data. After all, an application can’t work properly if it doesn’t have good data supporting its functionality.

  • Define all the data associated with NetSuite and the application being implemented.
  • Evaluate the data in terms of consistency and errors.
  • Find out if you will need to reconcile or consolidate any data before integration.
  • Define the structure of the data for each application and confirm they are compatible.
  • Determine how data is reconciled so you can reduce the risk of conflicting or duplicate data.
  • Define who in the organization will maintain the data.

Get Qualified with Your NetSuite Integration Project

Once you decide that NetSuite is the best option for an all-in-one SaaS solution for your business, give yourslef the best chance to seamless and pain-free integration with qualified support. Partner with a company that can fully guide your transition into your new cloud-based ERP and provide any additional customization support you may need.

StatusGreen is a certified NetSuite Solution Provider, with a team of consultants who have all used NetSuite during previous roles and who are constantly striving to master its capabilities. Our sole purpose is to make your job easier by taking the guesswork out of selecting and implementing your ERP system, so you can do your job to the best of your ability. Ready to take the first steps toward optimizing your business? Contact us today to schedule a demo!