An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution like NetSuite can transform the way you view and run your business. It can give you 360-degree insight into your organization, deliver massive efficiencies, and boost your bottomline results. But just choosing to use one of these tools is only the first step. There’s more to this process then just picking the right ERP solution -- The implementation partner you select plays an enormous role in your success.
ERP implementations can be challenging and, when not approached correctly, can put you in a worse position than you were originally. According to ERP Focus, 60% of ERP implementations fail completely, and 57% take longer than expected.
Chances are, you’ve already decided to jump into the NetSuite pool, and you’ve made an excellent choice. NetSuite is the world’s leading cloud-based ERP solution.
It’s user-friendly, has meaningful analytics, and is a cost-effective solution. NetSuite is also one of the only ERP solutions that was originally built in the cloud. Once you’ve committed, you’re ready to begin the NetSuite Implementation process. Here’s what you can expect.
The NetSuite Implementation Process
Here are the steps to a successful NetSuite implementation and what each one entails.
Introducing a new system to a business will alw ays come with challenges, but it’s possible to get the implementation right with proper planning and buy-in.
Create an Internal Implementation Team
Establishing your project team should be one of your first steps. In addition to the NetSuite Partner performing the implementation, your implementation team should include an executive sponsor, a project manager, and representatives of key business groups. The team will be responsible for establishing goals, creating a timeline, defining business process rules, managing the implementation process, resolving conflicts, and measuring results. If you don’t have a project manager at your business, most qualified implementation partners can offer you project management resources as supplemental team support.
Establish Project Goals
Before you even worry about implementation, your team needs to do some high-level organizational goal-setting.
- What are your overall project goals?
- What would you like your ERP solution to improve or change?
- How will we measure the success (or failure) of the implementation?
Identify Systems and Requirements
Not only do you want to identify your high-level goals and project scope, but the Discovery phase should also give you an opportunity to:
- Identify all potential integration systems
- Identify all migration systems
- Identify any customization options for NetSuite
- Discuss business processes and requirements
The planning stage identifies requirements, analyzes current workflows, and develops an implementation strategy for the team.
In any project, it’s important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that are linked to your business goals. For example: your organization might have goals to lower costs and improve the customer experience. You might want to achieve these by automating the business estimating process, online ordering and shipping tracking notices.
Analyze Current Workflows
Before your implementation, you’ll want to analyze your current workflows, systems, and business processes, such as inventory management, accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), and human resources. Consider what you’d like to accomplish to create improved efficiencies for your management, staff, and customers.
We will spend a significant amount of time at this stage. The value of having a NetSuite consultant on your team can be invaluable because we understand the system. In many cases, you won’t need complex customization to achieve the efficiencies you want because those functions are already built into the system. But, if you do have unique needs, those can be added at the planning stage.
Establish Project Phases
Our company will work closely with the client to determine what phases are appropriate for each individual project implementation. These phases will vary based on which modules are required to be enabled in NetSuite for your specific application, as well as to what extent these are planned to be used.
The execution stage is where your team starts getting more hands-on experience with the NetSuite software. It involves an initial configuration and data migration phase.
In this phase, we’ll tie NetSuite functionality to your organization’s core business processes. We will also identify any gaps and create solutions for how workflows, SuiteApps, and SuiteScript will solve them.
As your NetSuite partner, we will typically take the lead during this phase. It involves migrating data from one system to another. Specifically, we will:
- Begin the migration of any static data
- If necessary, prepare hosting and hardware infrastructure and establish plans for data flows between departments
- Finalize the installation of software and any customized scripts
- Review the accuracy of data being migrated to ensure an absence of errors and duplicates
- Initiate data mapping to ensure a free flow of data between business segments and departments
The testing phase is an essential step in the NetSuite implementation process. To ensure you end up with a system that matches your needs and goals, we will rigorously test every part of your ERP solution in multiple phases:
Internal and external teams ensure all customizations and processes created during the execution phase of implementation are working according to the established guidelines.
User Acceptance Testing
A small group of users will have the opportunity to test the customizations and processes. If there are any issues, they will be fixed before moving on to the next phase.
We want your NetSuite implementation to be a success so it’s vital that we spend a good deal of time and resources on this step. Proper training allows users to get up to speed quickly and identify any potential issues early. The training will involve:
- End-user training that will cover all areas outlined in the discovery and planning stages.
- Any materials necessary for outside entity adoption (vendors, customers, etc.) will be prepared and issued.
StratusGreen offers comprehensive, on-demand monthly group training sessions with certified NetSuite solutions providers for employees of all skill and experience levels.
6. Go Live
Once everyone has been trained, and we’ve completed rigorous testing, it’s time to flip the switch and go live. As you approach your go-live date, we will stay in close contact with and send consistent reminders to your staff and business partners about the upcoming switch.
7. Post-Launch Support
Few project implementations happen without a single wrinkle or challenge. Once your NetSuite ERP solution is up and running, we will stay in close contact with your staff to deal with any issues quickly.
It’s a good idea to schedule some post-launch follow-up training to assist anyone that is having trouble adapting to the new system so that you get full buy-in from your staff. The benefit of having an ongoing relationship with StratusGreen is we can assist you with customizations and help resolve any new issues that may have appeared during the implementation phase.
An ERP implementation involves a combination of technology and people. That said, there are technical as well as human obstacles that could impact your NetSuite ERP implementation. Here are some of the most common risks:
If your organization’s C-suite doesn’t entirely buy in and/or your company can’t get buy-in from its key players, it’s going to be difficult to have a successful implementation and achieve optimum results. And, if there are any issues during implementation, those same parties will be more likely to want to pull the plug than devote time and resources to get things back on track.
You want to do much more than just get a sign-off from the C-suite. You want these business leaders to be your project’s strongest advocates. They should strongly believe that an ERP solution is the best direction for your company to take.
Beyond the C-Suite, you need full buy-in from the users as well. After all, these are the people who will make or break your system by taking full advantage of its capabilities or ignoring them when it’s time for training or testing.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out,” you understand the importance of data cleansing. If your business is putting bad data into the new system, what’s the point of the upgrade?
This change is an excellent opportunity to remove old items, prune old vendors, and get rid of duplicate items.
It’s challenging to get a new system up and running. There’s an overwhelming temptation among users to try to make it work like the legacy system. It can be easy to wipe away all of the implementation progress by shortcutting the training step. Use the system that we lay out to get your management and staff up to speed on the functions and capabilities of the NetSuite ERP solution.
“It doesn’t exist if it isn’t documented.” Proper documentation is vital for creating a record of our implementation process and the functionality of the ERP system. We will document every step of the process, including any customizations created for your business.
Documentation is also important for the people who are using the system day in and day out. Not everyone learns through in-person or online training sessions. Some learn better by sitting in front of a computer with a manual and just working through the functions. Make sure this is available and accurate.
Getting the Right NetSuite Partner
One of the key members of your team is your NetSuite implementation partner. An inefficient or inexperienced partner might lead your business down the wrong path or fail to spot a minor issue before it becomes a serious one. Before you start your journey, make sure you choose a knowledgeable NetSuite partner you can trust.
Get the Right NetSuite Implementation Partner For Your Project
By choosing StratusGreen for your NetSuite implementation, you can streamline your business processes in order to save money and increase your bottom line. The NetSuite implementation process is a complicated one, but we make sure that it is as efficient and painless as possible. We build your implementation plan alongside you, ensuring the highest degree of success. StratusGreen will make sure you are successful.
We are a licensed NetSuite Solution Provider that is ready to provide the help you need with a seamless transition to the best cloud-based ERP solution on the market. Our customer support team will ensure you are entirely ready to implement NetSuite as well as make sure your organization maximizes the value of the system.
Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help.