Choosing NetSuite to move your on-premises business to a unified, cloud platform brings you closer to agility, growth, and better business performance. It can change your business operations and processes for the better. But it all depends on the successful NetSuite ERP implementation, which is unfortunately not always successful.
Almost 55% of ERP implementations fail, and 30% take a longer time than expected. Reason? Because of selection of the wrong implementation process. The NetSuite implementation timeline varies depending on the volume of data and requirements, but you can only work within the timeline if you stay on track. A rigorous implementation plan, understanding the steps of the process and keeping the stakeholders within the loop increase the chances of successful implementation.
This guide will walk you through the NetSuite implementation strategies and important steps that will successfully complete the NetSuite implementation within time.
Step # 1: Identification
This phase helps you carefully define and document the ‘why’ behind NetSuite implementation. Why do you want NetSuite ERP implementation? Which business pain points do you want to address? How will it change your business process and operations? Finding answers to these questions give you implementation specifications.
Obviously, you are not going for NetSuite ERP implementation just because you feel like doing it or your competitors have it. You have specific goals; this step helps identify them, understand user needs, and map out how you will move the needle to achieve these goals and needs.
Step # 2: Planning
After defining goals and needs, you need a robust NetSuite implementation plan that gives a roadmap to achieve ERP implementation within time and budget. This step is further divided into a few phases, each giving the planning step a detailed outline.
- NetSuite Implementation Options
There are three NetSuite implementation options:
- Self Implementation: In this option, you opt to implement NetSuite ERP yourself. But it is only possible if you have prior knowledge of the ERP implementation process.
- NetSuite Direct Implementation: This option helps get implementation assistance directly from NetSuite’s team.
- NetSuite Partner Implementation: In this option, you hire a NetSuite partner for implementation with a post-live maintenance and support facility.
All these three options have their pros and cons. So, choose your option carefully after analyzing all aspects.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the idea of NetSuite implementation because it shoves you in the pit of overspending. Remember that you can’t get everything at once; it will only push the budget line. So, keep a balance between things, focus on the most important implementation aspects, and make the budget accordingly.
- Role Assigning
Sure, your hired NetSuite consultants will do the implementation, but it doesn’t mean your team has no role to play. The ERP implementation team can face many obstacles and dead ends. So, better design a team within the organization that helps in facilitating and providing the support for better implementation.
Step # 3: Implementation
NetSuite ERP implementation is different from on-premises implementation. It skips many stages, like hardware handling, coding, and other software update jobs. This phase is divided into two processes: installation and migration.
The implementation process begins with the installation process based on the findings gathered during the identification phase. The NetSuite partner carefully configures the system and works on any custom integration.
ERP systems mostly go with configurations, but customization is also possible to add specific functionality to fulfill your business needs. But avoid too much customization to cut extra costs.
After successful NetSuite installation, the migration phase focuses on migrating data from multiple systems. Better to get rid of old data before migration to avoid getting entrapped in the old data management issues of the legacy system.
Step # 4: Testing
Testing is a continuous part of NetSuite implementation. Developers test throughout the installation process to ensure bug-free and goal-focused system installation. Aside from technical testing, User Acceptance Testing is also important before making the system live.
In the User Acceptance Testing, end users test the system to ensure fulfillment of requirements, usability and check the product’s quality.
Step # 5: Training
One of the reasons why NetSuite implementation fails is people skip this step. No matter how perfect installation phase was, if end-users will not know how to use the system, nothing will work. So, training is very crucial step for successful implementation.
Here are a few ways to train your employees:
- Introduce them to the system and give a baseline information about the working of the system
- Give them enough time to get used to and make the system part of their daily life before rolling it out
- Make guided workflows as a roadmap to use when they get stuck
- Arrange training sessions with the NetSuite partner’s team
Step # 6: Deployment
Once the system is installed, tested and the end-users are fully trained to leave the legacy system and switch to NetSuite, it is time to deploy it. The deployment phase is the ‘go-live’ time when the old system will be cut off, and the new cloud-based system becomes part of your business.
Step # 7: Maintenance and Support
Things don’t end after deployment. Your business will change over time, and you will need changes and modules to upgrade the business process. Moreover, you also need to train your employees to stay updated and well-prepared to handle new modules and customizations. So, maintenance and support are a continuous part of the NetSuite ERP implementation process.
Leaving an on-premises system and implementing an ERP system can be challenging. It can become the best decision of your life and the worst decision if the implementation process isn’t carried out carefully. So, make sure to align goals, requirements, budget, and workforce to get the best results.