How to Plan a Successful NetSuite Implementation
Tips and best practices to ensure a successful cloud ERP implementation
If you are considering a NetSuite implementation, but are concerned about the implementation process, you are not alone – and you’ve come to the right place.
An estimated 60 to 70 percent of enterprise resource planning projects fail.* These statistics, while a bit alarming, don’t mean your ERP implementation is doomed. By landing on this post you’re already taking an important step toward a successful ERP project – by planning.
Selecting NetSuite, known as the world’s No. 1 cloud-based ERP (at least in part because more than 19,000 organizations globally run NetSuite), is another indicator you are on the right path. NetSuite is a powerful cloud ERP platform that provides real time visibility into data, inventory management, financial planning, supply chain management, order management and more. While a NetSuite implementation is not a walk in the park, many organizations find the process to be more straightforward than other ERP software projects.
To succeed with your NetSuite ERP implementation, take time to make a strategy and plan around these areas:
- Project planning – using a methodology
- Change management – getting your team on board
- Data conversions – understanding your data
- Testing – don’t go live without it
- Training – setting users up for success
- Support – having a plan for ongoing support
Project Planning – Using a Methodology
Executing a successful ERP project requires a well thought out plan of action. Weigh your deployment options – whether you decide to work with a NetSuite partner, or implement NetSuite on your own, it’s important to have an implementation methodology to guide the project. Our methodology is a five-step plan:
Change Management – Getting Your Team On Board
Making sure your team is on board with the change before a NetSuite implementation is crucial. The first place to start is at the C-level – company leaders need to be involved and supportive of the project.
Outside of executive involvement, make sure to appoint your A-team on the implementation project. Key members of the core team should include (but is not limited to): internal subject matter experts, support from IT, a project leader who is decisive and motivated and an enthusiastic, executive-level project sponsor.
Make sure to communicate early and often. It should be clear from the beginning to your core what the high-level goals of the ERP implementation are. As the project progresses, regularly keep your employees in the loop, and give key users a voice in business process decisions.
Data Conversions – Understanding Your Data
Once you’ve chosen NetSuite or the ERP system best suited for your company’s needs, preparations should begin even before the project kicks off. Once you have the support of your team for the NetSuite implementation, assign team members to take inventory of your current data.
Prioritize your time. If the data in your existing system (or systems) is messy, is in multiple formats or has missing information, clean it up. Find errors and fix them before the implementation begins. Accomplishing this before the implementation team is on site can minimize changes or delays during data migration and help keep the project on track and on time.
Testing – Don’t Go Live Without It
There are numerous benefits to testing, to name a few:
- Examining major business processes to make sure they “pass”
- Ensuring all functions within the software operate properly before go live
- Using it as a tool for hands-on user training
Training – Setting Users Up for Success
Give your employees what they need to do their jobs well.
Our best practice for NetSuite training is a comprehensive model that focuses on training all end users personally, not just department heads. The model ensures that all end users are trained sufficiently – one more way to increase buy-in and satisfaction with those who will use your new cloud ERP solution daily.
“Our goal in training all end users personally is to make ourselves obsolete,” said Steve May, vice president and head of Terillium’s NetSuite practice. “Comprehensive training empowers the internal team to use the system efficiently after we leave.”
Support – Having an Ongoing Plan
Even the smoothest NetSuite implementation doesn’t guarantee issues won’t arise down the road. It’s important to make a NetSuite support plan for post go-live and beyond. Know who you can contact – and how to contact them – in the event of an issue, as well as for optimizations and added functionality. Having a support strategy that is clearly communicated to your team alleviates stress and makes life easier for all involved.