Taking the steps to start a NetSuite implementation can be tough, especially if you are afraid it will fail. But what exactly is a NetSuite failure? For such a powerful ERP solution, we have found that when people discuss a “failure,” it is not typically a failure of the application itself. If a NetSuite implementation isn’t a success, chances are it was the implementation project that failed.
What Causes NetSuite to Fail?
One thing to note when deciding to purchase NetSuite is that the price point is low enough that all types of businesses can use it — and sometimes that means an organization that is too small will attempt a NetSuite implementation. The software is strong enough and scalable enough that it can cost-effectively meet the needs of a million-dollar business, all the way up to a billion-dollar business with the same platform.
For smaller companies, the risk with NetSuite is that they often don’t account for the implementation being as complex as it truly is. A smaller organization may look at the amount of functionality that comes with NetSuite and believe they don’t need to do much because so many features are available out of the box. Yet NetSuite still requires configuration because it is so powerful — and without taking the time to understand that, you could find it doesn’t function as you like.
On the other hand, large companies also face risk. Because the platform can scale according to the number of transactions they need, large conglomerates may feel they can save money by purchasing NetSuite versus a larger product. But in actuality, the platform may not meet all of their functionality requirements, precisely because it is also made to scale down to service smaller operations. When they attempt to do a NetSuite implementation, they may find that there is functionality they need that is missing.
How Not to Fail
Engaging an implementation partner is not like placing an order with a server at a restaurant. When you go out to eat, your server comes to your table, takes your order, gives the order to the cook, and then brings back what you ordered. NetSuite implementations are not so simple. In reality, it is akin to giving the waiter a list of what flavors and ingredients you prefer, and then the chef has to guess at recipes that might satisfy your unique requests. The more you can tell your implementation partner what you want and need, the more likely you are to get it.
Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Confirm
Continuing our restaurant example, you can’t expect the waiter to read your mind regarding exactly how you want your food prepared. If you ordered a particular item off the menu, you may expect it to arrive cooked a certain way, but some restaurants like to put their own spin on recipes. You may order one thing and receive something quite different.
In an ERP project, you must maintain open and honest communication with your implementation partner about the products you are getting and what they do. Don’t assume that just because you saw a feature mentioned in the product description that it will function in the precise way you need it to.
Be a Responsible Buyer
When purchasing a new application, it’s tempting to assume that it will come out of the box doing exactly what you need it to do, requiring little effort to implement. But the truth of the matter is that your understanding could be vastly different from the others involved, and the responsibility is on you as the buyer of the software to ensure you are getting what you need. Even if you don’t feel qualified, the responsibility remains yours.
Here are some steps you can take as a responsible buyer to ensure your NetSuite implementation will succeed:
- Do your research and learn everything about the requirements you have
- Understand the product and its features to ensure it can do what you need
- Communicate often with your implementation partner
- Put together a dependable implementation team within your company
- Prepare the resources to train your staff and test the product
- Ensure your data is clean before transferring to the new system
Whether you are doing a NetSuite project or any other type of implementation, you must ensure that you understand the realities of what can occur. ERP projects can go over budget and extend past deadlines, and if you aren’t prepared for these situations, they may put your entire project into jeopardy.
A project can fail simply because communication was interrupted between the customer and the implementation partner, so that the product that was delivered was not what the customer expected. A customer may expect that the product will include a particular feature, or that the budget will be a certain amount, or that the entire implementation will be done on a specific timeline. But this may not be the reality of what will be delivered according to the implementation partner’s contract, so be sure to double-check this before you begin the project.
Get Help if You Need It
There are a considerable number of factors that go into a NetSuite implementation. While failure is possible if there isn’t enough communication, sometimes a project can fail even if communication occurs, if it is unclear what each party needs from the other. Or maybe the customer doesn’t have the necessary time to dedicate to the project and create the implementation team that is needed on their end.
In these cases, ERP Advisors Group can help. We speak the language of both the implementation partner and the customer, and we can ensure that your needs and requirements are being communicated to the implementation partner. We understand the phases of NetSuite project management. If you need assistance with your NetSuite implementation to ensure your project does not fail, we are here to help.