7 NetSuite Implementation Mistakes Finance Professionals Make

Netsuite mistakes – the 7 biggest NetSuite Implementation mistakes

If you want to Implement NetSuite with Relative Ease and avoid the NetSuite Implementation mistakes that stop most people dead in their tracks, read this immediately because the mistakes and what to do instead, are inside this article.

Mistake #1: Replicating Your Legacy Accounting System Without A Strategy For A Phased Roll-out Of A Full Blown ERP System.

1-Plan
NetSuite Implementation

What is the mistake?
The mistake here is to replicate your legacy accounting system without utilising the full capability of NetSuite as an ERP. Replicating your legacy system such as MYOB, is not in and of itself a mistake, on the contrary, it’s a good start on the PROVISO that Clear, High Priority plans are in place for the roll out of additional functionalities. These plans need to be funded and signed off at all the required levels/stakeholders. More importantly, these plans need to align with the company’s strategic 3-5 year plan.

Why is it a mistake?
This is a mistake because the true value of NetSuite will not come to the fore if only basic functionalities are used. The risk is that when NetSuite goes live, the promises made by the sales people do not come to fruition, which infuriates and frustrates staff to the point that successful project delivery within $ and Time budgets becomes virtually impossible. This system, like any other is only as good as the people that operate and administer it

What should you do instead?
You should have a clear strategy for a phased roll-out of NetSuite’s full capacity as a “Cloud Business Management Software Suite” ERP, CRM, eCommerce, Payroll, Fixed Assets, Inventory, manufacturing, the list goes on. You need to decide what you want versus what you can afford to start with and then budget for ongoing improvement and maintenance.

The cloud brings us materially closer to the Nirvana of a prefect system, but the truth is that for the vast majority of businesses around the globe there is almost constant change due to staff structure, process and other changes. Your plan should be a Strategic Information Systems plan aligned with your company business plan.

We suggest spreading your plan over 3 phases as a NetSuite Implementation Methodology, for example: 1) NetSuite Initiation, 2) NetSuite Implementation, and 3) NetSuite Improvement.

Mistake #2: Limiting Your Team Members’ Time On NetSuite Implementation Project

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NetSuite Implementation Project

What is the mistake?
The mistake here is to not CREATE enough time for core project team members to play and test in your NetSuite Sandbox. There will no doubt be a range of new entities, transactions, process flows etc. that will be brand new to new NetSuite users. Specifically the accounting department staff that are traditionally heavy system users.

Why is it a mistake?
This is a mistake because users will ultimately own this mission critical system, and without the required level of expertise, which can only be gained from working with the system, the integrity of the financial records may come into question.

What you should do instead?
What you should do instead is stretch out the implementation project over a longer period of time. The reality is that very few staff have the capacity to take on a project of this magnitude and significance, specifically not over a short period within tight, strict deadlines. The longer staff have to test, the more comfortable they will feel with the new environment. Once they get through the initial pain that goes hand in hand with all new systems or major changes they will start seeing the benefits coming through rather than just the pain of more change and stress. It’s absolutely key to have staff on board.

Mistake #3: Not Building A Prototype In Sandbox Quick Enough for Exploring, Learning, and Testing

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NetSuite Implementation

What is the mistake?
The mistake here is to not to have a prototype built ASAP (+-within one month) in your NetSuite Sandbox. At least one Sandbox is absolutely crucial for Testing and Development.

Why is it a mistake?
This is a mistake because watching training videos and reading articles, best practice in SuiteAnswers, will only get you so far. A working prototype with a material number of ACTUAL Company information, employees/users, subsidiaries, reporting segments, Customers, Creditors, Items, General Ledger Accounts etc. is the best way to get Users to accept the system than a total blank canvas or dummy entity setup. Without user acceptance of the new system project budgets and timelines will suffer. Your Total NetSuite Implementation Cost WILL BE HIGH.

What you should do instead?
What you should do is include a sandbox in your implementation budget so that you can setup a Prototype within+- 1 month. Give your key users access to system and get them playing around in system and getting to know what NetSuite can do. Make sure all users nominated cover all the transactions across the business. It is also recommended these nominated users sign off the testing throughout the project and not at the end of the project.
Given we mention transactions we may be able to use transaction list excel example here AGREED – Will insert next week when download page setup.

Mistake #4: Spending Improvement Phase Budget On Core Implementation Phase

4-High Cost
NetSuite Implementation

What is the mistake?
The mistake here is to contract Contractors at too high a rate. This is guaranteed to add significantly to your Total NetSuite Implementation Cost.

Why is it a mistake?
This is a mistake because high rates means less hours on fixed budget. As pointed out in Mistake #1 above, the Improvement Phase is Key, so if you spend budget on Implementation only you will not have the budget to execute a phased Improvement strategy.

What you should do instead?
Source contractors at lower rates. Most NetSuite Partners source lower cost resources from Near- or Right shore, the differentiating factor lies in whether these savings are passed on to you, the customer. Lower cost means more time to stretch the project window which will no doubt, increase chances of a successful Implementation.

Mistake #5: Not having Medium To Long Term Access To A NetSuite Team, As Part Of Your Organisation.

5-TeamWhat is the mistake?
The mistake here is to think that implementing NetSuite is a one off implementation project by NetSuite consultants and then it’s over and done and “business as usual” when completed.

Why is it a mistake?
This is a mistake because without an experienced team on your side – one that has a deep and wide skill-set, you will not be able to get the most out of NetSuite. Skills required are varied and includes NetSuite (system administration, programming and development), Accounting, Business Analysis, etc.

What you should do instead?
What you should do instead, is view NetSuite as an ongoing project that requires continuity with the same business partner from the outset. Once your vision is clear, find a business partner that you trust and enjoy working with. Develop short, medium and long term plans and budgets with this partner. The Key here is Continuity and retention of experience from the same business partner all through all 3 phases of the NetSuite’s Life Cycle which is Initiation, Implementation and Improvement Phases. Plans should span over a 3, 5 and even 10 years and be underpinned by a continuous improvement culture.

Mistake #6: Not Addressing The People Side Of  The NetSuite Implementation

6-People FrustratedWhat is the mistake?
The mistake is to not and promptly address the people in your organisation (outside of core Implementation team) that will be affected by implementation of NetSuite.

Why is it a mistake?
This is a mistake because at the end of the day it’s the people who use the system who will determine the success of the system and not the system itself. If people do not feel included from the very early stages of an implementation they will be more resistant to change than if they feel they have input and that their voices are being heard.

What you should do instead?
What you should do is appoint an internal change leader and have a communication plan that keep people up to date with what’s happening in a way that they want to hear about it. This plan could involve regular email communications, weekly announcements at staff meetings, or any way that suits your organisation. There should be a clear and direct channel of communication between the core implementation team and all the other users.

Mistake #7: Not Accepting Responsibility For Understanding NetSuite From The Early Stages

7-Magic Consultants-v1What is the mistake?
The mistake here is the notion that the external consultants will “do everything” and that the NetSuite implementation will “magically happen” while you do your day job. The fact is…You will need to own the NetSuite implementation internally from the beginning. You will not be successful if users do not get stuck in from day 1.

Consultants know NetSuite…not your business. Most businesses cannot afford a full-fledged old school detailed implementation which means an Agile approach is really your only option. This needs to be a joint effort from day 1. At the end of the day, users will have to design, test and sign off before Go Live.

Why is it a mistake?
This is a mistake because without early and constant input and advice from within the business the implementation will not run anywhere close to budget. Because issues are not picked up, tested, debated and solutioned early, a lot of work has to be redone, which is timely and expensive. More importantly you only have one chance to get it right with users, user acceptance gets materially harder when first contact with the system leaves users frustrated and confused.

What should you do instead?
What you should do is to make the project high priority by getting respected high ranking people involved all across the organisation so that failure is simply not an option which should incentivise users to take responsibility. Coming up with incentive schemes might not be simple but without some kind of incentive, users will not want to take responsibility.

The benefits of a well setup system operated by well trained staff will ultimately have so many benefits that users will without a shadow of a doubt experience this. This is in itself the biggest incentive as it makes life easier and better.

Now that you know the top 7 NetSuite Implementation mistakes and how to avoid them, I’d like to invite you to make a comment below and tell me what you think. Do you agree? Have I missed anything?

Do you have any burning questions about NetSuite you’d love to ask me? Then feel free to ask them here https://integrisuite.com/contact and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I WILL answer your question.

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