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Choosing the Right NetSuite Implementation Partner: A Guide for Businesses

Businesses often encounter steep challenges in their NetSuite implementation projects. The top challenges include resistance to change (experienced by 82% of organizations), inadequate sponsorship or buy-in from decision-makers (72%), unrealistic expectations (65%), and poor project management (54%). Rather than letting these challenges consume the project or sticking with the status quo, companies find the right strategies and NetSuite implementation partners to achieve success. 

The right partner can help you proactively manage all of those challenges and more. In addition, a qualified NetSuite-certified partner will be with you from the start to optimize every phase of your implementation project, provide ongoing admin and support services, and create custom code or integrations when your organization needs unique ERP functions. 

Businesses can zero in on the right choice for a NetSuite implementation partner by understanding the comprehensive role an expert can play and the most important criteria for their organization’s needs.

Why Businesses Need NetSuite Implementation Partners for an Efficient Launch

Virtually every business can benefit from implementing a powerhouse ERP solution like NetSuite. Whether you’re exploring the possibilities of a more robust ERP compared to your current platform or you’re switching from spreadsheet-style management, NetSuite offers key advantages like:

  • In-depth ERP analytics for monitoring business performance
  • Automation for streamlining business operations
  • Better data sharing and integrations to reduce manual data entry errors and delays
  • In-depth functionalities for accounting and finance management
  • Interdepartmental connection for a 360° view of your business

Because NetSuite is so powerful and offers universal appeal, it can be challenging just to get started. Before you can begin managing all your organization’s daily tasks and to-dos in the system, you’ll need to check off the following items:

  • Clean up and migrate your business’s existing data
  • Create standard and custom workflows
  • Ensure all the functionalities in your legacy systems carry over to the new ERP
  • Give all your users the tools and training they need to get work done

A NetSuite implementation partner can help with all of these tasks. More than that, they can organize and manage the project so you maximize your organization’s access to their expertise and experience while simultaneously staying within budget. 

Related: Staff NetSuite Developer vs. NetSuite Development Company: Which Do You Need?

Some of the key advantages of working with a NetSuite implementation partner instead of doing it all alone are:

  • Have an in-depth discovery phase in which a NetSuite-certified consultant examines your business—and your business’s short-term and long-term goals—to see which NetSuite configurations fit your organization best
  • A comprehensive budget forecast based on a fully scoped-out project so you have better insight into the costs of the project
  • Dedicated support before, during, and after the implementation for seamless platform management
  • You don’t have to go back and correct mistakes later—everything is implemented the right way the first time.

5 Things to Look For When Choosing Between NetSuite Implementation Partners

When you start exploring NetSuite implementation partners, you’ll find dozens of options. However, most of them won’t be a good fit for your objectives. Some services only offer implementation project support and can’t help you after rollout. Others specialize in a different industry than yours. Still, others may not have the level of experience or certification that you’re comfortable with.

While you’re looking, all the options may start to look alike. Instead, start your search with a crystal-clear checklist of what you need from any prospective NetSuite implementation partner. The following five attributes can help you start building that list.

1. Complete Project Management

One of the most important criteria is the capabilities of your implementation partners. What services and expertise are they bringing to the table, and what will you need to manage alone? Ideally, your partner will have years of experience managing the entire project, not just the migration and rollout. Look for companies that explicitly describe their capabilities as encompassing these stages:

  • Discovery: Look for a partner who starts by understanding your business. When they take the time to understand your current business processes, existing ecosystem, and future business objectives, they can plan and build the right iteration of NetSuite.
  • Planning: Every NetSuite implementation project is different, which means you’re operating in the dark when you start. However, a well-qualified partner will eliminate that uncertainty early on in the project by creating a detailed scope of work, plan, and timeline for your implementation. 
  • Execution: There’s a lot of development that goes into every ERP platform. Look for a service that does that work in-house, whether it’s migrating your data, building work processes and automation, or providing custom-coded functionalities. 
  • Team Training: Some of your employees may be familiar with NetSuite, and others may have never seen it. The right NetSuite implementation partner will address this problem by providing training, informational resources, and support throughout the project so all of your ERP users know how to get value from the platform.
  • Testing: This step is crucial for ensuring everything fits together, from platform integrations to modules to custom SuiteScript additions. Without this stage, you might end up with a partially functional ERP—and a partially functional ERP is a dysfunctional one.
  • Live Rollout: Make sure your partner provides around-the-clock support and assistance during the rollout so you can seamlessly transition and immediately respond to any snags in the process. 
  • Post-Implementation Support: Some services stop at the previous point. But the right partner will keep the relationship alive through ongoing support services as well as continuing services if you need future upgrades or help adjusting to NetSuite updates.

Working with one provider who does all of these is much more efficient than juggling multiple service providers.

2. All Customization Options Under One Roof

Many of the phases listed above center around customizations for your business: deciding which ones suit your current and future business operations, creating custom functions or fields, and testing to make sure they work well with your team. With that in mind, customization capabilities should be a core factor in your search list. Find a company that offers multiple types of customization work, including:

  • Using NetSuite Modules: Oracle, NetSuite’s parent company, understands that there are hundreds of thousands of different ways to use an ERP, and some businesses need advanced operations in one area while other businesses need advanced capabilities in another. To support this, Oracle built out modules that house those advanced functions in a prepackaged set, such as advanced e-commerce functions, functions for warehouses, etc. The right implementation partner will be familiar with the options and advise you on which modules to integrate with your base ERP.
  • Integrations: Integrations and APIs allow your ERP to talk to all the software your business uses. Developers can connect those platforms together using standard or custom integrations.
  • SuiteScript Custom Code: Sometimes, modules and integrations aren’t enough to capture all the operations your business conducts. In those circumstances, developers can use SuiteScript, NetSuite’s coding language, to create solutions. For example, your developers could create custom fields, new reports, and even automatable functions that process data in a new way.

Pro Tip: Find Partners That Start With Standard Options and Work Their Way Down

Very few businesses need a completely custom-configured NetSuite ERP. Custom code is finicky, expensive, and time-intensive. So high-quality implementation teams won’t try to upsell you immediately on complete custom work. 

Instead, they’ll have an in-depth discovery period and recommend personalized solutions in the same order listed above: selecting pre-existing modules, integrating your tech stack, and, if no other solution works well enough, custom code. This approach creates a more efficient ERP iteration that’s easier to refine over time.

3. Objective Expertise: NetSuite-Certified Partners

Gauging the quality of a new-to-you service provider is challenging, and it can often feel like guesswork. Social proof like testimonials, reviews, and ratings can help. Referrals from someone you trust also help you navigate between the different options. Another approach is to look for objective standards of quality. 

Oracle has developed a NetSuite Partner program that sets clear standards of excellence, experience, and knowledge. By working with a NetSuite-certified partner, you know that the organization stays up to date on NetSuite releases and has met its standards as a reseller, developer, or service provider. Make sure any prospective partner on your list meets this requirement.

4. Someone Who Can Help You Stay In Budget

The cost of a NetSuite implementation project can vary widely, and there’s no clear average. Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, you might spend as little as $25,000 or more than $100,000. For most organizations, that margin of uncertainty is unacceptable—they need a clear cost breakdown and detailed budget before signing off on the project. 

Look for a NetSuite implementation partner who understands and solves that problem by creating a detailed scope and budget. Here, you’re not looking for the partner that can offer the cheapest rates. That often leads to scope changes and ballooning costs down the line. Instead, choose a partner that creates a comprehensive budget that’s less likely to change in scope or add costs in the future. 

  • While your organization’s stakeholders may accept an initial budget, they’re less likely to approve sudden increases or unexpected costs
  • Comprehensive budgets indicate a company’s attention to and understanding of the project
  • Low-budget companies may leave you in the lurch because your budget isn’t enough to cover all the costs to reach a functional status quo

Related: 8 Differences That Set Top NetSuite Implementation Partners Apart

When you’re looking for service providers for a major project, the budget doesn’t just tell you about the expected expenses; it tells you a lot about the provider too.

5. Services That Have Your Back, Even If You Start With the Wrong Partner

Even if you already had a clear idea of what your implementation partner should be able to do for your organization, you may have hired a team that simply couldn’t do the work. Maybe your NetSuite implementation overwhelmed your salaried IT team or another third-party service put together substandard customizations that left you in crisis mode. 

If this is similar to your situation, focus on finding a partner that specializes in recovery and rescue projects. These teams can assess your current situation, work backward to figure out what went wrong, and then get the project back on track. From frustrating client-contractor relationships to complete project meltdowns, sometimes choosing a brand-new service provider is the only way out.

If this doesn’t apply, finding a NetSuite implementation partner that does offer recovery and rescue services is still a useful metric. That means the company is accustomed to digging into messy problems and making everything work the right way in the end. 

Start Your NetSuite Project on the Right Foot With the Best NetSuite Implementation Partner for Your Business

NetSuite offers companies a clear pathway to efficient growth, productivity, and better business insights. By starting the journey with an implementation partner you can trust, those benefits will quickly be within your grasp. At Limebox, we provide complete NetSuite implementation services, including project management, customization and development, and rescue services. We’re also here to help after your implementation project is complete and you need ongoing support or smaller development projects. Get in touch today to start creating a detailed NetSuite implementation plan that fits your business.

At Limebox, we help organizations implement and optimize enterprise-ready NetSuite, and custom software solutions, for their entire ecosystem. We deliver bonafide results the first time. With an eye for simplification and a genius for problem solving.

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