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Comparing NetSuite Managed Service Providers: A Checklist

Approximately one in four small businesses outsource tasks for the express purpose of increasing efficiency. These optimizations can keep your organization lean instead of hiring administrative staff that’s necessary to support bigger companies. Greater efficiency can also take the form of focusing on core competencies. After all, when your staff focuses exclusively on revenue-generating tasks that they’re most productive and efficient with, your company benefits.

One of the most common areas where SMBs outsource is IT, including hiring tech support, cybersecurity services, and a NetSuite managed service provider (MSP). Once you decide that outsourcing something like NetSuite management is the right strategy for your business, it’s not as simple as hiring the first service you come across.

Instead, it’s important to compare each NetSuite managed service provider so you know you’re getting the right services at the right price. Use the checklist below to quickly and objectively compare different options so you can run your operations through NetSuite with minimal disruption and maximum efficiency.

How to Compare NetSuite Managed Service Provider Options

There are two ways to compare NetSuite managed service providers and find the right choice for your business. Look for:

  1. Essential features on a yes/no scale: This includes required services, must-have certifications, and particular elements of service that are black-and-white deal breakers for your organization. Research service providers and build a list of finalists before moving on to the next approach.
  2. Essential elements on a spectrum: This category involves considerations like prices, ratings, and testimonials from businesses you trust. Once you create a list of MSPs that check off all the must-have essentials, you can then rank them based on these criteria.

Related: A Quick Breakdown: How NetSuite Consulting Services Can Save You Money

Adopting this two-step approach lets you zero in on services that provide what you need with the pricing and customer service reputation you feel comfortable with. You can also add a third level of consideration with “wish list” services and criteria that are important but not essential.

Must-Have Features of Your NetSuite MSP

This checklist focuses on the first approach mentioned above: prioritizing essential features. As you research different NetSuite managed service provider options, make sure they check off every item on this list before deciding to investigate them further or sign a contract with them.

☐ Provides Implementation Services

If your company is moving to its first ERP or transitioning from a different platform to NetSuite, start with a support team that can handle your implementation project. By working with a single provider, you know your outsourced team will be familiar with any custom developments in the code and can smoothly handle the transition from project management to post-implementation support. That means less turbulence for your business.

☐ Provides Development Project Services

The ideal NetSuite managed service provider will offer development services. Even after you implement your new ERP, you may have future customizations in mind that didn’t make the cut for the first major project. Your organization will evolve over time and develop different workflows and functionalities, especially if your business is growing or you’re considering providing additional products or services. 

When your MSP has developers, they can recommend changes for overall improvements in efficiency, make the most effective customizations based on their familiarity with your business, and provide new features that enhance your daily operations.

☐ Is a NetSuite-Certified Partner

It’s difficult to get an objective measure of quality for many outsourced services. However, choosing service providers that have third-party certifications gives you a yardstick for measuring the professionalism and competence within different organizations. NetSuite has a partnership program that gives qualified NetSuite MSPs, implementation teams, and developers a series of credentials based on their degrees of expertise. 

Not only can you use this to gauge the quality of a potential MSP, but NetSuite-certified partners also gain access to SuiteLife tools, Premium Support and Advanced Partner Support options, and other resources that extend their capabilities even further. These perks translate to additional support and resources for your organization.

☐ Can Create Custom Solutions for Your Business’s Unique Workflows

Look for NetSuite managed service providers that can personalize your service plan and provide custom solutions to development challenges. Some MSPs only provide strict tiers of managed services without any degree of personalization, and that might not be exactly what your business needs. Look for companies that:

  • Use a wide range of NetSuite-provided modules, integrations, and custom coding capabilities to create good-fit solutions for any element of your ERP that isn’t working as desired
  • Put together a support team with the right professionals based on your industry, organization size, and historical needs
  • Take the time to listen to you and conduct in-depth discovery phases before proposing solutions

☐ Offers Scalable Services to Meet Your Business’s Needs

One of the core advantages of working with an outsourced NetSuite managed service provider instead of hiring an in-house team is the flexibility. Putting together an internal team is expensive, scaling the size of the team up and down is time-consuming and difficult, and paying for resources you don’t need is frustrating.

On the other hand, if you have an MSP that locks you into a long-term service contract, won’t scale down services as needed, or requires you to pay for services you know you won’t fully utilize, you’re trapped in the same situation. To avoid these roadblocks, only sign up for managed services that can scale up or down quickly based on your company’s real-time needs.

☐ Has Clear, Transparent Pricing

Every company has a different budget, and getting cost-effective services is a top priority for most organizations. To avoid unexpected expenses, it’s important to prioritize clear pricing first. Look for companies that are very transparent about how much their services cost, the upper and lower bounds of costs in different scenarios, and what’s included in every service or line item. 

When you prioritize low prices above realistic prices, there’s a real risk of signing with providers that overpromise and underbid competitors just to secure a contract. The result is often subpar services that can end in a disastrous implementation or project costs that swell throughout the life of the project. Make sure you’re getting honest and reasonable prices first, and then start price comparing your final options.

☐ Knows How to Integrate the Platforms You Use

NetSuite ERPs can share data with other programs you use to do business. This includes niche departmental tools that push data into NetSuite’s fields or tools that trigger automated workflows behind the scenes. The more automation and integrations you have within your business ecosystem—provided they’re built properly—the better.

Related: Choosing the Right NetSuite Implementation Companies for Success

Look for NetSuite managed service providers that have integration experience with the platforms you use most often, such as ShipStation or PayPal, or packages of specialized integrations and functionalities based on your business model, such as field services.

☐ Has Experience With NetSuite’s Account Reconciliation Software Module

ERPs can affect every aspect of your business operations. For 89% of businesses, a system’s ability to improve accounting mattered most—with general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and budgeting being the top four priorities. If accounting is important to your organization, look for an MSP with the development and customization capabilities to match that prioritization. Your ideal partner will have experience modifying and optimizing NetSuite’s Account Reconciliation software module as well as providing training to use the advanced features. 

While NetSuite comes with a wide array of accounting features built into the platform, the Account Reconciliation module includes more advanced options, automation, and reporting tools for managing month-end and year-end closings based on your organization’s obligations and schedule.

☐ Maintains A Record of Successful Projects

When you’re researching a prospective NetSuite managed service provider, make sure their history of success extends beyond their own website. Look for signs of successful services and satisfied customers, including:

  • A clear number of clients they’ve successfully served
  • Metrics regarding their success rates (on-budget implementations, projects completed on time, the ROI of implementation or development projects, etc.)
  • Testimonials from companies you recognize within your industry

While this evidence should be on their website, it’s even stronger if you find long-term records of satisfied customers on third-party review and comparison websites. Your procurement team may have specific standards regarding how long a service provider has been in business or the capacity they have regarding customer volume, but the first step is to make sure they have a transparent—and positive—record. 

Use a NetSuite MSP That Checks Every Box

Hiring a NetSuite managed service provider offers several advantages. You can lean on the expertise of dedicated specialists and gain the level of service you want without hiring in-house employees. The nature of managed services is that you’re proactively preventing downtime instead of reacting to outages and issues.But you can only access all these benefits with a service provider that has the right skills, expertise, and service model. At Limebox, we provide comprehensive NetSuite services, from initial implementation to ongoing support and future development projects. Get in touch with our team today to streamline your research and chat with a NetSuite expert directly.

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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