Migrating to a new ERP system is often disruptive, with over half of adopting organizations seeing functional problems and nearly half seeing technical problems—often that eventually require a Netsuite rescue. This disruption does more than introduce potential delays and employee frustration—it can also act as a smokescreen. What level of disruption is normal? Is the upheaval a result of annoying but manageable problems, or does the turbulence indicate that your implementation service isn’t up to the task?
If your NetSuite implementation or customization project isn’t going smoothly, it’s crucial to identify the line between acceptable chaos and the signs of a true crisis. It’s just as important to know what your NetSuite rescue options are when your organization is in full-fledged crisis mode.
This guide can help you get there. We’ll cover some reasons why NetSuite is worth it—and it is worth all the upfront growing pains. Then we’ll work through a list of common signs that you need an emergency intervention with your NetSuite implementation, so you can step in with confidence. Finally, we’ll explore the path forward so you can keep your organization running as you find the right team to fix your project, implement NetSuite successfully, and make sure you won’t face the same struggles in the future.
You’re Frustrated—and a NetSuite Rescue Is Worth the Effort
Before you jump into problem-solving mode, think back to all the reasons why your organization decided to move forward with NetSuite. 95% of organizations that implement ERPs see major process improvements across their business because of the faster processing times and better data architecture. Maybe your organization was hitting the limit for how far manual efforts could grow your business, or data silos were becoming a business-critical liability. Going back isn’t an option, no matter how tempting it can be in the heat of the moment, so remember that a well-implemented NetSuite will give you some critical benefits:
- Data Automation to Reduce Errors, Manual Tasks, and Time Spend. To run your business, the same data points need to appear across multiple different platforms: a new Shopify order needs to reach marketing tools, warehouse management programs, invoicing teams, and sales operations. A smoothly integrated ERP will ensure the data appears in all the right locations. This drastically decreases delays, data errors, and miscommunications.
- Customizations That Accommodate Your Business Practices. As powerful as NetSuite is, it doesn’t usually come out of the box as a perfect fit for most businesses. Rather than trying to use tedious workarounds, you can use development services to tweak fields, create custom scripts, and build out custom workflows that have the complexities and level of detail that make sense for your organization.
- More Standardized, Scalable Workflows. If you want to scale up your business, standardized practices need to come first. NetSuite can accommodate the workflows of every part of your organization and make it easier than ever to achieve tasks the right way. Employees will have dashboards, task lists, and alerts that conform to what they should be doing, guiding the work so everyone is more productive and efficient.
- Better Employee Morale. A lot of the benefits of NetSuite focus on productivity, reduced costs, and opportunities for business growth. But it can also improve employee morale. When employees no longer have to squeeze in manual and tedious tasks, hunt down information, or second-guess themselves, employee satisfaction goes up and burnout goes down.
All of these reasons and countless others might be the foundation for your ERP implementation project, and those reasons are just as important as when you started.
Some Customization Projects Fail
There are dozens of different ways an ERP project can go wrong or outright fail. Some of the most common causes include:
- Lack of investment and resources
- Limited buy-in from leadership
- No training
- Trying to tightly recreate legacy processes with a new ERP
- Poor data cleansing
- Not testing key parts of the platform
These problems can manifest in different ways, and your organization might have even encountered multiple problems at once. Some of these underlying problems are solvable without pausing the rollout schedule, while others are far more disruptive.
And while it’s important to know what problems are dragging down your project, it can be even more important to identify when the problems are big enough to warrant a complete reevaluation of the project.
Look for these signs that your ERP implementation project has become a crisis:
1. When Delays and Scope Changes Equal Failure
To a certain extent, delays and modifications to the scope of the implementation project are par for the course. Your development team might have just pried the lid off of a legacy work process that needs a lot of work, or the data cleansing stage may need an extension. But if the project term has doubled or the cost has doubled, that’s a serious problem.
2. When Project Milestones and the Money Spent Don’t Line Up
Whether your organization tightly adheres to the Scrum project management framework or not, having an ironclad system for managing long projects is essential. Good plans will set milestones or checkpoints that measure cost against progress to make sure things are moving in the right direction. But if your IT team is looking at the project milestones and the costs already far outstrip what’s been allotted, that pattern will only get worse. And if you’re not seeing any value for the money you’ve spent or your development service can’t explain what the money is being used for, you need to switch to a different service provider.
3. When Your In-House Developer Can’t Do It
Some companies have an in-house NetSuite administrator or development expert. But a single individual can rarely take on a complete implementation project, especially if you need modules, customizations, and large-scale development projects. If your in-house expert was tasked with the rollout and they’re scrambling or completely overwhelmed, hit the pause button. Work with them to see where a third-party service can take on the heavy lifting, and your in-house expert can help direct or communicate customization requirements.
4. When the Development Service You Hired Isn’t Up to the Job
You may have hired a third-party service because you don’t have experienced in-house NetSuite experts. However, they might have been new to the industry, or maybe they don’t specialize in businesses like yours. Your project could be in the hands of a new hire who is relatively untrained. Maybe they only do small customizations to integrate modules, not full SuiteScript projects. Whatever the reason, you find that it sounds much more like an excuse, and the work simply isn’t getting done.
5. When It’s Done, But It’s Not Done Right
A more insidious sign of a project gone wrong is when everything seems done on paper, but everything feels chaotic. The data doesn’t sync right, there are still a lot of manual workarounds and modifications that your team is doing on every task, and you just can’t trust the ERP. If this sounds familiar, your next step might be an assessment from a different third party that can evaluate the strength of the data infrastructure and the connectedness of the system.
6. When Implementation and Migration Were a Failure
This is the most obvious and the most disheartening scenario. Implementation was a failure. Few of the customizations work. Your consultants might be avoiding your calls or simply saying they can’t advance the project any further. You might be in the middle of refunds—or your executive team might even be considering legal action. You’re left with an ERP system that doesn’t work, and your former processes are now a little shakier than they were before.
Do any of these scenarios sound like what you’re experiencing right now? If so, it’s time to make a move.
It’s Time for a NetSuite Rescue, Not a Surrender
When your NetSuite project is facing abrupt failure or unending delays, shift to a backup option: Netsuite rescue and recovery services designed to pick up a broken project and make it work as it should. Go about starting your rescue by finding a firm with credentials you can trust, and then see what plan they can create to heal your ERP. This next phase of your journey should incorporate these five steps.
1. Find a Service That Specializes in All the Skills You Need for the Project and Recovery & Rescue Services
Carefully vet available NetSuite deployment services so you can find one that works for your business. Their services should explicitly include a focus on rescue and recovery options so you know they have experience dealing with projects started by a different group. Also, look for credentials such as:
- Having at least ten years of experience (especially experience in your industry)
- Being a NetSuite-Certified Partner
- Having plenty of reviews and online testimonials that you can read through
Once you find a contender that meets your criteria, sit down with them to explain the situation. You’re looking for a company that provides an honest evaluation of your situation and what next steps need to happen. Then they’ll spend time learning about your business, your workflows, and what went wrong with the previous project.
2. Patch Up Business-Critical Inefficiencies or Data Problems
Once your new service is fully on board, they’ll start by addressing the most critical gaps and problems. This might focus on:
- Data cleansing so the information flowing through the system can be trusted
- Stripping out bad code to get back to basic functionality
- Sealing up security gaps
The goal here is to make sure the in-progress ERP is not a liability for your business.
3. Transform the Entire Ecosystem for Better Data Visibility and to Eliminate Cumbersome Workarounds
Now, you can start again with a better plan and a better management process. Your new development partner will create new timelines and milestones. This can be frustrating if you’re already behind schedule, but following best practices and creating strong scripts, not fast fixes, is the best road to success. This looks like:
- Implementing a solid NetSuite architecture
- Integrating NetSuite and your tech stack
- Coding custom scripts, fields, and functionalities that fit your workflows
- Identifying opportunities for increased efficiency as the project rolls out
4. Get Ongoing Support to Squash Errors and Issues
Technical support and training are just as crucial as the NetSuite architecture itself for making your project a success. Opt for a company that offers on-demand support as teams get onboarded and you make the transition to fully working in NetSuite. This can help catch any problems before they demoralize you or your team.
5. Create a Pathway for Future Customizations and Changes As Your Business Evolves
The last thing you may want to think about now is ever undergoing a development project again. But as your company grows and changes, you will likely need additional modules or custom changes. The work you and your development team are doing now—creating an architecture built for long-term growth, following best practices for custom functionalities, and thoroughly documenting your business processes—will make future changes much easier and less overwhelming.
Not Satisfied With Your ERP Rollout? Implement a NetSuite Rescue, Not Twisty Workarounds
When you’re mentally in crisis mode, it can be hard to step back and create a comprehensive, long-term solution. After all, it may feel like going backward. But Limebox’s team of NetSuite-certified developers is here to keep your project moving forward. We offer comprehensive NetSuite recovery options that can move your project from trainwreck to streamlined rollout. Reach out today to talk about how we can get your NetSuite implementation back on track.