NetSuite has become the #1 cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software platform in the world. Tens of thousands of customers, many of them small to midsize businesses, depend on it in every facet of their operations. Yet many of these companies are receiving far less benefit than they expected from their NetSuite installation. That’s why NetSuite Recovery, the process of getting a NetSuite project back on track when it’s failing to produce the expected results, is becoming increasingly important.
Implementing ERP platforms, which aim at integrating, unifying, and managing core business processes and workflows across an entire organization, can be an involved process. So it’s no surprise that, as NetSuite declares in its ERP statistics list,
“Data collected over the years on ERP implementations found that 50% fail the first time around.”
Yet, only 12% of users attribute those failures to deficiencies in the ERP software itself. This indicates that it is shortcomings in the installation or customization processes that typically cause a company’s NetSuite implementation to fall short in delivering the expected benefits and ROI.
How can a company know when NetSuite recovery is needed, and what’s the best way of getting started with such an effort?
What is NetSuite Recovery?
NetSuite Recovery (sometimes called NetSuite Rescue or NetSuite Remediation) is the process of identifying and addressing the root causes of a NetSuite installation’s failure to meet the needs of the business. This normally involves tasks such as:
- Conducting an in-depth assessment of the current state of the NetSuite implementation.
- Identifying and prioritizing the most important issues that need to be addressed.
- Developing and implementing a plan for resolving those issues.
- Training users on how to use the updated NetSuite functionality.
- Monitoring the results of the recovery effort.
Common NetSuite Issues
There are several issues that typically characterize underperforming NetSuite implementations. Let’s look at some of them:
According to NetSuite, performance can be degraded when too many users attempt to access the platform’s resources simultaneously. Performance can also be impacted when customizations are inexpertly implemented. NetSuite’s Application Performance Management (APM) SuiteApp allows you to observe and manage the performance of your customizations and troubleshoot slow performance issues.
Data Integrity/Accuracy Problems
Data integrity and quality issues rank high on NetSuite’s list of key ERP implementation challenges.
The heart of any ERP platform is a shared database that serves as a single source of truth for all business units in the organization. It’s critical that the information in this database is accurate, complete, consistent, and up-to-date. Otherwise, faulty data may lead to misleading analytics, flawed decision-making, and confusion that can potentially result in operational disruptions across the organization.
The information imported into an ERP platform to build the shared database is normally migrated from multiple existing systems, each with its own distinctive data structures and formats, and with varying degrees of data accuracy and freshness.
Consolidating the information from these disparate systems into a single unified database can be complex, time-consuming, and error-prone, especially if manual data entry is employed to transfer information between systems.
Data cleansing to ensure that inaccurate, incomplete, outdated, or inconsistent information in the ERP database is removed or properly harmonized with other elements of the database is a task that often requires an especially high degree of expertise.
Inadequate Customization or Functionality
One of NetSuite’s strengths is that it’s highly customizable, allowing companies to implement functionality tailored to specific business needs. According to NetSuite’s ERP statistics, 80% of installations require some degree of customization, with 37% requiring a significant amount. Yet, as one NetSuite user told the G2 software review site,
“The most challenging thing about NetSuite is customization and configuration management.”
Extensive customizations increase the complexity of an ERP system, making it harder to scale, maintain, and troubleshoot, and potentially causing compatibility issues with future updates or releases. Plus, complex customizations that are inexpertly designed or implemented may significantly degrade system performance.
Correctly configuring customizations so that workflows are streamlined without negatively impacting usability, maintainability, or performance requires a high level of NetSuite experience and expertise.
According to NetSuite, “As a business grows, so, too, does the list of workflows needed to keep its operations running smoothly.” The ability to streamline and automate workflows is one of the platform’s most important features. But when NetSuite workflows are poorly designed or implemented, they can lead to process flows that include unneeded, inefficient, unnecessarily complex, or even counterproductive steps.
Proper training is crucial for maximizing NetSuite’s benefits. The platform’s extensive functionality and customization options can make it difficult for new users to get up to speed. Poorly trained users often become frustrated and resist using the system. And even those who do use it may fail to take full advantage of its capabilities.
But developing and delivering training that effectively addresses both NetSuite’s generic features and your organization’s specific workflows, business processes, and customizations requires in-depth knowledge of the platform along with experience in coaching workers who may have varying degrees of enthusiasm for adopting the new system.
Not only is effective training necessary during initial system installation, but it’s also an ongoing necessity as upgrades and new customizations are applied.
Faulty Integration With Other Systems
The ability of NetSuite to integrate with other systems, such as HR, finance, CRM, e-commerce, or inventory management systems, is one of its most useful features. Yet achieving such integrations can present significant challenges.
One of the biggest challenges is data sharing between systems. Inadequate or inexpert integration may hinder real-time data importing from external systems into NetSuite, resulting in delays in making that information available across the system. Achieving a seamless data flow between systems generally involves the use of advanced data capture, cleansing, formatting, harmonization, and synchronization processes that require a high level of expertise to effectively implement.
Extending process and workflow automation across system boundaries is another integration challenge that often requires expert assistance.
Reporting and Analytics Issues
NetSuite’s powerful reporting and analytics capabilities make it possible, as they put it, for users to “pull reports on everything and anything they want to measure or understand.” But effectively using those capabilities to develop useful insights can be challenging.
That’s due, in part, to the fact that NetSuite’s data structures can be complex, especially when extensive customizations have been added. If custom fields, workflows, and integrations are not properly configured, the platform’s ability to generate needed analytics and reports can be hindered. And, as we’ve seen, if data quality issues are not effectively addressed, the platform’s extensive analytics and reporting capabilities can produce results that are misleading and potentially harmful to the organization.
Upgrades and New Releases
NetSuite regularly releases updates and new features. Because it’s a multi-tenant, cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) platform, basic system updates are centrally managed and require no actions by customers to implement them. But these updates, which normally occur at least twice per year, do give customers the opportunity to evaluate new features and possibly incorporate them into the business’s established workflows, or perhaps use them to implement entirely new workflow automations or customizations.
In such cases having expert assistance from an implementation partner to ensure that existing customizations and integrations are made fully compatible with the new features can be invaluable.
Do I Need a NetSuite Rescue?
Let’s look at some issues that, if your organization is experiencing them, indicate that NetSuite Recovery is needed:
- Usability issues: These include problems such as workflow bottlenecks and inefficiencies, extensive use of manual workarounds rather than automated processes, ineffective training, and limited user adoption or high levels of user frustration.
- Cost/ROI issues: You’re experiencing higher than expected costs, lower than expected ROI, or a longer than expected time to get the system fully operational and producing the promised results.
- Customization challenges: Your NetSuite team hasn’t been able to implement the customizations you need to meet the unique requirements of your business, or you have so many complex customizations that you experience performance issues or operational disruptions whenever system upgrades occur.
- Support issues: Your in-house NetSuite expertise is limited and your team has difficulty providing the functionality you need, quickly addressing operational issues as they occur, or performing needed system maintenance, troubleshooting, and optimization tasks.
None of these issues will resolve themselves. If your organization is experiencing any of them, you should seriously consider initiating a recovery effort to get your NetSuite implementation on track to deliver the full benefits the platform is designed to provide.
Do You Need Expert Help for Your NetSuite Recovery?
If the issues your company is experiencing indicate that NetSuite Recovery is needed, it’s usually best to entrust oversight of that effort to a NetSuite-certified partner organization that has deep experience and expertise with the platform. As Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) says in an article on avoiding ERP failures:
“Unless your organization already employs several people who’ve managed a number of ERP selection and implementation projects in the recent past, it’s well worth it to allocate money for an impartial consultant.”
Why do you need such a partner? Most companies simply don’t have the in-house experience or expertise that’s required for successfully addressing the complex technical and process issues that typically affect underperforming NetSuite installations. As one industry observer notes, ERP implementations are typically two to 10 times bigger than any projects most companies have done before.
To be effective, your NetSuite recovery team needs to have specialized experience and expertise. For example, the team should be led by an administrator who has a minimum of two years of full-time NetSuite Admin experience along with relevant NetSuite credentials such as the SuiteFoundations and the Suite Administrator Certifications.
Because such NetSuite experts are in high demand, and therefore command high salaries, most businesses can’t justify keeping them on staff. But a third-party NetSuite specialist organization will have a team of such experts who can collaborate with your internal NetSuite team as needed and provide the guidance and skills required for success.
Taking the First Step with the Right NetSuite Recovery Partner
The first step in getting started with NetSuite Recovery is connecting with a qualified, experienced NetSuite specialist organization that can help you develop a roadmap for getting your NetSuite installation on the right track.
Limebox is a NetSuite Alliance Partner that specializes in NetSuite implementation and recovery. We also offer on-demand support, at whatever level of engagement you need, from the senior-level, experienced, NetSuite-certified professionals who make up our Limebox SuiteMates support team.
We will work collaboratively with your internal team to ensure that your NetSuite Recovery project meets the needs of your business while minimizing disruptions to its ongoing operations. If you’d like to explore how NetSuite Recovery can lift your ERP solution to new levels of effectiveness, Limebox can help. We’ll begin by listening carefully to be sure that we fully understand your needs. Contact us today to get started.
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