If you’ve decided to make the jump to Oracle’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, you might be wondering how to implement NetSuite and what the transition process will look like. There’s a few things you’ll need to do to make it a smooth experience. You’ll need to spend some time looking at your strategy and making preparations, but once you do that, you’ll smooth sailing with your move to a more efficient, unified, profitable and visible ERP system.
Determine Your Implementation Approach: Guided, Shared or Comprehensive
The first step to ensuring a smooth NetSuite implementation is to choose the right strategy according to your company’s needs. The factors at play here include your IT resources and budget. The skill and free time of your IT team, along with which NetSuite solution provider you choose to partner with, will dictate which approach makes the most sense for your business.
There are three strategies to consider:
- Guided: The company implementing the software will do most of the work with the guidance of a consultant. This option offers the lowest price but requires the most work from your IT team, and comes with the risk of a failed implementation (costing you more money down the line). If you question whether they have the resources and skillset required for implementation, it may be worth considering another option.
- Shared: With a shared approach, both company and consultant split the workload to implement the program using all of the resources available to the organization but filling in any gaps with consultant resources. Most businesses need a little extra help, and this format offers that while retaining value from the resources the business has available. It can be a good choice for those who need something in the middle.
- Comprehensive: Though it involves more of an investment, having a consultant complete the entire implementation is the least time-consuming approach for your team, and comes with a high success rate if you choose the right partner. For businesses without strong IT teams or who just don’t have the time, comprehensive strategies can be a good choice.
When deciding what resources to spend on your implementation, remember that consultants have seen it all and have a unique, experienced skillset to offer your business. You always want to have one on your side in some capacity to help with the unexpected and provide seamless software access.
Prepare Your Transition Team: Get the Right People Together
Your team will be critical in making the process go smoothly, so make sure they’re right for the job. You’ll need:
- Someone with executive buy-in: Find someone at the senior level who will stay on your side and support you from an executive standpoint.
- Your ringleader: The project manager should be all-in with the new system and drive implementation forward through strong leadership.
- The end-users: Incorporate the users of the business processes in the implementation so you have a good idea of how well it’s working and what needs to be addressed.
- Your helpers: Of course, you’ll need employees to help out and advocate for the program.
Spend some time choosing your A-team. They can make the process much less stress-inducing and more effective. Building this team is also an important part of creating employee and administrator buy-in, which is necessary for any software implementation. If you don’t have employees on board, you’re likely to meet more resistance and hiccups during the process, not to mention the effects it can have on employee morale and system usage.
Get a Full Rundown of Your Internal Business Process
Paint a picture of your operational landscape. Run through all of your business processes and identify what is actually taking place. Don’t make the mistake of assuming what you think should be happening is what’s actually happening in the workplace. Take note of what challenges your workers and your business face, along with current strengths and what changes you want to see.
Make note of any gaps in functionality that you need to fix. NetSuite can be customized, and knowing what functionality you’d like to ensure from the start makes it easier to incorporate it within the system without unnecessary investments.
Define Your Project Requirements
Understanding the scope of your project is crucial for smooth implementation. What features are you prioritizing with your NetSuite whole-business transition? Your consultant can use that information to create a realistic project plan that meets your business needs, including concerns about the company’s current workflow.
Create a Long-Term Plan for Data Migration
Prior to implementation, you’ll need to consider how you’re getting data moved from the old system over to NetSuite. Identify the types and locations of different pieces of data, such as customer information and financials, and make a plan for the future. Having this data in place from the start means you can begin using analytics right away, using historical data, rather than waiting for it to collect. Your consultant can also assist and help you identify the best way to migrate data to the new system.
Prioritize Multiple Testing Cycles
You probably already know that testing is critical before your NetSuite implementation goes live, but remember the importance of multiple testing cycles to catch anything the first one missed. These subsequent cycles can offer peace of mind and help you address any issues that appear before they have the chance to impact real, day-to-day operations.
Budget Time for Internal Training
Any new system requires some employee training, but a new or overhauled ERP calls for some special attention. Make sure employees are given the time necessary to learn all about NetSuite, with trainings both before and after deployment. They’ll need to learn the basics at first and more advanced skills after they have access to the entire system.
Remember to establish an open line of communication throughout the company, as well. Keep everyone updated on the status of the deployment and what they may need to do, such as complete a training by a deadline.
Ensure a Painless ERP Transition With Cloud Genius Advisors
ERP implementation can be an exciting thing, but it doesn’t need to be time-consuming or complicated. Follow the steps outlined above for a smooth experience, and be sure to work with your consultant to make it as easy as possible.
Still looking for a consultant as you gear up for NetSuite implementation? At Cloud Genius Advisors, our skilled consultants can help with new NetSuite implementations and provide a variety of other support services, from tech support to training and data migration. Whatever you’re looking to get out of your NetSuite services, we’re happy to help. Just reach out to one of our professionals to learn more, or get a free NetSuite quote today!