By Anice McNamee
Introducing a new system into a business can prove challenging to any organization, whether it’s changing CRM software, migrating to a cloud-based platform, or starting a new NetSuite implementation.
Whatever the project is, you will find issues are more likely to occur if you don’t take the time to carefully integrate the project into your business operation.
Any major system transition will affect the day-to-day running of your business, but to prevent a minor hurdle turning into a serious issue for your company, we suggest understanding what common mistakes are likely to cause delay and learn how to limit the chances of them affecting your project.
NetSuite partners claim the common factors delaying a company’s NetSuite implementation are often caused by poor planning prior to the project, unforeseen customizations, and data migration issues. Gain further insight on delayed NetSuite implementations from our independent market report.
Here are seven common mistakes to avoid during your project to guarantee your NetSuite implementation is a big success.
The industry your company works in needs be taken into consideration when choosing what partner to work with during a NetSuite implementation.
You need someone who has experience working with a company like yours. Different partners will have experience in different industries. NetSuite implementation in a manufacturing and distribution company will be different from a business services organization.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references, either. Speak directly with other companies that have worked with the partner and find out first-hand how their transition went. This will confirm that you have chosen the best partner for your business.
Think about your current systems. Are they perfectly in order? Do you have old data that needs to be archived? Any workarounds that everyone has got used to that should have been cleaned up years ago? Loads of data lying around in the wrong places that there you’ve never had time to go back and sort out?
You must have everything cleaned up, mended and archived before you even think about migrating data from old legacy systems to your shiny new system.
If you don’t clean everything, all the issues that you have now will travel across to the new system. Except, it could be worse! All the handy workarounds you have been using suddenly won’t work.
Often, after new system implementation, people will blame the system for not working properly and long for the old one back. One common reason for this is the data that was migrated wasn’t cleaned effectively.
It’s understandable to want to move straight on to the new system that you were first shown when you chose your solution, but immediately wanting all the positive changes the new platform brings without a plan will have you heading for potential issues.
This is one of the biggest mistakes companies make when starting a business process migration.
If you race ahead, only touching on how your business processes are performed now, you will feel the pain and increased cost later, when something that was missed has to be added into your system build at a later stage.
Without really examining what you currently do, there’s a chance that you’ll just replicate the systems that your company is currently using, potentially missing out on new interesting process opportunities within the NetSuite platform that will make your business run better. Take the time to understand, and get to know, the NetSuite platform, and all of its capabilities.
NetSuite software can offer your business systems that support not only finance but HR, payroll, CRM, inventory, supply chain, manufacturing, marketing, and e-commerce.
Take time before you start the NetSuite implementation to plan for the future, and see what your business will need then. As your company grows, NetSuite will grow with you. You need to make sure your organization has thought about what it has in its business plan for the next five, or even ten, years.
Ask for help from your NetSuite partner. They know what the software system can do and what it offers to an organization. You may not want or need every feature that is available but be sure you understand what’s possible before you commit to the project.
When deciding on the outline of the system requirements make sure that everyone who actually uses the system is invited to discuss what they use the current legacy systems for in their day to day work.
It’s amazing how many businesses will implement a new system based on what the management team ‘think’ the current systems are used for. Ask what each user needs, as it may be a surprise what is actually happening inside the business, rightly or wrongly.
Your employees that will be using NetSuite every day need to have an opportunity to explore and use the system in a safe environment. A NetSuite sandbox offers you that opportunity.
A sandbox is an isolated test account with your real business data included in it. Any changes, mistakes or problems are contained safely away from your real live system. Your users will be able to learn what the new platform can do, as well as how they will use it to complete their daily duties.
Having access to a NetSuite Sandbox is an additional cost on top of your implementation. But not checking the system out thoroughly could cost you a lot more in the long term.
Users need to be given time away from their work to have an opportunity to be involved in the NetSuite implementation process. Including your employees at this stage will mean they have an understanding of the system. It also allows the opportunity for them to ask questions and offer input into the implementation. This will produce two positive outcomes:
Hire a NetSuite professional to help you utilize the NetSuite sandbox feature.
Implementation of a NetSuite system isn’t a single activity that you don’t need to think about once it’s in place. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Your company is going to need at least one person who understands NetSuite and is able to look after and develop your system in the future. If you’re a larger company then you may need a whole team. You’ll need an experienced NetSuite Administrator either full-time or to build a relationship with a contractor who will keep your NetSuite system ticking over perfectly.
In the future, as your company grows, you will want changes made to the system and then you will need access to a NetSuite Developer to create new or improve current, processes. A NetSuite Consultant or Business Analyst is essential for helping your company plan and use NetSuite to its full potential.
It may sound obvious, but you must spend time and money training your staff thoroughly to use the new system. If you don’t, it won’t take long for old processes to re-emerge because they are more comfortable for the users. Look out for the sneaky use of those old Excel spreadsheets!
NetSuite is designed to offer straightforward user interactivity but everything feels difficult if you have only been shown something for an hour.
Having your teams actively engage and welcome a new system is unlikely to happen instantly, but good training and support will help the transition happen much more smoothly.
Deciding to move your business into the cloud and implement NetSuite isn’t something that any business does lightly. So, don’t head into your NetSuite implementation process with failure just over the horizon. Being careful and not making these mistakes will go a long way to limiting problems and ensuring your implementation project is a complete success.
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