ERP Requirements Discovery Best Practices: Ensure Success with NetSuite Implementations

Bad news often travels faster than good news, so you’ve likely heard the widely touted statistic that 60% of enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations don’t succeed. There’s also the Gartner study from 2010 that says up to 75% of ERP implementations fail. For every ERP success story, 10 more flaunt these outdated numbers.

However, this data doesn’t reflect how much we’ve learned about ERP rollouts in the intervening years and how much better the software has become. Today, we have clearly defined best practices to ensure ERP deployments are successful with faster ROI.

The manufacturing and distribution industries currently lead the U.S. in ERP deployments, and a 2019 survey showed nearly 70% of these businesses called their implementation successful.

Modern ERP software is easier to use and more intelligent than ever. ERP has also evolved from the enterprise level to a tool suitable for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs).

Today, ERP platforms such as NetSuite have emerged as a game changer for any size company seeking to share data, automate processes and drive sales.

These platforms touch and improve every business area, from the back to the front end. An ERP rollout affects every user and their daily workflows.

A robust requirements discovery process must be at the heart of how these tools deploy and how workflows evolve to ensure success.

How Does Requirements Discovery Work?

Implementing ERP is a substantial undertaking that requires meticulous planning, precise execution, and a deep understanding of the organization’s needs. At the heart of this lies the critical phase of requirements gathering, a pivotal step that can often determine the success or failure of an ERP rollout.

ERP implementations invariably bring about changes in how an organization functions. These changes can be met with resistance, especially if employees are not prepared or informed. Requirements gathering facilitates a holistic approach to change management by involving employees in decision-making.

This involvement garners their support, empowering them to become champions of the new system and driving its successful adoption. It is the foundation for the entire ERP project, serving as a roadmap that guides developers, consultants, and project managers in creating a tailored solution that aligns with the organization’s unique requirements.

Every consultant and software vendor has go-to implementation methodologies for requirements discovery. For example, NetSuite has a standard ERP Requirements Gathering Template. That includes a look at:

  • People: Get representation from across the organization to ensure no requirements are missed.
  • Processes: Map processes, identify use cases, and avoid bringing bad workflows into the new system.
  • Priorities: Understand current and future state, and set priorities based both on business goals and core needs.

NetSuite’s template asks you to evaluate functional requirements across departments.

Sikich believes this is a baseline. We supplement it with a nurturing, customized approach toward creating proper business alignment for your business and industry. Compliance requirements are also critical to address upfront to ensure that an ERP deployment meets those needs.

Requirements gathering should not only be focused on the now, but also on the future. By customizing requirements gathering to focus not only on where a company has been but how it wants to transform, we engage stakeholders, from end-users to top management, to understand the organization’s current workflows, pain points, and aspirations.

“We often encourage clients to look farther ahead into the future of their organizations than they might otherwise do. Your ERP system has to meet current requirements, but if major events like acquisitions, going public or growing internationally are on the horizon, that’s something we want to include in our planning.” – Chris Manchester, Senior NetSuite Consultant, Sikich

Where do Customizations and Integrations Fit in?

Sikich conducts a gap analysis to identify the disparities between the current processes and the desired future state. Gap analysis helps pinpoint where the ERP system needs to be customized, configured, or integrated to better align with the organization’s goals and desired departmental workflows.

ERP systems are often highly configurable, allowing organizations to tailor the software to their needs. Customization can include adding fields, defining approval processes, or creating custom reports.

The goal of an ERP is to create a single source of truth overlay with the multiple software applications you use. Integrating the ERP system with other software tools is another way to ensure seamless operations. Integration aligns data flow and reduces manual data entry and duplication, and it is critically important to a successful ERP implementation.

Sikich uses the business process alignment effort to define these integrations before the deployment.

While choosing the right ERP is challenging, NetSuite is one of the most widely implemented ERPs in the world. Sikich is a five-star implementation partner of these tools. Contact a Sikich expert today to discuss your NetSuite ERP implementation.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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