How to Lay the Groundwork for a Successful NetSuite Implementation

Organizations have a lot riding on their NetSuite implementation. Most companies anticipate the software will solve many of the operational pain points they’re experiencing. The trick is implementing the software seamlessly, reducing the adoption learning curve, integrating your existing software, and creating positive end-user buy-in. These tasks may seem challenging, but we employ an established set of best practices to ensure a successful NetSuite implementation.

Here’s how to lay the groundwork to prepare the way for better deployments and faster ROI.

Why is preparation key for a successful ERP deployment?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is now the backbone of most enterprise companies and 95% say these tools improved their business processes. ERP touches nearly every aspect of a business, overlaying operational processes from backend billing to front-end customer touchpoints. That makes the work you do to prepare for these implementations critical to a seamless rollout.

Bad news travels quickly, so most organizations know the failure rates of ERP rollouts. But instead of a rescue and recovery mission, organizations should focus on getting it right before go-live. Organizations that rush a NetSuite implementation—or any ERP—do not experience the “hassle-free” deployment they hope for.

Instead, a measured rollout with an experienced team provides faster ROI for the investment and higher end-user buy-in from day one. How can a company achieve this?

How to get ready for an ERP deployment

ERP deployment is a significant undertaking that can transform your organization’s operations, improve efficiency, and drive growth. However, the success of an ERP deployment depends on how well you prepare internally. Some of the necessary steps include:

1. Commit time and resources required to see implementation through to the end

ERP deployment is not a small project; it’s a major initiative that demands commitment from all levels of your organization. Before embarking on this journey, committing to the time and resources required to see the implementation through successfully is crucial. This commitment should come from the top down, with senior leadership fully supporting the project.

To ensure commitment, establish a clear project scope, timeline, and budget. Be prepared to allocate the necessary financial, human, and technological resources to the ERP implementation. Adequate planning at this stage will prevent costly delays and frustrations later.

2. Look ahead

An ERP system should be a long-term solution accommodating your organization’s growth and changing needs. Look beyond the current year and consider factors like potential acquisitions, expansions, or changes in market dynamics. It’s essential to choose an ERP system that is flexible and scalable to adapt to these changes seamlessly.

During selection, engage with an ERP partner to discuss your long-term strategic goals. They can help you choose a system that can evolve with your organization, reducing the risk of outgrowing your ERP solution prematurely.

3. ROI assessment — Inventory of goals, processes, and improvements

Before diving into ERP implementation, take a comprehensive inventory of the organization’s goals, processes, and improvements you want to achieve. This step involves a detailed assessment of current business processes, pain points and areas for improvement across each department where the ERP is deployed.

Identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks and manual tasks that can be automated or improved with the NetSuite system. By mapping out processes and defining clear objectives, you’ll be better equipped to align the ERP deployment with specific needs and goals. This groundwork will also help you measure the success of the ERP system post-implementation.

4. Identify stakeholders at every level

Successful ERP implementation involves more than just executive buy-in. It requires the active participation of individuals who perform everyday processes in your business. These employees possess invaluable insights into the practical aspects of your operations and can provide critical input during the deployment.

Identify key stakeholders from various departments who will be affected by the ERP system. Organizations should align the ERP deployment with specific needs and goals by mapping out processes and defining clear objectives. This groundwork will also help you measure the success of the ERP system post-implementation.

5. Develop a change management plan

ERP deployment often brings significant changes to an organization’s workflows and processes. To minimize resistance and disruptions, develop a robust change management plan. This plan should address how you will communicate changes, train employees, and manage potential challenges that may arise during implementation.

Consider conducting regular workshops and training sessions to prepare your staff for the new system. Encourage a culture of adaptability and continuous learning within your organization. A well-executed change management plan can help smooth the transition and maximize user adoption.

6. Get your data ready

Data is the lifeblood of any ERP system. Invest time and effort in data preparation and cleansing to ensure a smooth deployment. Migrate only clean, accurate and relevant data into the ERP system to avoid the “garbage in/garbage out” syndrome. Data cleansing involves identifying and rectifying inconsistencies, duplicates, and errors in your existing data.

Create a data migration strategy outlining how you will transfer data from your old systems to the new ERP. Collaborate closely with your ERP partner to do this to ensure that data migration is seamless and does not compromise the integrity of your information.

7. Partner with the right company

A DIY ERP implementation can set an organization up for failure, particularly if it lacks the internal resources with experience in these all-encompassing projects. Selecting the right ERP implementation partner is the most critical decision you’ll make. Partnering with a reputable and experienced company can significantly increase your chances of success.

When choosing a partner, consider their track record, industry-specific experience, and the depth of their support services. A good ERP implementation partner should assist with the technical aspects and help align the ERP system with your business goals and processes.

Sikich is renowned for our expertise in ERP implementation. We can provide invaluable guidance throughout the project.

Preparing for a successful ERP implementation, such as NetSuite, internally is a comprehensive process that requires careful planning, commitment, and collaboration. When executed thoughtfully and strategically, ERP deployment is not just a technical endeavor; it’s an opportunity to transform your organization’s operations and drive growth.

To learn more about The Sikich Partnership Advantage in NetSuite Implementations, download our free eBook today.

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.

About the Author