Common NetSuite ERP installation challenges and risks

This article examines the typical challenges businesses face when setting up NetSuite and explore strategies for effectively overcoming them.


5/23/20244 min read

A MacBook with lines of code on its screen on a busy desk
A MacBook with lines of code on its screen on a busy desk

Adopting NetSuite ERP promises significant operational enhancements and growth opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. If installed correctly and according to a well-thought-out strategy, you’ll see incredible results. However, the journey towards implementing this powerful system isn’t without its hurdles, many of which are encountered during the installation phase. In this article, we’ll examine the typical challenges businesses face when setting up NetSuite and explore strategies for effectively overcoming them.

#1 Data migration

Transferring data from old legacy systems to NetSuite is a daunting task. Yet, it’s unavoidable—at some stage, it has to happen. At this point, subtle mistakes, challenges and risks can slip into your processes and cause headaches, either now or in the future.

The main risk when migrating your data into NetSuite is copying errors. If data becomes corrupted, gets accidentally deleted or misplaced or is incompatible, it could lead to system errors, glitches and generally useless insights. As a result, you could end up with compromised data reports, leading to misinformed decisions.

Businesses should invest in meticulous data cleansing, mapping and validation to mitigate the risk. This can be expensive, but it’s much less expensive than fixing the problem later on. With these programs and operating principles, you’ll have much greater confidence in the quality of your data and that it’s compatible with NetSuite.

Consulting with a seasoned NetSuite expert, like SuiteSparkle, is vital for this stage. Data is complex. The last thing you want is to reach your migration target date only to find that it doesn’t work.

#2 Training and change management

Whenever your organisation changes, you’ll need to retrain your staff and help them overcome the change. This applies to all situations, from new office chairs to new printers to installing NetSuite.Adequate training and change management, as it’s known, are pivotal to successfully integrating NetSuite with minimal bumps in the road. Your employees will naturally resist change – we all do, deep down. They might miss the ‘good old days’ of the older ERP, CRM or operating system because they understood it. Learning something new can be challenging and you could undermine someone’s confidence by forcing them to step out of their comfort zone. All this means that, without this training and change management, all the benefits of your new ERP system might be undermined.

We suggest countering this by investing in comprehensive training and communication. Even more importantly, develop a plan to ensure your staff feel comfortable in their work environment, can ask questions, and spend time learning the new system without feeling that their place in your organisation is at risk. Most crucially of all, involve all your employees in the strategic development phase as you consider the best pathways for your NetSuite operation. Using their feedback, you’ll develop a system that addresses their frustrations and workflow bottlenecks, optimising it for their use and reducing resistance to change.

#3 Customisation challenges

NetSuite’s flexibility makes it stand out from the crowd. It allows for extensive customisations, meaning businesses of all backgrounds and sizes can optimise it for their needs. However, this comes with a couple of intrinsic obstacles. The complexity of NetSuite’s operational setup systems can lead to problems, especially for resource-constrained SMEs without in-house expertise.

So, how can you move past these customisation challenges? We suggest that it all comes back to strategic planning and execution. A detailed strategy should allow you to consider all these in advance, leading to fewer execution issues like compatibility problems (mentioned in #1 Data migration) or complications with future upgrades.

Once again, we suggest collaborating with a dedicated NetSuite expert, factoring this in when it comes to your strategy. They’ll do all the complicated work behind the scenes and can help you assess your customisation needs, prioritise different modules and devise a clear implementation roadmap with minimal interruptions to the daily workflow.

 #4 Integration hurdles

Maximising NetSuite’s functionality involves integrating your new ERP system with third-party applications. The more efficiently you can do this, the better it will perform and the more benefits you’ll see from it.

Yet integrating external applications and systems can present even the most technically savvy with challenges. These might include issues with data mapping or synchronisation, both of which can be overcome but will cause delays and bottlenecks.

The best way to mitigate the risks involves businesses carefully evaluating integration requirements, selecting compatible solutions, and engaging experienced data integration partners. Once again, it all comes back to your migration strategy.

We also recommend regular testing and monitoring. It’s essential for quickly identifying and resolving integration issues, nipping them in the bud before they develop into more severe and costly problems.

#5 Scope management

Focus. Projects like this are all about focus. Without focus, there are virtually limitless rabbit holes into which you might inadvertently start burrowing.

There’s a technical word for this, too. The tendency for human beings to expand beyond a project’s initial boundaries is known as ‘scope creep’. In our experience, it’s a common issue in NetSuite implementations as individuals discover the unique power of this software and begin imagining new and inventive ways in which it can be applied.

That’s all well and good, but developing these systems, applications and setups must come from data-driven decisions rather than distractions. If there’s a financial benefit (even if that comes indirectly, such as through streamlining workflows), it’s worthwhile. If there isn’t, your team is wasting its time.

Scope creep, then, must be avoided at all costs. It will lead to delays, cost overruns, stakeholder dissatisfaction and all manner of other issues. Our recommendation for preventing scope creep rests once again on your migration strategy. Clear project objectives, milestones and change management processes must be established. At this stage, effective communication and collaboration between all stakeholders (including your staff and any consultants) is vital for keeping everything on track.

Take your time on this plan, making it as comprehensive as possible. Experts can help you hone-in on specific areas and identify issues and benefits you might have yet to consider.

How SuiteSparkle overcomes NetSuite installation challenges

SuiteSparkle is dedicated to helping mid-sized organisations and SMEs overcome installation challenges and risks. We do this by strategically partnering with you, getting to know you and your team and investing in your long-term success. Our NetSuite specialists bring years of experience and will be by your side as you develop comprehensive strategies for implementing your NetSuite ERP system. For more information about us, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a free, no-commitment chat. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you all the best in your NetSuite installation.