Common NetSuite implementation mistakes to avoid

5/27/20244 min read

a man sitting in front of a laptop computer
a man sitting in front of a laptop computer

Implementing NetSuite should be a transformative journey for SMEs. It allows you to streamline operations, compile all KPIs and provide a holistic approach to all your business needs. Collectively, the combination of simplicity and level of detail gives you everything you need to drive your business’s growth.

However, like any complex software deployment, it has challenges. Most of these stem from NetSuite’s sheer complexity. Still, there are several relatively simple things you should consider to build the best foundations for your NetSuite deployment.

This article explores some of those most common mistakes, allowing you to optimise your NetSuite implementation and help you understand where your installation may have gone wrong and how to start fixing it.

Undefined project goals and success metrics

In our experience, one of the most undermining mistakes businesses make is embarking on a NetSuite implementation without clearly defining project goals and success metrics. In other words, what are you trying to achieve? And how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Without a roadmap outlining what success looks like and how you’ll achieve it, it’s virtually impossible to align expectations and measure your return on investment (ROI).

Avoiding this is, on paper, simple. Take the time to define your specific, measurable goals (try the SMART format) and establish your key performance indicators (KPIs) to track how successful your implementation is.

Neglecting data quality

In the modern business environment, everything comes down to data. And with data, quality is better than quantity.

Data is the lifeblood of any ERP system. Neglecting its quality – in other words, having corrupted, incorrectly entered, poorly sourced or lost or deleted data – can have far-reaching negative consequences. For instance, it might lead you to make a data-driven decision that actually undermines your business objectives instead of helping you achieve them. Underestimating the importance of data policies, cleansing and maintenance processes can lead to inaccurate reporting, inefficient processes and decreased user adoption.

From the get-go, it’s imperative to prioritise data quality. Implement robust data cleansing procedures and establish the protocols and procedures your staff or contractors must follow for ongoing maintenance.

Over-customising NetSuite

Over-customising NetSuite? What do we mean? Isn’t NetSuite there to be customised?

Well, yes, but hear us out. We’ve seen many occasions where things go too far, leading to avoidable headaches and costs.

While NetSuite offers extensive customisation capabilities, over-customising can spell trouble. Excessive alterations and unnecessary adjustments can make upgrades and updates unbelievably complex, increase maintenance costs, and limit adaptability. That means it’s harder to take advantage of new features and functionalities.

When developing your own bespoke ERP system on NetSuite, strike a careful balance between customisation and out-of-the-box functionality. This will ensure scalability and flexibility as your business evolves, saving you a good deal of time and money in the future. Use in-depth strategies to help decide what works best for you and your business needs.

Rushing the implementation process

When you implement your new NetSuite ERP system, remember: don’t rush. Getting NetSuite set up isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. In fact, rushing through the process without adequate testing and validation inevitably leads to costly errors and disruptions to your business operations. Once you reach this stage, they’re much more expensive and time-consuming than catching these errors, bugs and glitches at the start.

Instead, take the time to test your configuration thoroughly. Bring in end-users from various departments and backgrounds (including stakeholders like customers, suppliers, contractors and board members as applicable). This process is known as user acceptance testing (UAT). Adjust your system based on the feedback you receive before going live.

Lack of stakeholder engagement

Your NetSuite ERP system is for its end-users to help you better achieve your business goals. Making your NetSuite implementation successful requires positive involvement and buy-in from all key stakeholders and end-users; otherwise, it will fail. This engagement must also take place throughout the entire project lifecycle.

Failing to engage your key stakeholders is sure to result in resistance to change, poor user adoption and likely project failure. To avoid falling into this pit, ensure you engage stakeholders (especially end-users) from the start, taking their feedback and considerations into account as one of the first things you do. Along the way, continue to get their input and keep them informed, engaged, and excited at every step.

Learning from experience and partnering with experts

Finally, let’s discuss how you can learn from others, both in their successes and mistakes.

In any walk of life, learning from others’ experiences is invaluable. It’s also essential when it comes to NetSuite implementations. Avoid common pitfalls and leverage best practices by talking with professionals and other local businesses around you who also use NetSuite. It’s better to take the time to talk now so you don’t make avoidable mistakes!

The best places to learn about NetSuite are online forums, videos and walkthroughs. You could also consider partnering with a NetSuite expert, like SuiteSparkle, ho will use their skills and experience to guide you around, past and through any problems you might encounter.

Ready to transform your business with NetSuite?

Implementing NetSuite is a significant undertaking for anyone, especially resource-restricted SMEs. Follow the tips in this article to help you avoid common mistakes and streamline your new ERP system.

Could you use help implementing your new NetSuite ERP system? How about altering and updating an older setup? No matter your situation, SuiteSparkle is here to offer a hand.

Our team of NetSuite specialists is here to help you navigate the complexities of this fantastic but complicated software and unlock its full potential. Don’t wait. Contact us today for a free, friendly chat and quote.