7 February, 2024

Bypassing Common NetSuite Implementation Challenges: A CTO’s Guide

Introduction

Most businesses have dived headfirst into 2024 with new business strategies, software implementations, and goals. Growing companies have increasingly turned to NetSuite as their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, as it addresses many common pain points witnessed in 2023, such as improving the efficiency of accounts receivable and accounts payable processes, managing financial disclosures, staying on top of automation and AI trends, cybersecurity threats, among others. Its extensive functionalities make it a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) favorite. If you are a CTO, you probably have or are considering NetSuite. We are here to tell you that while you are on track with your ERP choice, you might want to consider the common NetSuite implementation challenges. While NetSuite may be the right ERP choice, like all ERP software’s, implementing it can come with a set of challenges we’d like to educate you on. While NetSuite may be the right ERP choice, like all ERP software’s, implementing it can come with a set of challenges we’d like to educate you on

This article will discuss why NetSuite is on the A-list of CTOs in 2024 and the common NetSuite implementation challenges you might face, and how you can navigate the challenges with the help of a NetSuite partner.

But if you’d rather just know the implementation challenges and solution, click here to go to that specific section.

Why Do CTOs Prefer NetSuite For Their 2024 Software Upscale?

this image shows the Why Do CTOs Prefer NetSuite For Their 2024 Software Upscale?

Before we dive into how CTOs can bypass common NetSuite implementation challenges, it is important to understand why the popularity of this ERP software skyrocketed towards the end of 2023. Founded back in 1998 by Evan Goldberg, the software giant turns 26 in 2024. It has always been ranked as a top-tier solution with robust CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP capabilities. It has woven AI (artificial intelligence) and BI (business intelligence) features that make it an all-in-all system for businesses across the globe. But what changed this already popular software, the “Bruce Springsteen” of the software world? In my opinion, the boost in popularity and demand came from NetSuite’s strategic introduction of five in-demand features to their already extensive feature set. These features include:

NetSuite Generative AI:

NetSuite likes to stay ahead of trends. Their quick integration of generative AI across their suite is one of the many reasons the software is the preferred choice for CTOs like yourself. We all know that 2024 is the year of generative AI. NetSuite’s generative AI can help you ensure time and process efficiency across all modules. The platform also promises data security at a whole new level.

For example, your team can use AI to track and assess financial forecasts/plans in NetSuite. Another notable enhancement is NetSuite Bill Capture, which removes the challenge of manual processing and categorizing expenses. You can now leverage the generative AI capabilities to manage expenses based on historical data. It can also pre-populate information and data by scanning previous invoices.

Text Enhance:

NetSuite’s introduction of AI-fueled content generation for departments like finance, accounting, sales, marketing, customer support, and HR significantly enhances time and process efficiency, allowing companies to improve productivity. Text enhancement reduces communication bottlenecks and will enable employees to focus on more strategic and imperative tasks.

Better, Seamless Electronic Invoicing:

Users can now use an international API within NetSuite for smooth and easy invoicing compliance. No more legal mandates issues: NetSuite users can now easily use digital signatures, QR codes, etc. Not only does this feature help improve cross-border transactions, but it also makes NetSuite the number one choice for businesses with international dealings.

Taking off manual workloads, improving global transactions, and streamlining communication are top priorities for all C-levels, including CTOs! It is probably on your list, too. NetSuite encompasses all this and more to give modern-day C-level executives a robust software infrastructure. However, implementing this solution to gain its maximum benefits is another thing.

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What are the Common NetSuite Implementation Challenges of 2024

Now that we have discussed the new features that further brought NetSuite into the limelight for 2024 software infrastructure in companies across industries, we can discuss what challenges you might encounter when implementing NetSuite and how these challenges can be resolved. Lucky for you, common NetSuite implementation challenges usually arise from one simple mistake that can be addressed very easily. We’ll save the solution for last! Let’s start first with what NetSuite implementation challenges you can or might be facing in your NetSuite implementation process:

this image shows the Common NetSuite Implementation Challenges of 2024

A System That Is Not Aligned with Your Existing Processes:

One of the most common NetSuite implementation challenges that CTOs face is that they do not take the time to understand their business needs before signing up for a new system. They lack a clear vision and understanding of what they hope to achieve. The only words they reiterate are we need improved ROI. While NetSuite is more than capable of meeting that expectation, if a CTO does not spend time identifying pain points, setting expectations, and deciding what they need from their new system, they will end up with a makeshift solution that barely keeps them running. As a CTO, you might want to jump straight to NetSuite to benefit from its robust capabilities. Remember, NetSuite is with you for the long haul. It will scale with your business. You need to know what you want from your system to avoid this far too common NetSuite implementation challenge.

An Inadequate NetSuite Implementation Team:

NetSuite implementation teams are not the same as hiring an external partner. One of the main reasons for this common NetSuite implementation challenge is that CTOs do not dedicate proper time and resources to their NetSuite implementation. Understandably, CTOs do not want to disturb their employees’ already set workflow. However, most NetSuite implementations go haywire if the internal team is not trained on the system. Many significant disadvantages arise from this approach. For example, if CTOs do not assign a project manager to the NetSuite implementation, they might face delays in the implementation.

Additionally, if they do not have dedicated resources trained on the system, they simply cannot utilize it to its full potential. If a CTO cuts corners when establishing a NetSuite implementation team. In that case, the improved ROI promise might just remain unfulfilled because there will be suboptimal utilization of the system, likely delays in the implementation itself, and resistance from employees who are comfortable with the new system. These risks inflate costs rather than reduce them, thus negatively impacting ROI.

For a deeper look into establishing a dedicated NetSuite team, read Building Your Team for NetSuite Implementation.

A System with Way Too Many Customizations:

Have you heard the phrase ‘don’t be the hero’? When it comes to NetSuite implementations, CTOs often try to over-customize the solution to justify the hefty investment. This then results in the common NetSuite implementation challenge of a far too complex system that basically does all the things NetSuite already does but in a slightly different, complicated way. Developing too many customizations means more training, complexity, and wasted money. So, don’t be the hero, or you might end up as the villain of your NetSuite implementation process. Take time to discuss with your internal and external NetSuite implementation team what should be customized and what should be configured. This understanding is key to a successful NetSuite implementation process.

A System with Data Integrity Issues:

If you move into a new house, would you take all your old furniture with you? You would probably do some cleanup and get rid of things that no longer do you any good. Am I right? Consider your NetSuite implementation process the same way. A common NetSuite implementation challenge is that CTOs and their teams neglect data cleanup and migration. Every CTO knows the importance of company data, especially in today’s data-driven, constantly evolving business landscape. When it comes to NetSuite, data is of the utmost significance! Therefore, CTOs must meticulously plan data migration and cleanup to avoid delays in NetSuite implementation. If this process is neglected, chances are, the old furniture you hoarded from your old house (old data) will catch mold, i.e., it will get corrupted.

Miscommunication in the NetSuite Implementation Process:

Ineffective communication is an extremely common NetSuite implementation challenge that causes many potentially successful NetSuite projects to go south. Unfortunately, the significance of communication in the NetSuite implementation process is understated, which leads to a disconnect between stakeholders. Let’s take the first challenge mentioned in this blog as an example:

Will the NetSuite implementation processes be smooth sailing if one does not communicate what they need from their new system?

Communication is key in all aspects of business and even more important when implementing a new system. For CTOs like yourself, change management is not a new concept. You probably already know how difficult it is to implement a new system and get it up and running across the company. There is user resistance, mistakes, and new requirements, and the only solution to all these potential problems is to have a clear and open communication channel with your internal team and the software vendor you are using for your NetSuite implementation process. You must ensure that your team, software vendor, and other stakeholders are on the same page. Any changes should be communicated properly to ensure no surprises or misalignments with your NetSuite.

To further explore the importance of effective communication for NetSuite implementation, please read Easing In ERP Implementations With Effective Communication.

These are the most common NetSuite implementation challenges that have stayed consistent over the years and have found their way into 2024. Surprisingly, all these challenges arise from one mistake made by decision-makers when they opt for NetSuite—the mistake of not selecting the right NetSuite partner.

Who Are NetSuite Partners, and Who Are the Right Partners?

NetSuite partners are designated software implementation, customization, and support experts. These globally spread-out partners can offer customized, focused services to CTOs seeking NetSuite. So, let’s address the next big question: who is the right partner, and how can you know whether they are the right partner before you even work with them? The answer is simple. RESEARCH, COMMUNICATE, AND VALIDATE. Let’s dig deeper, challenge by challenge.

The common challenges that CTOs face in the NetSuite implementation process, as mentioned above, are not taking the time to understand your business needs and thus creating misalignment concerning expectations, not having a proper implementation team, over-customizing NetSuite, data integrity challenges, and ineffective communication. However, if one were to choose the right partner from the get-go, none of these challenges would exist; in fact, what CTOs like yourself would have is an all-in-all system that allows you to work smarter, not harder. Here are the possible benefits you can hope to gain with the right partner in place:

Aligned Business Processes, Expectations, and Goals:

The right NetSuite implementation partner would first and foremost ask you to share your pain points and ask what you expect from your NetSuite implementation. If you are already mid-way through your implementation and your current provider did not ask you this, well, that is why you are facing NetSuite implementation challenges. The right NetSuite partner will create blueprints with you. They will help you understand the limitations of your system and discuss with you the benefits you can get from the new solution.

A Dedicated In-House Team that Works with Your NetSuite Partner:

If a NetSuite partner tells you they don’t need you to dedicate people from your team for the implementation, that is a red flag. NetSuite implementation challenges are a product of disconnect from the client’s or vendor’s sides. Therefore, a good NetSuite implementation consultant or partner would be up-front and honest. They would ask you to dedicate the maximum amount of time for training; they would be happy to let your project manager oversee the implementation execution and welcome feedback from your IT managers, address their concerns, and so on.

A Configured and Customized ERP Without Going Overboard:

Reliable NetSuite partners are well aware of the risks of over-customization and, thus, will be more inclined toward configurations. They would only suggest customizations when necessary, and they will create customizations that do not impact the performance of your system.

Imagine you pay hundreds of dollars to customize your NetSuite ERP, only to find out that NetSuite already had those features all along; for a CTO, that hurts more than heartbreak. Luckily, good NetSuite partners don’t hurt you that way, and they have the know-how of every feature. They won’t be tempted to increase customizations to increase the bill. They will simply help you understand what you need and configure/customize accordingly.

A Fresh New Data Repository with Only Good Data:

A NetSuite partner will work with your team to clean up your historical data. The NetSuite partner will bring in the knowledge and expertise required to alleviate the common NetSuite implementation challenges associated with data cleanup and migration, and your internal team will bring an in-depth understanding of business processes, data structures, and overall requirements. As we mentioned in the blog, NetSuite is data-driven and has advanced reporting capabilities that add-ons and connectors can further polish. A good and reliable NetSuite partner will help you realize the potential of your data every step of the way. Data cleaning and migration are just the first steps of optimizing your NetSuite data!

Explore BOLDSuite Analytics: NetSuite Power BI Connector.

Effective Communication for the NetSuite Implementation Process:

All new implementations basically mean change, and change always feels a bit uncomfortable, even if it is to streamline your processes. Effective communication can really make or break a NetSuite implementation process. The right partner will help you overcome this NetSuite implementation challenge by simply communicating with you, and making sure you communicate with your team. They will work towards ensuring that all stakeholders overcome their initial disconnect and stay current on progress, expectations, and requirements. A good and reliable partner can guide you on best practices for communication when it comes to NetSuite implementation processes and thus can help you overcome the disconnect wherever it may occur.

NetSuite vs. Partners – Who Can Help with Common NetSuite Implementation Challenges?

At this point, you might ask, hey, why is this blog continuously talking about NetSuite partners when I can implement the software with NetSuite itself? You are not the first person to ask that. Any CTO considering NetSuite first thinks of buying the software from the ‘OG’ itself, but that thought changes quickly when they realize the many benefits that partners offer that NetSuite simply cannot. Let me lay them out for you:

  • NetSuite is a big company with many customers, which means they lack the specialized focus required by most scaling organizations (like yours). Businesses putting their faith in NetSuite for the first time need much more attention than what NetSuite is currently offering. A partner can provide a personalized, dedicated service offering that meets and exceeds your requirements and expectations.
  • NetSuite is not big on customizations. Neither are we, but we do understand when they are required. Partners understand customization requirements and can help CTOs like yourself develop a solution that fits your business. Conversely, NetSuite will only likely provide core ERP software with standard, boring configurations.
  • NetSuite indeed caters to a broad range of industries. No doubt there! However, ask yourself, who would be better positioned to help your company with implementation guidelines, support, and a customized and configured NetSuite ERP, a giant juggling countless global projects with limited time and potentially zero customizations, or smaller, and may I say better partner providing the same level of expertise with a more specialized focus on your industry and requirements.

Many more reasons prove that NetSuite partners are more efficient for implementation, customization, configuration, and support. To explore this topic further, read A Deep Dive into NetSuite Support-Evaluating Direct vs. Third-Party Offerings.

Is your NetSuite Partner THE Partner for You?

Perhaps another common NetSuite implementation challenge in the modern-day ERP landscape is that too many partners are promising ERP nirvana to CTOs. Luckily, there is a solution for that as well. All you need to do is ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much experience does this partner have?
  • Does this partner have experience in my industry?
  • Does this partner have relevant case studies or client testimonials?
  • Does this partner have a specific methodology?
  • Does this partner have customized solutions for NetSuite?
  • Can this partner customize NetSuite based on my needs?
  • Has this partner developed add-ons or connectors for NetSuite?
  • Does this partner provide support?
  • Does this partner offer a free demo?

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AlphaBOLD – THE NetSuite Partner for Everyone

If you have not guessed it by now, AlphaBOLD itself is a NetSuite partner. We are certified, trusted NetSuite partners with successful NetSuite ERP implementations with multiple clients across industries. We have catered to implementation requests, solved complex NetSuite implementation challenges, customized and configured the software, and provided NetSuite support services to businesses of all sizes. Our customer reviews and testimonials speak for themselves, but let me prove that AlphaBOLD is the right choice for you, whether you are switching implementation partners midway or want a new one. Let’s bring back the list of questions:

  • How much experience does AlphaBOLD have?
    • AlphaBOLD has six years of experience implementing NetSuite ERP for companies across the globe. Our team is both big enough and small enough to provide the exact functionalities with a specific, personalized touch, as evidenced by our 95% customer retention rate.
  • Does AlphaBOLD have experience in my industry?
    • AlphaBOLD has provided NetSuite implementations to companies in the manufacturing, construction, financial services, healthcare, IT, retail and wholesale trade, and hospitality industries.
  • Does AlphaBOLD have relevant case studies or client testimonials?
  • Does AlphaBOLD have a specific methodology?
    • AlphaBOLD has a carefully crafted methodology for NetSuite projects, one that is designed to avoid all NetSuite implementation challenges. It is called BOLDRoute and is executed in four key phases: Blueprint, Orchestrate, Learn, and Deliver. You can learn more about it here.
  • Does AlphaBOLD have customized solutions for NetSuite?
    • Yes, we have two customized NetSuite solutions for NetSuite, both catering to unique challenges.
      • BOLDSuite Analytics is a NetSuite data connector fueled by Microsoft’s Power BI designed to enhance reporting, data visualization, and decision-making.
      • BOLDAssembly is AlphaBOLD‘s packaged bill of materials (BOM) solution built specifically for the manufacturing industry. It has a user-friendly interface and can quickly generate an ERP system’s Assembly Items or BOM records.
  • Can this partner customize NetSuite based on my needs?
    • Yes, our team of experts can help customize your NetSuite implementation and provide continuous innovation of features. Our team can help you optimize and customize every NetSuite update or feature to ensure you get the best of NetSuite.
  • Has this partner developed add-ons or connectors for NetSuite?
    • Both BOLDSuite Analytics and BOLDAssembly are original AlphaBOLD products that act as add-ons and connectors for NetSuite.
      • BOLDSuite Analytics is a NetSuite data connector fueled by Microsoft’s Power BI designed to enhance reporting, data visualization, and decision-making.
      • BOLDAssembly is AlphaBOLD‘s packaged bill of materials (BOM) solution built specifically for the manufacturing industry. It has a user-friendly interface and can quickly generate an ERP system’s Assembly Items or BOM records.
  • Does AlphaBOLD provide support?
    • AlphaBOLD has multiple NetSuite support offerings, both packaged and customized, to suit the needs of our customers.
  • Does this partner offer a free demo?
    • AlphaBOLD offers free consultations and demos to businesses that reach out to us. We act as your business advisors, not just consultants, and show you what you can achieve with an error-free NetSuite implementation.

See NetSuite in Action

You don’t have to take my word for it, go ahead and schedule your free demo today. Our NetSuite experts will help you understand how you can bypass common NetSuite implementation challenges and show you how your businesses can benefit from a proper, clean implementation.

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Conclusion

A CTO has immense responsibility; you need to drive technology innovation and adoption across your business all the while making sure that your IT infrastructure is secure, optimized, and up to date. It is not an easy task; do not make it more complex by leaving your NetSuite implementation up to chance. The right NetSuite partner will help you resolve any potential NetSuite implementation challenges and create a pathway that avoids them. In this blog, we discussed why NetSuite is the right ERP for all businesses, we discussed the challenges CTOs face with ERP implementations, and how a NetSuite partner such as AlphaBOLD can help CTOs successfully implement, customize, and optimize NetSuite. We’re here to lead the way; all you need to reach out!

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