5 NetSuite Implementation Problems (And How To Avoid Failed Implementation)

November 21, 2023

A Group Discussion

Much like introducing a new system can prove challenging to any organization, implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system such as NetSuite can be a complex process with various challenges.

NetSuite ERP is widely regarded as a powerful accounting software and CRM platform for a variety of reasons. It offers comprehensive capabilities on business management applications, modules, and features that cater to the needs of a wide range of organizations. For CFOs and finance departments, NetSuite provides a powerful platform to manage financial operations and gain insights that drive financial performance.

While NetSuite as software proves to offer a wide range of benefits, NetSuite implementation issues can occur for various reasons and they can be costly for organizations.

NetSuite Implementation Problems To Avoid

Here are 5 most common problems associated with NetSuite implementation:

Scope creep and budget overruns

This is a result of the uncontrolled expansion of a project's scope beyond its originally defined boundaries and objectives. It often involves adding new features, requirements, or changes to the project that were not part of the initial plan. Expanding the project's scope beyond the initial plan can lead to delays, increased implementation costs, and challenges in managing project resources effectively.

Data migration issues

Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of data during migration can be challenging as data from various sources may be incomplete and have inconsistencies, duplicates, or errors. Data migration can also cause complexities and delays in the implementation especially when size of data, data cleansing, customizations to accommodate data mapping requirements, and dedicated resources are underestimated.

Missed deadlines and delayed project timeline

Unfortunately, this is a common problem when it comes to implementing NetSuite which indicates underlying issues such inadequate planning, resource shortages, scope changes, unexpected mistakes, inefficient processes, and poor communication among the project team. These unforeseen scenarios can have a potential impact on project timelines and create a ripple effect of missing deadlines throughout the project implementation.

Low user satisfaction and adoption

Another common problem when we implement NetSuite can be low user satisfaction and adoption rates. NetSuite can be complex, especially for new users. Due to the lack of knowledge, support, and training, users may encounter frequent errors and fear that the system does not meet their needs therefore resist using it.

Customization overload

While customization is a valuable feature of NetSuite that allows businesses to tailor the system to their specific needs, excessive customization can lead to various challenges often to the point where it becomes overly complex and difficult to maintain which risks its efficiency. Some customizations also suffer from poor functional design that do not align with the business operations’ needs.

Why Do NetSuite Implementations Fail?

NetSuite implementation can be complex, and it often involves several intricacies and challenges that need to be effectively navigated to achieve a successful NetSuite implementation. Data from NetSuite estimates that 50% of ERP implementations fail the first time around. These failures are not because the software technology isn't functional, but rather because the implementation projects themselves failed. Here are the causes of NetSuite failed implementations:

The Causes of Failed NetSuite Implementations (Problems):

Cause #1: Lack of Clear Strategy and Planning

The lack of a well-defined implementation strategy and planning is a common cause of failed NetSuite implementations. Without this, implementations can easily slip into scope creep, where new requirements and features are added without proper evaluation. This then causes budget overruns as well as delays in the implementation as the additional requirements require additional time and resources to accomplish.

Data migration issues may also arise from the lack of clear strategy and planning. There are multiple factors to be considered when migrating data in NetSuite including data quality assurance, mapping, volume, and customizations to name a few. Without proper project management, migration issues such inconsistencies, duplicates, or errors may take more time and resources than initially allocated.

Cause #2: Insufficient Training and Knowledge

Insufficient training and knowledge in NetSuite can lead to various challenges and issues within your organization. NetSuite is a powerful and complex system, and without proper training and expertise, users may struggle to maximize its benefits while encountering several issues.

Cause #3: Not picking the right NetSuite implementation partner

Implementing NetSuite requires expertise and experience. Not picking the right partner can lead along with inadequate knowledge within the organization can lead to excessive or unnecessary customizations, misconfigurations, and poor decision-making.

Understanding The Process and Implementation Challenges

The NetSuite implementation process typically involves several phases to ensure success in the software deployment that is tailored to your organization's specific needs. These phases may vary in name or number based on the implementation methodology used, but the core steps often include the following:

NetSuite Implementation Process Steps

Step 1: Project Plan and Discovery

During this step, the project team conducts a thorough assessment of your organization's business processes, requirements, and existing systems. The goal is to identify the specific needs and challenges of the customers that NetSuite will address.

Step 2: System Design

A well-structured approach to planning and resource allocation can help your organization make the most of your investment in NetSuite. During this step, project scope, timeline, key stakeholders, and budget are defined. This step also includes developing a change management plan to address how the organization will handle changes in workflows, processes, and user mindset resulting from the implementation.

Step 3: Data Migration

This step includes configuring NetSuite to meet your organization's requirements which includes setting up custom fields, workflows, and reports, and integrating with other systems based on the information gathered in the discovery phase. Custom development work may be required to build specific features, integrations, or automations that are not achievable through standard NetSuite configurations.
Also during this step, data from your legacy systems or spreadsheets is extracted, transformed, and loaded into NetSuite. This process ensures that historical data is accurately transferred and accessible within NetSuite.

Step 4: Testing

In this step, rigorous testing is performed to validate that the configured solution works as intended and meets business requirements. This includes functional, technical, and User Acceptance Testing (UAT). During UAT, your team members will test the system to validate that NetSuite aligns with your needs and expectations. Any issues or discrepancies are identified and addressed before the system goes live.

Step 5: User Training

Prior to production deployment, it is essential for you to first formally train your team members to familiarize them with NetSuite's features and workflows. This will give them a better understanding of how NetSuite can be used to streamline your work processes. Training may include workshops, documentation, and hands-on exercises.

Step 6: Go Live

After all the above steps have been completed, you are now ready to go-live! This next task would be to deploy your NetSuite software and make it available for use in your business. 

Step 7: Post Go-Live Support

After go-live, implementation teams may provide ongoing support to address any immediate issues or questions from users. Continuous optimization and enhancements are considered based on user feedback and evolving business needs.

Other ERP Implementation Challenges and Problems

As businesses grow, their ERP systems must also be able to scale to accommodate increased data volumes, user counts, and transaction loads. Poorly designed systems may struggle to handle growth. NetSuite is designed to be scalable, but organizations may encounter scalability challenges especially when the way that the system is customized leaves no opportunity for further changes. Integrating NetSuite with multiple external systems can also add complexity and impact scalability, especially if data synchronization is not well-managed.

The volume of data and transactions also increases overtime and you may notice performance degradation in NetSuite. This can result in slower response times for users affecting productivity. To address performance issues, consider optimizing your NetSuite instance. This may involve reevaluating customizations, scripts, and workflows to ensure they are efficient. Regularly review and fine-tune your system for optimal performance. You can also explore NetSuite's SuiteCloud Performance Analytics tool to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.

How To Rescue A Failing NetSuite Implementation? (Solutions)

Step 1: Before implementing NetSuite, create a detailed implementation plan that includes objectives, timelines, tasks, and milestones. Involve key stakeholders in the planning process to ensure alignment with business goals. Define the scope of your NetSuite implementation clearly from the beginning and make sure to stay on track. Changes in scope can lead to delays and increased costs. Also make sure to develop a realistic budget and closely monitor expenses throughout the implementation process. Be prepared for unexpected costs, and consider the long-term return on investment (ROI).

Step 2: Invest in comprehensive training for your team members to ensure they understand how to use NetSuite effectively. Consider partnering with NetSuite certified consultants or trainers for specialized knowledge. People may resist change. Communicate the benefits of NetSuite implementation clearly to executives and employees. Involve them in the process and address concerns proactively. Offering training to ease the transition is also of high importance.

Step 3: Selecting the right NetSuite implementation partner is just as important as selecting the right software for your business. Working with the right partner will be your NetSuite implementation rescue and will give you access to expertise to ensure that the implementation truly meets your business needs and to mitigate the issues commonly arise during these implementations.

How Seller Universe Can Help

It is important to recognize that NetSuite implementation is a complex undertaking and challenges are inevitable. To mitigate these issues, it is often beneficial to work with experienced NetSuite consultants to ensure proper planning, training, and maintenance to ensure the best results and a successful NetSuite implementation.

The best contribution of a partner is in their capacity to provide a solution that is tailored to your business needs, understand people's resistance to change, and project the future process requirements that will take your company toward growth in the next few years. Also, a NetSuite partner's role does not end when the new software goes live. You need to look for a partner that can deliver continuous improvement to the solution, provide relevant training materials, and ongoing support.

At Seller Universe, we don't just sell software. You can be confident that we have the best consultants with a broad range of experience and expertise to work with you in providing the best solution to your key problems and address the processes that are unique to your business. You can expect that we will guide you every step of the way and provide a level of support you won't get from any other Oracle NetSuite ERP vendor.

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