We recently sat down with one of Gurus Solutions Inc.’s Senior Project Managers, Alain Levasseur. His experience and knowledge have...
Should I Implement NetSuite Myself? A Guide to ERP Self-Implementation, the Do’s & Don’t’s
“Can I implement NetSuite myself?” This is a question asked by many companies that are new to NetSuite and decide to take on an ERP implementation. For companies of all sizes, the idea of saving money for self-implementing can sound tempting. The truth is that most times, a NetSuite self-implementation can end up costing companies so much more than an implementation partner would. And, it can cost them in more ways than one.
The simple answer to this question is, yes and no.
You may be asking, “Why wouldn’t I be able to self-implement?” In order to attempt a NetSuite self-implementation, you can hire your own internal team to get the job done or provide training for your IT team on how to do the implementation. In this way, it all sounds very possible, and, to a certain extent, it is.
While you may be able to get the implementation done, the cost, in terms of resources and time, can be detrimental to your business. Not to mention, doing it without the expertise of an implementation team will make it more difficult to make sure your NetSuite is aligned with your business practices, and will also make it more difficult to overcome any unexpected obstacles.
After all, when you go to a professional, you’re getting the complete package.
5 Obstacles To Overcome In A NetSuite Self-Implementation
As we mentioned above, a NetSuite self-implementation is feasible, but it comes with a whole list of headaches. So before you think about attempting this yourself, make sure you’re aware of the difficulties.
1. Your Internal Team Needs Training
While you can provide your internal team with training on how to perform a NetSuite implementation, you cannot equip them the same experience as a professional would possess. The knowledge that comes from years of experience and specialized training can’t be obtained overnight.
A professional also has the added experience of dealing with companies in the same industry as yours and can identify gaps or common problems that may arise. Different complications can come up, depending on the industry.
While there are countless webinars and guides out there to help your team expand their knowledge of a NetSuite implementation, it’s not a substitute for real experience. We’re talking about the kind of on-site experience that a professional NetSuite team will have accumulated over the span of years working with businesses similar to yours. They will have an in-depth knowledge of many of the core processes and potential obstacles that might and will likely arise during your project span.
The good news is that there are major NetSuite providers out there that will offer a collaborative service. You can hire these partners to work alongside your own implementation team and get the benefits of both worlds: You can still manage your own implementation and save on the costs of having a partner take on the full project, while taking advantage of their experience in the field to smoothen some of the bumps along the road to your ERP success.
2. You Need to Identify Gaps in Your Processes
As we mentioned above, a professional is trained to identify gaps in your processes and offer solutions on how to connect your ERP with your current business processes.
When you’re taking on a self-implementation, you may not be aware of what parts of your business processes require special attention when transitioning. If left ignored, these gaps may turn into large holes within your implementation.
Of course, there are always partners available to rescue your project! Find out more about project rescues here.
A crucial aspect of any given ERP implementation project is identifying gaps early on through an in-depth business analysis. As an experienced NetSuite partner, anyone on our team could tell you that this is one of the most impactful parts of our assessment process.
We’ve actually put together a number of resources to help you with this over the years, including a workbook (included in CEO and author Martin McNicoll’s guide on everything Cloud) that you can download for free here.
Even beforehand, as you are having the conversation of what you want to get out of your ERP, you should be aware of the core signs that your business processes are broken. This will give your team greater visibility as you proceed.
However, you can also hire a NetSuite partner to help you with your assessment before coordinating your project with your team. Think of this as going to the mechanic for an overall inspection of everything under the hood before deciding to work on your car yourself. You want to be confident that your project complexity is not too high for the resources that you have available. Often times, disregarding the importance of this early part in your project can lead to high costs down the road.
3. Data Migration Can Make or Break an Implementation
Data migration is one of the most important tasks when you’re upgrading to your system to an ERP. Any mistakes with your data migration can lead to a misfire implementation, which will end up costing you when you’ll need to turn to a hero in a cape (or Guru), to rescue your project.
In fact, this step is where most self-implementations go wrong. Companies may end up leaving some data behind, migrating it incorrectly, or may end up losing their data altogether. Make sure you turn to an expert to ensure that there are no hiccups that might cause potential delays to your business processes.
Outsource this. Having your internal team working on data migration can be a brutal endeavor, especially for larger companies. It’ll lead to many, many sleepless nights for your team.
We’ve seen clients try to take this on to save on costs and come to us somewhere down the line with a justifiable change of mind. At surface value, data migration might sound so simple that you think, “why would I pay to outsource this?” But it can amount to days of sorting through old data to figure out what needs to transition and where it needs to go.
It’s also where most ERP projects tend to fall apart. Read more about this in our article on the 3 most common reasons why an ERP implementation fails.
4. Self-Implementation Can Get Very Expensive Very Quickly
The title says it all - NetSuite self-implementations can become much more expensive than people may think. Costs can rise quickly and exponentially depending on how many internal consultants you train, and how may external consultants you may need to hire.
Hiring and training internal consultants is costly. Not only are you paying to train and hire them, but using members from your internal team can also lead to decreased productivity in your company, which can lead to decreased profit. If your company doesn’t have the resources, that means you need to dish out the extra cash to hire external consultants.
When you hire an implementation partner, the partner supplies the resources and planning for you. So you get the whole package, with complete visibility over what you’re spending, and why.
Hiring your own NetSuite resources to work internally can be a very, very long process. You need a strong balance of a team that is knowledgeable both in terms of ERP software and your industry best practices. That way, they can quickly acclimate to your working environment and begin to analyze your day to day processes for a smooth transition during the project.
Did you know that you can also hire NetSuite resources from a partner on a continued support basis? This way, there is no training required, even if the focus of the project changes.
You can also substitute your resource with other professionals from the same partner based on what the purpose of the job is. If you plan on building your own internal resource system for future projects, this is also a great way to get hands-on training for your internal team. Learn more about staffing a project here.
5. Self-Implementation Requires A Lot of Manpower
Continuing on from the last point, a self-implementation requires a lot of resources. If you’re using an internal team, you may end up needing to take resources from your other teams to fill up gaps in knowledge or manpower. As a result, your regular business processes will be lacking in resources, and your company and profits will suffer.
The self-implementation may even take longer than it should because if you don’t have enough internal resources, and need to end up paying and waiting for external consultants.
These aren’t pleasant possibilities, but it’s important to take them into consideration if you’re planning on taking on this large undertaking.
Luckily, we have an easier approach for you.
GURUS Solutions actually offers a collaborative approach we call our SHERPA methodology. We can meet you at different levels of task division so that you can control costs and workloads with greater visibility into your project.
Keep reading to learn more about this.
Achieving a Collaborative Approach
An ERP implementation can be a daunting task - but you don’t have to take it on all on your own.
A NetSuite implementation is like a heart transplant for your business. It is one of the most pivotal transitions that your business infrastructure will take on. And sure, you might think that using your internal resources or doing it yourself will come out cheaper or better because of the shared knowledge - however, we suggest a collaborative approach.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take on your own implementation - but keep in mind that you need an expert to guide you so you don’t puncture an artery while you’re performing your heart transplant.
This approach allows the GURUS team to ensure that your implementation project is a smashing success. No matter how involved you want to be with the implementation, we can meet you at the level that you require. So, you get the control of a self-implementation, with the expertise of an implementation partner.
The first step in any collaborative approach is to engage with your team and analyze your business processes within the context of your day to day in order to identify the gaps that might later cause issues during your implementation. We want to ensure that all your impactful processes transfer into your new system without a hitch.
- Our Sherpa Approach is a clear differentiator for our clients.
- It has been built on our 10 years of experience delivering projects to determine important success factors.
- Addresses all four key pillars
- Strategic Initiatives
- Business Processes
- Technology and Change Management
- Our methodology is uniquely positioned to bring a refreshing, flexible and iterative approach to projects with our clients.
Our approach involves:
- Resources from both the client and GURUS Solutions as an extended team.
- Defining important milestones and reviewing risk mitigation strategies in a true partnership between companies.
- Monitoring and adjusting the level of involvement of each member of the extended team throughout the project to accommodate any changes that may arise in the project’s deployment plan.
3 Levels of Engagement
The Sherpa Approach involves three levels of engagement:
- Sherpa Coach
- Sherpa Guide
- Sherpa Experience
Your team can decide which one best meets your team’s availability and/or expertise, and the level of involvement you are looking for.
You can count on our GURUS to offer recommendations and guidance every step of the way to ensure successful project completion.
If you’re planning on taking on a NetSuite self-implementation, it’s important to know what to expect. Whether you’re looking to take full control of the project, or looking to work with a partner on a collaborative approach, you need to plan correctly in order to ensure success.
To learn more about whether you’re prepared to take on a self-implementation, or how you can collaborate with our team, contact our Gurus today.
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