What is NetSuite?

When growing, many organisations find that their finance system is unable to accommodate their needs. NetSuite ERP is a solution both charities and businesses find effective in unlocking their growth potential.

As it is a cloud-based ERP solution, organisations do not need to maintain hardware for their finance system. Additionally, all data is stored securely in the cloud as a single source of truth, so finance teams do not need to manually conciliate spreadsheets across departments.

Going beyond the financial, the system can also function as an effective CRM, forecasting, budgeting tool and more. It is now surprise that over forty thousand organisations enjoy the benefits NetSuite ERP brings.

What is a NetSuite implementation?

To fully utilise NetSuite, it first must be implemented. Our implementation guide is a helpful primer in what this consists of, but many wonder what timeline they should expect it to take.

The short answer is it depends. The longer answer is it depends on your organisation's size, complexity, and attitude. This article explores the factors that can affect an implementation’s timeline.

If you want to learn more about our implementation service, please contact us.

NetSuite ERP Implementation Timeline

1) Assessment and Planning

This step consists of both researching the needs of the implementation. Scope, objectives, challenges, and the implementation team should be identified within this stage. This step at minimum can take a few days, although more complex organisations with many stakeholders may find this stage runs into weeks. 

2) Requirements analysis

After the planning stage, the client and implementation team analyse the business processes and implementation requirements. In practice, this could include on-site visits, discussions across the organisation and development of a data migration strategy. This step adapts the plans to the reality of the organisation. You can expect this to at least take at least a couple of weeks, but if the organisation is complex, it could take months.

3) Instillation and Configuration

The ERP system is installed and configured according to the needs of the client. This means creating workflows, permissions and setting up the required modules. An important aspect of this step is migrating some preliminary data, as well as configuration and customisation of the solution.

A strategy which just adopts native NetSuite could take as little as two weeks, but any bespoke customisations and configurations can significantly lengthen this stage.

4) Data Migration

This means shifting the data from the old finance system onto the new one. Not only does the chart of accounts need to be ready for this step, but vendor data, customer data and product data must also be moved across in this step. Usually formatting the chart of accounts is a laborious and time-consuming process, but getting this right is essential for an implementation to go to plan.

The timeline of data migration could be a couple of weeks at minimum to several months, depending on the quantity and complexity of data.

5) User training

This step is essential for client organisations to adopt the full benefits of NetSuite. The fastest approach to this step is an internal trainer is appointed to receive the bulk of the training over a brief period and they then share these lessons with other key stakeholders within their organisation.

A slightly longer approach involves training more people within the organisation. Typically, this training takes under a month to complete. User training can also be integrated with other steps which can further speed up the timeline.

6) Testing

After migration and training, it is important to test and troubleshoot any issues. Not only does this mean identifying technical hitches but also means validating the congruence of business processes and the system. You can expect this to take anywhere from two weeks to a month.

7) Deployment and support

The go live takes place over a day, and typically involves continued support to ensure everything goes as planned. At Cloud Doing Good, we recommend two months of support post go live. 

Final Thoughts

If there is one lesson about timeline you should take away from this guide, is that a timeline’s length depends on your organisation. At minimum, it is possible for an implementation to take a couple of months but in the most complex organisations an implementation's timeline can approach a year.

Your organisation’s size, complexity and aims are difficult to change. However, your culture and diligence can rapidly improve the effectiveness and timeline of your implementation.

If you want to find out what timeline you could expect, please contact us.

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