A 2022 Softwarepath report showed that the average ERP deployment costs roughly $9K per employee, or anywhere between $150K to $750K – and that’s before you factor in ongoing maintenance, training, and support. For that outlay, if you don’t build the right team, you might end up with expensive shelfware that doesn’t generate a positive ROI.
A far-sighted personnel strategy must therefore run alongside your NetSuite deployment, to help you:
- Build the function required to operate NetSuite
- Enlist partners to help you staff NetSuite experts – developers, controllers, business system analysts trainers, etc.
- Design a learning and development regimen for your NetSuite team
- Encourage collaboration with the rest of your business functions
Even with the degree of functionality NetSuite offers, you’re still limited by the skill level of your team. This article will outline how to cultivate the expertise you need.
5 steps to build the perfect NetSuite team
NetSuite is a flexible platform and there’s no one-size-fits-all deployment. Likewise, the composition of your team will depend on the core NetSuite modules critical to your business, your company’s size, and your existing in-house capability.
1. Plan and Define Your Team
By far the most important indicator for eventually succeeding with NetSuite is making it a team project from the start. “NetSuite can form the backbone of the business, so it’s crucial to understand the systems landscape as it stands, but also as it’s intended to be in the future,” says Kevin Schaffartzik, Managing Consultant at SystemsAccountants.
“How many people will be using NetSuite? Will the finance department alone be using it or will it serve other functions? Can it integrate with systems already in place, and if so, how? These are some of the questions that determine the makeup of the team,” he says.
2. Match talent with organizational goals
The makeup of your NetSuite team will depend on the functions you’re trying to run on the NetSuite platform. Every member you’re bringing aboard your team should have a speciality they’re going to own. For example:
- If you’re looking to build custom applications on top of NetSuite, integrate with third-party applications, or extend the platform’s functionality with scripting (using SureScript), then you need to add a NetSuite developer to your team.
- A Security and Compliance Officer should help you manage user access controls, data encryption, and security audits, as well as ensure that your deployment adheres to ERP security best practices.
- A Supply Chain Manager would be in charge of tracking inventory levels, forecasting demand, managing procurement, and ensuring inbound orders are delivered and processed efficiently.
- For larger organizations, or those with immediate aspirations to scale, a NetSuite Architect can be brought in to design the system that furthers the strategic vision of the company’s future.
3. Prioritize learning and development
“Knowledge transfer is a key part of any systems implementation,” says Kevin Schaffartzik. “You want to teach the team the system, but also give them visibility into the purpose behind their actions. This way they can keep progressing when the training wheels come off.”
If you embed NetSuite experts in your organization – whether full-time or part-time – their expertise will gradually diffuse across teams.
For instance, if you have a Controller, Accounting Manager, or Director of Finance who’s been working with NetSuite for a couple of years, that person can impart knowledge to the rest of the finance function. “Eventually, you’ll have Controllers who become NetSuite Administrators quite naturally just because they work with the system hands-on over time,” he says.
NetSuite offers courses, certifications and guides to help teams and experts of differing capabilities master their platform.
4. Focus on creating a cross-functional culture
“NetSuite can reach its full potential when it’s actively used by an open-minded culture with a flat hierarchy,” says Schaffartzik. “Your emphasis should be on building a receptive ethos where your day-to-day users are not afraid to experiment and adapt the platform to their use cases.”
You can also integrate your NetSuite team with the rest of your organization by giving each team an advocate or point-of-contact on the core NetSuite team, publishing best practices for collaborating on NetSuite, and training the rest of your organization so that they won’t need constant hand-holding.
5. Ensuring your organization is prepared to adapt to NetSuite’s evolution
NetSuite is a constantly evolving ecosystem. As a cloud-based platform, there are two updates every year. The latest release – 2023.2 – has brought changes to Quality Management, Manufacturing, WMS, and Ship Central, plus newer and better connections to third-party e-commerce platforms like Shopify & Amazon.
No matter when you adopt NetSuite, better, more advanced features are always in the pipeline to help you transform your workflows, automate more tasks, and eliminate repetitive work to use the platform the best way possible. This means it’s critical to stay receptive to change and not get complacent with ‘good enough.’
As Schaffartzik put it, “As a NetSuite consultancy, we’ve seen organizations who’ve run on NetSuite for years without implementing any upgrades to the platform. We recommend that no matter how long you’ve used it, always keep an eye out for how you can improve the system to your taste, automate more processes, and add new modules to reflect your changing needs.”
Adopt NetSuite confidently with a bench of world-class experts on-demand
Whether you’re trying to upgrade from a legacy version of NetSuite or building a team for a fresh install, SystemsAccountants can help you staff experienced architects, administrators, and developers. As a committed recruitment partner with NetSuite expertise and a deep pool of talent to draw on, we ensure your hires address your true needs.