Implementing an ERP solution like NetSuite is no longer a question but a necessity for many companies. Competitive pressures and new IT capabilities make ERPs an essential business management tool. For an efficient and effective implementation, you need a competent and skilled NetSuite implementation consultant with experience in your specific industry. Installing complex software applications is an inherently difficult process. Many companies find that choosing the wrong software or vendor makes the process even more difficult.
This checklist will ensure you are asking the right questions of your vendor. Here are 15 questions to ask your NetSuite implementation consultant before getting started.
Operational & Business Issues
The NetSuite implementation consultant should understand enough about your business and industry to answer the following questions:
1. Specifically, how will NetSuite help us generate more revenue?
2. How will NetSuite help us resolve [current operational issue]?
3. How will NetSuite enable our executive team to be more efficient and make more informed decisions?
4. What specific aspects of our operations and reporting will NetSuite improve or enhance?
Vendor Experience & References
The NetSuite Implementation Consultant should prove their capabilities and vendor experience with successful installations.
A company can have an excellent overall reputation and not necessarily be the most qualified for the software you need. Make sure you narrow down their unique skill sets, how long they have been around, experience in your industry, and check that they have worked with products in your industry. In general, if your NetSuite consultant understands your industry, they will be better equipped to take your business and your solution to the next level.
5. How many NetSuite implementations has your company completed?
6. Do you have reference accounts in my industry we can talk to?
It’s one thing to read a company’s marketing materials but another to talk to real-life customers. References should provide valuable background on their experience with the prospective company.
Things to ask a reference:
- How did you find this company?
- How long have you worked with them?
- Can you give me an example of a problem you encountered with this company and how they resolved it?
- Did they put the same effort into resolving an issue as they did into selling you?
The reference’s ability to be candid and share their experience in tough times will give you helpful insight into how the company handles issues that inevitably arise.
7. Are you a NetSuite Solution Provider? If so, for how long?
8. What is your company’s implementation approach, and do you utilize agile methodologies?
There should be no surprises at the end of a NetSuite implementation. The process must be well-planned and detailed during each phase.
9. What resources will be committed to our NetSuite implementation project?
10. Will we require any custom development to achieve our objectives?
Of course, it is essential that your NetSuite consultant understands and can translate best practices for implementation. But if your NetSuite consulting team does not possess the capacity to develop custom applications on the platform, you may have the wrong team.
Unlike traditional apps, NetSuite is part SaaS (software as a service) and part PaaS (platform as a service), which means you are being underserved by not leveraging the entire platform to meet your ever-changing world.
11. How long will the process take, and how will it affect my employees and productivity?
12. How are the planning and coordination handled, and how are the specific responsibilities agreed upon?
13. Who conducts the training and determines if it is adequate?
14. Who provides ongoing installation-related support, and who determines when the installation is complete?
The Big What If?
15. What happens if the installation runs into problems or goes past our deadline?
It is one thing to make promises; it is another to back them up. Your potential NetSuite implementation consultant should explain why their schedule will be met and, at the same time, how they respond if difficulties are encountered.
Bonus: Ask About Their Pricing Approach
NetSuite consultants price their services in different ways, but the most common are “fixed-bid” and “time and materials.”
Fixed-Bid: In a fixed-bid approach, both parties must come to an understanding of what is “in-scope.” In-scope is defined by the requirements of the company seeking the services. Once the scope has been identified, each party will determine what they feel is the appropriate “value” (price) for that scope. The fixed-bid approach provides a hard to use for your budget, assuming no change orders are necessary.
The risk with the fixed-bid approach? If the scope is miscalculated, someone will have missed their valuation (price). It is either on the customer to give up that functionality or on the consultant to absorb the additional cost.
Time and Materials: The implementation partner will still establish scope with this approach. Instead of fixing the price to one flat dollar amount, they provide a target range. This range offers flexibility for both the customer and the partner to adapt to changes that will inevitably occur during the implementation process. This puts the customer in the driver’s seat regarding how much time and monetary investment is involved.
The risks with time and materials? None, if done correctly. Some people think a time and materials approach gives the NetSuite consultant the right to bill for their services without a cap. A cost cap can be set if both the customer and consultant work together to control costs, and billing will be within the maximum cost cap.
360 Cloud Solutions has built our business one client at a time, learning the specific needs of each company and ensuring our installation meets their needs in an efficient and timely manner. Our agile approach helps us make changes in development if required; that way, by the time of “go-live,” you will know how to use NetSuite and what to expect. To speak with a certified NetSuite Implementation Consultant and learn more about how we can support your NetSuite implementation, click here.