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Netsuite implementation

NetSuite Implementation: An Easy to Follow Guide [Updated for 2021!]

Brought to you by NewGen, a customer-centric ERP consulting group with over 25-years of experience

Adam Kostopoulos
Adam Kostopoulos
As a former Ernst & Young consultant, NetSuite employee, and a CPA, Adam is a Solutions Consultant who helps NewGen customers squeeze every bit of value out of their business systems. Send him an email or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Thinking about a move to NetSuite? Your NetSuite implementation lays the bed-rock for your system and business. Being educated here will make a big difference.

That’s why we wrote this beginners guide. It introduces you to the common processes and important considerations to help with a successful NetSuite implementation.

Grab a notebook.

We’ll be covering:

  • The implementation process
  • Implementation steps
  • Expected NetSuite ERP implementation timelines
  • Expected NetSuite ERP implementation costs
  • NetSuite implementation options
  • Common pitfalls to avoid

Best Practices For A Successful NetSuite Implementation

Introducing a new ERP system to a business will always come with challenges. But getting the implementation process right is far from impossible.

With the right planning and buy-in, you can avoid the bulk of business system issues.

Not to scare you (we’ve got your back!) but here’s what you’re up against:

But, some big items you don’t have to worry about with a NetSuite implementation process, like:

  • Hardware/network upgrades – NetSuite is cloud-based!
  • Staff overtime pay – NetSuite has fewer items to set up!
  • Data backup & storage – Included in NetSuite’s services!

We will go into the actual steps of the NetSuite implementation methodology. The implementation services themselves are best done by an experienced ERP implementation consultant.

As a business choosing to implement NetSuite, your team should focus on the following:

Understand your project goals

Why are you looking at an ERP change? What business processes do you want to affect?

You don’t need to write up a project plan if you prefer not to but consider requirements planning with your company.

Businesses should have these conversations both with and without the NetSuite implementation consultant. A quality NetSuite consultant will prepare a written project plan that reflects your business process.

Include all project stakeholders

Include all end-users that perform business processes to the table.

End users that feel like they have a stake in the process help ensure a company-wide successful NetSuite implementation.

Include industry focus (if necessary)

Does your partner understand your business needs? Is the NetSuite solution they’re suggesting built for your vertical?

NetSuite is an extremely configurable platform,  specialized partners and their solutions should be sought out to best align with your business requirements.

Project roll-out plan (“crawl, walk, run”)

Do you need everything now?

NetSuite has a lot of pretty features for businesses. Some of the most successful implementations adopt it piecemeal.

Consider your change management plan

Who is driving in your company?

A project plan for how your organization will adopt the NetSuite platform is important to consider.

An implementation partner will know NetSuite inside and out but overall business success starts internally.

Support the NetSuite implementation team

Have a main contact and project manager.

A quality solution provider is a pro at this and can install and train as fast as you can listen.

Have a project leader who wrangles the internal team. It will pay dividends and we promise they won’t have to abandon their day job.

📝 Pro tip: You should know that we’ve put together a slick PDF implementation check-list!

NetSuite Implementation Process Steps

Netsuite implementation

Intros & Planning Phase

  1. Get introduced: Discuss high-level goals (your answer to the questions above) and align on project scope.
  2. Finalize roles: Define your team, key stakeholders, project managers, process owners.
  3. Review the NetSuite implementation process: A quality partner puts together system requirements for their clients before contracts are signed. Review the NetSuite implementation process again before project kickoff.

Data Migration & Work Sessions Phase

  1. Initial configuration: Tie core business processes to NetSuite functionality. Perform gap analysis and solution for how workflow, SuiteScript, or SuiteApps will solve for them.
  2. Data migration: Typically handled by the NetSuite partner and project leaders but your team taking a role can help with buy-in and system understanding (and reduce implementation cost!).

Test & Train Phase

  1. Testing: Your team performs User Acceptance Testing (UAT) designed by the partner.
  2. Training: Partner will take your team through the designed processes and get feedback. Get important employees involved here to ensure their business needs, requirements, and expectations are met.

Go-Live Phase

  1. Go-Live Date: The NetSuite implementation project should have a set go-live date with the partner. Work to stay aligned on it!

Post Go-Live Support Phase

  1. Support: A major benefit of system implementation with a partner is they want to help in the long run. A good NetSuite implementation partner will leave you with an intimate knowledge of your business. Future NetSuite service, training, process, and system modifications will go more smoothly as you will have the same project manager and team.

The 5 Step NetSuite Implementation Guide above is for a simple case.

A NetSuite implementation partner will have something more robust for your requirements.

Your company may have considerations that can increase or decrease implementation time.


  • Migrating from complex systems? Does your partner have experience with them?
  • Or are you a new company with no legacy data?
  • Are you integrating any other systems?
  • Do you want to do any SuiteScript customizations?

It is wise to keep the initial NetSuite implementation as simple as can be.

You can always import more legacy data after go-live. Or add features and customizations once you’re comfortable on the platform.

Waiting also allows you to better define what exactly you need. It is hard to know what your requirements may be without being in NetSuite day-to-day.

Get NetSuite Implementation Quote

How long does it take to implement NetSuite ERP?

In our experience, it takes 3 months to implement NetSuite.

There are some caveats:

  • Are you small?
  • Do you run Quickbooks or have no system today?
  • Do you have little or no data conversion?
  • Okay with a more “turn-key” best practice approach?
  • Do you think your requirements are simple?
  • Know exactly what you want?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these we have had experience doing implementations in as little as 30 days.

The truth is most high-quality NetSuite partners can get organizations live quicker. Much of the NetSuite implementation timeline depends on how long the organization wants to take.

Rapid go-lives are possible but you need to:

  • Know what you want in your system.
  • Approve most out-of-the-box workflow.
  • Make training a priority.
  • Be prepared to work closely with your NetSuite implementation partner.

Let us know if you want to talk about this type of NetSuite implementation.

The NetSuite platform has a lot of modules to cover almost any need.

What is NetSuite, NetSuite Wheel


  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP Software) for primary A/R, A/P, and General Ledger.
  • Netsuite OneWorld for multi-subsidiary, multi-currency, and multi-language features.
  • Customer Relationships Management (CRM Software) for a full CRM system allowing you to go from Opportunity to Quote to Sales Order all in one system.
  • Order Management & Supply Chain to provide sales order management, inventory management, stock counts, and pick, pack, and ship processes for fulfillment.
  • Professional services automation (PSA) includes project management, resource allocations, service billing rate cards, and more.
  • Manufacturing for Work Orders & Assemblies to heavier needs like WIP (work in progress), manufacturing routings, shop floor management, finite manufacturing scheduling, and more.
  • E-commerce for built-in e-Commerce, B2B portals need all the way to something for the omnichannel retailer that has in-store and online e-Commerce.
  • HR & Human Capital Management (HCM) which allows users to manage their workforce, track promotions and employee goals, give “kudos” and awards, manage and pay Payroll (for the United States only), among other features.

Depending on business requirements these will add time to your ERP project.

What are my NetSuite implementation options?

Self Implementation

NetSuite Implementation

You’re smart. You know your business. You got Quickbooks running.

Self implementation is not impossible but it is also not recommended.

NetSuite is a powerful package. Configuration choices you make upfront impact you for the life of your usage. Missteps in the core set up can be costly and sometimes near impossible to correct.

That should be a primary takeaway from this article.

NetSuite automation can supercharge and transform your business. But that all lies in the implementation.

Triple check your plan and discuss with a third party before telling your boss that you can handle the install.

NetSuite Direct Implementation

NetSuite Implementation

NetSuite is an incredible product and company (disclaimer: the author worked there).

But, their implementation team (often called “NetSuite direct”) isn’t the best choice for all business needs.

Why? Make sure of a few things before choosing direct.

  • They prefer turn-key installs (SuiteSuccess).
  • They may not know your business-line.
  • Any customization is very costly.
  • Little to no direct experience with third-party add-ons.
  • Company turnover is high.
  • They will not be there post go-live.

Maybe you’re already evaluating NetSuite with NetSuite direct. You can still do the NetSuite implementation with a partner.

It never hurts to have a conversation about your company.

Partner Implementation

You make, sell, or provide something.

Your competition makes, sells, or provides something similar but you’re different.


  • Always ensure the best price.
  • Have the best and most knowledgeable team.
  • Send your clients cookies during Christmas.
  • Just care more. You care more because you have to.

That’s what a NetSuite implementation partner is. NetSuite partners provide the best of all worlds.


  • Have access to the same pricing Oracle NetSuite corporate does.
  • Have less expensive implementations and data migration.
  • Drill down on your unique business processes and formulate a unique implementation strategy.
  • Have on-staff SuiteScripters for customizations, integrations, and SuiteApps.
  • Have financial experts and CPAs.
  • Know your vertical or have worked with someone like you.
  • Will be around after go-live to support.

Partners are smaller organizations that differentiate with hard work, strong understanding, and the formation of long-term partnerships. Like you.

Good partners are also willing to have a conversation anytime. Gratís.

👍 Pro Tip: Did you know that over 50% of NetSuite buyers work with a partner? A partner like NewGen can help you get more out of your NetSuite licensing, more deeply understand your business, and be around to support you post go-live!

5 Common NetSuite Implementation Pitfalls and Mistakes

Not cleaning up old data

Garbage in, garbage out. A change in ERP systems is a good opportunity to “spring clean”. Dedupe customer masters, prune old vendors and remove old items before data migration. You know your company data best so your partner will rely on you to do most of this. Still don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, best practices, and ensure your solution provider has a thorough data migration strategy.

Trying to emulate your legacy system

Keep an open mind with a new system. The old legacy system way isn’t always the best. NetSuite works best when used in certain ways. A good partner will know how to merge the gap between best practice and your unique business processes.

Make training a priority

It’s hard work to get a new system going. Easy things aren’t worth doing. Don’t wash your hard work down the drain by either not attending or not paying attention to training. Use the system and adhere to the training plan. Training usually comes towards the end of implementation so fatigue is a risk. Don’t let it tempt you.

Document, document, document

A good partner will always document your processes as you use the system. Own the process with the partner to ensure they are complete and accurate. Quality documentation will pay dividends well beyond the implementation project. Especially when it comes to onboarding new team members or when you have questions about business process.

Ask questions to your subject matter experts

NetSuite is the partner’s job. They like NetSuite and they like helping people be successful on NetSuite. Be invested. Ask questions. Questions and investment from you make things more enjoyable for all parties.

NetSuite Implementation Partner

Top NetSuite Consultant

As a NetSuite partner for over 15 years, NewGen is a NetSuite partner that is ready to help you with the full scope of your NetSuite implementation needs.

From NetSuite evaluation to implementation, custom SuiteScripting and coding, business process, and optimization – NewGen is your one-stop-shop for NetSuite support and consulting services.

With a reputation built on forging strong customer relationships, we aim to be the go-to subject matter experts for the long haul.

We have an entirely on-shore customer support team consisting of business analysts, developers, and CPAs, we have the in-house expertise needed to take your organization from “How do we do that?” to “What’s next?”. We help you maximize the value of your NetSuite system.

We’re easy to engage for any project with no long-term support agreements required. Use the forms around our website or – reach out if you’re ready to have a conversation about how we can help you!

Let us help you with that ERP to-do list

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