If you're reading this, chances are high you are considering NetSuite for your growing company. For many potential NetSuite buyers it can be difficult to find high quality, up to date information on how much does NetSuite cost to implement and all the factors that go into a successful NetSuite implementation. As well as, how does one find NetSuite implementation partners to work with? The aim of this post is to answer these questions and many more!
If you're looking for answers related to NetSuite pricing & licensing or NetSuite add on modules use these resources:
How Much Does NetSuite Cost to Implement?
When it comes to NetSuite implementation cost, it's a much more difficult question to answer, than say, compared to answering the NetSuite pricing and licensing related questions. But since you've read this far, let's get into it!
1. The First Phase: Discovery & Analysis
The majority of NetSuite implementations should begin with a discovery and analysis project. The extent of how these are conducted and the associated deliverables will vary quite a bit amongst the various NetSuite partners. That being said, there should be some mechanism in place for the client to communicate to the NetSuite consultant what their needs are and for the consultant to provide some sort of blueprint on how NetSuite will accommodate the needs of the client.
The intent with this initial phase is to allow the implementation team to become increasingly familiar with the client, its business model, current processes and identify potential gaps. This information is generally packaged up in the form of a Business Requirement Document, also known as a BRD. The BRD will be utilized to determine how NetSuite should be configured to map to the clients future state.
The discovery and analysis phase is critical to ensuring a successful ERP project and one that should align to both your initial and future needs. Be sure to give it the necessary time to maximize your NetSuite investment and avoid surprises.
Protip: Expect a consulting firm to spend roughly 50-150 hours of the project dedicated to gathering and documenting requirements for your NetSuite ERP implementation. Most NetSuite Partners will bill out between $150 - $250 per hour. Remember, you can pay now for a high quality discovery and analysis phase or pay later due to “missed” requirements and costly change orders.
2. NetSuite Configuration and Deployment
After the completion and acceptance of the BRD, now the real work begins! Depending upon the implementation methodology and timeline objectives you should expect ~3 configuration sessions per week for a duration of ~8 - 12 weeks followed by user acceptance testing (UAT) in preparation for go-live.
The number of sessions and length is largely dependent upon the size of scope, desired go-live objectives and resource availability. An experienced NetSuite Solution Provider will recommend just enough sessions to enable you to hit your goals and objectives without putting your job and the business at risk.
Level of Effort: A good rule of thumb....of the entire NetSuite project budget, the configuration and deployment stage will generally account for two-thirds of the entire project. The other third comes from the discovery and analysis phase. So assuming your discovery & analysis engagement took 100 hours to complete than you can expect your configuration phase to take another 200 hours, for a 300 hour NetSuite implementation.
|Protip: If you're working with a limited budget and have a fairly simple scope, ask if the consulting firm if they have a implementation methodology to support a "self implementation" or "turnkey" approach to implementing NetSuite. This could save your company a lot of money on professional services expenses!|
3. Other NetSuite Considerations
Migrating data to your new NetSuite instance is one area we see other firms and customers struggle with. It’s not uncommon to get calls from new NetSuite customers asking for assistance with data migration because this was a topic that was swept under the rug during the sales cycle and the customer assumed the implementation team would take on this part of the project.
|Pro tip: For the typical SMB migrating from QuickBooks to NetSuite expect a professional services firm to spend in the neighborhood of ~5 - 50 hours specifically related to assisting with data migration. This is largely dependent upon how much data you wish to bring over and the quality of the data.|
Roughly 50% of the customer’s we work with require some sort of NetSuite integration. Whether its a 3PL, a CRM system or Ecommerce site we have you covered. System integration is very much supported by NetSuite and there are several approaches to integrating NetSuite with other applications.
For clients looking to tie multiple endpoints together, Jitterbit, Celigo IO or Dell Boomi are great options for organizations that want to be able to manage multiple endpoints without having to write and maintain custom code.
System integration projects can become quite complex, its important to not underestimate the time and cost required to integrate systems together and the overall complexity this may add to your environment.
|Pro tip: System integrations can be as little as $5k-$25k/year in subscription fees depending upon the integration platform (e.g. Jitterbit, Celigo, etc.) and may require $5k - $50k in professional services (setup fee's). This is entirely dependent upon what applications require integration, the number of end points (applications) and the number of data flows between end points.|
In my opinion, end user adoption is one of those critical benchmarks for determining whether or not a system initiative was a success, after all why spend all the time and money on a new application only to uncover that your users are back to their old habits and using Excel for things it was never intended for.
Further, don’t expect end users to embrace the new system after a single training session, remember training is an on-going process, not a one-time event. Be sure to incorporate sufficient budget and attention to the on-going training needs of your end users. This can be accomplished through NetSuite's Professional Training department or delivered through a partner.
The great thing about working with a partner for training is that they can often times deliver custom training with your unique instance in mind and often times its more cost effective. Lastly, Cumula 3 Group always recommends having at least one member from the project team attend NetSuite Essentials prior to starting configuration sessions during a NetSuite implementation. This will help ensure the NetSuite implementation team lead has the fundamental information fresh in their mind going into the project.
|Pro tip: I'd recommend budgeting at least $5-15k specifically for training related expense, whether it be train the trainer or end user training this is money well spent.|
NetSuite customizations are utilized to automate processes and/or address gaps with native NetSuite functionality. When it comes to NetSuite customizations, you have two options, SuiteScripting and SuiteFlow.
SuiteScripting allows developers to create flexible business logic within NetSuite tailored to a particular business need. SuiteScripting can be used to automate business processes or write entirely new applications.
SuiteFlow enables non-technical users to set up workflows with a point-and-click, drag-and-drop interface. No coding involved!
|Pro tip: I’d suggest setting aside $0-10k for customizations for the initial implementation. NetSuite is robust enough that many times GAP’s are minimal and require little to zero coding. However in industries that NetSuite does not focus on or businesses that have very unique process, expect to allocate more budget to customizations.|
The bottom line...
Once you factor in the following cost (discovery & analysis, configuration & deployment, data migration, integration, customization and training) the majority of SMB's should be under $100k but north of $25k for their NetSuite implementation. If your looking for a partner to work with, let's talk or feel free to check out our blog on NetSuite Solution Providers with a list of partners and contact details.