Choosing an Implementation Partner for your Next NetSuite Project
By Matt Posey, NetSuite Practice Director
The COVID-19 pandemic made companies pause and take stock of their path forward: How they could keep employees safe, how to adjust to changing customer expectations, and whether to scale back or march boldly forward.
We’re seeing many companies continue on with technology infrastructure projects; solutions like NetSuite unite disparate financial, inventory, and other systems under one roof and can deliver huge benefits when it comes to efficiency and profitability.
The Alliance Partner you choose for a NetSuite project’s implementation and integration is essential to the project’s success. The Partner’s skillset and company culture should be evaluated with as much care as you put into selecting the NetSuite technology in the first place. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a NetSuite partner.
Understand what a NetSuite Alliance Partner Provides
A NetSuite Alliance Partner provides consulting, implementation and integration expertise that ensures you get the most out of the NetSuite software. The Partner will manage a project from start to finish, as project advisor through project delivery.
Project advisor: A good NetSuite Alliance Partner knows your industry, understands customer expectations and regulations, and how NetSuite can best meet your needs.
Project delivery: The overall management and execution of your project is the project delivery aspect, which can also include managing contractors and subcontractors. Remote delivery of a project is especially efficient.
Involve the IT Person or Team
IT is a strategic part of the business, although some still view them as mainly a cost center. If you have an IT person or team, it’s important to involve them in any NetSuite project from the beginning. IT can prepare your organization before the project kicks off with a Partner; for example, by ensuring your technology infrastructure is prepped and by helping others understand the impact of the new NetSuite solution. This sort of pre-project work can ultimately save you time and budget.
Ask the Right Questions of your Partner
The process, expertise and services of NetSuite Alliance Partners will vary, so consider these questions to get a better sense of what the Partner can bring to the project.
- Do they think strategically about your project and ask a lot of questions? Having a proactive approach will help them catch potential challenges or obstacles early on – maybe before you even realize them – and solve them faster.
- Does the team have deep experience with NetSuite? Note that expertise doesn’t mean doing the same type of project over and over; it’s about the team’s diversity and creativity, and how that can be applied to your unique situation and needs.
- Is the Partner team made up of employees or primarily contractors? Employees will provide long-term stability over the life-cycle of your partnership. Contractors will come and go throughout the project, and any familiarity with your organization walks out the door when they do.
It’s Important to Evaluate Culture
A culture fit with your Partner is incredibly important. Meet the team and evaluate your interactions with them. Do the Alliance Partner team and your team have a mutual respect and collaborative approach? Does the Partner look at your business holistically and understand how the project will impact other areas, even beyond the stated scope? Or do you get a sense that they work from a strict approach or template?
Dig Deep for References
Some large NetSuite Partners have a lot of contractors that can do many different types of tasks, while others may bring in partners to fill in some gaps. Either way, do your homework when it comes to checking their references. Don’t simply use the ones they give you!
Instead, ask your peers if they have worked with the Partner or ask NetSuite for a list of clients that have worked with them. Then, contact those companies. Here at BTM, we had a prospective client do just that: They called our past clients and we didn’t even know they were considering us for a project! But this sort of detective work is going to reveal an unvarnished look at the Partner’s strengths and weaknesses.
Keep Moving Forward
A lot of industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, yet those that stay strategic and focused on the long term will emerge stronger. Align your organization with the best NetSuite Alliance Partner that can strengthen your position today and help you prepare for the future.