Why go on this journey?
People and organizations are driven to change, to improve. And if they don’t drive it, change will be forced upon them. That’s how life works. The change we initiate, the change we drive, the actions we take, are always (hopefully) for the good.
It’s a journey to improve.
If you’re here, you already know your systems, processes, and maybe even people need improvement.
Allied Cloud knows this because improving systems, processes, and even people (mostly our own) is what we do. We do that through mindful coordination with the best ERP system on the planet, NetSuite.
Choosing a Guide
Changing the most important software in your organization may be one of the most challenging journeys a business can take.
ERP can look like a software jungle. And to make the implementation an enjoyable and successful experience for everyone, you need a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide.
Actually, you need a really, really good guide. Not just one that gets you from point A to point B, but that gets you there safely and with the goals and objectives achieved.
To be successful on this journey, you need a guide you can trust.
Allied Cloud has been migrating clients in all kinds of industries successfully to NetSuite for more than 10 years.
Making the Decision
Migrating your financials and often other applications into one single-source-of-truth is a difficult decision to make. For good reason.
It costs money
It takes time
We get it (we’ve done it, too). But not making the change is usually not an option. The lingering question, then, is when. At the end of the day, only one thing needs to be in place to provide confidence in making the decision.
Trust. Trust in the platform. Trust in your team. Trust in your partners.
Our job is to understand your processes, to partner with and support your team, and to be diligent in the process.
Preparing for Implementation
Ok, so, what is the journey like? How do we organize? How do we prepare? How long is this going to take?
Great questions. We’ll make it simple. There are three critical factors to success. The first is the project manager, or what we call the “OSL”
One Strong Leader.
Not two leaders. One.
Most often, people from different departments will need to be involved somewhere along the way, sometimes all along the way. So the One Strong Leader will need to not only lead the implementation with us, they’ll also need to “herd the cats” so to speak.
Sometimes there is more than one strong leader. Sometimes there are none. You only need one.
Preparing for Implementation
Next, and this is usually the hardest part, make as much of an effort as you can to document your current processes and systems and your team. It might take an hour, it might take a few days, but documentation on your…
…is critical. Can you do more? Sure. You could clean up your COA, de-dupe records and other things, but those are relatively easy to do during implementation.
The Project Manager should be empowered to manage the implementation and get the resources they need from the other team members on a timely basis. Executive support needs to be 100%. Not 99%. 100%. Once the implementation starts, it’s extremely difficult to establish these three important priorities.
What exactly does an implementation entail? How much of your team’s time will it take? How long does it take?
Allied Cloud’s starts aligning with you during the sales process, where we describe our approach and agree with you on the scope, timeline, and phases. When the implementation starts, we’ve discussed all of this.
As long as your project manager is ready, you’ve documented your process, and your leadership is 100% behind the implementation, we are going to succeed. Here are the steps:
Phases of an Implementation
Discovery/Personalization – we’ll learn your specific requirements and personalize the account to accommodate them
Data – we’ll work with you to migrate your customers, vendors, chart of accounts and all other data you need
Walkthroughs –we’ll walk through your processes one by one to confirm NetSuite is set up the way you need
Training – you and your staff will be trained on NetSuite, and will know how to use the NetSuite Learning Cloud Pass during and after implementation
Begin using NetSuite as your new ERP system daily. You’ll continue to enter transactions in your existing system until the two tie out, then you’re finished with your old software.
What to Expect
You should expect the implementation to go smoothly and to be successful. Everyone expects that.
However, no one expects it to go perfectly. That hardly ever happens. We should all expect challenges. Why?
This is ERP. We have a ton of data to move. People don’t like change. And as much as NetSuite or any other software company anticipates the core of most businesses needs, it simply can not cover them all.
Guess when we find out that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies?
That’s right, during implementation.
“Can we expect at least some awesomeness”?
Absolutely. We expect total awesomeness. The good news, big challenges are rare. Even more rare are challenges that can’t be resolved easily and quickly. This is where experience and teamwork come in.
What to Expect: Time
Successful implementations are measured not only by the ability to use and scale with NetSuite, it is also measured by time in the following two ways:
Days To Go Live
How long is this process going to take? How long do we pay for our software before we can actually use it. Generally speaking, we try to bring our clients live in less than 100 days. Sometimes it fewer days, sometimes more depending on the scope. We discuss this with you in the sales process.
Demand on your team.
Dept Managers (hrs/week)
Appoint a Project Manager
Choose a dedicated individual with strong organizational and communication skills. This person will coordinate between the client side and the implementation partner, ensuring alignment on objectives and timelines.
Establish the Project Team
Form a team of representatives from each department. This might include finance, sales, operations, HR, and IT professionals. Ensure each team member understands their role and responsibilities in the implementation process.
Define Goals and Objectives
Conduct workshops or brainstorming sessions to define clear, measurable objectives for the implementation. Outline the expected benefits such as improved efficiency, cost savings, or enhanced customer experience.
Review Current Business Processes
Document all existing workflows, identifying pain points and inefficiencies. Decide which processes can be adapted to fit into NetSuite’s standard functionality and which ones might require customization.
Develop a training plan
Assess the current skill levels of users and identify training needs. Schedule training sessions, ensuring they are spaced out to give users time to digest new information and ask questions.
Establish a timeline and milestones
Break down the implementation process into manageable chunks or phases. Define key milestones, such as completion of data migration or UAT, to help track progress.
We’ll meet with your project manager to kick off the implementation and get the ball rolling! You’ll get to know our team, we’ll do some of the initial account configuration, and then discuss the scope, timeline, and next steps.
We don’t take long to dive straight into data. It’s a major part of the implementation and often takes weeks to complete. We’ll need your Chart of Accounts, Customers, Vendors, Items… probably everything.
We’ll discuss the data migration requirements and steps, provide guidance and templates to help you prepare, then we’ll upload your data and go through a thorough review and validation process.
Discovery and Personalization
During the Discovery sessions, we take a deep dive into your current processes in order to understand the ins-and-outs of your business and how you currently operate. This helps us understand how the account needs to be configured for your needs in the areas of finance, inventory, CRM, project management and more.
As the Discovery sessions move along, we’re making changes to the system based on what we hear, and also configuring it specifically for your business. We’re focused on things like the Chart of Accounts structure, connecting your bank accounts, putting your values in reporting segments such as Department and Location, and customizing forms.
Once the Discovery and Personalization sessions are completed, we’ll move on to Process Walkthroughs to confirm the configuration and start training your core team on the system.
Once the system has been personalized, we will conduct process walkthroughs to validate the configuration and provide initial training:
- Booking AP, AR, Journal Entries and related transactions
- Running reports and searches
- Inventory processes such as item receipts and fulfillments
Throughout the implementation, we will provide training to your core team. Once the system has been fully tested, we will conduct training with end-users in your various departments.
Starting on the 1st of the go-live month, you will begin using NetSuite on a daily basis, while continuing to enter transactions in your current system (double-entry). This will ensure that we have time to move closing balances into NetSuite and to reconcile the two systems at the end of the month.
Finally, we will step through a User Acceptance Checklist to ensure that everything in the project scope has been completed.