“I’m not gonna fight this thing.”— Larry Ellison – NetSuite co-founder referring to Cloud Computing, Sept 2008
Welcome to my NetSuite advice blog, glad to have you here. If you’re here, chances are you are looking for help using NetSuite. If your experience is like mine, you might feel that your company is underutilizing NetSuite’s capabilities, or you are confused about some feature, or you have already determined that NetSuite’s native ability doesn’t quite achieve a particular need and therefore are looking to go beyond the standard functions with some customization. The purpose of this blog is to bring “order to the chaos”, and to help the NetSuite user community in the following three ways:
- We’ll explain NetSuite’s features and “best practices”, in ways perhaps not adequately described in SuiteSolutions or NetSuite help articles.
- We’ll describe how scripting and custom solutions can overcome limitations in the standard NetSuite offering.
- We’ll compare different approaches to solving business challenges and give some context so that users can make better decisions about how they use NetSuite.
NetSuite is an extremely powerful tool, yet because it is designed to be useable by anyone with basic computer skills, it is built with assumptions and parameters that do not fit every company or use case. Nevertheless, it is highly extendable with scripting and custom work. Sometimes the trick to getting the most out of it is to strike the right balance between modifying company practices to fit NetSuite’s intended model, vs. modifying (customizing) NetSuite to fit existing company practices. There are no hard and fast rules about this, as it depends on many factors such as company size, budget, user skills, and requirements, however, my personal approach can best be summarized by the quote from Larry Ellison at the top of this article. “Don’t fight the thing”. Larry was referring to cloud computing generally, but I think the same can be said about decision making about customizing. Here are some basic questions company decision makers might ask themselves when evaluating whether to customize:
- Does NetSuite have an out-of-the-box solution for what we are seeking to do? Precisely which parts fall short of our needs?
- What is the underlying reason for the practices we have? Are they required to serve a business need? To satisfy regulatory requirements? Because “that’s how we always did it”? What would happen if we changed?
- Are we trying to go against the grain of core NetSuite functionality?
Asking these questions often can help companies better refine their true objectives and allows for deliberate and mindful decisions. It often pays to invest in time getting to the bottom of these types of questions before launching NetSuite development projects. An hour’s worth of planning can save many more hours of “fine-tuning” after a project is already underway.
My name is Meir Bulman, I am a CPA with some 10+ years’ experience as a NetSuite Administrator and Controller, and a Yardi implementor. (Yardi is a cloud-based ERP software geared for the Real Estate sector.) In January 2018 I decided to focus on NetSuite and to put my knowledge and real-world experience to help others deepen their understanding of NetSuite and extend the ways in which they use it. I’ve joined an extremely talented team of 20+ consultants at Prolecto Resources, Inc. led by its founder, Marty Zigman. Our clients are diverse in their industries, corporate culture, and geography; but are similar in their understanding that NetSuite can dramatically enhance their accounting and operations efficiency.