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Gene Hammons
Director at ProfitFromERP
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Carries a broad range of applications, specifically in the field services area
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is that it works according to how the Internet works."
  • "What needs to be improved is the development in the other areas and other businesses that can use NetSuite."

What is our primary use case?

NetSuite ERP has been exploding in all kinds of young and up-and-coming businesses using manufacturing. We pioneered some use in pharmaceutical manufacturing; we've seen it in general business. A lot of our e-commerce companies are using the NetSuite platform — a lot of startups. Five of every eight companies that went out for IPO two years ago were NetSuite customers. It's very big in the startup community in California. A lot of newer tech companies are using it, but a lot of standard older traditional companies have begun using it, too. Over the last year, we've done some furniture distributors, we've done nutraceutical manufacturing, we've done companies that import and build electric scooters and leisure products like bicycles, etc. We've seen it in financial groups, as well.  

In short, it carries a broad range of applications, specifically in the field services area. We've seen some construction companies move into it. We've got a group that does large AV installations. They will do a theater or an auditorium or a stadium; they handle all of the server-based audio-visual signal processing and large screens and large speaker systems for public consumption, etc. They'll have these million-dollar projects that they put together in their facilities, in a manufacturing type environment test, and then do all of the engineering there, and then they will send crews all over the world to implement these. That's kind of the field service part.

I worked with some of the largest NetSuite resellers in the world — they're partners of mine. We're affiliated and we use each other's services, but we're not financially tied. We see everything, including startups, that maybe pre-revenue, started to use NetSuite. They know when they go out to raise funds that the investors look at that and say, "Hey, these guys have really got their financial house in order. We feel good trusting you guys". What Oracle does, is they say that, from zero to $250 million a year, we approach them with NetSuite over $250 million a year. We'd like them to be looking at Oracle fusion.

However, with our partners, we go into $500 million and $700 million companies. We put in NetSuite plus. We may be doing a variety of products in that type of setting, but NetSuite is the core product there, and they're very successful with it. The thing about made-for-cloud software is that NetSuite was released in 1992, and a lot of the development took place in the '92 to '96 era. We were beginning to change the way we did software. This is when iPhone started coming out, etc. The name NetSuite refers to the fact that you have a network suite of products that you can use. There are apps in the NetSuite Suite cloud app store that companies can buy. This is very difficult to explain to new users because using multiple pieces of software has always been a nightmare.

It's been problematic. You have different products giving you different versions of the truth. You've got problems keeping them tied in together and integrated. You've got different release schedules, you've got customization. It's just been a nightmare and everybody has a bad view of that. What I tell my clients is, "How many of you guys have a phone in your pocket?" I'll say, "Do you like the customizations on your phone?" They'll reply, "What are you talking about? There's no customization on my phone". I'll respond, "Every one of those apps is a customization". They'll fire back, "No, it's not, it's on the phone". That's exactly how NetSuite approaches the suites of products. They open their technology app, they allow outside developers to develop functionality. They test, approve, and do quality control before release. When you buy one of these apps and there's an app for field services that fits in, plus services, it's so different. It's really hard for any product to fit everything in.

You look at this particular app and if it fits, you licensed the app, and it's just another tab inside your NetSuite system. You can't tell that you're in another product. The screens look the same, the integration is already taken care of on the backend. You don't have to deal with any of that. One time, Adaptive Insights was sold as a NetSuite advanced financials package. People did not know it was not NetSuite advanced financials. All they knew was, that their FPNA reports were on one tab, and their regular basic reports are in another reporting area. That being the case, we have gone into situations where people were (this was before the merger) paying $1,000,000 a year in maintenance charges to a tier-one software group. We were able to duplicate the functionality and improve it in several areas.

I'm not saying it was as good and in every area, but in several areas, key areas, it worked much better. We were able to implement NetSuite and the apps and the integrations for under $500,000 for the entire new system. That was a net savings of $500,000 a year. It was more modern technology, it was working better for them. Plus, they didn't need a team of three, tier-one experts on staff to manage the system. There were some huge losses there for a large organization. What I'm talking about is one of the more difficult concepts for today's IT groups to understand, because frankly, they've been through nightmares of software modification and customization. It's been a bad idea and it hasn't worked out well, but those were products that were created back in the '80s and the early '90s.

Those are pre-internet era technologies that were proprietary. ERP vendors used to want to be proprietary because that way, nobody could copy their software. It was considered a security measure against somebody duplicating the discs and reselling them. Today, the Internet is the integration tool that you're using — what could be more open than that? Now, the idea is, let's open this up to everybody. Let's let everybody develop on it. That's, what's made Salesforce so strong, and that's what has made NetSuite so strong. 

Through all of this, you have to remember that there were no cloud-based ERP systems. Everybody was terrified to put their financial data into this cloud thing everybody was talking about until NetSuite came along. Now, NetSuite has roughly 22,000 companies using it. Every single ERP vendor in the world now has a cloud version to try and compete with NetSuite. The problem is, if I call Salesforce today or NetSuite tomorrow and say, "Hey, I want to license this, here's my credit card". In 20 minutes, if there's a system provision for me ready to use, I'm ready to go. 

How has it helped my organization?

We do a very in-depth financial analysis before we let our customers look at software. We had a smallish client-company — a $14 million company. They were looking at NetSuite and a couple of other products. We put together what we call our cost revenue model that shows how they can cut costs and how they can increase revenue using the new software. They were very amazed to learn that we projected that over three years, they'd save or make $7 million. This opened their eyes to the possibility of ERP and things of that sort. They took a look at our findings in our spreadsheets and our models and everything like that and took it all in.

I circled back three years later to find out if they followed the model. Did they follow our recommendations? Did they achieve the projected savings and see their revenue increase? As a matter of fact, they had not, they did not follow the model. They said, however, that this really opened their eyes regarding how they could use this software and how they could make it pay for itself. In fact, they had doubled the size of the company in three years. They'd gone from a $14 million company to a $30 million company. They were also in negotiations to do a couple of acquisitions in Japan and Australia that would make them a $60 million company the following year. In doubling the size of the company, they had added one new person to the finance office to help with that. Two weeks later, I was in another company that was using QuickBooks and they were about the same complexity and they were a $30 million company.

They had 13 people in their finance office. I said, "Why are you doing this?". It was because they needed that many people to manage the spreadsheets, to manage and understand where their inventory was, and to understand the operations that were going on out in the field — that type of thing. So, they implemented and they were able to, by attrition, cut down to 10 people in the finance office, and they converted three of them to outside analysts or department managers to go work in other functions like that. That was a big deal.

We had a charter school that was running off a Sage 300 system. The way they handled purchasing at all of their schools, was the school principal would maintain a spreadsheet and he would fill out purchase orders for things that they needed. Then they would upload the purchase order file to a SharePoint server and at headquarters, an alert would say a new file has been uploaded to SharePoint. One of the accounting clerks would download the file and type it into the Sage 300 system. 

This created a dual purchasing system, where there was a purchase order number at the school. There was a purchase order number in the Sage system. They had to work around that and they had to reconcile that. We put them into cloud-based software. As we were going through the NetSuite implementation, I said, "Why are you maintaining two purchasing systems?" They said, "Well, we can't afford for every principal to become a user". So, I said, "There is a limited edition user license that allows you to do purchasing and you can buy them in blocks of five, for $99". So, they put all the principals on the system — many of them. They would later become full users because they were able to access data on their school's performance, etc. 

Within 90 days into implementation, they were rolling out. They had two areas: some international schools and some US schools. As they were rolling out the international schools, 90 days into the implementation, I asked, "How's it going? What's happening?" They said everything was fantastic. They said, "What we used to do, was every time we added a new school, we added a new person in the accounting office". They said, "Now, with the principals putting in all their purchasing information, we have more accountants than we need". They acquired three schools just before going live, and they didn't have to hire three people. I said, "What are you paying those people?". They say, "Well, roughly $60,000 to $65,000 a year". That was $180,000 in savings within the first 90 days of using the product.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it works according to how the Internet works. Companies are also able to use it for a variety of workflows and to get people that normally weren't involved in financials into using the system to coordinate all areas of the business. I know that sounds like a mouthful, but what we realized with NetSuite is that a lot of times, when we would be in situations where clients are looking at demos, they'll say, "Okay, we want to see how this works, show us a journal entry". Well, the journal entry is very similar to every other traditional ERP journal entry because they're accounting journals. But when it comes down to logging on and seeing the things that I need to take care of today, and when I improve something, it appears on somebody else's desktop. Being able to report, not only on financial matters but on business issues as well, opens up the product to a whole new level of people.

The statistics that Oracle likes to put out, show that NetSuite companies grow at five times the rate of the S&P 500. This is misleading because the types of companies that are interested in being efficient, moving forward, and being dynamic, are the types of companies that will select NetSuite in the first place. Yes, they have a much higher rate of growth than the average company out there, but I don't know that that's because they're using NetSuite or because that's the kind of company that would be attracted by something like NetSuite. 

What needs improvement?

Evan Goldberg, the gentleman that created NetSuite, had worked at Oracle. Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle had provided seed money to start out and Larry actually owned a large part of the stock. NetSuite pioneered this whole system and two years ago, Oracle said we want to acquire you guys. Oracle was a little bit late to cloud computing and NetSuite offered them the ability to have a large cloud presence.

Oracle realized that NetSuite has been a huge success in The United States — it's been wonderful. But Oracle is a worldwide company. So they decided to take their development teams and development budgets and pushed into new countries and created new country versions and multicurrency versions. They also decided to move into new industries. So they started doing lots of development for NetSuite.

In the two years since Oracle re-acquired NetSuite, they took on Hyperion, which is one of the leading FP&A Solutions in the world. They created a NetSuite version of it. So, what needs to be improved? There's a lot of development in a lot of areas and a lot of markets that haven't been served.

One of the things that I did, was I had all of my clients going into NetSuite and they were loving it. Still, I also had a lot of pharmaceutical clients, pharmaceutical manufacturers that could not use cloud-based software because it was hard to validate. Not to mention, NetSuite puts out a new version every six months. What we thought were the validation protocols, would not allow us to do that.

For years and years, Pharma has been version-locked into the old system because they don't want to revalidate. Well, we found a way around that and we started moving into the pharmaceutical industry, aerospace, and defense. The security issues related to national security have stated that we can't use cloud software unless it's encrypted. But now the Department of Defense has started saying, "Hey, NetSuite is. We're not seeing security breaches into the data or anything like that".

There's a lot of areas like that, that NetSuite has to mature and grow into. What needs to be improved is the development in the other areas and other businesses that can use NetSuite, but it's rapidly coming about. Five years ago, certain companies, like Pharma specifically, would come and tell us they would like to use NetSuite. We'd have to tell them that we don't do that. Please search elsewhere. They would say, "But our CFO used to work in a company that has NetSuite. He thinks he can do it. He wants to do it". By pushing the market like that, NetSuite got into a lot of areas that they wouldn't have broken into previously, but people had used NetSuite before and they loved it. A lot of it's been driven by the market itself and the development is catching up.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working in ERP since 1995. We saw NetSuite come on the scene around 2002. We did not see our clients adopting cloud-based software until after Salesforce was predominant around 2009 to 2010. We really saw the product begin to be used by many of our clients around 2014. Now, pretty much all we do is cloud-based software or ERP. We focus on the made-for-cloud products, but NetSuite accounts for probably 50% to 60% of those deals.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The growth is phenomenal. Pre-pandemic, they were advertising that they had 18,000 companies using it. The latest figure I saw was 22,000. They had a down year comparatively last year because NetSuite has been growing year over year at a rate of 30%. When I say a down year, that means I think they'd only grown by roughly 14%. So, the stability is there. The product is such a category killer. I mean, Oracle paid 9 billion to re-acquire NetSuite and one of its close competitors, Sage Intacct. Sage spent 700 million to acquire that company.

With Oracle standing behind it, it's very, very strong financially with the user groups — the user base that's now using it. It's very strong. One of the things that we're dealing with right now is that we get calls like, "I'm a new CFO at a company and I've used NetSuite before. I already know how to use it, just turn it on and let me use it".

There's more to the setup than that. It's not that quick. It's not that instant. You have to sit down and go over it with these guys and say, "Look, here's what went into using that system that you liked and you loved. There was a lot more behind the scenes that you didn't see in the last place you worked". Still, people move around from job to job and they remember how well NetSuite worked in a previous situation and that's what they want to go with in the future. I think that says more about it than anything else.

I believe in the forward-moving state of it. I worked in ERP for 20 some odd years. I've worked with Sage, Microsoft, Lawson, Infor, and Loharts, and many other companies — they're good products. Companies can be very successful using those products but it's just old-school technology. 

I was always waiting for somebody to come out with ERP 2.0. I don't know if NetSuite is fully an ERP 2.0, but I do know that they've come closer to it than anybody else has. Everybody's trying to reach this level — it's just very stalled. People want cloud software, but the fact that it's on the cloud doesn't mean anything. What matters is, was this developed in 1995, or was it developed back in 1982 in a DOS version, which we then ported to a Windows version, which we then ported to a client-server version, which we then ported to another version? Now, we've taken this whole spaghetti mess of code and thrown it up onto the cloud.

So many of these products, you look at them and they look like windows XP. People are no longer willing to use a system that has such old clunky technology because they're used to everything else in their life working easily on their computer and having it integrated. They're used to the iPhone being able to do things that it was never designed to do because it's got an app on it. It's just so much different. So, will NetSuite have actual competitors? I think there will be companies that do develop new technology and stuff like that. It takes years to catch up in the ERP world, but there will be people that do modern development and that will eventually emerge as competitors to NetSuite. Intacct and Acumatica are two of the ones that are closer than anybody else, and those are good products. We'll use those guys in a lot of different ways. A lot of our clients like those.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are situations where a company will move out of NetSuite into tier-one when they're a $2 billion company or something. The fact that you can afford tier-one products at $2 billion is a completely different situation than trying to afford that when you're a $400 million symphony. The product scales well into hundreds of users. There are situations where you're going to find you need this tier-one customization, etc. Still, that's not for years and by that time, you'll be able to afford that. 

How are customer service and technical support?

One of the things I like is that when I get a new client, there are so many videos and training opportunities. I try to have my clients trained before the consultants show up. I like the way that they support that. Some people like the direct implementation teams. Some are really good, some are average. We really focus on getting the right implementation partner for our clients; somebody that has industry-specific, experience. But that aside, the support is really good. It's 24/7 and people like that. We don't hear our clients complaining about that.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

There are thousands of differences between NetSuite and other ERP solutions. With NetSuite, anytime you see a page of data, you can export it to Excel. Not only can you export it to Excel, but what comes across are the values and the formulas. If you have a column that's adding up for example, what you sold the product for minus the cost of goods sold, this equals your net value. What you get in the spreadsheet is that same formula referring to those same figures right there and it's a huge time saver for people.

Now, traditional ERP has gotten better at some of their tables; you're now able to export to Excel with some of them. But when you come across it, it's just a flat value and things like that. These accountants that work in spreadsheets all day long love this. You can change your spreadsheet and you can create it so it uploads into NetSuite and you can have a spreadsheet-type system that feeds in and puts data into your system, as well as taking it out. That's a huge difference.

There are things like being able to create very simple screens, being able to have a customer. We're sharing a warehouse with one of our providers or we've got a product at a co-packer or someplace where we're taking our product for labeling and putting it in cases — we put them on the NetSuite system. They only see the things that they need to see. But now I know when my partner is running out of labels to put on my bottles and I can put that information into my MRP and I can have a purchase order and drop-ship to them in time for them to have labels for the next manufacturing run.

All of these things tie in together in customer portals. It's great to be able to call a company and try to get somebody on the phone, but if I can look up which invoices I've paid for and understand which ones they've applied it to and everything like that, I'm so much closer to the answer than if I am trying to get somebody on the phone. That's just another way customer service improves everything — when I can give you a portal of exactly what's going on between the two of us.

Those are the kinds of things that really seem to help. Most companies have never had that capability. They've never used it, they don't understand that this is great. Instead of having 50 people call me on the phone today, now I've got three phone calls. How much more work am I going to get done all day? My customers are much happier now. They like working with me because they can find this out rather than buying that from somebody else. Again, I'm sticking with these guys. They're so easy to use.

What about the implementation team?

When you contact a traditional ERP provider it takes them weeks and weeks to configure. We used to buy servers and have them sent to the ERP companies so that they could configure the servers. Then they would ship the servers to the client. This would take weeks. An ERP implementation would take nine months to a year. NetSuite is ready to go tomorrow and you can go through the configuration with your consultants and have it up and running in 90 days.

It's so much easier than it used to be; however, now you turn around and you look at Microsoft's Business Central. They've come out with a cloud version and NetSuite sells for so much less because you don't have a nine-month implementation process. Those implementations, the consultants are now charging $225 to $300 an hour for nine months. So Microsoft comes out with Business Central which they say is cloud-based.

They've only taken the old software and thrown it up onto the cloud. So you still need a nine-month implementation to be able to use Microsoft Business Central. You've still got that huge cost involved with it, and you still have that huge timeframe involved with it. NetSuite started this whole thing but they're doing it differently. You've got all these imitators, but they cannot quite keep up with what they're doing.

We're just scratching the surface of understanding the difference with this approach. We've got so many clients and so many companies that have moved on to this. Yes, we invite the other ERP companies to show their software, but when people get down to it, NetSuite wins nine out of 10 times against traditional software.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

NetSuite has developed new approaches to the market in the last few years. When people buy ERP, it's a competitive situation and the pricing is paramount. People don't want to spend a lot of money upfront on that type of thing — as if we blame them. What NetSuite has gone to, is something called the finances first approach. It says, let's come in. Let's have a small footprint in the organization. We can get a company up and running on the core financials and use it in the business office for about $50,000, which compared to a lot of ERP systems, is very low cost. 

From there, we start to stair-step the project up to increase the functionality that they're using and increase departments that are on the system. What happens is, when people start using the system, they start understanding the system. They began to learn how to roll out these other functions with their own internal people.

They learn to adopt the tool, they understand how it works. Now, you're not saying, "We need this new $30,000 module. It's going to be $100,000 in consulting hours to implement it". It's more like, "We need this $30,000 module, and we may spend $10,000 on outside consultants to help us do it ourselves". That type of thing. There are two things that happen. One, you get instant success because you've got the system up and running and people are beginning to adopt it. They like it, it's successful, it's a valuable tool. That's the first win. The second win is if you get to grow the system. Now that you're using it, you understand it. This is how it's going to be easier for these people to do their jobs. This is how we can put efficiency into our inventory area, or we can put efficiency into our supply chain group, or we can help out our field service reps with information on an iPad.

This is how we're going to do that — it helps people. Instead of this instant digital transformation, it's this continual rollout of better and better technology. When they see the results that a client likes, the service levels better, it makes a lot more sense. It's so much easier than this big, huge two-year implementation that some of these software providers come at the client with.

That's a hard decision for any company to make. "We're going to be doing this, and we're not totally sure that it's going to work for us. But what if our people don't like using it; aren't there are a lot of things that could go wrong?" Then they just sit there with paralysis by analysis. When they can sit there and say, "Okay, we can start this, this NetSuite rollout. We can get the accounting office on it. We'll be up and running in 90 days, we're going to have better reports. We're going to have better financials. We're going to have all this stuff, we're going to have all these instant wins. How do we get 10% more out of the sales this year? How do we get drive costs down next year?" You've got all of these projects that you can expand your company on moving forward. 

What other advice do I have?

Our number one piece of advice is to understand the business case and to understand what you're looking at. If you're looking at putting in an updated ERP system — that's good, that's new software. Everybody likes new technology. That's great. If you're looking at saving $7 million over three years, that's a completely different project. Now, if we know that this is what's possible, and we can see that we're going to get there, what makes up that $7 million? It's $30,000 in savings in this department, $70,000 in that department, all of that. If we, understand that on a deep level, we've got people, we can get them to buy-in. We don't want you to just look at this project because it's an extra work thing. We're going after a $7 million goal, we need you, we need your talent on this project.

It changes everything. That's the most important thing. You need to understand how the technology is going to save you or make you more money. That is when you can put the right amount of resources into the right parts of the product. If you're going after inventory savings, how are we going to use NetSuite to do this? What other products are out there that tie into NetSuite that are going to help us? We spent another $50,000 on scan guns to make it that much quicker, that whole business case answers all of those questions. That's always our first step — to understand that. That will tell you that, yes, NetSuite is the right product for me. Or, maybe we need to go after something else that does warehousing a little bit better than NetSuite.

Understand, everybody has capabilities, but certain businesses, their idea of warehousing is similar to Super Store Industries — they used to work there. These guys had 200 trucks coming in and out of a California warehouse every day. That's different than four shipments that add my five-day loading dock. Warehousing to them means a whole different thing. We need to understand that on a level of what exactly are we talking about here? How much are we spending the way we're doing it now? And what's it going to save us when we get it done?

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give NetSuite a rating of eight — there is a reason why they're doing so well.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Independent Consultant
Harry Paulison
VP of Operations at a manufacturing company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5
Customizable with great integration capabilities and very good stability
Pros and Cons
  • "The ability to customize it to create custom fields that are reportable, and then to be able to write script behind it to automate other processes that might otherwise be manual is great."
  • "If you were to use standard costs, it doesn't handle standard costs well."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution to run our entire organization from beginning to end. We started with the CRM for opportunities and leads prospects. We also customized it with custom fields to make separate line items and then used that to spit out reports on calculations of gross margin expected based on those opportunities. 

We could have multiple line items underneath specific opportunities as the opportunity information's collected at the header level. We would generate sales orders based on approved quotations and a customer PO and we would put in a sales order. The way we configured it was just before we put the sales order in, we would enter all the item information. We would go into the item master, set it up with the associated vendor who was going to provide that material. That way, when you put the sales order in and you selected that item, and you completed and saved it, it would automatically generate the purchase orders without having to reenter all that information.

How has it helped my organization?

The product would see the sales order, understand the requirement, and it would generate demand, and then generate purchase orders. It could also generate work orders if it had a labor component associated with it. From the work order, you could generate POs. Basically, it saved a lot of redundant entries from that perspective. It saved us time and allowed for customizations that helped us with workflows.

In the sales orders, we were able to create custom fields so that we could measure our performance against promise dates. What we did was we created custom fields and there was some scripting behind that, which is one of the reasons we used NetSuite. We could put in the customer's original expected date, what our promise date was, and then measure against how we performed. 

If that date was missed, we could then, in a third data field, put in the new date and a reason code. We made that mandatory, so that this way if any dates changed, we knew why. We were able to measure vendor performance against those dates, customer changes against those dates, and our performance against those dates. It was very helpful from that perspective. Having good dates allowed us to also do better cash projections in terms of shipments and invoicing.

It saves paperwork down the line. The only purchase orders that had to be done by purchasing were those that were planned. We had ongoing projects, yet only the planned orders needed to be purchased. Rather than reduce headcount, we were able to take the buyer who was working on the planned or the non-planned purchases and retrain them as an inventory analyst, so that we could focus more on the planned purchases. 

It enabled us to really align the skillsets and the needs that we had as the business evolved as a result of the digital transformation. It really facilitated that ability without having to add headcount. We simply retrained. We didn't need to reduce headcount as all part of a growth strategy.

What I would also add is that it not only saves redundant entry there, but it saves redundant entry as it goes through to the fulfillment side on the logistics as all the information's already there. There's nothing to be reentered. When it comes to the invoicing, again, there's nothing to be reentered. It's all pulled from the sales order. In the end, you have a 360-degree view of all the related documents. Finding related records, POs, sales orders, invoices, fulfillment records was easy due to the fact that they were all connected.

What is most valuable?

It helped reduce redundancies in workflows by at least 25% or so.

It's easy to find records, POCs, sales orders, et cetera, as they are all connected.

We didn't have to add headcount or lose employees. We simply retrained them using this process.

The solution saves us a lot of time. It automates a lot of processes.

It allows us to track every aspect of an order to learn about if we are meeting deadlines and why/why not so we can further adjust our processes.

The solution is very good with integration. We were able to integrate DocuSign with NetSuite. That gave us another layer of automation that allowed us to get digital signatures. We did not have to take a lot of extra steps - such as printing, signing, scanning, reattaching, sending via email, et cetera. The system also allowed us to email automatically directly out of the system. We aren't constantly having to jump out of the system to do other processes. It was all contained and thus the communications stayed with those transactions. It really greases the skids all the way through.

We could work in multicurrency, which is what OneWorld allows you to do. It also allows you to have different setups for different city areas based on the company structure that you use. We were able to add and manage multiple virtual warehouses. You can have as many as you want. 

The reporting is user-friendly. You could create any kind of reports you wanted. 

The dashboards allow you to have all that information available to you as soon as you log in. For example, in accounting, once fulfillment is done, they know exactly what can be invoiced as it would show up in a saved search list and they knew exactly which ones they could invoice. If you set the dashboards up correctly, it provides that information at a glance along with financial reports and other things that it provides.

The ability to customize it to create custom fields that are reportable, and then to be able to write script behind it to automate other processes that might otherwise be manual is great. For example, we had a situation where there were certain fields that need to be updated as a result of other fields. What we did was we created custom fields so that if that field got updated, a script would run overnight. It got updated and it would go and populate the other field, which would normally have to be a manual process. Instead of having to compare and make updates, the system was doing it automatically, saving additional time. With all that time that we saved, we were able to redeploy to customer-facing activities, which were more important rather than maintenance of the system.

Its ability to maintain those customizations in that scripting, upgrades, and updates to the system notwithstanding, was phenomenal my experience previously was anytime you made customizations and there was an upgrade, things would get wonky. In NetSuite, that doesn't happen as they're upgrading the core functionality and you get that as a user, which they do twice a year. You never have to worry, however, as all your scripts and customizations are never touched. They're not impacted by those changes, which is really a great benefit to anybody who's been down that road.

What needs improvement?

There are different inventory evaluation methods that you can use with NetSuite. It natively does average costs all the time. It does that just fine, however, if you were to use standard costs, it doesn't handle standard costs well. It's not a very sophisticated process handling standard costs. That's one caution I would make. If you're using standard costs, you really have to be very aware of that. This is one of its weaknesses. It does it, but it doesn't do it well.

The other problem that we had, or the other challenge that we had, was some of the MRP functionality was cumbersome. In 2020, the update of NetSuite that took place in September, they addressed a lot of that through the supply chain control tower. That made it more automated. They added a number of automated supply chain features, which supposedly addressed that issue, however, how well it addressed it, I'm not clear.

For how long have I used the solution?

We migrated from a legacy system to NetSuite and we went live on it in my previous company in 2020. I used it for a year after implementing it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I find it very stable. They come out with a lot of the upgrades on a twice a year basis, March and September, which really address issues that they know that they have. It's a product that continues to improve and get better. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable and I find it to be pretty easy to work with. It's very intuitive, it's easy to navigate, and that helps on the training and adaptability side or adoptability, I should say, due to the fact that most users fight change.

However, when the change is made easy; they adopt it much faster. I would say that a good number of our employees had adopted it very, very quickly.

It's totally scalable. For small to medium-sized businesses, I would say that you can go into this product knowing that you can use it easily for the next five to seven years without issue unless your business model changes dramatically and requires something specialized. 

I'd say outside of that, you could easily get into this system and use it for a very, very long time, due to the fact that they just keep improving the product and the features and the benefits from those features are what everybody's looking for, which is probably why it's going in three to one to any other ERP system.

In the last environment I worked with we had about 60 users.

I'm considering using NetSuite in my current company. We have currently about 15 users, which may go to 18 or 19. That said, it's a product that we will never outgrow. No matter how much we grow, we won't outgrow it. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I would say technical support is very good. We didn't use it that much due to the fact that we used our integration consultants. We had a number of phases where we were optimizing the system. Therefore, a lot of our support came from them. It was rare when we had to go to NetSuite directly because of that.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did previously use a different solution. It was a legacy system that we migrated off of.

It was difficult to navigate. Information was hard to find and reports were done in Crystal. Unless you know how to write Crystal Reports, you constantly had to get a consultant to write reports for you. There were no dashboards. It was a client-server product being hosted in the cloud, so it didn't function really well as you also had to host a database. That setup gets clunky, which meant the performance was not great. As a result, trying to get information out, you're constantly having to do VLOOKUPs in Excel to get SQL information out and then massage and change it. It's was just very problematic. That legacy system really had to go. It was very labor-intensive doing any kind of entry. It was just sucking up a lot of time.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. Even the customizations that we made, we were able to identify some ahead of time and we incorporated them as part of our implementation right in the live system. I would say, in condensed timing, we were able to migrate from a legacy system and get NetSuite up and running at about seven months, which is outstanding.

Our deployment plan was basically to scrub our existing data. We made sure that we stuck to the scope of the project - the things that we had to have live such as the functionality, the movement of data from one place to the other, making sure that the setups and the reports were there, and that the training and the testing were done. We stuck pretty closely to our strategy and plan for a go-live. Just a couple of days after we moved all of our ending balances from one system into NetSuite, we tied them out as beginning and ending balances. We were able to then start to process. 

For the most part, it was good. It wasn't exactly seamless. Everybody says seamless, however, nothing's seamless. It went as well as you can possibly imagine as most of these migrations usually take a year or more. I've been involved in a number of them over the course of time and this was pretty quick. I would also say that our consultants or integrators were very, very good. They were like an extension of us, which was a critical factor.

What about the implementation team?

I handled the implementation of this solution. 

I was the VP of operations, so I was also the acting project manager internally. I used a consulting company as my migration folks. 

They were excellent and they really helped streamline the process so that we were able to roll out pretty fast. I'm already working with them again on another project. They work well with our team.

What was our ROI?

My previous company definitely saw benefits. Just to know our ability to be able to really change our processes and to establish some discipline within those workflows and all the other benefits made it worth the investment. There's tremendous value in it as a long-term investment. The more you use it, the more you leverage it, the more value you get out of it. That proposition never really ends, it all depends upon if the users and the company really make the most of that solution once they've invested in it. It's an ongoing process; it just doesn't end. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's a bit pricey. It's probably at the higher end. I wouldn't say it's exorbitantly expensive, however, it's not inexpensive. It's certainly higher priced than Acumatica. We felt, for what we wanted to do, it was really the best solution and so we were okay with the cost.

They did work with us on price. We got some discounts and we worked through some additional things where we got some additional discounts. They did work with us to improve the cost value proposition. That said, it is still on the higher side of some of those other solutions.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at other solutions before choosing this product.

We looked at Acumatica, which at that time would have been 2019. We felt Acumatica wasn't quite there yet in terms of features and functionality. Although now, I would say that's changed a bit as they've been chasing NetSuite and they've improved a lot. We looked at some other systems such as Epicor, IQMS, we looked at Sage Intacct. We looked at Microsoft Dynamics, as well, however, it's a different kind of a partial solution. It wasn't really the kind of solution that we were looking for.

I'd say Acumatica and NetSuite are very much the same. Customization in Acumatica may be slightly more challenging. One uses the Oracle database, NetSuite, obviously versus Acumatica, which is just an SQL database, which, at the end of the day, makes no big difference. At this particular juncture, there are only very few differences between the Acumatica and NetSuite products. Although at the time, Acumatica wasn't quite there yet in terms of usability, their MRP and demand planning functionality was very cumbersome. The reporting also was not as robust as it is now. 

The Acumatica Cloud ERP and NetSuite were pro for the cloud; they were built for the internet. So they work really well because they're native to the cloud. And I think that's probably some of the key reasons as performance matters. People get impatient. It takes minutes to get things done versus seconds. That time matters. That's why the cloud is preferred.

What other advice do I have?

NetSuite by definition is a subscriber, full subscriber cloud product. You can't host it. It's not offered to be hosted on-premise.

I would say most of the users really, really like it. They felt it was a major improvement over what we had previously and the visibility that it provides you with really helps you understand exactly what's being processed in the workflows, which is critical.

I would advise other organizations to make sure it's a good match for your processes. For companies that already have a process that they need to stick with, they need to carefully review the way that the workflows in NetSuite work as they may have to change the way they work versus changing the system to work the way they want to. That's not going to be to everybody, however, a good first step is to really analyze and make sure that it works for you or you can adapt the system. For us, it was a very good match and we were able to make certain customizations that were not crazy, which really helped us a lot. And we wanted some of the discipline that came with a bit of the rigidity that NetSuite can be known for. 

If you're not going to use all those features, there are different ways that you can buy NetSuite. You can buy its core and you can bolt other products onto it. It's possible to integrate certain other applications that are specific to, let's say, an Expensify for travel and expense or DocuSign for digitally signing documents, those are all easy integrations. Those kinds of things make the product very attractive as they're not trying to lock out anything; they're actually facilitating it, which is great.

We've been extremely happy with the solution. 

I would rate it at a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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