NetSuite: A platform for innovation

I’ve been working with the NetSuite software for the past 10 years, and I’m still amazed at how many organizations miss the true strategic value NetSuite brings to their business. When evaluating and implementing the software, organizations are often looking for built-in leading practices. There is nothing inherently wrong with this focus, but it has limited value. Let’s face it, leading practices in ERP software are at least 15-to-20 years old. Adopting these practices may elevate your business to the middle of the pack with your competitors, but it certainly won’t make you number one or two in your industry.

Topping the leaderboard requires innovation. It requires you to think differently for the purpose of creating untapped value. I’m not talking about disrupting channels, or revolutionizing stale business models. I am referring to process innovation that allows you to identify opportunities for efficiency, collaboration, automation, and provides insights not possible with previous technology. This is where NetSuite’s platform becomes a powerful tool. The platform contains several key components, which if applied individually or in combination, create unique and differentiating business processes.

The NetSuite platform contains tools for:

  • Creating and automating workflows
  • Writing scripts to interrogate data and automate based on data results
  • Integrating with other internal and external systems
  • Creating custom records, attributes, and forms
  • Creating custom transactions with general ledger impact
  • Presenting data in visual dashboards
  • Enabling users to follow master and transactional data via a social platform.

The application of these components can range from the simple to the complex. A simple example is the customer credit approval process. Traditionally, this is a very manual and sequential process. Although workflow with email approval routing has brought a level of improvement over the past 15 years, there are tremendous possibilities for enhancement. What if a social tool was applied to the credit approval process? What if a customer account was followed by the sales and accounting team? What if rationales for exceptions were posted within the ERP system rather than lost in individual emails? What if the cycle time for approval was reduced by days due to users following status and acting proactively, rather than waiting for a sequential approval process to complete?

A more complex example of process innovation can be found with a company that takes in customer returns, then inspects, repairs and refurbishes the product. A traditional leading practice requires cumbersome work orders, manual transactions, and reporting. With NetSuite’s platform it’s possible to create a set of custom screens, automated transactions, and general ledger impact. Thus, reducing the transaction cost and contributing to a higher profit for the refurbished product.

With NetSuite’s platform, innovation is created without impacting the software upgrade. The customer gets the benefit of their own innovation, and the software vendor brings with it new features that are included in the upgrade. This two-fold benefit is unparalleled in the industry. It is often missed as a strategic reason for buying NetSuite, as well as not realized during implementation. So why this lack of process innovation? Stay tuned for my opinions in a future blog.

To learn more about NetSuite, reach out to me on social media or connect with me at Oracle OpenWorld 2018, booth #1101.