What is NetSuite – Where to go from here

This article is the final article in the What is NetSuite series. We have covered a lot of material from a high level and hopefully we have given you a good start to understanding what NetSuite is and what some of its capabilities are. With a product this big we cannot possibly cover every piece […]

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This article is the final article in the What is NetSuite series. We have covered a lot of material from a high level and hopefully we have given you a good start to understanding what NetSuite is and what some of its capabilities are. With a product this big we cannot possibly cover every piece of it in a series of articles like this, nor can we go into each piece in depth. If you want to get more information on NetSuite the following resources can help. Books: There are not a lot of books written about NetSuite yet, though I suspect more will be coming as the product continues to grow. As of the time of this writing, there are actually only two books available specifically about the system.
  • First is “NetSuite for Dummies” by Julie Kelly, Luke Braud and Malin Huffman. While I am not generally a fan of the For Dummies series, I did find the book to provide a lot of groundwork for understanding NetSuite. For the business user, this book covers some of the technical aspects of the system, which will allow you to work with it more easily, and also understand common terms and settings in how the system is setup. For the technical user, the book also covers many business topics about how and why NetSuite operates the way it does. This book is now about four years old though, and therefore some of the functionality in the system has changed, and there are certain aspects to the system which are not covered since they were not around when the book was written.
  • Second is “NetSuite OneWorld Implementation 2011 R2” by Thomas Foydel. The purpose of this book is to walk you through a typical new implementation of NetSuite OneWorld. Just because it is intended to walk you through an implementation does not mean that there is not a lot of useful information in the book if you have already implemented. In fact quite the contrary is true since this book simply takes the organizational approach of a new implementation in an effort to cover all the main areas of the system. I really do not like the fact that OneWorld is in the title of this book, since most of the subject matter it covers is applicable to the standard edition of NetSuite and some of it applicable to the CRM edition. It is true that there are certain areas of the book that are not applicable if you are not using OneWorld, such as setting up subsidiaries, but most of the subject matter is applicable. This book is also good for both the business user and NetSuite administrator, and there is an overlap of information in the book.
Both books are available on Barnes and Noble via these links, or the links above: NetSuite Magazine: NetSuite as a company has devoted some resources to creating a free online magazine about their product, appropriately titled “NetSuite Magazine”. The magazine is published on a roughly quarterly basis, with the first publication starting in November of 2011. As I am writing this article (in September of 2014), there are a total of 11 issues of the magazine. These magazines are published by NetSuite so they tend to go over only the highlights or good parts of the system, but there is still a lot of value to them especially if you are new to NetSuite. Two of the best values of the magazine are to highlight what other companies are doing with NetSuite, which may provide you with ideas on how to expand an existing implementation or what can be done later on with the system, and to introduce the reader to the cottage industry that has cropped up around NetSuite. My recommendation would be to download them in PDF format to a tablet or other device and browse through them when you have some downtime. The magazines can be found here (http://www.netsuite.com/portal/email/netsuite-magazine-customers_ss.html), or by using the link above. NetSuite Development Account: If you are brand new to NetSuite, one of the best ways to get to know the system is to get some hands on experience; getting a real account however is a costly proposition. As an alternative you can sign up for a free developer account. (As of 2016 the free developer accounts were no longer available.) This account will come prepopulated with sample data and a typical setup. It is worth noting that the account will be deleted if you ever fail to use if for a period of time, currently about 3 months. For these reasons and a number of others you will not want to use this account for your business and transactional data, but that does not mean you cannot put transactions into the system and test their flow through it. The developer account can also act as a rudimentary sandbox (or test) account if your company is already using NetSuite. If you do not already have a developer account you can navigate to http://www.netsuite.com/portal/developers/sdn.shtml and sign up for one (the link is toward the bottom of the page). They do take about a week to provision so do not be disappointed if you cannot get access immediately, and you do sometimes need to try a couple of times to get the account before it is setup for you. ERP Professor Website: In addition to the links provided on this page, we also have a quite a few videos covering NetSuite Usage Basics, Common Useful Bundles, and out Regular Series - Ask The Professor. We are also adding new content all the time so check back often. Online NetSuite User Forums: Aside from the forums we hope to provide soon on this site, NetSuite also offers a user forum where you can post questions that other community members can help answer. The user forum is a very powerful tool if you want to get a feel for how users of the system view it. I would also keep in mind that many users of the forum are there because of a problem with a system that otherwise works, so you can get a bad taste in your mouth and come out thinking NetSuite sucks which it most certainly does not, though as with any system that is this complex there are bound to be some shortcomings. You do need to sign up for access to the forums, if you are interested navigate to https://usergroup.netsuite.com/ and sign up for a free account. (As of 2017 you must be a NetSuite customer to register for this user group forum.) Local NetSuite User Groups: Want to talk to other NetSuite users and see what they have to say about the system? If so one of the best resources is your local or regional NetSuite User Group or NSUG for short. The NSUG’s are independent groups of NetSuite users, who get together in a sometimes formal and sometimes informal setting to talk about NetSuite. User groups sometimes include training, sometimes include more informal round tables, almost always include some networking, and often mix in a variety of other topics, events or information. Joining a user group and regularly attending the meetings is one of the best things you can do if you use or support NetSuite on a regular basis. Unfortunately I have yet to find a listing of the various user groups, however a quick google search should point you in the right direction; try something like “New York NetSuite User Group” of course substituting where you are from. There is typically a charge to join, however the charge is usually pretty minimal as it is mostly the cost to cover the groups expenses. SuiteWorld Keynotes: If you want to get an idea of where NetSuite is going as a company or as a product, or where they thought they were going a few years ago, one of the best places to look is at their company executives’ keynote presentations from their SuiteWorld conference. SuiteWorld is the annual convention that NetSuite sponsors, which has been around since 2011. During each of the conventions three keynotes are given by NetSuite’s executive team, on three consecutive days, about NetSuite and where NetSuite is going. Links to those keynotes can be found below: SuiteWorld: As mentioned above SuiteWorld is NetSuite’s annual convention which is traditionally held toward the beginning of May. The cost is a little under a thousand dollars for a full pass, and if you have the budget and will be using NetSuite I would strongly recommend you attend. If you plan ahead and are not too worried about having deluxe accommodations, the trip can usually be done for around $1,500 if you are traveling within the United States, if you are frugal. Training Videos: NetSuite provides a number of training videos on their SuiteAnswers site. Unfortunately, you need a NetSuite account to access these, however as mentioned above you can get a community developer account which will allow you to get to these videos, as well as the rest of their help center. Once you have the developer account setup, and you are logged into it you can get to the videos by taking the following actions. First click on the Support menu in the upper right hand corner, the title is Support, not Help; the help will not take you where you need to go. Click the “Visit the SuiteAnswers Site” button which can be located about half way down the page. Click “Training Videos” on the bottom right under “Additional Resources”. From here you can browse many videos that NetSuite has produced that cover various topics about NetSuite. I have found the Training Webinars to be the most helpful of all the videos listed, as well as the Getting Started if you are new to NetSuite. You will find that some videos are put together rather well and are very useful, whereas others seem to be thrown together quickly and have a very poor quality to them overall. Also there are certain areas of the system where there seem to be no training videos available, but there are other areas that are covered very well. SuiteAnswers: In addition to the video training resources provided by NetSuite, there are numerous articles available in the SuiteAnswers portal that will give you tremendous insight into NetSuite as a product. To get to the SuiteAnswers portal see the instructions above for getting to training videos, as they are in the same location. Help documentation: If you are looking for technical information and technical documentation as to how NetSuite works one of the best places to look is in the help documentation. Prior to suite answers the help documentation was one of the only places to get help within the system. The help documentation can be accessed by clicking the help link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Help documentation is context-sensitive meaning that wherever you are in NetSuite when you click the help button you will be immediately directed to the section of the help documentation that is most applicable for where you are working. Help documentation is also fairly well organized with the content falling into the major sections listed in an index. NetSuite’s Training Offerings: As a company NetSuite offers a number of training courses which take place either online or in person, in a small group environment. There are different classes covering a number of subjects, and in general the classes are pretty good. Having gone to a couple of them however I can say that sometimes it can be difficult to keep up as the instructor will try to go through all of the material they need to go through in the limited amount of time they have. While good, these classes are generally not cheap, and for that reason alone I have seen many people not use those offerings. This is especially true if you wish to take the classes in person which means you will likely need to travel. A list of NetSuite’s current training offerings can be found by going to http://www.netsuite.com/portal/services/training/schedule.shtml. Partners: If you are looking for information about how NetSuite can be expanded and the partners you can use to either get extra functionality out of the system or to help with implementation the two best places to start are NetSuite’s Partner Center and their Built for NetSuite Solution Provider List. The Partner Center provides a lot of information about becoming a partner, and lists several of NetSuite’s premier partners; it is helpful to look at this first to determine which partners work most closely with NetSuite, and what it takes to become a partner of theirs so you will have the knowledge of what those partners went and go through to create and maintain their partner status. The second location, the Built for NetSuite Solution Provider List, provides you with a list of many (but not all) of the NetSuite partners available and a brief description of what they do including the services or products they provide. This is a great resource to bookmark as you are learning NetSuite or using the system, as you can later go back to it when you begin to think “Wouldn’t it be nice if NetSuite…” or ask “I wonder if NetSuite can…”. You can get to these resources by going to http://www.netsuite.com/portal/partners.shtml and http://www.netsuite.com/portal/developers/bfn/partners.shtml respectively, or by clicking on the links above. This is the last article in the What is NetSuite series available on this website. Our hope is that this article and the others in this series have provided you with a good understanding of what NetSuite is and what it is capable of. Feel free to leave a comment about this article below, as we would love to know what you think. Lastly we would like to thank you for reading this and all of the other articles in this series. Thank You. --Sam