Hello and welcome to our weekly series, Ask the Professor, where you guys get to ask questions to us about NetSuite, and we will see if we can answer them.
Today’s question comes from Anne. Anne writes, “We are actually looking to migrate away from NetSuite. We are a small company, and have found that NetSuite is much more robust than we need. We do want to export our data for accounting purposes, CRM, and recurring transactions. Do you have any suggestions? Is there a way to make a copy of our data?”
So Anne, I’ve got a few suggestions for you. The first is that we did do a video about backup, and backup would be one of those videos that you should actually go ahead and take a look at, there may be some other suggestions in there. So as far as exporting goes, and switching away from NetSuite, the first thing that I would say is, it’s going to be a little bit difficult. It’s always a little bit difficult switching from any ERP system to another. I certainly understand the thought that NetSuite to very large system. I would give it some serious thought that if you think you’re going to grow in the next few years, you may want to stick with NetSuite, and that’s just because the fact that it’s difficult to switch into and out of any other ERP system. And so sometimes staying with a system that’s a little bit too robust is a good idea down the road, because you don’t have to actually reimplement another system. Now having said that, I’m not going to try to talk you out of leaving NetSuite, but we will talk about things that you can do to help with that transition.
So the first thing that you may find, if you’re looking around NetSuite, is exporting all data, and you can find this under Setup, and Import/Export, and Full CSV Export, down here. Now before you turn off this video, and just do that, and say hey everything’s fine, it probably won’t be. This full CSV export typically does not export all of your data. It exports based on a number of saved searches, and those saved searches typically aren’t configured to begin with to get all the data. Now you can go in, and you can modify those saved searches. And I’ve seen people do this, especially if they use that on a routine basis to archive the data, maybe once a month, or once a quarter, or something like that, sometimes even once a week, but it takes some time to modify those saved searches. If you know the data that you’re looking for, you can actually create those saved searches themselves, and we’ll talk about that in just a moment.
Another option you have, is that NetSuite does have a data retention plan. Now I haven’t looked into this recently, but I did work at a company that did this, and the way that it works is that they provide one or two accounts that can still access NetSuite, it’s read-only, you can’t add anything to it, and it’s not a huge cost. So your data stays in a consistent format for a number of years, and usually they do this for about 3, 5 or 7 years, and at that point the data is no longer relevant, so you’re safe to go ahead and get rid of it. So that’s an option you may want to look into, you may want to talk to your sales rep and see what kind of a deal you can get on that. NetSuite does understand that as software as a service, it’s a little bit more difficult to leave them, and so they provide some services like this, to help for customers that actually do want to leave NetSuite.
So if you’re convinced that you want to leave NetSuite, and you’re not going to use the data retention plan, you can export pretty much all the data by using saved searches. You can get there by going to Reports, Saved Searches, All Saved Searches, and then choosing New, and this gives you the option to create a new saved search for any different type of data that you have in NetSuite. So you can look through these, there’s quite a few, and the list kind of goes on and on. This covers almost all of the records you’ll find in NetSuite, including customized record. So in my instance I have FAM, which is for the fixed asset module, you may have others based on customized records.
Things that I would encourage you to export, include your financial reports, such as your balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows or cash flow statement. You can find these under Reports, Financial, and we’ve got our income statement, our balance sheet, and our cash flow statement down here. Now what I would recommend, and I’m going to go ahead and just open up the cash flow statement. I would recommend that you customize this to export month at a time, so you have your month ends, as well as quarter, as well as year, so you’ve got all the different periods, and you can look and compare those across each other. The other thing you’re probably going to want to export, that’s financial related is under Financial, and it’s your full chart of accounts. You’ll see this up here, chart of accounts, and you’ll want to export this as well, and go ahead and make sure that you’re showing all the inactives up here. And this will help you when you’re looking at the financial statements, to tell what accounts you had, what were closed, and things like that.
I would also talk to your accountant to see if there’s anything else that they recommend you export. And anything that you think is important to export, I’d go ahead and export that. So those could be things like trial balances, and things along those lines. Now I’m not an accountant, so I’m giving you the information that I know. I’ve done a little bit of work with accountants, but those are the basic reports that I would think that you would want to export.
As far as getting your CRM data, I’m assuming you mean customers, and relationships, and things like that. If you go to Lists, Relationships, you can get lists of your leads, prospects, customers, I’d recommend exporting all of those, your vendors, your partners, things like that. And those are going to be a lot more static than the financial reports, so you don’t need to run them for any period of time. In fact you really can’t run them for the period of time. You’ll run them as of the day that you run them and it will give you that entire list.
The real key to exporting things from NetSuite, and to switching from NetSuite to another system, or from any ERP system to another system, is diligence in the records that you need to retrieve. So you’ll want to do a full review of the system, how you use it, how different departments use it, and make sure you know what records they’re using, what data they put in, things like that. That does take some time, but it is well worth the effort, as you’re a lot more likely to get everything that you need out of NetSuite, especially if you decide to go ahead and pull the plug.
The other thing that I would do is, I would pull the plug and stop using NetSuite altogether. Eliminate everybody’s login, everybody’s access to NetSuite, but still technically have it around for a few months, and see what comes up, see what questions people ask, and what things they ask to get to. That’s going to also give you an idea of maybe any data that you might have missed.
The last point that I would say is that whoever’s doing the export should definitely have admin rights. When you’re looking at records, and when you’re looking at lists, and reports, and things like that, NetSuite is smart enough to filter out things that you’re not allowed to see, and since it will do that filtering you want to have somebody doing the exports the can see everything. The only role that’s guaranteed to be able to see everything is the admin role, so you want to give admin rights to whoever is going to do the export. Now this sometimes can be scary if you’re having a secretary, or somebody like that do the export. But one of the things you can do is pick somebody who’s trusted in the company, and have them actually do all of the exports, at the direction of the person who knows the data that needs to be exported.
So Anne, the last thing I would tell you is that leaving any ERP system is difficult. NetSuite is not really any more, or less difficult than anyone else. It does take time, probably about the same amount of time as leaving an SAP, Epicor, Dynamics, something like that. And again, the key to any successful transition, is the diligence in doing the transition. I would also tell you to make sure that wherever you’re placing your records, that your export is secure, and you keep good copy of that, that you’re not going to lose somewhere.
Anne, and I hope this answered your question. For anyone else who has questions, please send them to us. You can address them to ask at erpprofessor.com, and we’ll do our best answer them. You can also visit us on the web with the links below, or click to connect with us on social networking. Thanks for watching and have a good week.