Book Image

NetSuite ERP for Administrators

By : Anthony Bickof
Book Image

NetSuite ERP for Administrators

By: Anthony Bickof

Overview of this book

NetSuite ERP is a complete, scalable cloud ERP solution targeted at fast-growing, mid-sized businesses and large enterprises. It's the smartly executed combination of financial management operations and built-in business intelligence, which enables companies to make data-driven and well-informed decisions. This book will help administrators become expert enough to be seen as the NetSuite leader at their company and to be able to advise department heads on specific processes, and strategic decisions. We start with an overview of ERP and NetSuite ERP, before going on to explain the built-in features to show the breadth of NetSuite ERP's product and its ease of use. We then discuss business aspects, focusing on the most important processes in NetSuite. Then you'll understand the implementation aspects that are generic enough to cover all the features. The focus then shifts to specific skills that you will need to administer for any system, such as roles, permissions, customization, and data imports. Moving on, you'll learn how to centralize the creation of search templates and give users the tools to pivot the data and expose it to the user in useful ways, such as on the dashboard. The book ends with checklists providing actionable steps that you as an administrator can take to do your job and support the application through new releases and troubleshooting problems.
Table of Contents (21 chapters)
Title Page
Copyright and Credits
Dedication
Contributors
Packt Upsell
Preface
Index

Preface

Peruse the job boards and you'll find many listings for NetSuite Administrators. The job descriptions require skills such as building reports and dashboards to configuration, importing data, troubleshooting, supporting end users as well as leveraging NetSuite to improve and automate processes. In other words, be a system administrator, developer, business analyst, trainer, implementer, and strategic advisor, the point of contact for all things is NetSuite. That is a lot to expect from one person.

My objective is to teach the skills that will enable the reader to perform all those interdisciplinary tasks. This is not easy, because as you have likely seen already, NetSuite is a powerful application, rich with functionality. The administrator can be bombarded with so much information that it is impossible to retain it all. I take a different approach.

To use the analogy of a puzzle, what's the first thing we need to do when doing a puzzle? Look at the picture on the front of the box! Without that context, it's more likely that the reader will forget the details of each piece. I, therefore, start by showing them the picture on the front of the box and only then delve into the details of the individual pieces. This shows the reader how each piece contributes to the bigger picture and how and where it fits in.

We will start with an overview of ERP and NetSuite ERP, because we need to know the end goal that we are striving for and why we do it. We will then explain the built-in features to show the breadth of the product and its ease of use. This illustrates how you can easily solve complex problems and have an impact on work in the short term. In the long term, they can use this chapter to solve problems that will arise in the future.

The focus then shifts to specific skills that are required to administer any system, such as role, permissions, customization, and data imports. The administrators know the concepts as they have used them in administering other systems. I, therefore, provide tips and tricks to perform this effectively in NetSuite without having to learn all the theory that underpins it.

Now that we know where the data resides in the database and how to get it in there, we can look at mining it for business intelligence. We will look at the tools NetSuite includes to perform that data mining, namely, searches, reports, and the dashboard. I will explain when to use one tool as opposed to the others and compare the functionality to apps already used, such as Excel. I will explain how the administrator can centralize the creation of search templates and give the users the tools to pivot the data and expose it to the user in useful ways, such as on the dashboard.

The topic then shifts to the future, arming the administrator with the tools they will need to support the application through new releases and troubleshooting problems.

Finally, I will provide checklists that summarize the entire book, providing actionable steps administrators can take to do their jobs.

The value is not just in the content of each chapter but in how they impact topics in other chapters. Custom fields, for instance, are of limited use if you can't update the data easily using an import or search the field and place the results on a dashboard. It is only by cross-referencing the other chapters that the reader gains a holistic view of the NetSuite product, and I will highlight that relationship throughout the book.

Who this book is for

The book is targeted at administrators who have been employed to either maintain an existing NetSuite database or to liaise with external NetSuite consultants who are implementing the system at their employer (and then use that experience to administer NetSuite after it has been deployed). They know databases and coding but may have limited knowledge of ERP and business process.

The reader has likely some limited experience with NetSuite, has accessed it, and reviewed some of the help documentation. Administrators, however, tend to find the interface overwhelming with an unfriendly menu system and complex help knowledge base. They describe seeing all the options NetSuite offers as drinking through the proverbial fire hose and want help to make sense of all this information.

There may also be several experienced administrators reading this book. They may have been NetSuite customers for many years and want to learn about the new features that NetSuite has introduced since they were first implemented.

Administrators want to learn the tasks they need to perform on a daily basis (troubleshooting errors and setting up users) as well as monthly (such as imports and duplicate detection and merge). They also want to become expert enough to be seen as the NetSuite leader internally, being able to advise department heads on specific processes as well as on strategic decisions (such as whether to use NetSuite webstore or shopify.) They want to learn these skills quickly without having to spend weeks of time and thousands of dollars taking NetSuite corporate training.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, The Value Proposition – Doing More with Less, discusses the ERP Value Proposition and how NetSuite enhances the value from efficiency to automation to illustrate its strengths and how the administrator can maximize those strengths. NetSuite has solved a lot of the business challenges that companies have encountered and are yet to encounter, so there is no need to waste time and money to solve problems that have already been solved.

Chapter 2, Exploring NetSuite Tools, gives you because there is no need to reinvent the wheel. We shift to exploring the tools NetSuite gives you, breaking down the features that support the business, the administrator, and the user. This gives you a list of specific tools that you can use right away to make your job easier and effectively support your users.

Chapter 3OneWorld, simplifies OneWorld by showing how it differs from the core NetSuite, thereby streamlining its implementation as some readers will be using NetSuite's flagship OneWorld product.

Chapter 4Implementing, demonstrates NetSuite's core processes for an administrator to understand NetSuite core processes in order to support the users effectively. It will simultaneously demonstrate the tools that can be used to tweak a process.

Chapter 5, Security and Permissions, explores NetSuite's security options from providing access to the system and enhancing security using roles and permissions. We will also cover how NetSuite provides access to data and forms using roles and how to customize the existing role templates with specific recommendations of permissions to add and remove (such as the ability to export data).

Chapter 6, Customization, focuses on building fields to classify customers and vendors or specific details on invoices and Purchase Orders, whether it applies to the whole transaction or specific products purchased in the transaction. It also covers differentiating between one-to-one fields and one-to-many fields and its application in building forms that can be filled out by outsiders, such as a customer satisfaction survey.

Chapter 7, Imports, includes topics such as importing new leads and updating data, such as price increases. We will look at how to cleanse the source data, build an import template, and test the import. We also look at refining an existing template and troubleshoot error messages encountered in the test.

Chapter 8, Analytics – Searches, Reports, and the Dashboard, is devoted to Searches, Reports, and Dashboards, because analytics may be the most important task that an Administrator does. We look at best practices when using the build in the features of the dashboard and show specific dashboard tools to be used and the positive impact they can have on efficiency. NetSuite has two different reporting tools, namely Reports and Saved Searches. This can be extremely confusing for Administrators and users alike. We tackle that question head on, showing the advantages and disadvantages of each.

We look at building commonly used searches and reports demonstrating the filtering and formatting options available. After a lengthy discussion on using the filtering and formatting tools available in Reports and Saved Searches, we show how you can leverage that information by placing it on the dashboard.

Chapter 9, Workflows, provides an introduction to the Workflow Manager. What do you do when the built-in functions are not sufficient to automate a particular process? NetSuite includes a tool that can be used to achieve automation without the need for any coding. The Workflow Manager is a point-and-click tool that can be used to enter data and communicate with users performing actions, such as sending emails.

Chapter 10, Integration, outlines a framework that can be used to help make the decision on whether to use the legacy system for a module or to migrate it to NetSuite. An Administrator is often called upon to provide strategic direction on how NetSuite can automate the entire business.

Chapter 11, New Releases, explains the NetSuite release process and how to prepare for new releases as well as ensures that you have access to all the features that you paid for.

Chapter 12, Troubleshooting Tips, lists the steps to use when troubleshooting and steps to take to maintain the accuracy of the data as well as what to do when things go wrong, where to go to find answers, and a philosophy to use to find answers to these questions.

Chapter 13An Ongoing Maintenance Checklist, summarizes the steps needed to be taken monthly to administer a NetSuite database.

There are many demands placed on a NetSuite Administrator, who is expected to be a product expert who can advise the management on the strategic uses of NetSuite as well as support users by training them on the tips and tricks they can use to work more effectively. Furthermore, the administrator is expected to tweak processes, automate actions, import and manipulate data, and ensure that the system is secure so that unauthorized users do not get access to sensitive data. Also, if that's not enough, the Administrator is also expected to fix anything that goes wrong in the system. That is no mean feat; however, I've designed the content in an attempt to transform a new NetSuite Administrator into someone who can tackle those tasks after reading this book.

Most of all, I want you to be excited about the challenge of administering NetSuite by seeing how you can have a huge impact on your company by leveraging NetSuite to its fullest. Armed with the knowledge in this book, you can really make a difference.

To get the most out of this book

  1. Ensure that you have administrator access to a NetSuite database, preferably a sandbox or demo database.
  2. Review the navigation to get familiar with the menus.

Download the color images

We also provide a PDF file that has color images of the screenshots/diagrams used in this book. You can download it from https://www.packtpub.com/sites/default/files/downloads/NetSuiteERPforAdministrators_ColorImages.pdf.

Conventions used

 Menu paths appear in this format: Setup | Company | Enable Features

 

Note

Warnings or important notes appear like this.

Note

Tips and tricks appear like this.

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