ERP: purchasing guide for first time buyers and enterprise

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ERP: purchasing guide for first time buyers and enterprise


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Deploying an ERP system such as NetSuite is a big step for any business. The term itself – Enterprise Resource Planning – even sounds scary, and unfortunately conjures up all sorts of misconceptions about what a system like this entails. There’s no question that embarking on a project of this kind is definitely more about stepping forward than it is a challenge to be overcome.

We frequently encounter nervousness around deploying an ERP with businesses of every size. However, with a simplified approach and buy-in from all stakeholders, it doesn’t have to be a headache. Knowing whether you should deploy a solution such as NetSuite, and when is the right time to do so, is half the battle.

We’ve picked out two example NetSuite use cases based on recent customer conversations, and on their ability to demonstrate the spectrum of businesses that NetSuite supports. They are very much the two extremes of ERP deployment, so do bear in mind that the various benefits also apply to organisations that are somewhere in between:

1. First time buyers – By this we don’t mean start-ups. We are referring to businesses who are generally over 12 months old and have never previously implemented an ERP system. They’re growing fast and it’s time to evaluate how each of their business functions perform and interconnect to support that growth. For them, the name of the game is consolidation.

2. Multi-subsidiary enterprise organisations – Enterprise-grade organisations are frequently comprised of a mixed bag of inherited acquisitions. Each acquisition brings with it either an existing ERP system or fragmented internal processes; and so the ultimate consideration for multi-subsidiaries is secure, scalable standardisation.

First Time Buyers (FTBs)


As businesses grow from the ground-up, applications are organically onboarded to support each department. This results in siloed workflows with a multitude of disjointed applications and solutions performing particular functions. Generally, we see FTBs simultaneously running roughly 20 separate systems, including their CRM, purchasing, finance, quoting and service desk.

Any business that’s on a fast-paced growth trajectory needs to have their internal processes streamlined to support and encourage that growth. This is where NetSuite excels. Consolidating your key business functions into one unified platform makes absolute sense. The key benefits for FTBs are:

Easily scale licenses as your business grows – after the initial license is adopted, simply add and reduce individual user licenses whenever you need to.

Modern ERP set-up supports progressive working practices – enable simpler cross-departmental collaboration thanks to one unified tool with role-based access.

Quick to deploy – the right application in the hands of an experienced partner can be rolled out much quicker than you might expect. At Highlander, we’ve deployed NetSuite both internally and for several customers, so we know the ins and outs of how to get the most from the solution. Likewise, we’ve developed our own services to accelerate the time it takes to get a system live and adding value.

Cloud-native solution – this means reduced on-prem overheads and investment for your IT team, and a streamlined WFH experience at a user-level.

Real-time business insight delivered via custom dashboards – achieve true visibility over every area of your organisation by creating bespoke dashboards specific to each operational point, be that sales, production, service, or whatever is required.

Being smaller in size shouldn’t be a deterrent for any ERP roll-out. As a platform, NetSuite is built to support growth. Think how much easier it would be to get your ducks in a row before you experience growth, rather than trying to control application sprawl afterwards.

Multi-subsidiary organisations


At the opposite end of the scale is multi-subsidiaries. The fast-paced world of mergers and acquisitions hasn’t slowed down in the face of COVID-19.

As businesses merge and change hands, those at HQ need to be sure that they have the capability to create scalable best-practice processes.

Without this, organisation-wide efficiency, standardisation and cohesive reporting are impossible to achieve.

With a single application like NetSuite, you can standardise processes whilst maintaining separation. You only need to establish workflows once, and then roll them out to each individual organisation, so there’s no reinventing the wheel each time a new acquisition is onboarded. The leading benefits for multi-subsidiaries include:

A global view – achieve group-wide insight from a single-pane-of-glass. Allow this to inform your decision making and group management.

Guaranteed security – with the ability to segment out various subsidiaries, you can attain this overarching view without compromising the security of each individual organisation. Individual management accounts with independent profit and loss reports are operated for simple and secure financial departmentalisation.

Improve group-wide training – get everyone working in the same way, and fast.

Replace on-premise solutions – the cost efficiencies of rolling out a cloud-native ERP across enterprise businesses can be substantial. Not only that, but the user experience of a dispersed workforce is vastly improved by not having to run labour-intensive applications locally on their machines.

Should you deploy an ERP?


Put simply, an ERP should be the hub of your business, however big it is. With the ability to pull together all your line of business apps into one unified platform, wherever your business is going next, NetSuite is the platform for a better-managed future.

If you’re considering whether your business would be a viable candidate for deploying an ERP, or whether it’s the right time to do so, then get in touch.

With our experience in deploying NetSuite to a wide range of different organisations, we’re well-equipped to answer all your ERP questions.