A year removed from attending SuiteWorld 2013, when they came to learn all they could about NetSuite prior to an implementation, CommVault representatives returned this year to explain how a great implementation can be achieved if you get the people process right.
A public, multinational, $2.5 billion market-cap company, CommVault recently went live on NetSuite OneWorld in less than six months, replacing 12 packaged and homegrown applications.
Perhaps the most important step to ensuring initial ERP success is building the right team, according to Eric Luehmann, CommVault’s financial systems manager. Luehmann explained his company’s operational approach in a breakout session at SuiteWorld 2014, detailing aspects such as how to approach NetSuite optimization exercises, how to implement a new NetSuite module and how to get the best out of a new ERP implementation overall.
The right team requires more than just smart people with expertise in one area, Luehmann explained. Instead, it demands a diverse group of people with a variety of strengths. The first thing to decide is who within the organization is best suited for a NetSuite implementation.
“The only way you can really successfully do a project like we did is to understand the problems that you have and to build a timeline to implement solutions to them,” said Luehmann.
With an aging legacy financial package spread across multiple systems, CommVault was unable to comprehensively integrate its fragmented IT stack. An over-reliance on Microsoft Excel didn’t help either. The need to change, update and move on to a next-generation cloud platform was clear.
While CommVault is still working with Excel, it is now using the spreadsheets in a more streamlined fashion so that individual users do not have to turn to the application as frequently, Luehmann said.
“It worried my boss to think that we were going to put all our data into the cloud. But at the end of the day, we don’t have to worry about having a guy in IT around who might just accidentally kick the plug out,” he explained. “Plus, we don’t have to think about maintenance and updates.”
When structuring your team for a NetSuite implementation, Luehmann said it’s important to build a group of people that are, when working together and taken as a whole, capable of “doing everything that will be done when you go live.” This means that more support knowledge is instilled up front in the workforce as part of the implementation process.
“We rolled out worldwide in five months and that is not easy to do,” Luehmann said. “We built a project team with a steering committee and an oversight lead. We also designated functional managers, geographical experts, testers and more. The only way you can really get a project like this done is to involve all the stakeholders up front.”
Luehmann also said that it’s really important to know what all team members are doing at any one point in time, even if it is inconsequential, or just appears to be inconsequential, at the time. Although talking and face-to-face contact is really important, Luehmann urged other firms looking to implement NetSuite to put facts down in email so that conversations are never lost.
Additionally, keeping a list of open items at all times also provides a great means of tracking project progress. Advocating an Agile approach, Luehmann said that it’s important not to get too attached to ideas as things may change at any point in time. His team was able to work with changing requirements and ensure that NetSuite was brought online successfully.
“You can’t always get what you want, but NetSuite will give you what you need, and if you work with this technology properly, you will be able to extend out the system and build what you want,” Luehmann concluded.