NetSuite's search functionality provides a valuable tool for filtering and matching data to answer all sorts of business questions. Searches can be set in their own portlets or placed as short cuts on dashboards, providing quick access to custom metrics. They are easily updated, with a simple click. However, creating a good search requires some thought and planning. Here are some tips for creating great searches:
- Start small. It's tempting to try to bring in as much information as possible, and then pare it down later. However, with this approach, you might not get the data you need. It is far easier to start with a small search that targets one or two metrics from data sources with limited parameters. When you are certain you have the results you need, you can expand the search criteria to include more information.
- Focus on key data sources. Begin by identifying and focusing on two or three types of information most likely to return the metrics you need. That might be transactional data, analytical data, survey data, customer records, or something else. You may want to include two types of related data, such as highest sales transactions by most popular products, or oldest clients, so knowing where this data is held in the database is important.
- Focus on your core business objectives. Most of the questions people have on a daily basis will relate back to goals and business performance. Many useful performance metrics already exist in standard reports. Focusing on performance indicators helps the end users understand how their group is doing and provides clear goals to work toward.
- Build incrementally and save frequently. If you have a complex search, or one you will create over time, make small changes and test as you go. Use the Save As function to save the search as you build it, so you can validate the results. This will provide a “history” of previous searches that you can refer back to in case your results are not what you wanted. This will also be helpful should you need to stop working on the search, but want to return to it later.
- Copy cat -- please. If you can find a saved search that is similar to the one you want to create, by all means borrow it. There's no reason to re-invent the wheel if you have a working model in hand. One caveat: Check that the search really produces results you want. It may be worth contacting the owner of the search to find out the purpose – to ensure it matches yours.
- Put the big picture up front. You don't want to be overwhelmed with too much detailed data right up front. The goal of most searches is to create a "big picture" view of metrics and trends first, with the opportunity to drill down into the numbers for the details. Make sure your search also works as a KPI or has the summary view. This will help drive business goals, while leaving the finer details one click away. Remember for added views you can include searches as shortcuts on your dashboard.
To learn more about creating effective saved searches, consider taking our SuiteAnalytics training. We offer several courses at different user levels and for specific roles, so you’re sure to find a course that’s right for you:
- SuiteAnalytics: Building Executive Dashboards – Learn how to create analytics-enabled Home Dashboard for your executives and managers.
- SuiteAnalytics:Reports and Searches – Learn how to use reports and searches to get the business intelligence you need from across various organizations.
- SuiteAnalytics: Financial Reports and Searches – Learn how to use reports, financial
statements, searches and KPIs to analyze your NetSuite accounting and financial data.
- SuiteAnalytics: Advanced Searches – Learn how to build complex saved searches with advanced functions so you can mine your NetSuite data for deeper business intelligence.
If you need help finding the right course, contact Kerman Camacho, our Education Advisor, for a complimentary needs assessment. He’ll match your needs to the right SuiteTraining.
-Lesley Avann-Tanner, senior curriculum developer at NetSuite