NetSuite Analytics Workbook : Everything To Know About The Cornerstone Of SuiteAnalytics

If you are a NetSuite user then you have almost certainly noticed the Analytics tab on your Quick Access bar. It looks like this –

Where to access the NetSuite Analytics Workbook on your Quick Access Bar

Have you ever clicked it? Quite possibly not.

The NetSuite Analytics Workbook feature remains one of the most underutilized tools in the system. When it was introduced we were led to believe that it was going to bring an end to Excel. No more exporting data.

The reality is, all these years later, I still don’t use it much.

But what is the NetSuite Analytics Workbook and should we be paying more attention?

This feature is a data analysis and reporting tool. It introduces some new features not previously covered by saved searches and reports and allows for the presentation of data in creative ways. This all allows for more advanced analysis of business metrics, and enhanced ability to spot patterns and trends that might otherwise not be visible.

Ultimately, these patterns can be the keys to unlocking growth, making better sales, improving customer service and so much more – so we should really be using this more!

The NetSuite Analytics Workbook, however, does have some flaws. It didn’t quite take the NetSuite world by storm upon it’s release and it has had a very slow adoption since. The interface is clunky and unintuitive and it teases so much more than it delivers.

In this article we are going to take a deeper look at what the Analytics Workbook really is, how it works and what makes it stand out from the other analytics tools in NetSuite. After reading this, I can’t guarantee you will want to start using the Workbooks feature, but at least you will know what you are missing out on!

What is the NetSuite Analytics Workbook

The Analytics Workbook is a standard NetSuite analytics tool. It allows for the analysis and presentation of information derived from one or more predefined datasets.

Workbooks use datasets which are definitions of data points similar to a saved search. The dataset defines which fields should be available to be shaped in to a workbook.

An example of a dataset that can be used for a NetSuite Analytics Workbook

Once the dataset is created and linked to a workbook, the chosen data points can be used to populate standard tables, pivot tables or charts.

Additionally, multiple datasets can be connected to the same workbook enabling more complex joins than previously seen in legacy NetSuite.

How to link multiple datasets in a NetSuite Analytics Workbook

With this addition, NetSuite’s data analysis capabilities are vastly improved.

The Analytics Workbook feature can also display results in a bespoke dashboard portlet. Standard tables, pivot tables and charts are all available as data visualizations in the Analytics portlet this can be locked on users’ dashboards to bring key metrics front and center.

Limitations and Failings of the Analytics Workbook

So why am I not using the Analytics Workbook feature more?

There are a number of reasons why I still prefer the lowly saved search to the newer, meatier Analytics Workbook but the main one is the user interface.

To an infrequent NetSuite user, the Analytics Workbook UI might seem easier and more intuitive than saved searches or reports. That is, in part, because it is very different. Therefore, for an experienced NetSuite professional this may be a drawback.

My experience is that if you are in the habit of generating complex saved searches daily, you will not take easily to the analytics interface. Some of the notable differences are –

  • Fields are grouped differently.
  • Some field names are different.
  • Formula field popups are a different format.
  • Saving and Editing a Workbook uses new popups.

I don’t have a compelling enough reason to go out and learn how to use this new interface when I can already perform all my data analysis in the legacy offerings.

This is just my experience so take it for what it is.

Enabling the NetSuite Analytics Workbook

Analytics Workbooks are a standard feature that almost all NetSuite instances have access to.

To enable the feature, navigate to Setup > Company > Enable Features. Click on the Analytics tab and ensure SuiteAnalytics Workbook is checked. Finally, hit Save.

Where to enable SuiteAnalytics Workbook in NetSuite

For a user to have access to view, edit or create workbooks, a role must also have the SuiteAnalytics Workbook permission.

How to grant the SuiteAnalytics Workbook permission in NetSuite

How Do NetSuite Analytics Workbooks Work?

Workbooks are tools for analyzing datasets. Before creating a new workbook you will, therefore, need to create a dataset.

Creating a Dataset

Click the Analytics tab on your Quick Access Bar. Select the Datasets tab and the New Dataset button at the top right of the screen.

How to create a new dataset to be used in a NetSuite Analytics Workbook

Select from the list the root record type for your dataset.

Select the record type for a new analytics dataset in NetSuite

Once the dataset builder page loads you can begin adding your fields and criteria.

Fields are grouped by the record and join groups on the left column. The right hand column is the individual fields.

Selecting fields to be used in a dataset for a NetSuite Analytics Workbook

Drag and drop fields to either add them as a column or define them as a criteria.

When you drop a field on to the Add Criteria box a popup will open for you to define the parameters.

To add a formula field click Formulas at the top of the left hand column. Select New Formula and a Formula Field popup will open.

Populate the name field and enter your formula in to the text area. Once you have completed this you can click the Validate button to ensure there are no errors. If there are no errors, click the Apply button and your formula will be added to your dataset.

Once you have selected all the columns you desire and defined any relevant criteria, click Save at the top right of the screen. A popup will open for you to name the dataset and give it an optional description. Once complete, click Save on the popup.

Creating a SuiteAnalytics Workbook

Click the Analytics tab on your Quick Access Bar. Select the Workbooks tab and the New Workbook button at the top right of the screen.

Select a primary dataset from the list. After the workbook builder page loads, you can add additional datasets by clicking the Connect Dataset button

How to connect a second dataset to a NetSuite Analytics Workbook

If more than one dataset are selected you can link them by hovering over the three dots to the right of a chosen dataset and clicking Create Dataset Link.

Workbooks can have many tabs, much like the tabs of an Excel file. On your first tab select whether you want to create a Table, Pivot or Chart.

Selecting the desired visualization in a NetSuite Analytics Workbook

Once the desired visualization has been selected you can start dragging and dropping your fields from the left hand column to the various sections.

Below are the three visualization types. Highlighted are the areas in which you can drop your fields

Table

The table visualization in a NetSuite Analytics Workbook tab

Pivot

The pivot table visualization in a NetSuite Analytics Workbook tab

Chart

The chart visualization in a NetSuite Analytics Workbook tab

Save your Workbook by clicking Save at the top right of the screen. A popup will open for you to name the Workbook and give it an optional description. Once complete, click Save on the popup.

Editing a SuiteAnalytics Workbook

Click the Analytics tab on your Quick Access bar and then select the Workbooks subtab.

All saved workbooks that you have access to, are displayed as individual tiles. The name and description are shown within the tile along with a menu for additional actions including sharing, deleting or marking as a favorite.

Click the desired tile to open the Workbook in edit mode and make your changes. If a tile displays the Template tag, you will only be able to Save As.

Where to view saved NetSuite Analytics Workbooks

Analytics Workbook vs. Saved Searches: Which is Right for You?

In many ways the Saved Search and NetSuite Analytics Workbook serve different purposes.

The NetSuite Saved Search is an advanced querying tool. The Analytics Workbook is a dataset analysis tool. With the saved search you can quickly and efficiently perform advanced queries of data across the entire NetSuite database. Using an Analytics Workbook you shape and scrutinize one or more predefined datasets and display the results in various output visualizations.

Here are some of the key differences that will help dictate which feature you need to use at any given time.

Saved SearchAnalytics Workbook
Standard NetSuite Feature.Standard NetSuite Feature but does need enabling.
Can perform multiple joins with no more than one step away from the source record type.Can perform multiple joins with multiple steps away from the source record type.
A single source record type can be used.Multiple datasets of different record types can be used.
Data is displayed as rows and columns.Data can be displayed in various visualization styles.
Searches can be used for alerts and scheduled emails.Workbooks cannot be used for email alerts as standard.
SQL and Html supported for querying and formatting.SQL can be used in datasets for querying.
Restrictions can be set based on numerous dimensions.Permissions can be set for role and user only.

Analytics Workbook vs. Reports: The Differences Explained

When a senior finance member asks for a report they mean one of many things. Sometimes the standard reporting function will suffice and other times you will benefit from utilizing the NetSuite Analytics Workbook.

Here are the main differences between the two features.

ReportAnalytics Workbook
Standard NetSuite featureStandard NetSuite feature but does need enabling
Limited join capabilityCan perform multiple joins with multiple steps away from the source record type.
Advanced formatting capabilityLimited formatting but a wide range of visualization types
Limitations to column availabilityVery few limitations on dataset components
Very limited pre-defined formulaSQL can be used in datasets for querying
Restrictions can be set based on numerous dimensions.Permissions can be set for role and user only.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use the NetSuite Analytics Workbook with any NetSuite subscription?

  • A: Yes, the Analytics Workbook is available for most NetSuite editions. It will just need to be enabled and the relevant role permissions granted.

What types of visualizations can I create with the NetSuite Analytics Workbook?

  • A: The NetSuite Analytics Workbook allows for a wide range of visualizations, including regular tables, pivot tables and a number of chart types.

Can I share my NetSuite Analytics Workbook with other team members?

  • A: Absolutely. NetSuite enables users to easily share and collaborate on Analytics Workbooks with other employees or roles.
If you are looking for ways your business analysts can better utilize the data in NetSuite you might want to consider the NetSuite Analytics Warehouse. This add-on for NetSuite is a highly advanced data analysis tool that supports vast quantities of data from NetSuite and your other business systems.

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