Many businesses purchase NetSuite because of the scope of verticals covered by it’s standard functionality. Even businesses that invest for purely Finance and CRM needs soon realize that they can start migrating other workstreams in to NetSuite to reduce the range of systems they have.
I’ve helped many organizations grow their use of NetSuite unexpectedly when they start to see the range of what it can offer. You start with Accounting but the finance team want more visibility of stock. So you bring in Inventory Management (learn about Bin Numbered Inventory here) but the consumption of the stock is still manual. So you bring in Manufacturing. Now manufacturing are in it seems silly having paper based quality processes. So you bring in Quality Control.
The possibilities are endless.. as tacky as that sentence sounds!
When should you consider integration?
Not all systems need or want to be consolidated down in to one though. There are some systems that carry out specialist tasks or have functionality that wouldn’t suit NetSuite. There are multiple reasons why you wouldn’t want to bring a process in to NetSuite and it is important to recognize that. Your NetSuite partner should be providing the right perspective in these conversations and displaying a true understanding of not only NetSuite’s strengths but also it’s limitations.
An example I have been involved in discussions on more than once in the past is the suggestion of moving expenses away from Concur and in to the system. NetSuite does have an expense management solution and it works well. Concur, however, does not have an expense management system – it IS an expense management system. That’s all it does. It doesn’t do it well. It does it brilliantly. If you are using more than 50% of the features offered to you in Concur then it is not worth trying to bend NetSuite to achieve the same. A lot of money thrown at the right developer might get something ugly but functional but it’s really not worth it.
What you might want to consider though is integrating the two. Having NetSuite and Concur talk to each other so you don’t need to export and import data from one to the other each month in order for your books to be aligned. SAP, who own Concur, do an out of the box integration. This is bizarre since SAP is NetSuite’s main competitor but that’s for another discussion.
Not all systems will have a pre packaged integration with NetSuite though and you will need to get your developer(s) to build a an API between the two systems. Some builds are going to be easier than others and when you start looking at things like, for example, e-commerce solutions and shipping managers things might start getting messy.
Enter Dell Boomi.
What is Dell Boomi?
Dell Boomi is what is known as an Integration Platform As A Service or an iPaaS. This type of ‘as-a-service’ allows companies to build, deploy and manage integrations between on-premise, cloud and SaaS systems all in one place. Dell Boomi is a middleware between all your applications.
Middleware is exactly what it sounds like – the software that sits in the middle of all the other systems. All the connections can be viewed and managed in one place creating a service dashboard for all your shared data across your suite of systems.
The scope of systems that can be connected to your NetSuite environment then becomes ridiculous. It has pre built integration solutions to over 200 applications and an online environment for the user to easily manage the setup of each connection as well as the ongoing support to the full catalog.
NetSuite is one of the systems that Boomi shout about and the result of this means there is a mountain of resource online for users of their platform. There is a detailed knowledge base found in the ‘Boomiverse’ as well as discussion boards and forums for other users to share tips and solutions.
Another obvious advantage to using Boomi to manage your integrations is that Boomi was bought by Dell back in 2010. This is not a small garage startup. If you are going to trust anyone with the integration of all your internal systems and data you could do much worse than put that trust in Dell. For a multisite even multinational organization this is going to be a much safer, audit friendly option than internally managing those connections through a bespoke development work.
If you are already managing a suite of systems that are not talking to each other or even a suite that are talking to each other but not through a centralized platform you might want to consider Dell Boomi. It’s certainly not the solution for every business but if your NetSuite use is growing and the number of functions that are working together in tasks semi managed by NetSuite is increasing then it is worth a discussion. If you only have to import a file from Concur each month then maybe just speak to your developer!
If you are looking at integrating Salesforce with your NetSuite environment we can walk you through your options here.