At FMT, we believe in the philosophy of teaching a man to fish. Our goal is to empower clients to develop a robust organizational knowledge of NetSuite, allowing for efficient in-house issue resolution. Whether users encounter an error, are trying to understand standard system functionality, or have a basic “how to” question, we always want our clients to feel equipped to address problems internally as a first line of defense.
Some partners may feel that every question a client answers for himself represents a lost opportunity for revenue, but at FMT, we believe that the better our clients understand NetSuite, the greater the value they will realize from a partnership with FMT. This represents a win-win situation for both client and partner!
With this philosophy in mind, this article will outline some of the best NetSuite resources available online – free of charge – and how to use them to maximize the benefit to your organization:
Standard Field-Level Help:
Field labels in NetSuite are hyperlinks that when clicked, present users with a short blurb describing the field and providing additional context for its use. The example below shows the field level help for ‘Reference No.’ on a vendor bill:
If a user has elected the user preference to view Internal IDs, the field level help will also display the field ID (which is often different from the field name shown in the UI) which can come in handy when creating advanced saved searches or other scenarios where formulas are required.
Custom Field-Level Help:
Custom fields are unique to a particular NetSuite instance and have been created to fulfill a specific business need. It is critical that the person responsible for creating these fields takes the time to populate the field help with information that explains to users the purpose of the field and any other information the users may need to populate the field correctly. It may be tempting to skip this step as the person creating the custom field does not need an explanation for the field, but best practice dictates that the help text is completed at the same time as the field is created.
When logged into NetSuite, detailed help documentation relevant to the current page is always one click away. On the top right of the browser, click the ‘Help’ icon to open the NetSuite Help Center in a new window.
For example, if you have a Sales Order open when you click Help, you will land on the section of Help with detailed information about Sales Orders. From there, you can easily browse to documentation on other related topics:
Another way to call up specific help documentation is to type “Help:” into the Global Search followed by keywords. For example, you could enter “Help: Sales Order”.
From the NetSuite Help Center menu, click on the User Guides link to navigate to a list of downloadable PDF manuals that provide a layperson-friendly overview of functional areas in NetSuite. These user guides provide a great introduction to system functionality and would be an excellent supplement to any internal SOP documentation provided to new hires. In addition to user guides for specialized features and modules (Advanced Revenue Management, Projects, Manufacturing Routing, Grid Order Management etc), there are a number of documents that will prove useful to all organizations including the NetSuite Basics Guide, CSV Imports Guide and new version release notes, to name a few.
SuiteAnswers provides a centralized location to search NetSuite’s Knowledge Base for support articles, training videos and other help documentation including best practice guides and SuiteWorld presentations. Access SuiteAnswers by clicking the link in the menu of the NetSuite Help Center.
Enter keywords into the Global Search bar to query the NetSuite Knowledge Base as shown below:
Results are broken out into several broad categories including Help Topics (the same written documentation as shown in the Help Center), Support Articles, Training Videos, Best Practices and SuiteWorld Presentations.
SuiteAnswers’ standout resource is the collection of Support Articles, which document hundreds of real cases and questions submitted to NetSuite’s support team by users and solution partners. Whether you are trying to understand an error message, looking for guidance in setting up a workflow, or seeking suggestions for developing a particular report or saved search – chances are other users will have had the same question or issue and it has been documented in a support article. For example, a user trying to save an Item Fulfillment in a standard cost environment receives the following error: “Inventory Revaluation is no longer the first transaction in the item’s history.” A SuiteAnswers search for “Standard Cost Error,” when filtered by “Support Articles,” includes the following results:
The article with the gold star contains an explanation and resolution for this exact error message! Given the ease and efficiency of using Suite Answers, I always recommend this resource to clients as a first line of defense when problems or questions arise.
NetSuite User Community:
The NetSuite User Community is an online forum for users, partners, developers and other interested parties to connect and collaborate on all issues NetSuite-related. In addition to the general forums shown below, there are forums dedicated to specific product and platform areas, international versions and other user resources.
The highlight of this resource is the collective wealth of knowledge provided by the diverse group of users participating in discussions. Each industry experiences a unique set of challenges; the NetSuite User Community facilitates connection between similar organizations to develop creative solutions for users’ real-world business scenarios. NetSuite staff monitor the forums, which can be a powerful way to draw attention to possible system defects or areas of the product in need of optimization.
Click here to join the NetSuite User Community.
LinkedIn NetSuite User Group:
The NetSuite User Group on LinkedIn is another great way to connect with other users and keep abreast of the latest product news, tips and tricks and discussion on various business issues. Below is an example of the useful content that can be found in this group:
Users can opt-in to receive weekly newsletters containing a selection of the latest topics – I often learn something new from the weekly emails and enjoy the ability to participate in the discussion while expanding my professional network.
NetSuite Record Browser:
Anyone who has ever tried to create a report or saved search will relate to the frustration of trying to connect the fields shown on a transaction to the fields available as search results. One reason this is challenging is that fields can be renamed in custom transaction forms so the field shown on the screen may be different from the actual field name. In other cases, you may need to reference a field from a related transaction but do not know how to create a linkage between the transactions in your search results. Finally, some fields are not shown in the UI but you may wish to include them in the results of a search.
Understanding the NetSuite data structure (how information is stored and how records relate to one another) is the single most critical tool in developing powerful saved searches and reports. While mastery of this concept requires time to develop, all skill levels will find value in the NetSuite Record Browser as a reference for finding field ids, search joins, record sublists and other information needed to query data.
Click here to visit the Records Browser and add a bookmark for easy access next time you need to create a search or report.
In sharing the resources in this article, many of which I use on a regular basis, I hope to empower users to seek out information and develop confidence in their knowledge of the system. Next time you have a question or run into an issue, I encourage you to consider these resources in your search for a resolution.