SuiteWorld 2017 experience as told by our very own NetSuite consultant, Ilija Budimir.
Wow, this year SuiteWorld (SW) was amazing! Not so much because it was packed with new faces and not because Oracle’s CEO was announcing big, bold plans, but because it took place in Sin City! SW felt bigger and more glamorous than usual.
Although I only spent two days at the conference, I have many takeaways and thoughts I would love to share with you, customers, NetSuite enthusiasts, and colleagues.
I will not speak about the new announcements and modules that are being rolled out as you can read up on these here:
Instead, I will give you some of my impressions of SuiteWorld 2017. Hopefully, this will motivate you to attend next year’s edition of NetSuite’s largest conference.
I arrived in Las Vegas on Sunday. As I got to my hotel late all I wanted was to rest up and prepare for Monday’s events. Most of the keynote speeches were scheduled for Tuesday as the attendees were en route to the conference.
Having said that, my motivation to get to Vegas early was the ‘Hackathon 4Good’ event.
‘What is hackathon’, you may ask? Well it’s an annual SuiteWorld conference event where the NetSuite community champions a get-together to solve business and ERP issues of nonprofit organizations. It is also an opportunity to collaborate, compete and have an amazing time with each other.
Due to poor planning on my part, I did not register for the event on time so I had to add my name to the waiting list and hope that someone would drop out so I could take part in this event. l made my travel plans anyway, and hoped that the saying ‘fortune favours the bold’ would hold true. The night before our trip, my friend and ex-colleague Elean and I were contacted and informed that we were in! I was happy as it’s not everyday that you get an opportunity to meet and collaborate with NetSuite community’s smartest and brightest people.
The event required a 12 hour commitment from 9 am to 9 pm and to be honest, these 12 hours flew by. Between the initial presentation, team formations, challenge assignments, and finally, the solution design and presentations, we hardly had any time to eat and socialize. I did not count the number of teams that were in the conference room but I estimate that there were definitely more than 10 (5-6 member) teams participating in the event.
As per the challenges presented, each team tried to come up with the best solution using their knowledge of NetSuite including their programming and business analysis skills. If you are a consultant, I imagine there is no better way to challenge yourself, showcase what you know and help someone in the process. After quick and stress-inducing presentations (6 minutes for each team) the panel of judges retreated to decide on a winner. Things could not have ended better for our team. We were fortunate to finish first and we will hopefully now have an opportunity to implement this solution in the client’s real NetSuite environment.
On the second day at SW I attended two main keynote presentations both of which were educational and entertaining. As always, NetSuite brings in artists to make presentations fun. After unveiling new features or after making special announcements, keynote speakers typically invite newly implemented customers to talk about NetSuite and how it improved their businesses. This year’s main subject was SuiteSucess. SuiteSucess is a new approach to NetSuite implementations where the system environment is pre-configured based on company’s type of business (i.e.: distribution, manufacturing, nonprofit, etc.) and their business needs.
This strategy reduces the implementation time considerably by:
- Shifting the business requirements gathering (which is normally the initial phase of the implementation) to the pre-sale stage of the project.
- Pre-loading more specialized roles in the system.
- Loading the custom KPI’s, Dashboards and Reports, thereby reducing additional configurations in the system.
- Providing better guides and documentation and streamlining the implementation process.
In addition to keynote speeches, I had an opportunity to walk around the expo hall and visit NetSuite partner stands. I found that there were more stands this year. As the community is getting larger, more and more vendors are trying to plug-in to NetSuite and offer their unique services, that may ultimately enhance the ERP system. The increasing number of partners and countless solutions ‘Built for NetSuite’ is what makes this product great today.
Having said that, I would caution you to not overextend your NetSuite application and I would suggest that you leverage NetSuite’s default functionality as much as possible.
By doing this you will improve your system’s performance and you will use NetSuite the way it was meant to be used. I am aware that in many cases you may need to alter your business processes a little.
Faced with these decisions remember that NetSuite is a unique system that has been tested and used in many industries for many years. Its transaction workflows and processes have not only been optimized for multiple industries but they were also engineered to maximize the system’s performance as well. When deciding on another external module or a connector (such as Salesforce or bill.com) keep that in mind and consider all of the potential cons of extending your NetSuite system.
After visiting many partner stands and having met up with my current and ex-colleagues (fellow consultants) I attended a couple of break-out sessions with NetSuite product managers. Most of these sessions are very useful to new or seasoned NetSuite users. By attending these sessions not only will you learn the product/module better, but you will get a chance to discuss it with its designer, ask questions and suggest improvements. This is an invaluable experience, worth the price of a SuiteWorld ticket! Make sure you tell this to your boss.
Unfortunately, not everybody got an opportunity to visit SW2017. For those of you whom for whatever reason could not come, please visit SuiteAnswers in the next couple of months where most of the presentations, pdf documents and code will be posted for you review. Take a look at this video that explains how to use SuiteAnswers in NetSuite.
In conclusion, regardless of your experience, background and nature of involvement with NetSuite you should definitely check out SuiteWorld next year. It’s never too early to start planning for this event. If you have a boss, start whispering in their ear and if you are your own boss, start saving! See you next year, hopefully in Vegas!