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NetSuite Review: "Great software, weak support."
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October 23, 2012

NetSuite Review: "Great software, weak support."

Score 7 out of 101
Vetted Review
Review Source

Modules Used
Accounting/ERP

Overall Satisfaction

  • Software has great functionality and very user friendly/intuitive
  • Support is severely lacking. When you have issues, it takes a lot of time and effort to get them resolved.
  • The biggest benefit is time saving on billing and deferred revenue. We switched from Quick Books which didn’t have deferred revenue sub-ledger. We had to build manually in Excel and generate manual invoices. In NetSuite, once you set-up a sales order, they have a billing and revenue recognitions schedule . You can batch bill everything in that month which saves a heck of a lot of time. You just need to review entries made for reasonableness. We reduced workload about 20 hours per month. We always had 2-3 people working on billing, invoicing, revenue side.
  • We also took 2 days out of close process.
  • There is a lot of value to having things in an actual database that you can query and run reports. This leads to reduced risks of manual error; enables security and version control of spreadsheets; and allows multiple people to work at the same time without version control issues. We ran into issues before. Often times you were in read only then couldn’t save changes. I always had 2-3 people working in parallel, so this was problematic – waiting your turn. This is how we took time out of close - by not having to wait for others and enabling work in parallel.
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We were recently acquired, so that may force a change. Absent that, I would say 7.5. The thing that would cause us not to renew is if Financial Force had SSAE16 (formerly SAS 70) compliance and didn’t have issues with it. Integration with Salesforce.com would be a major plus.

NetSuite is not so engrained. I am not sure how large a project it would be to move. We would need IT’s help. I would think that it’s semi-easy, given that all the data is in a database. The implementation was much harder as we were going from spreadsheets and flat files.
FinancialForce has the same robust capabilities with billing and deferred revenue, revenue recognition and that is the piece that drives us . Any software can do payables. Deferred revenue and billing are critical.

FinancialForce out of the box integration with Salesforce.com is very attractive to us. Right now licenses to NetSuite are cost prohibitive in order to give to sales and account managers. Sales people and account managers would benefit from seeing data in NetSuite, e.g. billing, invoices etc. With FinancialForce, they can see all data in Salesforce.com without requiring licenses to FinancialForce.

The second advantage of integration is closed orders flow and setting up contacts in NetSuite independent of Salesforce.com. Today this is a manual data entry process which takes 5-10 mins per order for existing customer, 10-15 minutes for a new customer as need to set-up the customer within NetSuite.

I don’t know about the relative pricing for Financial Force, though I perceive the overall pricing would be cheaper because of access to data for account executives and account managers.

Another potential benefit is international support relative to the NetSuite Enterprise edition that we are on. To get the international capabilities with NetSuite, we’d need to upgrade to OneWorld which is quite a bit more expensive. You need international user support. For us, it would be a brand new implementation and cost $50-60k. It would not treated as an upgrade. The go forward license model wasn’t all that different for current functionality, but were looking at added functionality. If international is a big priority, the scale is more tipped towards FinancialForce. International is handled using data from the same tables. NetSuite tables are currently different to Salesforce.com opportunities, and may show up differently due to foreign exchange rates e.g. $101k vs. $100k. This leads to foreign exchange reconciliation issues. Even if we had one OneWorld, we would still have this issue.

However, the lack of SSAE 16 compliance was the factor that really stopped us from switching to FinancialForce. Because it is an early stage product, there was some items around billing, revenue that were less robust, but with our in-house Salesforce.com expertise, our IT team felt they could customize Salesforce/FinancialForce quite easily. We don’t have NetSuite expertise in-house. There would be synergy in our IT organization to having one platform.

I think Financial Force will get there very quickly and then I think it will be difficult. NetSuitehas remained closed. There are not a lot of good consultants who work with it. By contrast, everybody knows Salesforce.com.

Product Usage

12 - IT person (business analyst) who can add/delete users

9 people in my organization to enter GL transactions, work collections on sales orders etc.

Two users in Financial Planning & Accounting to pull reports and dump data into Adaptive Planning our budgeting and planning tool.
  • Entire general ledger function.
  • Biggest reason we chose them was robust deferred revenue capabilities.

Evaluation and Selection

Our short list was NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and Softrax. We felt that NetSuite handled revenue recognition for a SAAS business like us much better. They get it as they themselves are SAAS.

We have since looked at Financial Force and Intacct. Intacct wasn’t a viable solution as it's more for smaller organizations. We would have probably moved to FinancialForce, but they didn’t have SSAE16/SAS 70 compliance. The lack of that would have caused auditors to do a lot more work. Financial Force is in process of getting compliant but I don’t know what the timetable is.

Implementation

We initially tried to have NetSuite implement but we did not have a lot of success. They didn’t want to put in all of our historical sales order data, and at the time, we had a lot of 3-5 yr contracts that would have been on a spreadsheet.

We hired a contractor called Jim Gamble to come in house and help with the implementation . Jim now works at BridgePoint Consulting. I would recommend him. He had an accounting background and understand systems. The NetSuite consultants didn’t understand our revenue model and how it worked. Jim did.

With the initial NetSuite team, we not satisfied at all. With Jim, we were very satisfied. One of the downfalls with NetSuite is that they had in their mind how it needs to be implemented, but didn’t take into account our considerations. At the time, their customers were much younger than us and didn’t have historical data. They also worked with companies that did one year contracts. They had no do desire to listen to our facts. With 800-900 customers with multi-year contracts, we would have been maintaining spreadsheets for numerous years. They weren’t willing at all to work with our specific situation. I understand they have best practices, but sometimes those best practices don’t fit the client. They didn’t have any out of the box thinking – very prescribed implementation.
  • Vendor implemented
  • Implemented in-house

Training

Online training was pretty good. None of us here have attended in person training.

Support

I would have given them a 3/10 two years ago. We now finally have had the same account manager for 1.5 years. Previously, they churned account managers a lot. It is definitely easier to escalate support if you have account manager you can turn to. To get it done a lot, you have to escalate to your account manager. We do put in support cases via ticket, but account managers provide an escalation point. They are generally not technical, but some are. They are reactive - don't do proactive outreach to check in on us.

Usability

Their report writer is drag and drop.

Online help is pretty easy to use, for example, I was trying to get a report out of the system in a different way, but could find a solution in the online help quite quickly.

The software gives lots of helpful warnings, e.g. to save a transaction before navigating away.

Reliability

It has been very reliable. I can only think of 1-2 times in 4.5 years that we have had issues getting in, and in each case were able to get back in within 1 hour. There has not been a major downtime.
The system runs slow occasionally, especially at quarter end.

Integration

  • Salesforce.com
We have no integration to Salesforce.com currently. We are attempting through our in-house IT team to support usage billing in Salesforce.com and pushing the data to NetSuite.

This integration is extremely important for us to be able to scale. Having to re-key data is the most important issue affecting scalability. Right now we have managed with customer data to dump data and save in places where account managers and account executives can get it, and if need live data, they call finance – one resource fielding questions. It may make them more efficient.

Vendor Relationship

We negotiated a 10 year 5% max price increase per year. Every year reps propose a much bigger increase 7-12%, and we have to remind them about the clause in our contract.