SolarWinds, MindJet Share Tips for Extending NetSuite

Posted by Adrian Bridgwater, Guest Blogger

Getting NetSuite up and running is a speedy process that has been engineered to be both intuitive and painless from the start but that’s just the beginning. Once a business is live, there is the opportunity to ‘take it to the next level’ with workflows, scripting and other customization tools.

Dan Miller, general manager, software vertical at NetSuite, hosted a session at this year’s SuiteWorld to explain how NetSuite has been “vertical-ized” by customers for their specific use cases using NetSuite’s development platform.

Brian Dougherty, director of enterprise architecture at SolarWinds, explained how his company makes IT management software designed to eliminate complexity. The firm implemented NetSuite in 2006 and initially went live with financials before moving onto order management and processing functionalities. The company then began using SuiteTalk and SuiteScript extensively, while also using SuiteFlow to expand the functionality.

“Since we have been live with NetSuite, we have grown from 60 to more than 1,000 people and we are now in eight countries around the world,” Dougherty said. “From day one we customized the system using SuiteCloud to make the system work the way we wanted it to.”

SolarWinds built a ‘service tier’ to drive the transport of data between its systems and Salesforce.com, its CRM system. As a very cloud-centric company, all the virtualized data flows belonging to the company also went through this service tier.

“As an operational business concern, using NetSuite we are now driven by business considerations, not IT vendor performance,” said Dougherty.

Across its entire business structure, SolarWinds uses almost all of the SuiteCloud platform. Using a combination of event scripts and scheduled scripts, sales order approvals are pushed through its system and customer renewals quotes are sent out automatically. Quote reminders carry a link to a shopping cart so some customers are “completely touchless” in terms of the way SolarWinds bills them.

“If you are just starting out looking at NetSuite migration, then keep it as simple as possible to begin with,” Dougherty said. “But as you expand, NetSuite’s debugging environment is fantastic; so take advantage of the tools to help script with JavaScript development. Just remember to document, document and document throughout.”

Sudheer Yerabati, director, business systems and integration, MindJet, explained how his company implemented NetSuite for order and billing management in 2008. Operating a high volume business with multiple channels, MindJet used the SuiteCloud platform and migrated from Oracle Financials as part of its move to NetSuite.

Calling NetSuite one of its ‘anchor systems’ along with Boomi and Salesforce.com, today MindJet now passes orders from a web store to NetSuite via SuiteTalk. Multiple checks are made on each customer and scripts convert orders in NetSuite into cash sales.

SuiteTalk integration with a payment gateway handles reconciliation. A series of ongoing handshakes are made as the system looks at individual license key subscriptions with exception handling capabilities for failed orders.

MindJet started small but laid down a roadmap for continuous improvements. Yerabati insists that, “Use cases must be very well defined and it is important to customise after you find out what the platform can do out of the box.”

Scripting is used to automate business management, to generate contracts and to support multiple dollar values.

“Determine which systems hold the truth when working with multiple systems,” Yerabati said.

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