We’re in the throes of creating an e-book based on the answers to three questions we’ve asked online in a variety of forums, and we’ve seen some stunning results thus far. Question two is “Do you feel that you’re using NetSuite to its fullest potential in your business?” and every SINGLE person who has answered that question has said … you guessed it, “NO.”
But that’s not the real shocker. After all, if I asked you if you were using Microsoft Excel to its fullest potential, that answer would probably be “no” also, am I right?
The real shocker is the answer to the third question – “On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how well is your team trained in how to use your NetSuite software?” While a few people have been in the 7-8 range, the vast majority of responses have been 5 or less. It’s easy to draw a correlation between the two, isn’t it? If the team were well trained, would organizations be using NetSuite to its fullest potential? In my experience, it would certainly give them a better shot at success.
Here’s the thing about training – most companies DO NOT LIKE TO SEE THAT LINE ITEM ON A PROPOSAL. I’ve seen it time and time again – “do we really need this?” and “won’t your people be showing our people what to do when they’re doing the implementation?” Training as a separate line item on a proposal just seems to set something off in our brains (yes, my brain does this too). Surely our smart people can learn this on their own. Surely we will get the knowledge we need to make this successful. We’ll have our people “shoulder surf” (watch the implementer implement) and ask questions and they’ll get everything they need to know out of that.
In our brains, we make it easy to cross that training item off the list as a way to trim the project budget. And then what happens? What I’m about to tell you is based on my years of experience with implementing sophisticated systems – both as the implementation partner AND as the customer. I’m going to give you the REAL scoop. When training gets crossed off the list, everyone loses.
- When users are asking questions while the implementation is going on, the implementation can take two to three times longer. The implementer will miss their estimates – and six times out of ten, won’t offer a scope change to accommodate for the increased hours. The fact is, when “training” (in quotes because it’s not really training at that point; it’s knowledge transfer) and implementing are done at the same time, efficiency is lost, and the duration of the project gets longer – so deadlines drift. No one wins.
- The quality of training is compromised. Without focused training time operating against a specific training agenda, it’s hit-or-miss as to whether your team members will actually retain anything they learn. When doing training-by-shoulder-surfing, there’s no real opportunity for your team members to practice what they’re learning – and won’t get a true end-to-end, here’s-how-to-do-your-job picture. No one wins.
- Your team members end up in a difficult spot, because they have to keep doing their jobs using the soon-to-be-replaced system while trying to pay attention to what the implementer is doing in case they can learn something (which they’ll promptly forget when they go back to the system they’re using). People burn out. The day-to-day job suffers, and you’re not happy either. No one wins.
Getting users acclimated to their new system, teaching them how to do their part – how things have changed from the old system, and how they’ll stay the same – these are pieces of an implementation that must not be missed. It takes some structure – even when the training is customized to your organization.
It takes commitment from both you and your NetSuite implementer to ensure that people have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. And it takes not crossing that item out of the proposal. Keep it. It’s the best tool you have in getting the most from your NetSuite implementation.