Monday, June 14, 2021

3 Ways to Integrate NetSuite with Salesforce

3 Ways to Integrate NetSuite with Salesforce by Brian Newbold.

In our digital world, we can’t afford to spend time re-entering our Salesforce sales into a billable form in NetSuite. A swivel seat is excruciating both in time spent and accuracy errors. And when it’s time to automate, it seems like all suggestions start with “it’s an easy-to-use template” yet ultimately end up being custom-built solutions.

My company, like yours, is certainly a special snowflake – unique in how we process orders and report our sales and financial data. But aren’t snowflakes also nearly identical in their structure, form, and function? Surely when you look very closely you will see the many fine and unique details, but at the macro level, they’re pretty much just the same. Similarly, aren’t our business processes nearly alike at macro with a modicum of uniqueness? 

In the sense of integrating NetSuite with Salesforce, it seems our business needs across most companies fall into separate categories in about 3 different ways: 
  • First and most basic, where your processes fit the sample templates and have low volume. Everything pretty much just works out-of-the-box with the lowest-cost tier middleware
  • Second, where most of us fit, having a healthy volume of orders and reasonable depth of customizations. We’ve outgrown the templates and pushed the boundaries a bit 
  • Third and most complex, the large-enterprise ERP with a few thousand products and hundreds of thousands if not millions of customers. High volume and highly customized, where you’ve hired a team of purpose-driven integration engineers.

So now with a general idea to which category you belong, which tier of software should you choose? Well, that can be a bit confusing depending on whose advice you take. A wise man once told me that if you ask a plumber to fix your house, you’ll get a plumbing solution. Ask a roofer to fix the same house and he’ll fix it with… well, you get the point. 

When you reach out to an SI consultant, you will certainly get a systems integrator solution; but is it a fresh solution or the same old templated rollout? Plumbing and roofing haven’t changed much since 2006, but what about software solutions? Keep in mind the iterative progress your proposed solution will make in the coming years and strive to find a balance of features and longevity, as any solution is likely to be your solution for some time to come.

Enough with the cautionary tales and down to the suggestions.

Tier 1: Basic functionality, no customization
In this tier, my preferred go-to solutions are Zapier, Celigo, or Mulesoft and making use of built-in templates. This approach will perform the wire-up of NetSuite and Salesforce but will be nothing but the basics. The cost will be minimized but functionality will remain far from ideal. Growth is a little tough too and is sure to look closely at the transaction-based pricing structure and make sure it will continue to fit your growth plans.

Tier 2: Robust functionality, good customization.
In this tier, I would consider Celigo or Boomi with initial SI stand up, or Breadwinner with SI optional. Celigo and Boomi being many-to-many iPaaS solutions are phenomenal when you need to wire up an entire BizApps ecosystem. However, they come with hidden costs associated with the necessity to use a great systems integrator (SI) and a longer timeline than most expect. The NetSuite and Salesforce orchestration is generally the most complex wire-up of anything you’re connecting and will require diligence.

A bit of a hidden gem in the Tier 2 space is actually not an iPaaS, but rather a purpose-built NetSuite and Salesforce orchestration suite called Breadwinner. My favorite part of Breadwinner is that they’re constantly adding features and enhancing their product. Since it’s hosted on the AppExchange, it’s hosted from Salesforce itself. 

The clear advantage with Breadwinner comes in when you realize you’ve got all the NetSuite data stored and reportable alongside Salesforce. It’s a product you deploy, rather than a project you embark on. Definitely worth a nod as they’ve saved me a ton of time and have given a far more complete integration in their free trial, rather than the many-to-many packages deliver in their end product.

Tier 3: Custom functionality, all customization.
In this tier, expect the best fits to be Boomi, Talend, and the like with dedicated staff and definitely an initial SI standup. This is where the heavy hitters come in that can handle millions of transactions and complex transforms. By far the costliest solutions but sometimes the only ones that can get the job done. These are full-fledged ETL tools and if you’ve got the resources, these are for you. 

Boomi in my experience has been the easiest to set up initially, but I’ve pushed it and hit the upper limits of transactions. Talend’s strengths are in delivering great integrations in distributed node environments. A bit more programmatic than drag-and-drop, but well worth it when you’ve got those unique environments. 

Where does your business fit in?

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