What to think about when you're thinking about building a NetSuite SuiteApp
The NetSuite ecosystem provides the potential of ready-made marketplace of over 40,000 customers for your products and services. All you have to do is get in the door. Developing a NetSuite SuiteApp is the best way to unlock the NetSuite ecosystem, create new revenue streams for your existing clients and drive new customer acquisition for your products. Extend Apps is made-up of a group of NetSuite developers who have designed, built and launched hundreds of SuiteApps. Our 12+ years experience has taught us more than a few hard-earned lessons about App development.
If you’re considering building a NetSuite SuiteApp, read on to learn some of the broad strokes and considerations you should have in mind and how we can help.
Sounds pretty obvious, but... Develop a plan first:
Hone that idea. Make it simple.
The goal here is to be really, truly excellent at one thing. Not average at many. Call it an MVP, version 1 or a beta, but the idea you move ahead with should be simplified. Moreover, you should be able to articulate the business value it will deliver in one or two sentences. Strongpoint documents your changes in NetSuite, the Box SuiteApp pushes Box folders to NetSuite, the Concur SuiteApp connects their services to NetSuite. Build a roadmap for future functionality and update your app down the line. But know that the top performing (and selling) solutions focus on a focused concept. This also helps keep the development effort manageable and will make it easier to launch, support end-users and promote. Build a roadmap for future functionality and update your app down the line.
To publish or not to publish.
Will your NetSuite app be a published and certified SuiteApp that is available on the SuiteApp Site- the NetSuite App Store -or an unpublished application?
A NetSuite SuiteApp that achieves Built for NetSuite (BFN) certification can be published on SuiteApp.com to all of NetSuite’s customers. It’s a time-consuming process, but it gains you entry into the NetSuite SuiteApp marketplace. This can be good for exposure and great for sales and installs. An unpublished app is less expensive and faster to get to market, but you’ll need to promote it without the exposure of SuiteApp.com. If the goal of building your SuiteApp is to help increase sales of your products and services, having your app published and listed is important. If your SuiteApp will be used to augment your existing solution or support your current clients, going unpublished could work.
How will you monetize your SuiteApp?
NetSuite SuiteApps can be a great source of revenue and/or a wedge for generating new clients for your products and services. But, the way you plan to position your Suite App will have a big impact on planning. Will you be selling your App directly? Bundling it as a paid feature to your existing offering? Or is it a free loss-leader? Answering these questions contribute to design decisions (features and architecture) but they also dictate the need to integrated licensing and payment control. Go-to-market, end-user support requirements and even documentation decisions will be impacted by this.
Time to build it. You got this. Right?
Tough Choice: To DIY, or call the experts?
Just like the rest of us, developers (even the best ones) can underestimate the challenges and pitfalls associated with SuiteApp development. If you’ve spent the last 5-10 years developing in ERP and Financial Systems, learning the NetSuite developer ecosystem is definitely manageable. If it’s your first time working with NetSuite or Accounting platforms, think twice. In fact, think double: double (at least) the time you expect to need, double the time you expect to spend on the phone with NetSuite support and double the size of your team to keep up with it all.
We frequently hear from developers and companies who have hit a wall in the middle of the SuiteApp build-out. In the event you find yourself in this situation you may need to fix mistakes, rework major elements or just simply start over. This may cost you much more than it would have had you started with an experienced NetSuite SuiteApp development firm. You have to determine if learning the process (and paying the price) is worth it for you and your team, or if it would be more cost effective to call in the experts for this phase.
Can you afford to share your team?
It can take roughly 6-10 weeks to develop your SuiteApp. Your team will be busy learning the NetSuite EcoSystem, writing and testing code and engaging with the NetSuite SDN. Joining the NetSuite SDN will cost you either $3,000 or $10,000 depending on the program stream. You’ll be busy meeting, discussing your app, reviewing code, testing in NetSuite-approved environments and completing the many docs and forms that go into getting your SuiteApp certified. Like just about any ecosystem, there’s a lot to learn, a lot to know and a lot of time required. One alternative is Extend Apps’ SuiteApp development as a service option. We can launch your app without the fees and time commitment of your team.
The easy part is over: Now, launch, sell and support it.
Go-to Market Planning.
With all the planning and investment in your SuiteApp, having a clear, actionable and effective go-to-market strategy is essential. If you’re selling your app publicly, having your App listed on SuiteApp.com will be a big help. In addition to that you will need to engage with NetSuite’s various channel partners and resellers, angle for NetSuite’s attention to educate internal sales and service resources and leverage all the promotional tools the web has to offer. It is definitely a job for a marketing department. Even better, it’s a job for a marketing department who knows the ropes. An integrated strategy for launching, promoting and educating all available channels will ensure your NetSuite SuiteApp is a success.
Install and Support your App
Spending time with your clients during the install of your SuiteApp can help ensure the success of your App. If your NetSuite application is successful, that means greater adoption of your products and services and more revenue. First-level support for your NetSuite App is also important. Who will your customers call? If alterations need to be made in their NetSuite accounts, is someone on your team NetSuite certified and able to make them? How do you determine between a problem with your app and a NetSuite bug? Develop a plan to support the success and adoption of your SuiteApp and it will guarantee ROI. Determine if you can provide this internally, or would a team specialized in these tasks be a better choice?
There are a number of moving pieces you have to consider when developing a NetSuite SuiteApp. Seeing the full view of the process is the first step in setting your app up for success.
Are you looking to develop an application on the NetSuite platform? If so, give us a call. With the right help and guidance it can be a fast and fun process.