Planning for Netsuite new user interface release in Q3 2014

Planning for SaaS upgrades is typically straight forward, but with the Q3 Netsuite release 2012.2 introducing a HTML5 brand new Netsuite user interface, every Netsuite administrator should be freaking out just a little bit now, at least I know I am. That being said, making sure that you’re prepared and have a clear testing plan in place should help alleviate some of these concerns.

New-NetSuite-interface

Credit goes to the LinkedIn Netsuite group that notified and gave me a bit more insight to the new Netsuite user interface that is slated to be released in the third quarter of this year. Join the LinkedIn group here if you aren’t already a member.  Typically has interesting thoughts although you do get general spam on “new exciting job opportunities” from time to time.

Some good web resources related to the release:

I won’t rehash the details since all the key considerations are covered in the previous links.

A big change like this should be looked at with a weary and cautious eye.  I’ve been a part of a number of recent Salesforce.com upgrades that have ended in more bugs than features released (the most recent example is the delay in the Spring 14 release). To be fair, these systems are sprawling out in many directions, and with a growing codebase, I would only expect that it becomes more and more difficult to ensure that changes in one area don’t affect or break other functional areas.

Although these upgrades do cause challenges for any Netsuite system manager, a well prepared action plan will ensure business continuity after release (or at least you can show your boss that you did all that you could do!).  I would be particularly worried about any suitescripting that may have been done that isn’t using approved methods / ids, and are instead using javascript “hacks” to make changes to forms.  Although these workarounds were needed to get the job done, it doesn’t mean that the hacks will be Netsuite supported in the new interface.

These are the steps that I will be taking to make sure our instance is ready for the release.  (Some new edits based on information provided by (Dan Edwards):

  1. Make sure that my company is taking part in the release preview for the next release.  This will give you a chance to kick the tires. The release preview notification is emailed to the Netsuite System Administrator and you will typically have a few weeks to review the new setup before the official release.  The release preview is a duplicate of your existing production environment with the newly released components.
  2. Inventory all the key transaction and entry forms that may have suitescripting on them.  Pay special attention to test these forms and make sure they they are working appropriately in the preview. If you have the luxury of having a developer in-house, pleas ask them to review the current code and see if it uses any traditional javascript functions to find to edit html form components (i.e. use of the getElementById method)
  3. Work with the business teams to document all core business processes that are crucial for their day to day work and ask them (very nicely) to set aside some time to test these processes in the release preview environment

I’m excited by the new Netsuite UI and the new features that come along with them but it’s always prudent to test these new features to make sure that your business can continue to run as of day one. I’ll provide more details of my planning and action plan as the release nears!

-MisterSaaS

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