Connecting all your data to NetSuite comes with major benefits. A single source of truth for your data gives your business tools a go-to location for information. It also gives your employees a common ground for collaboration. By getting your data in one place, you can optimize processes throughout your company. There’s only one problem: how do you get all your data in one place?

Integration can be a four letter word in the world of IT. Few will argue the benefits of integration, but achieving those goals can come at a price. What starts as a way to simplify can get complicated if you’re not careful.

In our recent webinar, “Best Practices for Connecting Data to NetSuite,” we brought together a panel of integration experts.

  • Jeanney Kim, Product Marketing Manager at Celigo, a leading integration company
  • Jonathan Holley, Marketing Analyst at Bailey International
  • Alex Townsend, Senior Business Analyst at iCharts

The panel shared their integration experiences, offered tips, and outlined some common mistakes. We can’t fit everything into this summary, but we can share the main takeaways. To integrate the right way, you’ll need to assess your data needs, make a plan, and get to know your systems.

Assess your data integration needs

While your instinct is to get as much data as possible into NetSuite, restraint is a better approach. Integration doesn’t have to mean putting every last piece of data in one place. In fact, this approach can be wasteful. Instead, focus on bringing over data that matters. “If it’s not something that can drive the business, it almost becomes a distraction at that point,” says Holley. Talk to stakeholders and ask them what data they need to do their jobs. Most of all, be honest about what data you need, what data you want, and what data you could live without.

Have a goal and make a plan

A good plan can save you a ton of time in the long run. Ask yourself why you want to integrate your data. Is your goal data optimization, or do you have something more specific in mind?

For example, Jonathan Holley at Bailey uses integration to connect NetSuite with data from Amazon and eBay. This way they get a more complete picture of sales and demand. At iCharts, we use integration to connect NetSuite with SalesForce, so we can combine our two main data sources.

Consider getting help

Companies like Celigo offer an easier way to integrate your data. They help you through the planning, help you through the technical stuff, and ensure your integration is successful. If your integration needs are particularly big, you should consider getting outside help. You should also consider getting help if your two systems are particularly incompatible. Companies like Celigo offer integration platforms that serve as a middleman for two (or more) otherwise incompatible systems. It’s not the most direct method, but it can save time on a trick integration.

Learn the benefits of restraint

By being a little choosy about which data to integrate, you can save yourself a bunch of time and computing resources. If you focus on the data that matters, and leave the rest behind, you’ll sacrifice some information, but you’ll gain speed and simplicity.

It’s also possible you don’t need 100% real-time data integration. Sure, you’ll want information about a hot lead the moment it comes in. However, something like an MRR calculation or a summary of quarterly sales doesn’t need real-time attention.  Instead, you can schedule these data syncs as batch jobs. This way, the data that does need to be real-time will have fewer issues.

Know your systems and map out your fields

Much of your integration efforts will consist of mapping data fields from your source system onto NetSuite. This process of figuring out what goes where may seem rote, but it’s a crucial part of integration. “The key was mapping the processes and making sure things function properly,” said Holley. During this process, keep an eye out for similar fields with different names. For example, “products” in Salesforce may translate into “items” in NetSuite. It’s up to you to recognize that these are the same thing.

During this process, it can be tempting to make adjustments to your NetSuite environment to accommodate the new data and simplify your integration, but over-customization is a mistake. “Make sure you’re not messing up the native functionality of NetSuite,” says Holley. Some level of customization is something you can expect, but before long, customizations will stop making things better and start making them worse.

We hope you enjoyed this summary, but we couldn’t cover everything. To learn more, watch the webinar, “Best Practices for Connecting Data to NetSuite.”