Over 75% of NetSuite Administrators Have Moved On in the Last Year !?! Really?!?

As far as I can tell, an unprecedented pace of change is sweeping the NetSuite community and NetSuite Administrators are the main beneficiaries.  We recently did a an admittedly-unscientific survey of companies we have contact with.  It confirmed our suspicions that NetSuite Admins were changing jobs at a hectic pace.  In fact, over 75% of the companies we surveyed had changed their NetSuite Admin in the last year, which is frankly shocking!  And it seems it's the Admins who are flying the coop! They seem to be leaving for three reasons:

#1 - Consulting - There is huge demand for consulting talent to meet the overwhelming numbers of companies joining the NetSuite community.  Experienced Admins have real-world practical experience.  Those with strong project, technical and/or process skills are very valuable to the growing consulting practices where they can be very well compensated.

#2 - Moving Up - Larger companies entering the NetSuite space are recruiting talent from smaller companies.  The deep NetSuite experience that they developed at a smaller or mid-sized company will avoid a lot of headaches and growing pains for a larger company, which can offer substantially better compensation and in many cases an accommodating work environment.

#3 - Burnout - We were surprised to see more than a few incidents of burnout.  After years of carrying an ever-growing load, some Admins are leaving to just take time off.

This is a big problem.  A lot of 'tribal knowledge' walks out the door with these people.  They are often the only person in the company with a broad view of the whole system.  We recently spoke to a larger NetSuite client who described their system of keeping track of all the customizations in their system as 'Bob' (not his real name).  Which was scaring the daylights out of their COO and putting immense pressure on 'Bob'.   Shortly thereafter, 'Bob' left the company.

To make matters worse, many companies are overly dependent on outside consultants for overall system knowledge.  However, senior consulting staff are themselves being heavily recruited by customers and larger consulting firms.

To be fair, our survey might be biased.  FLODocs is an automated documentation system for NetSuite.  The companies that reach out to us have realized the risk that losing their NetSuite admin or other key NetSuite staff could result in the loss of a great deal of knowledge about the system.  They use FLODocs to automatically build up a base level of automated documentation that they can build on over time.

So what can you do?

  1.  Accept that turnover is going to happen.  Discuss  it with your executive team and your Administrators and key staff. Plan ahead.
  2. Establish standards for documentation that are simple, practical and correspond to the risk involved.  You only have limited amount of time - focus on what is most important!
  3. Make documentation part of your culture - "If It's Not Written Down, It Doesn't Exist"
  4. Regularly, clean up all of your old searches, unused fields, deprecated scripts - it's much easier to understand a clean system.
  5. Overtrain junior staff. Look around your team and think about who my next admin would be or, if you are the admin, who would keep things running if I was ill?  Send them to NetSuite Essentials and Admin training.
  6. Democratize your documentation:  Everyone is an expert in their own job.  Make documenting that part of their job.

At FLODocs, we specialize in simplifying and automating documentation, please let us know if we can help.

So what is your experience?  When was the last time your company changed NetSuite administrators?