As businesses grow, they need to adjust their processes to prepare for peak demand periods, handle large volumes of product and service estimates, and manage high order and billing volumes.
As part of that effort, you should carefully consider the usage limits of your critical business applications. Neglecting to do so could negatively impact employee efficiency and customer service.
When business systems can’t keep up with increasing demand, it results in bottlenecks, delays and the potential for lost revenue.
Growing businesses using NetSuite have the ability to scale with the system and, as they grow, need to alleviate operational risks such as failed customer transactions, slow data imports and delayed reporting. NetSuite provides users with capabilities to avoid operational risks, increase flexibility and support growth.
NetSuite Service Tiers
NetSuite grows to meet the business needs of users through service tiers, which represent a collection of key attributes that govern the scale at which an account can operate. Among other factors, NetSuite service tiers set the maximum number of users, limits on file storage and monthly transactions, and the number of parallel operations, like importing and exporting data, that can occur at once.
NetSuite has four preconfigured service tiers—Standard, Premium, Enterprise and Ultimate—that are tailored to meet a variety of business needs. Moving to a higher service tier provides increased capacity for more users and generally means better performance at the database layer.
Tiering helps to ensure a consistent user experience in NetSuite for processes like saved searches and reports.
The Standard tier is included in the base NetSuite subscription and defines key metrics including users, file storage, monthly transaction lines and SuiteCloud Plus licenses.
You can always move to a higher tier to meet business needs. There are four primary factors that prompt customers to upgrade their NetSuite services:
- Transaction volume measured by monthly transaction lines
- Number of users
- Concurrency (number of processes running at once on your behalf)
- File Cabinet storage
Let’s look at each area.
1. Monthly Transaction Lines
Transactions are any customer-recorded business activity, such as sales orders, vendor payments, tax payments, requests for quotes (RFQs) and assembly/kit items. A transaction line records a financial transaction between your business and a customer, vendor or employee. Transactions may be related to accounts payables (AP), accounts receivables (AR), inventory or ecommerce.
Monthly transaction lines measure the number of processed transactions per month across all recorded transaction types. By averaging monthly transaction line counts over six months, you’ll determine the best service tier for your business.
Everyone with a licensed role that grants full access to the NetSuite ERP instance (meaning a server running the software) counts as a user. Think AR or AP clerks, support specialists, resource managers—anyone who must log in to perform a task within your instance is counted against the user licenses allocated in your tier.
Concurrency allows customers to handle a larger volume of inbound integrations, map/reduce scripts and CSV imports. SuiteCloud Plus licenses govern the base and maximum concurrency for web service transactions. Concurrency integrations impact infrastructure utilization, so NetSuite sets thresholds to coincide with the tier that supports your needs.
4. Storage Capacity
The NetSuite File Cabinet is where you store and organize your business documents, the same way you would store files on your computer or cloud drive. Files living within NetSuite include sales orders, receipts, invoices, customer records, email attachments and images generated within NetSuite or transferred from outside sources. You can share documents or files internally within the company or externally with customers or partners. As the organization grows, storage requirements expand, so NetSuite sets storage thresholds to support each service level.
SuiteCloud Plus Licenses
In addition to users, file storage, monthly transactions and concurrency, service tiers define the technical cloud software capabilities you can use to help scale your processes.
One example is SuiteCloud Plus licenses. A SuiteCloud Plus license allows customers to increase their capacity at the application layer to avoid bottlenecks with integrations, scheduled scripts and integrated software that uses web services to sync transactions with your ERP—point-of-sale systems are a common example.
Customers also use SuiteCloud Plus for capabilities such as CSV imports and SuiteCloud processors.
By adding SuiteCloud Plus licenses, you can operate more web services integrations, batch processes and file imports concurrently.
The number of SuiteCloud Plus licenses you have directly affects your throughput and scalability.
Peak periods and yearly growth are significant factors in determining how many licenses a company needs. The number of SuiteCloud Plus licenses required for an account also depends on a company’s integration concurrency and peaks, batch processing and file import needs.
For companies that use scheduled processors or mapping/reduce jobs, the number of transactions and the time it takes to process them will determine the number of queues/processors required. When leveraging the CSV import utility, the number of files processed concurrently and the time it takes to process imports is dictated by the number of queues/threads you’ve licensed.
Tools for Monitoring Your Service Tiers
No matter your pace of growth, NetSuite can ensure your service fully supports your business. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, NetSuite helps with performance and scalability scenarios with tools and teams, such as ACS Optimize and Support, to help solve performance-related problems and optimize your service tier and number of SuiteCloud Plus licenses.
Performance issues including page load times, integration request process times and single transaction load/save/edit times can be resolved by using the APM tools shared below, root cause analysis with support and involving ACS for more technical health-check reports.
Scalability issues include user counts, map-reduce and integration concurrency, which can be monitored using APM Concurrency. Often, purchasing additional SuiteCloud Plus licenses resolves these problems.
Other tools that help monitor your service tier and performance metrics include:
- The application performance management tool provides a detailed review of integration performance, such as allocated limits, peak concurrency and rejected request ratio. To access it, go to Customization > Performance > Concurrency Monitor.
- The integration governance tool enables you to assign your concurrency where it is most needed and avoid losing application programming interface (API) calls. To access it, go to Setup > Integration > Manage Integrations.
- Your Performance Health Dashboard lets you monitor performance issues related to processes like scripts, integrations and saved searches in your account. To access it, go to Customization > Performance > Performance Health Dashboard.
- Concurrency usage integration enables you to review the number of concurrent requests available for various integrations. To access it, go to Setup > Integration > Integration Governance.
- The billing information page tracks all your service tier metrics in one place. To access it, go to Setup > Company > View Billing Information.
Sandboxes for Process Quality Control
Business growth is not just about volume. It’s also about the processes a company uses to develop the capabilities it needs to support future requirements. Sandbox and development accounts help users by providing a place to develop sophisticated customizations in a safe environment for testing and team training without interrupting your production account, affecting service levels or service tier parameters, or slowing down concurrent operations.
When you’re ready to add new NetSuite modules or third-party applications, a sandbox that is part of your service tier ensures you can test new customizations, automations or other changes before they go live.
Scaling Your NetSuite Account
The need to “right-size” your instance to support new service levels can easily be overlooked, especially if your processes are evolving quickly. Luckily, it’s a straightforward process to move to a higher service tier anytime your organization requires more capabilities and capacity.
By proactively upgrading, you can process more monthly transactions and concurrent integrations, handle more users, have plenty of file storage, avoid system bottlenecks and delays during peak periods, and maintain a consistent user experience—all within NetSuite.
If you’d like to learn how better scale your organization with NetSuite, contact us online or give us a call at 410.685.5512.