Forced Migration? Time to Consider a Modern, Unified ERP that was “Born in the Cloud” 

When Unit4 announced in October that all of its on-premises solutions would no longer be supported with effect from 31st December, 2024 and that users would have to decide to commit to the proposed cloud migration by this date, it sent shivers up the spines of CFOs and CIOs who have just a little over a year to figure out 1) what the shift entailed and, 2) whether they still wanted to remain with the same ERP their organisation has been using for many years.

Stuck with on-premises that would no longer be supported or maintained once the migration happened, long-time Unit4 users have been forced to spring into action and make a decision. After all, any migration to a new system takes time, resources, money and energy—all of which organisations are working to conserve right now.  

Unit4’s announcement also gives organisations a chance to “clean the slate” and start fresh with a modern ERP that was “born in the cloud” (not just moved into it), integrates well with existing third-party applications, provides two upgrades annually that happen behind the scenes and consumes minimal (if any) internal IT support resources.  

5 Reasons NetSuite Should be Your Next ERP 

A cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, NetSuite manages financials, customer relationship management (CRM), inventory and order management, human resources and e-commerce. It also offers specific native modules like SuiteBilling, Advanced Revenue Management (ARM) and OneWorld for managing multi-national/multi-subsidiary businesses.  

Consistently ranking highly among its competitors, NetSuite provides a comprehensive feature set, is both scalable and flexible, and offers a modern, user-friendly interface. Here are five more reasons why CIOs and CFOs facing the Unit4 migration mandate should consider a move to NetSuite:   

  1. NetSuite was born in the cloud. It can be daunting having a long-term software vendor tell you that it’s “cutting the wires” and forcing your entire organisation to move to a cloud-based ERP solution. And while cloud computing adoption has grown substantially over the last decade, no CFO or CIO wants to be told that they must commit to the proposed migration plan within 12 months or less, all whilst weighing up possible alternatives. It is perhaps even more daunting for any businesses with heavily-customised ERPs that now have to be transferred into the cloud. Fortunately, NetSuite was born in the cloud—not “adapted” to it. It features a full set of out-of-the-box functionalities, integrates well with third-party applications, doesn’t burden your IT team and comes with a full suite of NetSuite partner-built and third-party applications that can be easily added onto your new, cloud-based business system. Not to mention, with NetSuite, you will have the peace of mind that you will never find yourself in this situation again! For SystemsAccountants’ Group CFO Nicola Sutcliffe, NetSuite’s agile, cloud-based software was exactly what they needed: “NetSuite has completely transformed our finance team. It’s ability to consolidate financials across regions has significantly reduced the manual processing and increased visibility of performance.”
  2. You’re not the first to make the jump to NetSuite from Unit4. SANSA has already helped organisations like Virgin Management replace Unit4 Business World with NetSuite, and it’s working on similar projects as the clock ticks down to the vendor’s December 31, 2024 mandate. Virgin Management was experiencing connectivity issues, system crashes and a lack of real-time data, among other issues. Finance consolidations were manual and time-consuming and the company needed a system that could handle real-time current conversions across its global entities. SANSA actively engaged with Virgin Management from the beginning, participating in several alignment sessions and hosting workshops to gain a thorough understanding of their current processes and Unit4 setup. NetSuite streamlined the data-gathering process for the company’s Financial Planning & Analysis team, which now has a consistent approach and standardised processes in place. This significantly simplified the team’s workload and eliminated the need for extensive data transformation. “We love the flexibility of NetSuite – you don’t have to take every module,” Virgin Management’s Senior Finance Transformation Manager Cara Pannell said. “SANSA invested time to understand the complexities of our business and deliver a setup fit for purpose now, but also for the future.” 
  3. Cost of ownership is lower than you think. If cost and time saving are on your perpetual “to do” list as a CFO, you’re really going to like what comes next: moving to NetSuite won’t require as much time and money as you probably think, and it will free up resources that were allocated to maintaining and upgrading your on-premises system. For example, NetSuite releases two upgrades annually that provide all of the latest features and functionalities without the risk of disruption to your operations. The upgrades take place behind the scenes, and all NetSuite users are on the same version all the time. That means no more version lock and no worrying about whether you’re on the latest version of your software. Finally, NetSuite offers a subscription model where you pay only for the modules you use, whereas your on-premise ERP requires upfront licensing for all modules regardless of usage. 
  4. Yes, you’ll be able to get NetSuite up and running in time. It’s no secret that companies often take the “path of least resistance” when forced to make major IT decisions. That is, they’ll stick with their existing vendors even if they know there’s probably something better out there. In this case, the time crunch may be another decision factor that keeps organisations from exploring their options. The good news is that, unlike on-premises systems, NetSuite offers a fast deployment model that starts with a “financials first” approach and then allows you to quickly adopt new modules as you need them. NetSuite is based on leading practices meaning that organisations don’t need to define their processes before selecting a new system. What does this mean in practice? It means there isn’t a barrier to starting a project or lengthy lead times to get ready for an ERP change. It ultimately ensures a smooth and predictable deployment process.   
  5. Experienced implementation partners stay by your side throughout the process. Right now, most Unit4 users are wondering what it really takes to move a system that’s been highly customised to their needs—and that’s been located on-premises on a server for decades—into the cloud. The hardware and server considerations alone are enough to send CIOs into a tailspin as they seek out answers to their most pressing IT questions. Fortunately, SANSA Solutions, an award winnng NetSuite Alliance Partner, can address both sides of the equation: the wind down of Unit4 and the implementation of NetSuite. SANSA’s CEO, Tony Fidler previously worked at Unit4 and therefore has a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances of Unit4’s legacy on-premise systems, and in turn, what is required for a smooth transition to NetSuite.  

Don’t Gamble with Your ERP: Choose the Right Implementation Partner 

As you make the journey from legacy on-premises systems to a modern, cloud-based ERP like NetSuite, make sure you have an experienced, reliable implementation partner in your corner.  

At SANSA, our strong project governance and project control helps us deliver a “no surprises” approach for all of our clients. We take all stakeholders with us on the implementation journey; implementing with them and not at them, considering the wider obligations and constraints that they may have. 

Our proven track record of best-in-class implementations is further underpinned by SANSA being named NetSuite Alliance Partner of the Year for the second year running, SANSA possesses insider knowledge of Unit4’s software and knows exactly what it takes to break free of the constraints of this legacy system quickly, efficiently and confidently.  

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