Written by Magda Valentova, NetSuite Brno
Apart from the SuiteImpact program which is widely publicised among employees, there’s also the SuiteVolunteer program which is perhaps not so well known. I spoke to, Petr Jurencak – Product Manager and one of two Brno volunteers in Q2/2015, to find out more about his work on this program and to share his experience and knowledge with you.
Petr, what made you decide to get involved with the SuiteVolunteer program?
I started a few months ago and I thought that many people are participating because helping social and not for profit organizations worldwide is a brilliant idea. To be honest I initially got it a bit mixed up with the SuiteImpact project. SuiteVolunteer is a pro bono service for our customers (charities, social companies, not-for-profits etc.) who receive a NetSuite subscription for free and ask for help with the configuration, implementation and training on how to use NetSuite effectively. I received an email from SuiteVolunteer, completed my profile with my experiences and preferences for Q2 2015 and I was in! The projects are very well prepared and each project starts with a kick off meeting full of information for new participants. All the details had been taken care of —from scope template, timelines and even email templates. There were about 30 projects and more than 100 NS employees who dedicated between 4 and 20 hours of their skills and time per quarter.
You chose the project “AyurVAID Hospitals – Coaching for Experienced Users – ERP”, what made you chose that one?
Actually this project was assigned to me, based on my preferences which I filled in on Netsuite.org. AyurVAID Hospitals is a hospital in Bangalore and they are just in the process of migrating their old accounting software to NetSuite. They asked for some coaching during the implementation and system configuration. They are regular receivers of SuiteVolunteer projects each quarter and were really experienced and creative with their NetSuite implementation.
Have you had any experience with similar volunteer projects? What was your expectation and what were your feelings after the project finished?
I had some experience with other volunteering projects mostly with manual work in protected landscape areas (CHKO), but helping a hospital in the middle of India over Webex just a few months after completing my Essentials training was quite a challenge:-). I was appointed project manager, so responsible for all meetings and communication between the hospital and our team and prepared the hourly coaching sessions. I expected that they just needed a basic grounding in how to use NetSuite and to share some hints, but they were in the middle of a really quite complicated data migration of their whole accounting system, without any external support. In the beginning it was a bit like “putting lipstick on a pig”, but fortunately we had Zhameer (PS consultant), Adam (PM Int.) and Robert Gunzinam (PM ERP), so every hour was a great lesson for everybody with lots of hands on customer interaction. Thankfully it all went without any problems (despite the flakey audio connection with India). It was a really great experience and the hospital were so appreciative of our efforts, they were great to work with and we had excellent team spirit. All round, it was a priceless experience.
You clearly enjoyed this project and your passion and enthusiasm is infectious! What message or recommendation would you pass on to your colleagues?
Just get involved! Leave any reservations at the door and go for it, it really is a priceless experience. Not only do you get to see NetSuite being used in a real grass-roots environment, but you gain so much experience working with people from different cultures who are working in demanding environments. It makes a change from everyday corporate life. I’d also stress, there’s no need to worry that you wouldn’t have enough time for such a project, its more than doable. That said, you need to approach it responsibly, and be fully committed from the start, especially if you’re project manager. I would definitely recommend my colleagues to take part in Suite Volunteer program.
Petr, thank you for your time and willingness to share your experience with us.
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