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Scripting in Workflows

What is a NetSuite Workflow?

Workflows are a great feature of Netsuite. They allow a user to automate behaviour which would usually require an administrator to use a SuiteScript.

The cool aspect of this tool is that not only does it allow you to automate complex – and at times confusing – activities such as subscription updates, reminders, customer support and sales processes but it lets you craft these workflows within an easy-to-use graphical interface.

Another bonus of the Netsuite Workflow application is that it takes the load off networks and servers. A user can dictate when certain actions should take place, therefore using less bandwidth during peak times.

So what exactly can you do with Workflows? Well, you might want the workflow to automatically generate a print out if the number of customer records uploaded is below 10,000, instead of having a print out for hundreds of thousands of customer records.

The above example shows just how handy Workflows can be, as it means your resources aren’t tied up in counterproductive and paralysing activities that are automatically programmed into your systems

Though, like most applications, there is the odd limitation of Workflow.

Limitation of Workflows

So we know what a Netsuite Workflow is – it allows you to create custom actions and processes by using a simple graphical interface. This is great because it means you don’t need to have knowledge of scripting to be able to craft these processes.

However, despite its best intentions, one of the limitations of Netsuite Workflow is that it can’t access line items, meaning the workflow becomes more rigid than what a script would allow. NetSuite Workflows reach a road-block when you need to gather information from line items on a product order, or even address entries on a customer form.

The Solution

NetSuite developed Workflows in order to make creating processes and activities simple and more accessible to anyone who may not have experience or knowledge on how to build a script – and let’s face it, not all business have that sort of expertise on board. But, as they say – the best-laid plans often go awry.

Normally, administrators would be faced with a choice – either a workflow or a script. The script would be more flexible but requires in-depth programming knowledge. The workflow would be lighter on the technical expertise, but as we said earlier – lacks the ability to access line items.

Fortunately, NetSuite Workflow is robust enough to still accommodate a script. When the best option is to combine both, which is sometimes the case, this is a lifesaver.

Deploying a script that a workflow uses means you have the best of both worlds. You have the functionality of Netsuite Workflow’s graphical interface, but with the added functionality that the workflow can’t handle, providing the flexibility that a script typically offers, saving the day and saving you the tears.

David Gauthier
A graduate of Concordia University with a degree in Engineering, David has been working in the field of cloud-based CRM and ERP systems for over 2 years. At Big Bang ERP, David is a Senior Consultant who focuses on configuring, testing and deploying NetSuite as well as other business solutions.