I’ve written a number of blog posts on NetSuite performance and support. First let me say up front that this post ends positive. My company has had our bumps and bruises with NetSuite, but overall it is a very good system. I’ve had conversations with influential people at NetSuite and they are listening. And now, here’s my update.
Yesterday, we experienced a huge slowdown. Response times to edit a sales order went from around 8 seconds to over a minute. It wasn’t every sales order. It was off and on. More off than on. Poor response times seemed to come in waves. When things slowed, they slowed for everyone, all transactions, all browsers, all networks.
I picked up the phone and called NetSuite support. The phone system immediately alerted me that NetSuite was experiencing a problem with a subset of accounts and call times might be longer than normal. Fantastic! They were on it. While on hold I checked their status page. Again, it showed there was a problem. No details, but they seemed to be aware. In the past, the status page had been very far behind reality. It was good to see it was keeping up this time.
Both of these two things had been on my radar and were a part of a phone conversation I had with Michael McLoughlin, NetSuite’s Senior Director of Support, back in July of 2019. Michael called me, a customer, to discuss how he might improve my NetSuite experience. We talked for over an hour about status page, phone system issues, SuiteAnswers, etc. Michael asked me a couple of questions and then listened to my lengthy response.
Back to yesterday’s performance issue. I stayed on the line because I’ve done several performance studies and presentations on the topic. I thought I might be able to help. Interestingly enough, Kris, the customer service rep told me I was not one of the affected customers. We pushed through that and began looking into my problem.
I asked for a GoToMeeting. He obliged. I showed him my response times by opening a handful of sales orders. Response times were horrific. He pulled up log files and concluded the problem was client scripts. It must not be a NetSuite issue. It had to be browser or scripts I’d written that were causing the slowdown. We iterated through him explaining this to me multiple times and finally I stopped him. “We agree on the fact that it is client scripts, but you are telling me I own this. I say this is a NetSuite issue and no matter how many times you explain it to me, I do not accept your premise.”
To his credit, Kris stayed on the call and watched me show him poor response times in multiple browsers and multiple networks. We opened Chrome Dev Tools and used performance monitor to find a script that was taking huge amounts of time to complete. I showed him the script name and I guessed it was owned by NetSuite. I knew with certainty it was not owned by me.
After more than an hour on the phone, Kris asked if he could take the problem offline and visit with the performance team about it. Shortly after that I received an email letting me know that my problem had become a real “Issue”, number 577720.
This morning the fix for issue 577720 was released into my account. The issue was titled “Performance > Overall Slowness > High Client Time.” After receiving the email, I was curious about the problem. I looked up issue 577720. All it included was the title. The details read, “Alternate Solution: None.”
I’m guessing NetSuite would have fixed my problem whether I stayed on the line or not. Don’t know. Certainly, I can’t tell from the details.
I want to commend Michael McLoughlin for the work he’s done improving NetSuite customer support, documentation and status page. His improvements have been very helpful to us customers!
Michael, if you are listening, here’s one more tip. Please put some details in my issue and possibly on the status page. It will help us both next time when I call with a performance problem. I was a Network Engineer for a large company for a decade and ran a software consulting company for over a decade. I’ve been around the block. Getting some detail regarding what caused this slowdown will help me better understand the 8 to 10 seconds it takes on average to edit a sales order.
To keep things in perspective, delivering a sales order to my screen is more complicated than landing a man on the moon. There is transaction routing, content delivery, shared hosting, data center management, disaster recovery and more involved in getting me that screen. Lots of code, multiple owners. The more I know about your end, the better equipped I’ll be to help you fix me next time!