Considerations for Creating Workflows in NetSuite

Take control of your business processes with NetSuite Workflows.

One of my favourite areas in NetSuite is the workflow engine, often referred to as SuiteFlow. If you haven’t created a workflow to manage an internal business process, you are missing out on some powerful business tools.

For example, a simple workflow could be defaulting a field on a form, or hiding a field if a particular user role views those records. A more complex workflow can involve multiple stages, transitions, and actions. Once the workflow is implemented, NetSuite keeps track of every stage in a workflow on a workflow log of the record. The workflow essentially lives within the record, to better aid in your own audit trail of each stage, transition, and decision that ultimately helped you arrive at the current state.


Understanding Workflows

First off, get familiar with the following:

• Workflow Context
• Record types and sub-records for creation of a workflow
• Event versus scheduled workflows
• Trigger types
• Event types
• Context types
• Building conditions using the visual builder or linking a saved search as criteria

Workflow States

These are the building blocks of workflows. A state corresponds to a stage or step in a business process. States include specific actions, and are connected to other states by transitions.

Workflow Transitions

Transitions allow for movement between states (steps) of your business process. You can define conditions and trigger condition options for the most accurate process possible.

Workflow Actions

Create actions that will allow a state (steps) to execute a command. For example: send an email, add a button, remove a button, set a field value, go to record, return user error.

Workflow Fields

Fields work similar to other fields you would add to a record, although they live within the workflow. You can add NetSuite fields to the entire workflow or just to a particular state.


Creating a Workflow

Navigate to Customisation > Workflow > Workflows > New.

  1. Enter a name. Always make sure the name is sensible and relates to the reason for the workflow. There’s nothing worse than looking at the workflow history and the names not making any sense!
  2. Whilst still on the workflow definition page, if the workflow should only trigger in certain circumstances, enter an execution condition as well as a context and event type. Also make sure to define if the workflow should execute on record create or on record view/update, or both.
  3. To assist with any issues, set Enable Logging to true. This means, as an Administrator, you can see the workflow history and logs on each record. Within the logs, you can view what has (or hasn’t) happened each time the workflow is triggered.
  4. Once the workflow execution has been defined, then you can move on to develop the actions. It is these actions that do the ‘heavy lifting’ within the workflow. It is key that when defining the workflow actions that you set the correct conditions for each action as well.
  5. If the workflow has more than one ‘state’ (a state is a block of actions that can be transitioned between depending on certain factors, e.g. a button click or a condition) then it is always a good idea to clearly name each state relating to the actions or reason for the state.

Lastly, and my top tip, keep it simple.


Quick Look: Workflow Tips & Tricks

  • Give the workflow & states sensible names.
  • Set execution conditions, both at overall workflow level and at action level.
  • Ensure the correct execution context and event type is selected.
  • To help your Administrator, set Enable Logging as true.
  • Again... Keep it simple!

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