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    January 18, 2021

    Own Your NetSuite With Dashboards

    It seems like the word of the day is "empowerment." You see it everywhere, from our work environments (including our own Enavate Empowerment Journey) to self-help resources. It's even tied to social justice and equality. But what does it really mean?

    To me, in the context of an ERP, empowerment means allowing users to configure the system themselves without having to ask an admin or developer for help.

    With that in mind, I'd like to walk through configuring a dashboard in NetSuite in this third segment of the “Own Your NetSuite” series. It's easier than you think! Learn more about Analytics Workbooks in Part 1 of this series, and more about creating Datasets and Workbooks in Part 2.

    We'll start off by defining a few terms. Then, we'll talk about what a good dashboard should contain. Finally, we'll create a custom Center Tab with several different kinds of portlets.

    Pro Tip: You may want to try this out in a sandbox account first before deploying to your production account.

    Glossary of NetSuite Terms




    A page in NetSuite that organizes and displays real-time information in the form of reminders, KPIs, lists, graphs, etc., as seen below.



    A framed element inside a dashboard. The Reminders portlet in the screenshot below is a good example.


    Center Tab

    A navigation tab at the top of the screen. For example, Documents in the screenshot below is a Center Tab. You can access a Center Tab's Dashboard by clicking directly on the Center Tab.

    Center Tab

    Center Category

    A menu section under a Center Tab. For example, Files in the screenshot below is a Center Category.

    Center Category

    Center Link

    A menu entry under a Center Category, which sends you to a specific NetSuite page when clicked. For example, SuiteScripts in the screenshot below is a Center Link.

    Center Link

    Center Type

    Along with a role's permissions, a Center Type determines which Center Tabs and Center Categories are displayed to the user. For example:

    ·        This is the Accounting Center Type: Accounting Center Type

    ·        This is the Sales Center Type:

    Sales Center Type

    Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

    A single value or metric that helps you make decisions. For example, My Team's Total Pipeline Deals in the screenshot below is a Key Performance Indicator.

    Key Performance Indicator

    What's in a Good NetSuite Dashboard?

    Before you create a dashboard, you must pinpoint the need.

    • Do you need an overview of the sales situation at your business so you can act quickly if something's awry?
    • Do you need a faster way to update your Opportunities and Quotes?
    • Or do you just need a quicker way to see the information that matters most to you?

    Identifying the need (and, in turn, the requirements) can help you build the best dashboard. Think of it like a house: Would you start building a house before thinking about how big it will be, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, etc.?

    We also don't want to clutter the dashboard with too much information. Every piece of information you add reduces the value of the rest. Try to stick to what's most important.

    Create a Custom Center Tab in NetSuite

    Now that you’ve determined the need for your dashboard, think about creating custom Center Tab first. This is by no means a mandatory step, but it's a good way to give team members a place where they can play around without affecting other dashboards an Administrator may have published.

    To create a Custom Tab, you need the "Custom Center Tabs" permission on your role. If you have that permission, you'll be able to create a new Center Tab by going to Customization > Centers and Tabs > Center Tabs > New, as highlighted below.

    Create custom center tab

    If that menu option is not visible to you, you can ask an Administrator to give your role the "Custom Center Tabs" permission, or simply ask the Administrator to follow the instructions below to create the custom Center Tab for you.

    If you have the appropriate permission, follow the steps below to create a custom Center Tab.

    1. Go to Customization > Centers and Tabs > Center Tabs > New
    2. Enter a Label for your Center Tab. This is what will show up at the top of the screen (see below).

    Label your center tab

    1. Enter an ID (as seen below). The ID is used when the Center Tab is referenced in custom scripts, search formulas and bundles. Follow your company's ID guidelines or, if they don't have any, I suggest the format should be "_my_center_tab_name."

    ID your custom tab

    1. Choose the correct Center Type in the Center If you choose All, the Center Tab will display for all users, regardless of Center Type, as long as they're included in the Audience Tab, which we'll look at later on. If you select All, you won't be able to publish a completed dashboard to other users. Instead, they will get a dashboard with all the portlets you selected, but none will be configured.

    Center type

    Note: The best way to confirm which Center Type your role uses is to go to Setup > Users / Roles > Manage Roles, find your role in the list and check its Center Type in the highlighted area below. Once again, if you don't have permission to go to the Manage Roles page, you may have to ask your Administrator to do this step for you.

    Manage roles

    In the Content subtab, the Categories sub list highlighted below is where we'd define the Center Categories we want under our Center Tab. Let's skip this as we're currently focused on dashboards and not Center Categories.

    Center tab categories

    1. The Portlets sub list is where we specify which portlets are available as part of our dashboard. For our exercise, let's add the following.

    Portlets sub tab

    Notice that unlike a standard Dashboard (such as the Home Dashboard), a Custom Tab Dashboard lets you add as many portlets as you'd like. In the screenshot above, I included four Custom Search portlets, and I marked the last two of them to not show by leaving the Show column blank. That means two Custom Search portlets will be displayed by default, and two more can be added by a user if desired. However, they won't be able to add a fifth Custom Search portlet unless I include it here first.

    1. In the Audience subtab, select individual names or group names to give others access to this custom Center Tab. If you select a group, employee and a partner, the user must be a member of the group or be the employee selected or be the partner selected to access this custom Center Tab.

    audience sub tab

    For this exercise, let's limit the Audience to ourselves by choosing our user in the Employees field.

    1. Click Save. Then you should see your new Center Tab at the top of the screen!

    Save - My custom dashboard

    If you click on it, you'll be redirected to the dashboard with all portlets displayed but not configured.

    Redirect to dashboard

    Feel free to play around with the portlets by hovering over the three dots icon and clicking Set Up as shown below.

    my custom dashboard set up

    That's it for today! In our next post, we’ll finish configuring each portlet, and we’ll create a few custom searches and KPIs while we’re at it. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out!


    Tag(s): NetSuite

    Mathieu Goodman

    Mathieu joined Enavate in January 2020 with 13+ years of NetSuite experience. His current role of Solution Consultant consists of demonstrating the awesome features of NetSuite to the world. He’s also an avid gamer and craft beer aficionado.

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