If you’re in the market for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, you’ve likely seen both Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Oracle NetSuite come up in your research. While both are leading ERP systems, there are some key differences you need to consider before making your choice. Afterall, picking the right ERP system will impact your business for years to come and can mean the difference between success and failure.
About Oracle NetSuite & Microsoft Dynamics
NetSuite was founded in 1998 and acquired by Oracle in 2016. It’s the world’s leading cloud-ERP software, and one of the most robust Enterprise Resource Planning options on the market.
Microsoft Dynamics originally stems from Navision (NAV), which was acquired by Microsoft in 2002. In 2018, they released Microsoft 365 Business Central, which is essentially just NAV re-written for the cloud environment as part of a rebranding effort for the online-only versions.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC targets small to medium sized businesses with a price point that’s attractive to smaller customers. However, many businesses utilizing Dynamics 365 undergo pain points when they begin to scale, undergo organizational change, or need advanced customizations. While Microsoft Dynamics is an extremely cheap platform, its functionality is lacking as well. It’s truly a “you get what you pay for” situation. Because of this, Dynamics 365 BC is geared towards smaller businesses who have no aspirations of scaling.
NetSuite might price the smallest of businesses out of the market, but is well suited for everything from established small businesses to Fortune 100’s. In fact, 20% of Fortune 100 companies utilize NetSuite. One of NetSuite’s most valuable features is its ability to scale with ease. There’s a reason why many people call it “the last ERP you’ll ever need.” NetSuite is extremely popular in the mid and enterprise markets, but has a lot to offer smaller businesses as well.
NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics: Why NetSuite Wins
While we could be considered biased in our assessment, the fact of the matter is that NetSuite boasts an incredible amount of functionality, customization, and ability that Microsoft Dynamics is just not able to produce.
For example, Microsoft Dynamics does have some built in CRM and HR capabilities. However, these require their own databases and interfaces. This requires all systems to be shoddily tied together with a middleware (called Dataverse) resulting in siloed data. Siloed data can result in incorrect data, mismatch between systems, manual labor, and duplicated efforts. Further, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central does not natively offer revenue recognition, subscription billing, or payroll.
One of NetSuite’s key value propositions is its robust functionality. NetSuite natively provides advanced accounting and finance, CRM, marketing, supply chain, HR, sales management, project management and more. With all of these integrated with the same source of data, you get a single source of truth that’s independent of middleware. Not needing third-party CRM, HR, project management, supply chain, or marketing software can save a ton of money within your tech stack, further bolstering NetSuite’s return on investment.
The one thing every business has in common is that they’re all unique. Microsoft Dynamics also falls short of NetSuite when it comes to customization. In fact, Dynamics wasn’t built with the intention of making customizations. This means that unique businesses like yours have a difficult time maximizing their ROI from Dynamics 365 Business Central. Customizations often must be conducted at the source code level. However, making updates to the software can completely wipe out all past customizations. Because of this, many Dynamics 365 users go years without performing updates. This in turn leads to cybersecurity risks and outdated systems.
Still, Dynamics users feel compelled to create customizations. If your ERP system can’t be finely tailored to fit your business, you run the risk of having to tack on third-party integrations, lose operational efficiency, or manage complex IT workarounds. This leaves many users feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place.
When it comes to customization, NetSuite is king. While NetSuite is powerful out of the box, its near endless customization can turn it into a powerhouse for your business. Custom built modules, unique fields, saved reports, complex dashboards and practically anything else you can imagine can all be built and managed directly within NetSuite.
Another downfall of Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC is its lack of reporting capabilities. Users complain about narrow slice and dice options, limited pre-built reports, and inability to drill down into granular data. The result is clunky reporting, which severely limits your insight into the health and stability of your business.
NetSuite’s reporting options solve all of these issues, and make it easy for you to paint a picture of your financial and operational well-being. You get access to a library of pre-built reports, can drill down as far as needed, merge tables, and more.
For the fourth year in a row, NetSuite has been named to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management Systems for Midsize, Large, and Global Enterprises. This is a distinction that Microsoft Dynamics has failed to achieve for the last 2 years, due to lacking a customer base of at least 250 organizations with $50MM+ in revenue.
One final issue with Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC, is the lack of scalability. Most businesses, from small operations to Fortune 500’s, dream of growing and increasing their market share. 365 Business Central isn’t designed for multi-country operations and lacks financial consolidation capabilities. For companies that grow into international markets or have subsidiaries, each country or subsidiary will need its own separate database within the dataverse. This leads to extremely time-consuming month end reconciliation, and adds difficulty in making sure that numbers align between databases.
While Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC and NetSuite are both powerful platforms, there’s a clear winner. A side-by-side comparison of specs, features, recognition, and nearly every other metric point to NetSuite being the superior platform.
If you’re currently deciding between Microsoft Dynamics vs. NetSuite, understand that purchasing an ERP system is a massive investment and is a project that you only want to undertake once. Making the wrong decision will lead to costly migrations in the future. While you may be enticed by Microsoft’s lower price point, investing in NetSuite will protect your bottom line in the long run.
If you’re interested in seeing what NetSuite can do for you, head over to our NetSuite Implementations page to start the conversation with one of our experts.