Acumatica Service Management vs. Dynamics 365 Field Service

We pit Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service vs. Acumatica Service Management against one another. Read on to see who comes out on top.

Table of Content

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service and Acumatica Service Management are both top-tier FSM solutions with many overlapping characteristics and capabilities.

    Both Acumatica and Microsoft allow customers to build an FSM stack all their own using integrated, low-code development tools, ISVs, and integrations.

    Both platforms were designed, not as standalone systems, but as part of a broader ecosystem centered around a core ERP.  And — both promise flexible, pay-as-you-go licensing models that enable users to scale, pivot, and change as conditions evolve.

    That said, the similarities stop there. Acumatica and Microsoft package and sell their respective solutions in different ways. They cater to slightly different audiences. And, they have different ecosystem strategies that impact the customer support experience, customization options, and integration capabilities.

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    In this article, we’ll dig into both the similarities and the differences we just laid out here.

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    Overview: Acumatica Service Management vs. Dynamics 365 Field Service

    Acumatica Service Management is an end-to-end field service solution designed to optimize all service operations, from scheduling and mobile workforce enablement to equipment maintenance, project management, and more.

    Here are some of the core capabilities highlighted in the Acumatica SM data sheet:

    • Scheduling & Dispatch — Field service scheduling and dispatching features allow users to match incoming jobs to technicians’ skills, availability, location, and other parameters. Inside, you’ll find calendar boards, resource scheduling tools, customer booking portals, and more. Users can also track variables  like subcontractors and certifications, and use that info to assign work.
    • Field Service Mobility — Acumatica provides a mobile application that allows field service workers to access real-time information, update work order details, capture signatures, and process payments, all from the field. Features include e-signatures, expense reports, GPS navigation, access to resources and critical job information, and more.
    • Customer Management — When integrated with Acumatica CRM, the Service Management module provides a 360-degree view of customer activities, helping businesses enhance their customer service, track customer communication, and identify upsell opportunities.

    • Repair Center— Acumatica also has a repair center management feature that provides a streamlined approach to handling repair center operations. This feature is ideal for businesses grappling with the intricacies of managing repair center operations. The call center and project management features work together, allowing users to manage customer interactions, while also keeping an eye on project status, inventory, orders, and other key variables. thereby improving operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
    • Equipment Management — Acumatica Service Management also comes with the option of adding on a complementary Equipment Management app. This app allows users to keep a record of all customer- or company-owned assets, create maintenance and service schedules, book recurring appointments, and more. All details automatically sync across the network and are available to service techs in the mobile app.
    • Contract Management — Acumatica Service Management allows businesses to manage different types of contracts, including warranties, SLAs, recurring service contracts, and maintenance contracts. This helps in delivering a better customer service experience and ensuring contract compliance.
    • Inventory Management — Acumatica Service Management also offers robust inventory management capabilities. This helps ensure that field teams have the parts needed to perform each service – and can quickly track down those essential items, plus any tools or materials they might need throughout the day.

    Dynamics 365 Field Service is a dedicated FSM module that extends the capabilities in D365 F&O, Microsoft’s enterprise ERP solution and plugs right into the rest of its product ecosystem.

    The core capabilities found inside D365 Field Service look a lot like the ones you’ll find inside Acumatica Service Management. Think — scheduling, dispatch, contract management, inventory management, and so on.

    But, beyond those “standard FSM” features, Dynamics 365 Field Service also unlocks the following capabilities:

    • Integration with Daily Productivity Tools — D365 Field Service integrates with MS 365 productivity apps like Teams and Outlook making it easy for technicians — and their in-office managers and collaborators — to access key information and tasks from one place.
    • Connected Field Service — D365 Field Service users can enable connected field service by configuring the Azure IoT integration. This allows field orgs to proactively detect and diagnose problems, rethink service delivery models, and ensure that customer assets always perform at peak levels.
    • Remote Monitoring & Collaboration — D365 Field Service integrates with tools like Remote Assist, D365 Guides, and the HoloLens2 headset. Combined with these add-ons and IoT-enabled assets, D365 Field Service users can provide hands-on support to technicians in the field — and deliver remote services to far-flung customers.
    • Copilot — MS recently rolled out new Copilot-based features for D365 Field Service (in preview). The AI assistant helps front-line field teams streamline work order management, personalize service experiences, and optimize critical operations to enhance productivity.

    Provider Ecosystem

    One of the key differences between the two platforms has to do with how the two vendors structure their product ecosystems.

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    According to the website, Acumatica Service Management combines the cross-functional capabilities and integrated, holistic approach to service ops you’ll find in a general service ERP with the focused toolset of a niche ERP.

    Usually, Acumatica argues, companies are forced to choose between a generic solution that can’t deliver a competitive advantage without a ton of customizations. Or – a hyper-niche solution that only covers a small portion of their business.

    Acumatica SM is a behemoth of an FSM platform that promises the best of both worlds. The platform was designed to support service-based orgs of all shapes and sizes – professional services, IT firms, home health providers, facilities management orgs, manufacturers, HVACs, construction companies, and more.

    To give you a sense of its scope, here’s a look at the core features you’ll get right off the shelf.

    Unlike many field service management solutions, Acumatica Service Management was built to give field service orgs everything they need (or might need) to run their business from a single platform.

    The “Modern Field Service ERP” comes stacked with features like contract management, dispatching, scheduling, equipment tracking, and warranty management – plus tools for managing inventory, projects, contracts, and customers.

    Dynamics 365 Field Service covers much of the same territory as Acumatica Service Management, but it doesn’t include the same amount of pre-built features straight from the shelf.

    Microsoft designed Dynamics 365 as a solution to the problems that often come standard with niche platforms.

    Because all MS solutions run on the same underlying infrastructure and were designed with flexibility in mind, you can essentially build a custom FSM stack, without the complex configurations, data compatibility issues, and the bloat that only gets bigger over time.

    For example, the D365 F&O ERP covers the core financial and operational needs of any enterprise business.

    It doesn’t include Field Service in that core stack because not every enterprise customer has a field services component to their business.

    But, it does give them the flexibility to add that module to the core stack if they do end up needing FSM tools in the future.

    D365 Field Service customers can leverage different parts of the MS ecosystem to unlock new capabilities — that align with the exact requirements of their org.

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    A few quick examples:

    • D365 Field Service + Microsoft Teams integration – The Teams integration allows FS techs to manage work orders directly from the Teams interface, connect with their colleagues in the office, and provide remote assistance to customers and teammates in the field.
    • Azure IoT – Enables remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, connected products & facilities, and improved manufacturing efficiency.
    • Mixed Reality — Mixed reality solutions like D365 Remote Assist and HoloLens allow field teams to collaborate remotely or provide service to customers without visiting in-person. The Guides Integration allows field service orgs to attach assigned guides to existing work orders, helping field techs get work done faster and more effectively.
    • Azure Mobility – accelerates the development lifecycle by allowing devs to write in just one language. This means, field orgs can continuously improve and optimize their platform – and easily extend all updates to their mobile workforce.

    Integration & Customization Options

    In terms of integration options, Microsoft is the clear winner. But, it’s worth noting that much of this has to do with the fact that Microsoft has more resources and a larger partner network.

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    Dynamics 365 Field Service can be extended in a few different ways. D365 Field Service users can extend the capabilities in that core platform by purchasing ISV apps from the AppSource store.

    Inside, you’ll find a range of options, for both one-off features (i.e.:  managing RPMs, time-tracking, or service-based billing and niche tool suites (i.e.: facilities management or equipment rentals).

    You can also customize your stack by leveraging the tools in the MS Power Platform. You can use the low-code tools to enhance your reporting capabilities, design custom flows to streamline FSM tasks, or build custom apps from scratch.

    For instance, you can use Power Virtual Agents to build a chatbot that helps customers book appointments themselves or troubleshoot equipment issues remotely.

    Acumatica users can extend the Service Management stack using a similar set of options. There’s the xRP platform, which  is Acumatica’s answer to the Microsoft Power Platform. The universal platform enables low-code/no-code customization — allowing users to build custom solutions that extend and support their IT infrastructure.

    As with the Power Platform, Acumatica users can also use xRP to build custom apps and automations themselves using the platform’s low-code tools.

    Acumatica users can also extend out-of-the-box capabilities with partner solutions available in the Acumatica Marketplace.  It’s hard to see the benefit of these offerings versus any other 3rd-party integration.

    Unfortunately, the marketplace isn’t as robust as AppSource. In total, the online store offers 140 solutions, of which, only 58 are built on Acumatica’s xRP Platform.

    But, that might not matter all that much. See, Acumatica has prioritized investments in open APIs and easy integration, making it relatively easy to connect the Service Management platform with a wide range of third-party apps.

    That flexibility has enabled the company and the vendors in its ecosystem to focus on developing niche solutions that meet the needs of specific industries. But, for field orgs with needs that don’t align with the majority of Acumatica SM’s out-of-the-box capabilities, the customization process may be far more trouble than it’s worth.

    Ease of Use

    In terms of “ease of use” or “user-friendliness,” D365 and Acumatica are pretty evenly matched.

    Both platforms offer “intuitive” dashboards and reports, are relatively easy to set up, and can be customized around your org’s specific needs.

    At the same time, “ease of use” is hard to measure in both cases, as it takes a lot of planning, preparation, and platform knowledge to get either of these solutions to deliver the desired outcome.

    We get that this answer is kind of a cop-out. But, the fact is, both D365 FS and Acumatica SM customers likely have some pretty specific needs and complex challenges that they’re trying to overcome with these investments.

    Vendor Support

    Microsoft’s vast community of developers, ISVs, consultants, and technology partners give the company an edge over Acumatica. D365 customers simply have more options, thus making it easier for them to find support, training, and custom solutions that align with their exact needs.

    They also have a robust online presence, with forums, documentation, and other resources.

    Acumatica has been building out its own community of vendors and partners to support its product offerings.

    Like Microsoft, Acumatica offers a wealth of high-quality content, product documentation. And, they also provide events, forums, and webinars aimed at helping customers connect with partners, experts, and each other to find solutions to common problems, share best practices, and trade advice.

    Ultimately, both vendors have a lot to offer on the support front. It’s just that, with Acumatica, you’re working from a smaller pool of resources.

    If you happen to fall firmly within the target market for the Service Management solution, this might not be a problem at all. But, as you deviate from the use cases mentioned on the website, it may be more challenging to find the help you need to make the most of this platform.

    Pricing & Licensing

    Look, we’re talking about building an FSM stack from many different components within complex vendor ecosystems.  So, while Microsoft and Acumatica position their pricing models in very different ways, they’re probably more similar than you might think.

    Microsoft’s licensing model for D365 can be pretty complex, due to the breadth of its offerings and its endless customization options.

    Most Dynamics 365 apps are licensed on a per user, per month basis.

    On its own, D365 Field Service costs $95 per user, per month. But, in most cases, you’re buying the field service app as an add-on to your D365 Finance ERP, which costs $180 per user, per month.

    D365 Finance subscribers get a bundling discount. Subsequent qualifying D365 apps (like D365 Field Service and D365 Supply Chain Management) cost $20-30 per user, per month. Other add-ons like Guides cost $65 per user, per month.

    Other apps and services, such as Marketing and Customer Insights are charged on a per tenant, per month basis, as they’re designed to bring additional insights and tools into existing apps used across different business units.

    As with the product offerings themselves, Acumatica presents its pricing model in a much different way. Rather than charging by the seat, pricing is tailored to individual customer usage.

    While you’ll need to reach out to the company for a quote, the website does share the following details about its plans:

    • Unlimited users
    • Transparent, growth-friendly pricing — basically, you pay for what you use.
    • Costs are based on what features and resources you use

    Ultimately, Acumatica removes some complexity by creating pre-packaged stacks and calculating costs behind the scenes.

    Now, it’s hard to compare these two models in any meaningful way. The reality is, both companies charge their customers based on a number of factors, including usage, features, and capacity.

    Microsoft is more transparent about how prices are calculated, in that, anyone can get pricing and licensing info from the company website.

    Either way, you’re building a complex ecosystem around the very specific needs of your business. For that reason, it’s incredibly hard to calculate your costs without A: talking to the vendor and B: working with a partner that knows the ins and outs of both your industry and the technology.

    Final Thoughts

    Look, Accumatica’s FSM solution is a powerful, flexible platform that can cater to a wide range of field service needs, while, at the same time, offering the bonus of seamless integration with other business processes.

    If its integrated approach and niche functionality align with your FSM goals, Acumatica Service Management could help you lock down a competitive advantage for years to come.

    But, if it’s not quite a fit, it might not be the best choice for your org.

    If you don’t need, say, entire  feature suites dedicated to purchasing, requisitions, or managing complex construction projects, Dynamics 365 may be a better fit.

    You’ll still benefit from an integrated, composable ecosystem with plenty of customization options. But, you’ll have an easier time finding the technology partner(s) and ISV solutions that enable you to get the most from your investment.

    If you’re on the fence about which FSM solution is right for you, Velosio can help. Yeah, we’ll admit, as a long-time Microsoft partner, we’re not coming at this from an entirely neutral angle.

    But, we can still help you figure out if D365 makes sense for your field service org – and if not, point you in the right direction. Contact us today to learn more.

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