NetSuite vs. Dynamics 365 Business Central

To help you evaluate NetSuite vs Dynamics 365 we compared each system against critical factors: flexibility, reporting, and price.

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    The Oracle NetSuite vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central debate isn’t so much about which ERP solution is best, in general. It’s about which platform is better aligned with the needs of your business, employees, and the customers you serve.

    In this NetSuite-Dynamics 365 product comparison, we’ll evaluate each system across a few key factors: flexibility, reporting, and, of course, price.

    Oracle NetSuite vs. Dynamics 365 Business Central: Basic Overview

    Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC) is Microsoft’s ERP solution for SMBs. We’ve covered this before, so we won’t dig in too much here. But essentially, BC is a modular system that unifies all core processes and business functions in a central hub. It’s typically the best choice for organizations looking to upgrade an outdated on-prem system or have outgrown entry-level solutions like Quickbooks.

    Like Business Central, NetSuite ERP is a top ERP built to support the needs of growing SMBs. This platform also centralizes and streamlines business operations. It allows users to run core financial processes. It offers customizable reporting tools to help you better understand the health of your business and take the right actions to ensure lasting success.

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    NetSuite caters to larger, more complex businesses than BC. In that sense, it’s similar to Dynamics Finance & Supply Chain Management – the key difference is, NetSuite is designed for businesses of all sizes.

    Dynamics 365 BC is best suited to professional service firms, non-profits, insurance companies, small scale manufacturers or distributors, and software development/IT providers.

    Per Microsoft, BC’s core benefits include:

    • End-to-end connectivity
    • Embedded Microsoft productivity tools
    • Improved operational flexibility
    • Faster decision-making
    • Better customer outcomes

    NetSuite supports a wide range of business types but is especially suited to e-commerce companies, manufacturers, and distributors, as well as mid-size businesses that need more robust financial management and HR capabilities.

    According to the NetSuite website, the platform’s main benefits are:

    • Increased inventory visibility
    • Ability to automate financial processes
    • Greater control over supply chain operations
    • Improved warehouse efficiency
    • Error-proof order management

    The bottom line here is while there’s some overlap, D365 BC and NetSuite are designed for different types of users.

    Dynamics 365 Business Central and NetSuite ERP: Core Modules & Features Comparison

    NetSuite includes more native features than Dynamics BC. Its core modules cover finance, production, supply chain, procurement, e-commerce, HR, professional services automation, fulfillment, warehousing.

    It’s also worth noting that NetSuite was initially designed as an accounting/finance platform. And as such, the core ERP system includes some really robust financial planning and forecasting capabilities.

    For example, NetSuite users gain access to automated billing, revenue recognition, and financial consolidation features you won’t get with BC without additional apps or modules.

    Additionally, NetSuite supports multi-location, multi-currency businesses and includes features like payroll management, project-costing, and asset management.

    Out-of-the-box, Dynamics 365 Business Central modules cover finance, sales, customer service, marketing, supply chain, project management, manufacturing, CRM, and warehouse management.

    BC doesn’t include the in-depth insights and robust feature suite NetSuite offers off the shelf. But it’s important to understand that the modular nature of Dynamics 365 means that users only pay for the features they need.

    So, a small company may just need the Business Central Essentials to get started. As they grow and their needs change, they might add Customer Service, Sales, or HR modules to their plan or invest in more advanced reporting tools/insights.

    Integrations & Add-Ons

    Business Central integrates seamlessly with all Microsoft apps, as well as 3rd-party apps like Salesforce, HubSpot, Jira, and more.

    Naturally, it’s a good fit for companies that are already familiar with Office 365 apps, as well as those that use external solutions for critical functions.

    Dynamics 365, ideally, allows you to replace some of the apps you’ve been using to manage your business. The whole idea is that organizations can work from a unified system, thereby eliminating the problems that come from fragmentation or excessive customization.

    Still, AppSource offers a wide range of solutions in case you need to fill any functionality gaps.

    Like D365, all NetSuite apps are built on a central database and can be customized to fit your business processes and requirements. You can purchase NetSuite apps and third-party solutions from the SuiteCloud store, though per Oracle, the natively-integrated modules should negate any need for external solutions.

    Again, the idea is that relying too heavily on third-party apps creates fragmentation and can limit access to real-time insights.

    When comparing Dynamics BC and NetSuite, you’ll need to consider what kinds of add-ons/integrations you’ll need to incorporate into the system to achieve the desired outcome.

    Arguably the “ideal” ERP doesn’t need to rely on third-party apps/ISVs/custom builds.

    It’s good advice in the sense that too many customizations means more complexity, ongoing expenses, and challenges that emerge during future updates & upgrades. It’s also a sign that your system isn’t the best fit.

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    At the same time, good luck finding an out-of-the-box solution that meets your exact set of needs.

    Reporting & Intelligence

    Dynamics 365 and NetSuite take a similar approach to reporting and intelligence.

    Both offer a 360-degree view of the business, role-based dashboards, built-in reporting tools, and self-service solutions that help all users make informed decisions in context.

    Out-of-the-box, NetSuite includes more pre-defined reports and dashboards that cater to a wider range of industries and user types. The platform includes a drag-and-drop report builder that makes it easy for any user to generate reports – no technical experience needed.

    NetSuite also includes more reporting and BI features specifically for finance, inventory, and supply chain management.

    Dynamics 365 Business Central users need to pay for additional modules or ISV solutions to access those capabilities.

    Another important distinction is that the NetSuite solution includes embedded analytics throughout the platform.

    SuiteAnalytics supports deep insights into financial and operational performance across the entire organization, similar to the way Microsoft’s Power BI is embedded throughout its enterprise Dynamics F&SCM modules.

    Dynamics 365 Business Central comes with some native reporting functionality. But, the platform offers limited options in terms of pre-built reports, filtering options, and access to deeper insights.

    BC users do, however, gain access to a free Power BI license. This allows them to embed certain reports into the D365 platform, but they’ll need to use the desktop or web app to access more advanced capabilities. For many users, toggling between the two platforms isn’t a huge issue. It’s just that as the organization grows and becomes more dependent on real-time reporting, it could be a barrier to productivity/agility.

    In terms of automation capabilities, NetSuite users can build custom workflows using its SuiteFlow tool, while Power Automate enables BC users to do the same.

    NetSuite vs Dynamics 365 Business Central Pricing

    NetSuite users pay an annual license fee, which covers three main components: the core platform, add-on modules, and the number of users. You’ll also need to pay a one-time implementation fee to get started and $99 per user, per month.

    The exact price is dependent on how many users and optional modules you’ll be adding to the plan, and you’ll need to contact Velosio for a custom quote.

    The Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials plan is $70 per user per month, while the Premium plan is $100 per user per month. Additional modules like Sales or Customer Insights are an additional $20-$30 per month.

    Like NetSuite, the total price is determined by how many users are on the plan, whether you’ll be adding additional modules to the mix, etc.

    Final Thoughts

    Bottom line: one solution isn’t necessarily better than the other. It’s more about which option is the better fit for your business.

    You’ll need to consider your business model, processes, and high-level goals, among other factors before committing to one ERP over another.

    Make the most out of Microsoft Dynamics Business Central by learning about all its features.

    Our experts can help you weigh each option and make the right decision for your business.

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