Oracle NetSuite vs. D365 Field Service

There are several factors that may complicate the decision-making process between Oracle NetSuite vs. D365 Field Service. We’ll explain.

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    Rival ERPs Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 have far more in common with each other than most of their other competitors.

    Usually, the choice between the two platforms comes down to a matter of personal preference and a handful of technical considerations. But, since we’re talking about field service management solutions, this classic debate comes with a twist.

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    Technically, NetSuite doesn’t even offer a dedicated FSM solution. But – it does come with several features that can be adapted around the needs of any field service company. That is, if they have the right amount of patience and technical expertise.

    But, those features are spread across many separate modules. Yes, there are other options – whether that means building a custom solution in SuiteCloud or adding a SuiteApp integration to the core ERP.

    By contrast, Dynamics 365 Field Service is a dedicated FSM solution, designed to extend the core D365 ERP.

    Still, while the choice here might seem pretty straightforward, there are several different factors that may complicate the decision-making process. Read on, and we’ll explain.

    Overview: Oracle NetSuite vs. Dynamics 365 Field Service

    Oracle NetSuite is an ERP that provides an all-in-one, integrated suite for managing the entire business. The platform offers real-time, end-to-end visibility into all finance and operational activities and tight control over critical processes.

    NetSuite’s ecosystem-style approach helps orgs operate more efficiently – by allowing them to make quick, informed decisions and automate key tasks.

    Out-of-the-box, the ERP platform comes with the following core modules:

    • Accounting
    • Inventory Management
    • Order Processing
    • Production
    • Supply Chain & Warehousing Operations

    Beyond the core platform, Oracle also offers a robust lineup of interoperable modules.

    • There’s NetSuite CRM, which includes a customer service management suite, partner management hub, and marketing & sales force automation features.
    • There’s NetSuite Professional Services Automation (PSA), which comes with features such as timesheet, expense, and resource management, and project accounting.
    • Then there’s NetSuite Human Resource Management, which handles all things “workforce.” Think – HR, payroll, workforce planning, performance, and management. The HR module handles tasks like time and attendance, shift scheduling, and workforce planning in one place

    Our point is, NetSuite does offer many of the capabilities you’d need to support a field service business. The challenge is, those capabilities are spread across several different modules, all containing a wealth of features you may not even need.

    For example, the workforce planning tools in the HR module combine with the planning & budgeting tools in the ERP. That way, you can model future workforce needs using real-time payroll, headcount, and expense data.

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    On the surface, that sounds great. It’s just that, if you want to use both resource management and workforce planning to manage FSM ops, you may need to invest in two separate modules – whether you need the rest of their capabilities or not.

    For dedicated FSM solutions, you’ll need to look outside NetSuite’s core products. You can use a third-party integration, build a custom module yourself in the SuiteCloud platform. Or – you can head over to the SuiteApp store to explore ISV options. More on those later.

    • Scheduling & Dispatch
    • Field Mobility
    • Remote Assistance
    • Customer Portals
    • AI-enabled Work Order Management
    • Real-Time Troubleshooting
    • Support for IoT/Connected Field Service

    Provider Ecosystem

    From an ecosystem standpoint, NetSuite and Dynamics 365 have a good amount in common. They’re both modular, cloud-based solutions, designed to give customers the flexibility to build the digital platform that aligns with their exact requirements.

    However, the two companies have different views re: what capabilities belong in an off-the-shelf solution, and which should be available via add-ons, ISVs, or low-code customization. As mentioned in the last section, one of the biggest differences between NetSuite and D365 Field Service is how features are organized into different modules.

    NetSuite modules are organized by category. So, all finance features are in one platform, all project management features in a separate platform, and all workforce management features in yet another. The problem is, this approach often forces customers to pay for several different modules just to get one or two specific features.

    NetSuite’s modules do come with more out-of-the-box features than the D365 apps,  as well as more pre-built reports and dashboards. But, whether or not this is an advantage is in the eye of the beholder.

    According to Oracle, NetSuite customers gain access to a wealth of tools and insights upon implementation. They don’t have to build as many custom reports or rely on add-ons to bring in specialized features. And, so, it only follows that customers will be up, running, and creating value faster than they’d otherwise be with competing tools like D365.

    Now, Microsoft has a different take. Dynamics 365 apps are “purpose-built,” designed to provide users with only the exact tools they need. That means, users can add modules with capabilities designed around a specific business unit (sales, marketing, HR) or business model (field- or project-based services).

    If you look specifically at D365 Field Service, you’ll find that the platform only includes the features that most field service providers need to run their business. It’s things like scheduling & dispatch, resource management, route optimization, versus niche capabilities like managing drone fleets or mobile home healthcare services.

    The idea is, building a platform that tries to do everything for everyone, means everyone ends up with a certain level of bloat or complexity that could have been avoided.

    D365 Field Service does have fewer pre-built reports and dashboards. But, again, that’s because, outside of a handful of common metrics (first-time-fix rates, average time-to-resolution, etc.), different companies have very different reporting requirements.

    Instead, users can get the exact insights they need from Power BI and services like Azure IoT Hub and Synapse. That way, they can  work with data in a way that provides the greatest competitive advantage, without having to sort through a bunch of irrelevant reports or data sets.

    Customization & Integration Options

    Both platforms handle customizations and integrations in a similar way.

    Dynamics 365 Field Service was designed as an open platform that can be customized and extended with minimal coding knowledge. Basic mods, like changing the appearance of the dashboard or adding/removing reporting fields, can be made in the app’s settings.

    You can also make more comprehensive changes in the Power Platform. Think – automating data flows between assets and field techs’ mobile apps or building a customer self-service portal with an embedded AI chatbot for extra support.

    Similarly, NetSuite users can customize certain aspects of the built-in dashboards and reporting tools.

    Meanwhile, more expansive customizations can be handled via the SuiteCloud Platform.

    This includes SuiteAnalytics, an analytics platform similar to Microsoft’s Power BI and SuiteFlow, a low-code automation builder that has a lot in common with Power Automate.

    ISVs & Add-ons

    On the ISV front, D365 Field Service comes out on top.

    SuiteApp offers exactly 14 FSM apps. Some, like NetScore Delivery Routing and GeoBusiness specialize in a single function –  in these cases, delivery routing and location intelligence.

    There are also a couple of FSM suites that cover most of the features you’d expect. For example, Fieldpoint Service Applications extends the features in the NetSuite platform with a mobile field service app, work order management, and the ability to design workflows that move data and resources seamlessly between the office and the field.

    It does include some dispatching capabilities, but you’ll likely need NetSuite PSA or a separate integration to get the full range of scheduling and resource management tools you need to run a field service org.

    Another ISV, Simpro offers a more comprehensive suite of tools. Features include:

    • Scheduling & Dispatching
    • Estimating & Quoting
    • IoT Connectivity
    • Invoicing & Payments
    • Inventory Management
    • Accounting Integration
    • Fleet Tracking
    • Portals
    • Data Automation
    • Mobile Field App

    Simpro seems like the best option here, as you’ll get several field service management tools in a single platform. If you’re adding on one or two features at a time, there’s a real risk you’ll end up with a bloated, overly complex system.

    But, overall, the SuiteApp marketplace (and related partner ecosystem) just isn’t as robust as what you’ll get with Microsoft.

    On the MS side, you can shop the AppSource marketplace for a range of apps and add-ons – all built on the Power Platform by certified MS partners. Inside, you’ll find a wide range of solutions (including over 1,000 FSM-specific options) that integrate seamlessly with your FSM stack.

    Ease of Use

    In most D365 vs. NetSuite showdowns, Microsoft usually wins the ease of use portion of the competition. But, only by a hair.

    Broadly speaking, NetSuite does come with a higher learning curve than D365. But, among those who put in the work (and, crucially, receive adequate training), people seem overwhelmingly satisfied with the platform.

    But, that may have more to do with the fact that NetSuite caters to a slightly more industrial audience than D365.

    Still, some NetSuite users (via Software Advice, G2Crowd,etc.) reported that the platform could be difficult to learn. People often felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of features and reporting tools in their platform. A problem that only got worse when more customizations entered the fold.

    Issues with the platform’s search function also came up frequently. Several users mentioned running into issues both when searching for reports and building them. Users can create saved searches to speed up the search process, but it can be cumbersome.

    In both cases, there’s a strong chance that poor implementation is to blame – not the technology itself. Still, it’s worth digging into the reviews to learn more about what you might be up against.

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    Pricing

    It’s hard to draw a direct comparison between Dynamics 365 Field Service (one module in a broader ecosystem) and the entire NetSuite platform (and the many add-ons, ISVs, and custom jobs you’ll need to transform it into a real-deal FSM platform).

    That said, we can talk about each platform’s licensing model and the different variables that will determine your final cost.

    D365 apps are licensed using a few different models. Most of the platform’s core apps, D365 Field Service, among them, are billed on a per user, per month basis. Others, like Marketing and Customer Insights are billed at a flat monthly rate, and can be used by anyone with permission to access data and features associated with those platforms.

    D365 Field Service itself is $95 per user per month, but it’ll run you just $30 if you’re already subscribed to a qualifying app (in most cases, that’s probably going to be Dynamics 365 Finance). Add-ons like Remote Assist are $65 per user, per month, or $20 when bundled with another qualifying app.

    While Microsoft is upfront about its pricing, calculating your total costs gets complicated fast – and, in our (semi-biased) opinion, you’ll be better off enlisting a professional at the early evaluation stage to ensure that you get it right the first time around.

    As mentioned in a previous product comparison, NetSuite pricing follows a slightly different model. Here, you’re looking at at three different components:

    • Core Platform (ERP)
    • Add-on Modules (CRM apps, ISVs, etc.)
    • Number of Users

    You’re also on the hook for a one-time implementation fee (available upon request), plus an additional $99 per user, per month.

    Final Thoughts

    NetSuite is a top-shelf ERP that can be tailored to fit the needs of most organizations. But, it seems that field service companies occupy the outer fringes of that expansive target audience.

    The NetSuite ERP, as well as the CRMs and add-ons that support the core platform, offer many features any field org can benefit from.

    But – the bottom line is, NetSuite isn’t designed for organizations where field-based services are the primary source of value. It needs too many mods and integrations to accommodate all essential requirements.

    And, for that reason, most field providers will be better off with D365 Field Service (and the F&O ERP it extends).

    For the record, Velosio offers solutions and support for both Dynamics 365 and NetSuite. Contact us today to learn more about our ERP, FSM, and hands-on consulting practice.