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ERP Comparison: NetSuite vs. Dynamics 365 Business Central

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Jalene Ippolito April 27th, 2021

With the growing demand for cloud ERP solutions, providers, like Microsoft, are making the shift to the cloud. Dynamics 365 Business Central is their first cloud ERP solution, launched back in 2018. If you’re evaluating both Business Central and NetSuite, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for the most important differences between the two solutions.

Depth of functionality

Based on the legacy Microsoft NAV solution, Business Central (BC) still a relatively young product, but has potential in the years ahead. Currently, it’s a broad product covering basic functionality across most areas. But for any level of depth, you need extra modules that are essentially distinct applications. From a technical perspective, each module has its own database, tied together with a middleware layer so it’s not a truly integrated solution. Your data is still siloed to a certain extent. The one plus for Business Central is the tight integration with the Microsoft ecosystem, including Office365, Azure, Power BI and more.

NetSuite, on the other hand, is a fully integrated solution. Even though it uses a modular approach, where you can pick and choose the modules you need, they’re all developed on the SuiteCloud platform using a central database. It offers deep functionality across several industries, paired with the SuiteSuccess implementation approach that leverages industry best practices.

Advanced financial capabilities

Business Central is lacking in financial depth. If you operate in multiple countries, each country is treated as a separate entity with its own database. There is no native financial consolidation capability, so you’ll still be doing that manually. Other features like revenue recognition and subscription billing aren’t currently included in the native functionality and require a third-party app.

Originating as an accounting platform, NetSuite has the strongest finance and accounting functionality on the market.

  • Comply with revenue recognition requirements and schedule revenue to be recognized automatically.

  • Manage billing more effectively with consolidated invoicing, automated rating processes and support for multiple pricing models.

  • Easily consolidate financial data using sophisticated tools and a platform for handling multiple subsidiaries and currencies.

  • Manage fixed asset lifecycles across depreciating and non-depreciating assets.

Robust reporting and analytics

While Dynamics 365 BC comes with native reporting functionality, it’s rather weak. You have limited filter options in the pre-built reports, narrow slice and dice capabilities and limited drill-down ability. They compensate for this with other Microsoft solutions like Power BI, but it’s still a separate tool that comes at an additional cost.

With NetSuite, you get deep reporting and analytics out-of-the-box. The system comes with pre-defined dashboards and reports based on industry and user role to give every member of your team the information they need. And self-serve reporting tools allow anyone to easily create reports using a drag and drop report builder – no programming or technical experience needed.

Price for value

There’s no doubt that Microsoft Business Central offers a great price point on the surface. But we’d encourage you to dig below the surface. First off, a cost-effective subscription license is great, provided you get the functionality you need. As we discussed earlier, the product is broad, but not overly deep. To fill the gaps, you’ll be relying on third-party applications or customizations. Both come at a cost.

Considering the depth of native functionality, NetSuite offers strong value for the price. You’ll be able to do more without customizing or integrating to other solutions. Even if you add new functionality over time, you’re adding NetSuite modules, not integrating with outside solutions. There’s a cost to purchase and implement new modules of course, but it’s less than what you would typically pay for a custom integration.

What’s your next step?

The right ERP solution will always come down to your needs. But NetSuite is a leading solution for a reason. As your Canadian NetSuite implementation partner, we're here to ensure you get a perfect fit ERP solution. Book an intro call with our team to see if NetSuite is right for you and discuss the next steps in your evaluation.

Book a NetSuite Demo with ProjectLine

April 27th 2021
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