Buying a new ERP solution can be a tough process. Given the investment you’re making (in both money and time), you want to get it right. And it doesn’t help that there are so many options to choose from.
So, do you go with a mature product like SAP Business One, with over 20 years under its belt and the backing of ERP software leader, SAP? Or is Acumatica – a relative newcomer that’s quickly become a contender in the mid-market ERP space – a better fit for your business?
It’s not an easy question to answer, as your objectives and business needs play a big role in the decision. While the features of each system are important, there are some other important factors to consider. Keep reading to find out about the big differences between SAP Business One and Acumatica so you can make an informed decision.
Mobile and Browser ERP Access
Acumatica’s public cloud platform offers the distinct advantage of native browser access. The entire solution is fully accessible through a web browser and a unified mobile app. With a clean and modern user interface, Acumatica is appealing to users and browser access is a big plus as we increasingly shift from working in the office, at home or on the road.
Browser and mobile access are known weaknesses for SAP Business One. While the solution is moving to the web with the release of version 10, there’s a transition period before full functionality will be available. Currently, the web client supports sales and purchasing, with future development plans to include CRM, service and finance. While the timeline for the web client to be fully functional is still unknown, you can get mobile access to SAP Business One using mobile apps for customer management, sales, service and real-time inventory tracking.
Flexible ERP Deployment Options
Acumatica is a public cloud solution, with the option to deploy either via private cloud or on-premise when necessary. They’re one of the few ERP solutions that allow you to choose from any of the three deployment models.
SAP Business One is an on-premise solution, with private cloud hosting becoming the preferred option for most customers in recent years. Private cloud provides the best of both worlds, with the control of on-premise plus the scalability and efficiency of public cloud. In the SAP Business One space, private cloud hosting is often (but not always) handled through your SAP Business One partner so you have one vendor to deal with for all things ERP-related.
While ERP software does a lot out-of-the-box, most companies have unique processes that need unique solutions. This typically requires customization or integration with other best-of-breed solutions.
Some customizations in Acumatica are simple. But others are more complex. For example, you can easily add custom fields to a sales order. But if you wanted to add a custom field to the transaction lines of the sales order, that requires additional coding. It’s possible but will require extra effort and cost. And customers have reported that upgrading with customizations can be challenging, as the customizations tend to break. This leads to re-working customizations with each upgrade.
In SAP Business One, your options for customization are nearly endless. You can create User Defined Fields to capture unique data or create User Defined Objects (tables) for even greater flexibility. You can also use tools like Boyum B1 Usability Package to customize form layouts, create automations and more – without the need for custom coding. Working with the right ERP partner, you can do even more to tailor your system as much as you need.
Depth of Functionality
While ERP vendors will provide a list of features in their product, we always recommend that you ask lots of questions to understand how deep that functionality goes.
Acumatica has a long feature list, and they have strong functionality for construction and process manufacturing companies. But customers have reported the inventory management and MRP (material requirements planning) functionality to be overly simplistic. If you need more in-depth functionality, you may need other add-on products to fill those gaps.
By comparison, SAP Business One has a gap in process manufacturing capability. It’s much better suited to discrete manufacturing and very strong in inventory management. And while SAP Business One doesn’t have native functionality for job costing, that gap can be filled with an industry add-on, Eralis Job.
For some companies, the basics will be just fine. But others will need more robust capability in different areas, particularly as they grow. The important thing is to do your due diligence, understand exactly what each solution can do and go in with your eyes wide open.
Acumatica provides multi-dimensional reporting that allows you to break down information into smaller segments. You can create dashboards, generate reports, export data to Excel or connect to analytics tools like Power BI. One of the weaknesses described by customers is the lack of usability. Extracting data through reports or ad-hoc queries is technical and requires development experience. So, as an everyday system user, you’ll be more reliant on technical resources to create reports for you, which could lead to delays in reporting and analysis.
SAP Business One has a collection of analytics and reporting tools that run the gamut from simple drag and drop, to custom SQL query writing. In addition to an array of standard reports that come out-of-the-box, you can create custom reports and dashboards that give you easy access to the questions you ask most often. One thing to note is that if you choose to run SAP Business One on a SQL database, you’ll need an add-on like Boyum Dashboards to create embedded dashboards. This dashboard tool requires a little bit more technical know-how than the SAP Business One HANA dashboards.
When we talk about the ecosystem, we’re referring to the partners that sell, implement and support the solution, as well as any partners that provide certified integrations. While both solutions are sold through a VAR (Value Added Reseller) network, product and ecosystem maturity is the differentiator between the two.
Acumatica has 340+ VAR partners supporting their 8,000 customers worldwide. Additionally, they have over 200 partners that provide solution integrations to extend the functionality of their solution. As a younger solution, they’ve grown the size of their partner channel quite quickly, but their partner level of expertise among partners still needs time to mature.
SAP Business One also has an established ecosystem, with 850 VARs supporting over 65,000 customers around the globe. There are over 300 solution partners that provide 500+ integrations to address a variety of industry needs. Within Canada, many SAP Business One partners have upwards of 15 years of experience with the solution.
Both Acumatica and SAP Business One have stable ecosystems and options for extending your ERP solution with pre-built integrations. In both cases, you’ll work with a VAR (or partner) to purchase and implement the software. Aside from software, selecting the right partner is the most important decision you’ll make, so you’ll want to do your homework and make sure you find the best fit for your company.
Which ERP solution is right for your business?
There’s no cut-and-dried answer that applies to all companies. Both Acumatica and SAP Business One have their strengths and weaknesses. It all comes down to what your needs are and how well the software can meet those requirements. Hopefully this article has provided good information to help you make your decision.
If you’re interested in learning more about SAP Business One, we can help. As one of the top Canadian SAP Business One partners, we know the system inside out and we’re here to guide you through the process – right from evaluation, through implementation and beyond. And if it turns out that SAP Business One isn’t the best fit, we’ll have an honest conversation about the next steps for you.
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