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SAP Business One vs Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

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Jalene Ippolito December 17th, 2020

Your business needs and processes should be the primary driver when selecting a new ERP system. But you’ll inevitably find a few top contenders that seem to have the functionality you need. So, how do you know which is the right one? The simple truth is that every solution has pros and cons. The key is having the right information about each option so you can make an informed decision.

Here we cover the key things to consider about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and SAP Business One.

Product maturity and capability

Business Central is Microsoft’s cloud-based ERP product targeted at small to mid-size businesses. It’s based on their legacy NAV solution and the transition to the new platform has been slow. While the solution covers high level features, it’s currently lacking in depth, particularly for industry-specific needs. Implementation partners are required to curate a selection of add-ons to fill these functional gaps, increasing the complexity of your ERP solution. While the product certainly has potential, there’s likely another 3 to 4 years of development required before it will offer complete ERP functionality.

SAP Business One, on the other hand, is a mature product with robust functionality across the board. With strong core features, like financials, sales and reporting, SAP Business One meets standard requirements out-of-the-box. Most industry processes can be met with standard functionality and supplemented with certified add-on solutions where required.

Ability to scale your business

Microsoft positions their ERP solution as a scalable product that’s suitable across a wide range of industries and business sizes – from small business stage to enterprise. The core message here is that, while you can outgrow other ERP solutions, it’s not possible with Dynamics. To be clear, Dynamics 365 is broken out into two different products – Business Central for SMEs and Dynamics 365 Enterprise for larger organizations. If you outgrew Business Central, you would be looking at a re-implementation to move to Dynamics 365, like any other mid-market solution.

SAP Business One is truly a scalable solution. Many of our customers implement functionality in stages, starting with the highest priority. And as their business needs change, they configure other standard functionality to accommodate those new processes. It’s an iterative process. You may see Microsoft partners suggest that outgrowing SAP Business One is common – it’s rare. In the 15+ years that we’ve been selling SAP Business One, we’ve never had a customer outgrow SAP Business One because it couldn’t meet their needs anymore. The solution offers flexibility to grow with you.

Clear and predictable pricing

Pricing for Microsoft Business Central seems attractive up front – ranging from $10.20 to $128.00 per user per month, based on license type. But pay attention to what you’re really getting. This ties back to our discussion on functionality – $128 per month might seem affordable for a power user, but what can you do with that? Does it give you the depth of functionality you need? If so, that’s great. But if not, consider the additional subscription costs for each add-on product, plus the integrated Microsoft products (Cortana, Power BI, etc.). These may be rolled into your initial cost, with an increase to the standard subscription fee after your initial contract term is up. These costs can add up quickly.

With SAP Business One, your implementation partner will provide a clear breakdown of the cost for each user license. There are no surprises if you need additional functionality – SAP Business One covers your core business functions right out-of-the-box, limiting your reliance on other add-ons (and surprise costs).

ERP vendor and ecosystem strength

Microsoft is a big business, which comes with some advantages. For example, tight integration between your ERP system and other Microsoft products, like Office 365, is a plus. But considering the breadth of Microsoft’s products, their ERP business accounts for less than 10% of their revenue. And while Business Central is growing, the bulk of their ERP business is in the enterprise market. They’re dealing in a volume business, which naturally focuses less on customer relationships. Think about your relationship to Microsoft for Office 365. You probably have minimal contact with them, outside of renewing your subscription and adding licenses. You can expect a similar relationship when you’re running Business Central. Is that the level of support you want for your core business system?

SAP is an ERP company first. Over the years, they’ve expanded their product portfolio to complement their ERP offering, rather than adding ERP to a mix of other solutions. As a product, SAP Business One has a long track record and a clear roadmap to support 65,000+ customers around the world. SAP’s focus on developing a strong partner network offers advantages for customers. Not only do the partners know the product inside out, but if an issue ever comes up, we have a direct line to the ERP vendor to resolve the issue quickly. It’s not just a numbers game – the relationship matters.

What’s the next step?

Now that you’re armed with information, explore the solutions in more detail. Our goal here is to help you ask the right questions and dig deep to understand what each solution is truly capable of. In our opinion, SAP Business One offers a more complete ERP solution, with the bulk of the functionality built in. This results in a simpler tech stack that’s easier for your team to use and manage.

Ready to see an SAP Business One demo? As one of the top Canadian SAP Business One partners, we're perfectly positioned to help you move forward. Connect with one of our ERP experts to get started.

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December 17th 2020
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