NetSuite vs. Microsoft Dynamics GP - A Reality Check

NetSuite vs. Microsoft Dynamics GP - A Reality Check

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First, yes this blog is biased because our organization sells and supports Microsoft Dynamics GP and AX software. However, with over 25 years of experience with multiple leading mid-market ERP solutions I do believe that there is an opportunity to credibly separate marketing "messaging" and facts. Just like in a political campaign, let's do some fact checking.

Let me start by admiring what NetSuite does very, very well. Better, in my opinion, as a matter of fact than Microsoft resellers. That is sell software quickly and efficiently. The negatives of the NetSuite sales process are well documented but to their credit NetSuite is a professional sales organization. Microsoft partners by and large are professional consultants and here is a huge difference in the sales mindset of an ERP salesperson versus an ERP consultant. Nowhere is this more evident than in expectation setting.

Expectation setting is the process where you control the message and everyone else is playing catch-up. NetSuite does this magnificently. Customers that compare NetSuite to Dynamics GP are "loaded for bear" with product positioning that puts the Microsoft software and the reseller on the defensive. The problem is that while it is a great sales strategy, good positioning does not necessarily lead to good decision making on the part of the customer.

If you are going to making a decision on a cloud based ERP solution for your business and that comparison includes NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics (particularly GP, formerly known as Great Plains) then please read on and consider the following in making your decision.

In positioning NetSuite against Microsoft Dynamics GP, and thereby setting expectations, one or more of the following five points are typically made by the NetSuite salesperson as areas where Dynamics GP is inferior to NetSuite:

  • Streamlined Business process and Integration
  • Real-Time Financial and Operational Visibility
  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership
  • Ease of Implementation, Customization, Maintenance and Use
  • Built-In Multi-Subsidiary Management and Financial Consolidation

These are excellent areas for product differentiation and would concern me as a potential buyer. If I did not have the resources to dig up the facts behind these claims then I might even be moved to make a buying decision based on one or more of them.

Let's take a look at each point in greater detail.                 

Streamlined business process and integration

This is the real killer that often stops an analysis dead in its tracks. NetSuite has a terrific graphic that it uses to show how a Dynamics GP implementation is a "hairball" of expensive and difficult to manage disparate products and technologies while NetSuite is an elegant amalgam of smoothly interoperating components. The following is typically pointed at to illustrate this point.

 

At this point it is appropriate to scream, "ITS A PICTURE"!

But it is a very important picture that establishes the thought that a Dynamics GP implementation is going to be an expensive hodgepodge of difficult to manage components while the NetSuite solution is composed of smoothly integrated parts.

How do facts stack up to this picture? Here is how the various components of a NetSuite solution compare to a Microsoft Dynamics GP solution:

 

NetSuite

Dynamics GP

Database

Oracle

Microsoft SQL Server

Productivity

Google Docs/Email

Microsoft Office

Document Storage

Box.net

Microsoft SharePoint

ERP

NetSuite ERP

Microsoft Dynamics GP

It is clear to see that the facts do not support the "hairball" narrative or expectation setting. In reality all of the critical components in the Dynamics GP column are Microsoft products. That is not the case with the NetSuite solution. Is there any worse case scenario for creating a nightmare "hairball" solution then depending on multiple vendors for your ERP solution?

While it is true that a picture is often worth a thousand words, in this case a picture could cost you thousands of dollars by making a software buying decision based on incomplete facts.

In my next entry I will tackle the next point made by NetSuite in the sales process against Dynamics GP and see how it stacks up to reality:

Real-Time Financial and Operational Visibility

Peter Joeckel is the President and Founder of TurnOnDynamics a Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) and AX (formerly Axapta) partner primarily servicing the Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas (TOLA) area. While it serves a diverse customer base TurnOnDynamics does have specialized expertise in selecting and implementing advanced ERP solutions for manufacturing and software companies.

Additionally, TurnOnDynamics is an investment and advisory firm that focuses on the strategic concerns of executives and owners with unique Dynamic CFO Services.

  • Excellent information. Thanks for putting in and sharing.

    Another point is Netsuites single data source, as depicted in the diagram is rubbish. Where ae the Google doc's kept, , where's Box.net documents kept. All disparate databases.

    Dynamics ERP, SharePoint transactions/documents are all in 1 database MS SQL Server.