NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : The Clash of Business Management Software Titans

When you start looking for your new business management software solution, two names are going to come up: NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics. Both of these platforms are widely used by businesses of all sizes and across countless industries. But which, if any, is right for your company?

Both these products featured in the top 5 of G2’s Best ERP systems of 2023. NetSuite ranked number 1 out of over 500 products and Microsoft Dynamics came in at 5 behind SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Sage Intacct and SAP ERP.

Here we’ll take a closer look at NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics. We’ll compare and contrast their features, pricing, and overall suitability for different needs and help you discover if one of them is the solution you’re looking for.

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics - A clash of ERP titans

NetSuite is a cloud-based software solution that offers a range of business management tools including financial management, inventory management, and customer relationship management to name just a few. NetSuite is known for its scalability, flexibility of design, and ability to support businesses from widely varying industries. If you are new to this site, take a look around. You will find no shortage of great NetSuite knowledge to help you understand one of the largest cloud based ERP systems in the world.

Did you know NetSuite was the FIRST cloud ERP system appearing on the market in 1998. That was before most of us even knew what cloud meant!

Microsoft Dynamics is a suite of ERP and CRM applications designed for businesses of all sizes. It offers many of the same features as NetSuite plus, being a Microsoft product, it has the added benefit of seamlessly integrating with all your other Microsoft applications. Dynamics is available as both an on-premise or cloud based solution and is customizable to a degree, allowing businesses to build the platform that is right for them.

The first web based Dynamics product was Dynamics CRM Online which was a web-hosted version of CRM 4.0 that launched in 2007. Learn the fascinating history of Microsoft Dynamics in this article by Nicola Wright of Nigel Frank International.

Both NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics are popular choices for growing businesses today and are actually remarkably similar in their offerings. They provide a single platform to manage multiple business functions, streamline processes, and improve productivity.

Similar, however, does not mean the same. Below we will explore some of their key focus areas and how they compare to each other. This will help provide the fuel you need to make an informed decision on what business management system is right for you.

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : Core Features

When comparing NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics, or any two business management systems for that matter, you need to look at the core features. Both platforms offer a wide range of tools and functions that will all, no doubt, benefit your business greatly. But how do they compare against each other?

Let’s take a look at some of the core features and characteristics of these two systems, understand strengths, weaknesses and different approaches.

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : Financial Management

Both NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics offer strong financial management capabilities, including accounting, financial reporting, and budgeting.

Dynamics 365 Finance has particularly robust accounting and financial management capabilities, as its name suggests. It supports the latest revenue recognition requirements, handles foreign currency management and is particularly strong in planning and budgeting. Dynamics has been particularly popular for software and services companies which is surprising since it actually requires a partner application for subscription billing.

On the other hand, NetSuite’s core financials natively support subscription billing, and customers can further customize billing rates and schedules with the SuiteBilling application. This gives NetSuite a distinct advantage over Microsoft Dynamics for businesses that rely heavily on subscription billing.

Both NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics offer real-time financial data and reporting, but Dynamics 365 Finance may require Microsoft’s PowerBI tool to really compare to NetSuite’s native offering. This could add an extra layer of complexity for businesses that are not already using PowerBI.

Another area where NetSuite has an advantage over Microsoft Dynamics is in its support for multi-currency and multi-company financial management. Dynamics has this ability but NetSuite is really a leader in this area. NetSuite has solid, click of a button consolidated financial reports, streamlined intercompany management and multi book accounting across numerous base currencies.

In terms of weaknesses, some users have found Microsoft Dynamics’ financial management features to be less user-friendly than NetSuite’s. I think, personally, the UI is actually fairly familiar if you are used to other Microsoft products. Users not finding it user-friendly could simply be a response to the more limited customization options. You will not be able to modify the processes and interface to the same extent that you can in NetSuite.

Whether a system is user-friendly or not is such a subjective or personal thing. I can only give my opinion or tell you what the wider internet thinks. The only way you will know if a UI is right for you is by experiencing it for yourself. Try a free trial with Dynamics to get a better idea of the look and feel (NetFreak earns nothing from this link).
An example of a Dynamics 365 Finance dashboard in an analysis of Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite

Key Strengths

NetSuiteMicrosoft Dynamics
– Multi Subsidiary and Multi Currency.
– Subscription Billing.
– Consolidated Reporting.
– Budget Management

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Both systems offer CRM modules with customer and contact management features and tools for sales force automation.

Dynamics 365 Business Central includes a CRM offering which includes project management capabilities, opportunity and lead management and communication tracking. Some, more robust, CRM capabilities, however, require outside modules that may need the Dataverse middleware layer. Customers must use a Microsoft partner to set up these Dataverse connections, bringing potentially additional time and costs.

NetSuite’s CRM offers similar functionality across customer service, sales force automation, marketing automation, and lead to quote. Sales forecasting and reporting in NetSuite is advanced and allows for granular data analysis directly through the system. Omnichannel communication can be managed directly through NetSuite although in a less streamlined manner than Dynamics. The latter integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products such as Outlook and Teams.

Another area where Microsoft Dynamics may have an advantage over NetSuite is in its sales forecasting capabilities. Dynamics 365 Sales includes AI-driven sales forecasting tools that can help businesses identify trends and opportunities. NetSuite’s forecasting capabilities are not as robust or AI-driven, but it still offers strong sales force automation features and tools for managing leads, opportunities, and quotes.

NetSuite’s marketing automation capabilities are often considered to be stronger than those of Microsoft Dynamics. These tools include email marketing, campaign management, and more. Microsoft Dynamics also offers similar marketing automation features, but they often require outside modules.

Overall, both NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics offer strong CRM capabilities, but their strengths and weaknesses differ. Businesses that prioritize marketing automation may find NetSuite to be a better fit, while those that need strong sales forecasting capabilities may prefer Microsoft Dynamics.

Key Strengths

NetSuiteMicrosoft Dynamics
– Marketing Automation.
– Omnichannel communication.
– Sales Forecasting
– Seamless integration with other Microsoft products

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : Supply Chain Management

Microsoft Dynamics offers a comprehensive supply chain management solution through its Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management module. This solution provides real-time visibility across the entire supply chain, from suppliers to customers, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and respond quickly to changes in demand.

The Dynamics solution comes with a range of capabilities, including warehouse management, inventory management, transportation management, and production planning. The system is designed to support businesses of all sizes and can be customized to meet specific industry needs.

One of the key strengths of Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is its ability to leverage AI and machine learning to optimize operations. The system uses predictive analytics to forecast demand and optimize production schedules.

NetSuite offers a comprehensive suite of supply chain management capabilities that help businesses manage their entire supply chain, from procurement to inventory management to order fulfillment. As I’m sure you now expect, NetSuite’s supply chain management module is built in so there is no need for third-party integrations or middleware layers.

Supply chain management in NetSuite includes advanced features such as demand planning, serialized inventory management, and order management, all of which are integrated with financials and CRM. NetSuite also offers real-time visibility into inventory levels, demand forecasts, and supply chain performance.

When it comes to weaknesses, some users find NetSuite’s demand planning to be complex to set up and difficult to navigate. It can admittedly be heavy, particularly for small and mid-sized businesses and NetSuite could do with streamlining it a bit.

Overall, both NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics offer robust supply chain management capabilities. NetSuite’s solution is perhaps more comprehensive and certainly offers greater flexibility and configurability. Microsoft Dynamics’ solution, on the other hand, is focused on larger enterprises and uses AI and IoT to drive operational efficiency and profitability. Both systems have equal strengths and weaknesses in this field.

An example of the NetSuite dashboard for a supply chain manager in an analysis of Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite

Key Strengths

NetSuiteMicrosoft Dynamics
– Flexibility and configuration options
– Advanced and comprehensive inventory control
– AI driven supply chain insights
– Slick, modern warehouse management solution

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : Human Resource

Both NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 offer Human Resource management capabilities to streamline HR processes and improve the employee experience.

NetSuite’s SuitePeople module includes core HR features such as employee data management, time off and absence management, compensation management, and compliance management. Additionally, more advanced features are available such as onboarding and offboarding workflows and performance management processes.

One of the strengths of SuitePeople is its flexibility – a recurring theme in this article! It should be noted however, that SuitePeople is a large and advanced module and the standard ERP offering from NetSuite doesn’t give much in the way of Human Resource management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Human Resources offers similar core HR features such as employee data, benefits and compliance management. Dynamics 365 HR integrates with the broader Dynamics 365 suite, providing a unified platform for business management. The system also provide data driven insights into employee engagement and can display countless metrics through dynamic and visually appealing dashboards.

In terms of differences, NetSuite’s SuitePeople module includes payroll management (US only at the time of writing), while Dynamics 365 HR requires a third-party add-on for this. Additionally, Dynamics 365 HR includes advanced features such as talent management and learning management, while NetSuite does not have these features natively.

Key Strengths

NetSuiteMicrosoft Dynamics
– US Payroll Management.
– Comprehensive performance metrics.
– Talent and learning management capabilities.

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : Pricing

Both systems have two types of pricing to consider –

The two types of cost involved in obtaining a new business management system.

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : Implementation cost

When considering the implementation of an enterprise resource planning system such as NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics, cost is always a significant factor to take into account. Implementation is a complex and involved process that typically requires significant investment in time, resources, and money.

Neither of these systems are out of the box solutions.

While it’s difficult to estimate an exact cost to implement without a thorough scoping exercise, it’s safe to say that the cost of implementing either NetSuite or Dynamics 365 is likely to be in the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.

The average cost for implementing Dynamics 365 tends to be slightly higher, although this could be due to the size and complexity of the business undergoing the implementation.

Regardless of which solution you go for you should not expect to be spending less than $20,000-$30,000 and, depending on the size of the organization, could be looking at in excess of $100,000.

Both NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics are generally implemented by resellers or implementation partners. Some other comparison sites will suggest NetSuite is predominantly implemented by Oracle NetSuite but this is not the case. Oracle NetSuite will implement the system but it is more common to use an implementation partner. There are partners all over the globe that tend to use the same NetSuite approved implementation methodology to ensure success. Get in touch if you need help finding the right partner for you.

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : License Cost

Microsoft are refreshingly transparent with their license costs for Dynamics 365. Modules are all priced separately on a per user basis. A full pricing schedule can be found here.

Below you can see the license cost for Business Central which includes Financial Management, CRM and basic Human Resources amongst other things.

Microsoft Dynamics License cost

NetSuite are less transparent with their pricing unfortunately. The NetSuite model charges for the system license then additional cost for users. Your system could cost anything from $1,000 per month up to $10,000 per month and beyond. The user licenses are $99 per month per user for a full access user.

For accurate pricing less discount you should contact a NetSuite rep or an implementation partner.

NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics : Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics are powerful business management solutions that offer a range of features and capabilities to help businesses of all sizes and across various industries.

The battle of NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics is not a simple one unfortunately.

While there are similarities between the two platforms, there are also differences that may make one solution more suitable than the other for your specific needs. The differences, in this case, are indeed subtle and you should not believe any information online that suggests otherwise. For example; Both are suitable for small, medium and large organizations. Both are heavily customizable. Both can integrate easily with other systems.

If, after reading this article, you are still unable to identify the best fit for your business between NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics, I suggest you get in contact with a rep from each of these companies. Being able to interact with and simply seeing a system can help you understand it’s offering far better.

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