Potential clients will often consider NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics Nav when determining which ERP or business management software to buy. They are widely available and installed and offer a similar range of business functions but there are differences that can help clients determine which is most appropriate for them.
NetSuite is available from any device from anywhere in the world that has access to the internet. This is because it is a true web-based solution. Alternatively clients can use the phone apps that NetSuite offers to connect into NetSuite. Microsoft Dynamics Nav requires a rich client software on the user device which restricts which devices can access it and any phone apps are provided by third parties rather than Microsoft.
NetSuite has been developed such than any customisations must be outside the core code and created using the range of customisation features. This means that upgrades to any client’s instance can be made easily by NetSuite without the need for client specific intervention. Clients can thus be assured they will on the latest versions as soon as they become available able to take advantage of new functionality or have any bugs or minor problems resolved quickly.
With Microsoft Dynamics Nav many customisations are undertaken by hard coding such that the Microsoft Dynamics Nav code itself is changed. This means that a client must be careful when upgrading as the Microsoft Dynamics Nav code that has changed in the new version may also be the area where the customer (or vertical market) specific change has been made. Because of this it is quite common for Microsoft Dynamics Nav clients not to take upgrades when they are available which means they cannot take advantage of new features and may have to live with software bugs.
NetSuite includes a feature rich CRM system which is fully integrated into the ERP system with a common interface. Microsoft Dynamics Nav offers a CRM which is not fully integrated and therefore does not synchronise all records nor allow automatic flow between Microsoft Dynamics Nav and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Further, NetSuite includes fully integrated project management and service resource planning modules whereas to have access to such features in MS Dynamics clients must contract with a third party. NetSuite also offers a fully integrated eCommerce platform whereas if using with Microsoft Dynamics Nav the client must use a third party product and integrate it with Microsoft Dynamics Nav.
Support for multi-national organisation
NetSuite provides a strong multi-national offering, allowing clients real-time consolidation across the organization. With Microsoft Dynamics Nav the consolidations are ‘batch’ mode.
Support for multi-locations
Whilst both systems support multi-location, only NetSuite supports multi-site inventory management.
Real time analytics and reporting
NetSuite provides all analytics and reporting in real time, whereas Microsoft Dynamics Nav is mostly off-line with analytics requiring MS Excel or complex products like SQL Server and Analytic Services.
NetSuite includes an integrated workflow module (SuiteFlow) that can be used to tailor business processes whereas Microsoft Dynamics Nav requires a development environment like .NET and custom programming.
Total Cost of Ownership
When considering cost of ownership, NetSuite is easier for a prospect to identify over a period of years whereas there are a couple of areas where Microsoft Dynamics Nav is hard to quantify over time.
The first is in the area of end user devices which with Microsoft Dynamics Nav need to be able to run the Microsoft Dynamics Nav rich client software (see Mobile availability). This is likely to mean that all such devices must run Windows and from time to time may need to update their version of Windows to support the latest version of client software. Such upgrades can be expensive in terms of both likely hardware enhancement and support personnel time, as well as being disruptive for end users.
The second area is in the costs of upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics Nav (see Upgrades). Because specific Microsoft Dynamics Nav instances often include hard coded changes they are more difficult to upgrade so that the cost of such an upgrade is hard to quantify.
In summary when deciding between NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics Nav , assuming that either system (with or without third party additional software) can support any specific functionality required there are some specific differentiators that would lead to the choice of either.
Why choose Microsoft Dynamics Nav
- If the client is fully committed to Microsoft products and has easily available access to SQL Server, .NET and other Microsoft product skills.
- If the client is committed to an on premise based solution
Why choose NetSuite
- If the client requires a genuine fully internet based SAAS product that can be accessed by any internet-connectible device anywhere in the world
- If the client requires a fully integrated CRM/ERP solution with a common interface – perhaps an organization that sells mostly to existing clients and wants to use the CRM system to manage the relationship across the organization with those clients
- If full multi-location inventory is needed
- If a strong fully integrated multi-national solution is required with real-time consolidation
- If the client is likely to want a range of user defined analytics and reporting that change over time rather than a pre-defined set of analytics and reports that can be built by a specialist to the user requirement
- If the client is (or is planning to grow) in the service business so that a fully integrated project management or service resource planning are required – or may be required in the future.