Shootout at the Tombstone, Arizona, USA, an old western town at sunset.

The famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral was nothing more than a 30-second shootout between the lawmen (Doc Holliday, Virgil, Morgan, and Wyatt Earp) on the one side and members of a loosely organized group of cowboy outlaws on the other side. It occurred at about 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, United States.

As somewhat of a history buff, what strikes me about the famous O.K. Corral shootout is this: There have been numerous books written about it and numerous movies made, including such famed actors as Burt Lancaster playing Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas in the role of Doc Holliday. The producers even got the best-selling novelist Leon Uris to write the screenplay. But we only remember the names of the winners. The names of the losers have been relegated to oblivion.

The fierce gunfight in 1881 lasted for 30 seconds. The 1957 movie ran for 122 minutes. But it will take me a lot longer to tell you about the fierce competition between Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. And it will take you a lot longer to digest the similarities and differences between these two winning cloud ERP systems.

Oracle NetSuite vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Similarities and Differences

Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are both reasonable choices for companies that have outgrown QuickBooks or for companies currently on any other on-premises solution looking to move to the cloud.

So how are you supposed to figure out which ERP system is the best fit for your company? Another way to look at it would be to say, is one of these winning solutions overall better than the other? Or less expensive. Or easier to use.

When we set out to compare and contrast the two solutions, we at Strategic Systems Group (SSG) are admittedly at somewhat of a disadvantage because we do not sell or support Oracle NetSuite. Thus, while we can speak to the veracity of the information we are about to provide for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central based on our own experience when it comes to NetSuite, we can only rely on what we can verify online by reviewing analyst reports and what we hear from trusted colleagues who do have a NetSuite practice.

As a point of interest, we should note that Oracle acquired NetSuite in 2016, and in that same year, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central was launched. Coincidence? Maybe!

Moving on, we will now take a side-by-side look at NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, followed by a more in-depth view of critical similarities and differences.

  Oracle NetSuite Microsoft Business Central
Monthly Subscription Pricing* $99 per user per month $70 per user per month
Out of the Box Reporting Yes Yes, plus Power BI enhancements
Cloud-based updates Yes Yes, customers can choose the date of significant updates
Availability and Scalability 100% Satisfaction 100% Satisfaction
Integrations and Extensibility 14.3% Satisfaction 22.9% Satisfaction
Platform Security 71.4% Satisfaction 85.7% Satisfaction
Warehouse Functionality Available at additional cost Built-in
Supply Chain Functionality Available at additional cost Built-in
Manufacturing Data Collection 25% Satisfaction 25% Satisfaction
CAD/CAM Management 12.5% Satisfaction 12.5% Satisfaction
Manufacturing Execution System (MES) 27.3% Satisfaction 36.4% Satisfaction
Product Configurator 80% Satisfaction 60% Satisfaction
User Interface Friendly Friendly
Meets Typical Requirements Out of the Box 66.5% Satisfaction 45.5% Satisfaction
% Users Who Would Recommend the Solution 79% 75%

*In both cases, there are different subscription levels for different editions of the software

NetSuite vs. Business Central: How the Similarities and Differences Stack Up

I am not convinced that the above side-by-side view of various statistics and features is actually going to be helpful for those of you who may be considering a move to the cloud, and considering both options, to wit Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

In some areas, NetSuite appears to be the better option. In some areas, Business Central would appear to be the better option. And in still other areas, the statistics for both ERP software programs are precisely the same. So really? Not very helpful.

Or, I should say, not very helpful unless you dig deeper and look at the two from a different perspective.

For the sake of argument, I am going to call that perspective…

The Big Picture

When you just look at a dozen or so statistics, you are not looking at the big picture. I am not saying that the statistics are irrelevant. Of course, they are. They should carry some weight in your decision-making process. But they simply do not tell the whole story.

What is missing? Well, for one thing, we would argue that looking at a bunch of narrow statistics, you are not seeing the proverbial forest for the trees. What does that mean? Basically, that means that someone standing in the woods may be more focused on the individual trees than the whole forest. Someone who cannot see the forest for the trees has typically become so focused on details that he or she begins to ignore the overall situation.

I love that definition because it plays handily into what I am trying to say about not seeing the big picture and not getting the whole story. For example, it makes sense to reflect on the publishers of the two ERP software systems.

Oracle vs. Microsoft

So, instead of looking at NetSuite vs. Business Central, we should take a moment or two to think about Oracle vs. Microsoft. When we think about small, medium, or large companies, Oracle has traditionally been associated with software solutions for large companies – Fortune 500, conglomerates, and/or multinationals. Microsoft has historically advertised that its Dynamics line of ERP software products is intended for small to midmarket companies.

Microsoft has also traditionally defined its midmarket space as including companies with anywhere from 5 million to 500 million dollars in revenue. You might find some overlap at the top of that range with Oracle. Even so, the difference between the size of companies that tend to use Oracle systems and the size of companies that tend to use Microsoft systems is not to be ignored. If your company has earnings of say 5 or 10 or 50 million dollars, Oracle – and therefore NetSuite – might not be the right choice. If your company has revenues in the billions of dollars, Microsoft – and consequently all of the Dynamics ERP products – might not be the right choice.

Philosophical Differences

And yet again, it is not just about size. It is about the approach. I believe that the two companies – Oracle and Microsoft – are philosophically different. Oracle implementations tend to be long and drawn out. Microsoft prides itself on shorter implementations.

Oracle’s NetSuite prides itself on containing everything you could need to run your company. No need to configure or customize it. When you implement NetSuite, you will be using the solution right out of the box.

On the other hand, as a Microsoft Dynamics customer, you would be working with a Dynamics partner to implement a “right sized” solution for you. In other words, you would only purchase and implement the features and functionality you need. The solution is configured to your needs. You are a bank? You do not need a Bill of Materials (BOM). You are a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)? You do not need Supply Chain Management functionality.

Oracle NetSuite vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Cost Difference

In a word, NetSuite is more expensive to purchase, run, and support. However, to be fair, most NetSuite users will tell you that it is worth every additional dollar.

Now What?

We have tried to look at the “shootout” between NetSuite and Business Central from various perspectives. If these perspectives have left you unsure about which ERP solution is right for you and your company, we would be happy to continue the conversation and answer any questions you might have.

Contact Strategic Systems Group (SSG)

Call Strategic Systems Group (SSG) at (310) 539-4645 or reach out via our contact form today!

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