NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM in the Cloud

Microsoft Dynamics versus Netsuite is a common question.

This much is true. NetSuite is what I refer to as a “pure” cloud solution. It is really in the cloud in the sense that all you need to do to access NetSuite is open a browser, type in a user name and password, and you are in.  Compare that with Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics SL which are not really in the cloud; they’re hosted solutions. To get to the cloud, you need a vehicle like Microsoft Terminal Server. And to get additional functionality, you need Citrix on top of that.

I don’t want to get too technical about the difference, but it boils down to this: NetSuite is a subscription model. It’s SaaS (Software as a Service). You pay per user per month and all of your upgrades and maintenance are included in that cost. You don’t purchase the software and you don’t need any hardware at all.

The Microsoft Dynamics model is more traditional. First of all, you purchase the software. Then you pay an annual maintenance fee based on a percentage or your original software cost. And, you pay for upgrades. But, you only pay for the software once, not monthly.

Total Cost of Ownership - ERP

So in the first year, a Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution is probably going to be more costly than NetSuite. But in the long term, the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is going to get much closer.

In terms of cost, it also depends on functionality. NetSuite starts as low as $99 per user per month. But if you want the full financial suite, that will run around $1,200 per user per month. And if you want to add the project suite, that’s another $1,200 per user per month.

Because the pricing models are so different, any attempt to compare Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite from a cost perspective is like comparing apples and oranges. Not that it can’t be done. There are just a lot of different factors to consider to arrive a true comparison.

And now the question on everyone’s mind is: How will Microsoft’s Project Madeira change NetSuite’s position as the only “true” cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution available today?

NetSuite CRM vs Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Another issue to consider is CRM (Customer Relationship Management). On the one hand, NetSuite is awesome because it is a true unified solution, meaning that it includes everything from the front office (CRM) to the back office (Accounting/ERP) and even e-commerce. You just subscribe to the pieces you want. With Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics SL, you can get CRM but it’s not natively integrated. You’d have to use an integration tool like Scribe. Or if you want e-commerce, as another example, you’d have to use an integration tool like e-connect or integrate to a solution like k-eCommerce.

On the other hand, NetSuite CRM is not nearly as intuitive as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, nor does it offer the same level of functionality. On the site, one reviewer called NetSuite CRM “The tool that makes you want to pull your hair out” and went on to say that it’s “difficult to navigate, reporting is a nightmare, support is awful.” Another user described NetSuite CRM as “Easily the most complicated and useless CRM ever” citing that “To enter a lead you have to go into a submenu of a submenu of a submenu and then go into a further two submenus to enter contact information, another two submenus to enter phone calls and follow ups, another submenu to start an opportunity..” and it just got worse from there. Several reviewers complained that the system is slow or sluggish, that various areas of functionality are not fully developed, and that the integration with Outlook is spotty. Everyone, even those who gave NetSuite CRM 4 or 5 stars, complained bitterly about the complexity of the navigation.

NetSuite vs Dynamics for Mobile

In a word, since NetSuite is a pure cloud solution, it’s completely available on any device, whether it’s a tablet like an iPad from Apple or a Surface from Microsoft, or your phone. That’s not to say that you can’t deploy Dynamics GP or SL on a mobile device. You can. It’s just not as seamless.

In Conclusion

Caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware! Evaluating accounting, ERP and CRM systems can be confusing at best. What’s true is that in some cases, based on a company’s requirements, NetSuite is the best fit while in other cases Microsoft Dynamics is the best fit. Therefore, there is no single correct answer. Take the time to calculate the long-term vs the short-term costs of each product.

And then there’s Project Madeira, which may, once it’s fully available, change the picture completely!

By ERP Cloud Blog Editors,

Directory of Microsoft Dynamics and Netsuite Partner


2 thoughts on “NetSuite vs Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM in the Cloud”

  1. Two comments: the idea “you don’t need any hardware at all” for the SaaS solutions is not fully correct. One still needs to have devices to access the cloud.

    The second comment is that not only costs define value of ERP systems. Their capabilities to support the business activities ensures sustainability and success of the business. The TCO comes second in all comparisons.

  2. Oracle NetSuite is a great software to improve your business operations. If implemented properly by an alliance partner like Folio3, it can really provide your business with a platform to grow.

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