The Difference between Microsoft Dynamics Business Central and Acumatica Cloud ERP
In previous article, we compared Dynamics SL to Acumatica and stated, as one of your options, that you could choose to migrate to Dynamics 365 Business Central (as long as you waited for it to mature in necessary functionality). Another option we discussed was to choose migration to Acumatica Cloud ERP.
Considering the continuing lack of cloud capability in Dynamics SL, you might want to begin planning your next steps now, which is why Dynamic Tech Services is here to help with another in-depth comparison blog. This time we’re comparing Dynamics 365 Business Central to Acumatica in order to provide useful information to aid your decision process..
Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC
Offering both cloud and on-premises deployments, the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC (Business Central) offers financial management capabilities along with project management, supply chain, manufacturing, and service order management.
Dynamics 365 BC is a solution for small to mid-sized businesses with minor customization needs. It has some cloud functionality and integration from Microsoft’s “intelligent edge.”
Acumatica Cloud ERP
Acumatica is a true cloud ERP with a variety of vertical-specific editions, and a wide range of deployment options including cloud, private cloud, and on-premises. Acumatica editions include Manufacturing, Distribution, Construction, eCommerce, and more.
Acumatica continues to develop add-ons that allow companies to tailor their ERP as they grow. A few of the most recent additions to Acumatica include AI, machine learning, natural language processing, and blockchain. More advances are on the way.
5 Key Differences between Dynamics 365 and Acumatica
While both solutions are cloud-based, there are some key differences:
1. Your Data
You know how important your data is to your business. Be sure you understand how it is being handled.
Dynamics 365 BC allows limited data exporting and retains control of all backups. It will be difficult to transfer your data from Dynamics BC into another analytics solution. You won’t be able to perform your own backups in BC, nor can you restore data. You would need to request backups and restores from Microsoft.
Acumatica allows you to own your data and permits full relational database exports, on-demand database snapshots, and optional database backups. You can control backups, restore functions, and transfer data at any time. The database snapshots eat up a lot of space, and you may choose to store them outside of Acumatica.
There is no such thing as an ERP solution that meets the needs of everyone right out of the box. So, it will be important to assess your customization needs.
Dynamics 365 BC customizations are a bit unwieldy, and they have developed few connected apps. BC’s development tool (AL) includes .NET interoperability. (.NET is an industry-standard development code), but most of the customizations that had worked on Dynamics NAV doesn’t work on the present BC cloud platform. Nor does BC allow you to directly access your system, your database, or the product’s source code.
Acumatica offers full customization of your solution and the entire Acumatica platform, with the industry-standard .NET framework and a wide range of connected apps and add-on solutions.
You can either buy an Acumatica Certified App at convenient, low, off-the-shelf pricing; or you can hire any developer you trust to write you a 100% custom app. It’s safe to say that Acumatica can be customized to do anything your business demands.
It’s difficult to compare the pricing of the two systems because they are so different and there may be advantages to each.
Dynamics 365 BC has a low entry cost, but they charge per user and per add-on. Consider not only your initial users but those who will be added as your company inevitably grows. Weigh the costs against the capabilities and be sure you know what you’re getting. For instance, Dynamics 365 BC includes CRM, but it’s not the full Dynamics CRM you may have been used to. That full-featured CRM will be separate, will have to be synced to your ERP, and will incur additional costs.
Business customers love Acumatica’s resource-based pricing allowing for unlimited users. Customers, partners, employees, suppliers, and vendors can be log in securely. Self-service eliminates some of the administrative load. The carefully planned vertical editions of Acumatica provide impressive functionality and high value to industry clients, and many editions include CRM.
Training is key in a constantly changing business environment.
Dynamics 365 BC provides formal training and support solely through Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs), which function as resellers (VARs). After the initial training, you will rely on community support or a single online training module. On the plus side, Dynamics 365 BC has a familiar user interface and operates much like other Microsoft products which you use every day.
Acumatica is also easy to use, but Acumatica provides in-depth, on-demand training and help. If you want to check out Acumatica right now, for free, you can. Openness and transparency are a key part of the Acumatica philosophy.
5. Product Strategy
Investing in an ERP solution means entering into a long-term relationship with a reseller, a publisher (developer), and a product. Choose your partner wisely, choose a trusted software developer, and look ahead at the direction the product is headed.
Dynamics 365 BC’s roadmap mentions only modest features scheduled for release later in 2019; there don’t seem to be any grand plans
Acumatica announces their updated roadmap yearly at their annual conference, and this year the big news is their machine learning advances and new AI capabilities. Acumatica invests heavily in R&D, with 75% of employees working in research and development. Their tech focus is on the future. At the January 2019 Acumatica Summit, Acumatica employees demonstrated camera drone barcode scanning for warehouse inventory updates, as well as Acumatica Alexa for Business, which can understand and react accurately to complex natural language search queries.
They also demonstrated Microsoft HoloLens integration that delivered hands-free functionality at a construction site, and a machine learning tool that could make purchasing suggestions based on a customer’s smartphone photo.
So, Which Is Better? Dynamics 365 Business Central or Acumatica?
The question is not, which is better, but which best suits your business. If you’re currently using a Microsoft product such as Dynamics NAV or Dynamics SL, Dynamics 365 BC’s cloud capabilities may appeal to you, although you’d likely sacrifice some functionality. Right now, Dynamics BC doesn’t provide a simple migration from other Dynamics solutions because it still lacks the customization and functionality that other Dynamics solutions provide. Since Dynamics BC is still a developing solution with limited vertical functionality, you might want to consider a more full-featured ERP solution such as Acumatica.
Small and mid-sized businesses with limited customization requirements and simple operations will probably appreciate the low initial cost of Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC. On the other hand, companies that have, or look forward to having, complex operations or customization requirements, or businesses that want to take advantage of true cloud power rather than mere cloud simplicity and cost are likely to choose Acumatica.
If you are considering a move to cloud-based ERP, let us help you explore what solution will be best for your business.
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