Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central vs Oracle NetSuite

This blog post will dive into the features and details of two major ERP solutions, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Business Central and Oracle’s NetSuite.

Anisa Selimi

Introduction

Are you in the process of choosing the right solution to accommodate your business needs? Do you want to know which key factors to consider when evaluating a new ERP system?

The digital transformation process and exercise of adopting it in your business can be a real challenge for your organization and its employees. When modernizing a business’s processes, one of the key components to look into is the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system the business uses. There are different ERP solutions that can aid your company in its digital transformation process and make it more approachable.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Oracle’s Netsuite are two of the most popular cloud-based ERP systems on the market. They both offer a wide range of features and benefits, but they are not always equally suitable for every business. In this article, we will compare Netsuite and Dynamics 365 Business Central and outline the pros and cons of each system- notably key features and user experience.

Preparing Your Team for an ERP Implementation

Understand the end-to-end preparation needed for you and your team.

Highlighting Key Features In Dynamics 365 Business Central & Netsuite

Highlighted below are the key features of each solution. 

Key Features of Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-based ERP solution for small and mid-size businesses. It offers a range of features to help businesses manage their finances, operations, manufacturing, shipping project management, services and sales. Some of the key features of Dynamics 365 Business Central include:

  • Financial management: Dynamics 365 Business Central helps businesses track their financial performance and manage their expenses and budget. It can also help automate financial processes, such as invoicing and payments.
  • Sales and marketing: Dynamics 365 Business Central helps businesses manage their sales pipeline and track customer interactions. It also includes features for marketing automation, such as email marketing and lead scoring.
  • Operations management: Dynamics 365 Business Central helps businesses manage their operations, including inventory and production processes. It also includes features for HR and project management.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is a powerful ERP solution that can help businesses of all sizes manage their finances, sales, and operations. It’s a cloud-based solution that makes it easy to get started and it offers a range of features that can help businesses grow and succeed.

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the key features that are supported within Dynamics 365 Business Central modules:

The Finance Module helps to automate financial processes and improve financial operations. The module includes features for budgeting, expense allocations and fixed assets management. You can also manage and reconcile bank-related records and keep track of  liabilities, capital accounts, income and expenses. Oracle Finance Module supports a complete solution for Tax Management, which is a configurable tax engine and automates the calculation for each transaction. Lastly the built in Financial reports helps to understand the current financial state and predict the future. For example, you can make payments and manage the debt collection, perform bank reconciliation, adjust exchange rates, manage fixed asset registration and related activities, prepare year end closing, perform revenue management and profitable analysis.

The business intelligence module in Dynamics 365 Business Central is a tool that allows users to analyze data and create reports. Reports can be customized to include data from various sources, including the ERP system, CRM system, and financial data. Users can also create dashboards to display key performance indicators. These comprehensive reports all users to gain insights to the performance of the business including budgets and account schedules.

The sales module in Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive tool that helps businesses manage their sales pipeline and sales processes. It allows businesses to track leads, opportunities, and sales orders and provides tools for forecasting sales and creating quotes and invoices. The sales module also includes features for managing customer relationships, such as customer contact information, make drop shipments, manage returns, purchase history, and account status.

 

The purchasing module in Dynamics 365 Business Central is used to manage the purchasing process for a business. It allows businesses to create purchase orders, track orders, and invoice customers for the products or services they have purchased. The purchasing module can also be used to manage supplier information and track payments to suppliers.

Inventory is an important module in Dynamics 365 Business Central that helps organizations keep track of their stock, including the quantity and value of products and materials on hand. It can also aid companies in registering new inventory or service-type items, categorize them for optimized search, and perform common costing tasks. The inventory module includes features for managing purchase orders, sales orders, and production orders. It also includes tools for setting up inventory tracking and valuation methods, and for creating and managing item records.

Dynamics 365 Business Central supports project management functionalities that helps organizations to plan the projects, schedule resources for projects, create and manage job budgets. The module also allows to manage project accounting more accurately and perform detailed project analysis.

The fixed assets module in Dynamics 365 Business Central tracks the ownership and value of a company's fixed assets, such as land, buildings, hardware and equipment. The module allows users to record acquisitions, depreciation, and disposals of fixed assets, as well as to generate reports on the value of the company's fixed assets and ensure proper periodic depreciation. It can also help a business keep track of maintenance costs.

The human resources module in Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive solution that enables you to manage employee information, job postings, and recruiting activities. You can use the module to create and manage employee profiles, track employee leave, register absences, and process payroll. Additionally, you can use the module to post job openings and manage the recruiting process.

The assembly management module in Dynamics 365 Business Central allows you to track the components that make up your products, as well as the bill of materials (BOM) for each product. This information can help you to determine the cost of each product, as well as the lead time and stock requirements for each component. It can also help you put sellable items together in simple steps to generate a new product SKU, such as a kit. 

The Manufacturing Module in Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive solution for managing your manufacturing business processes. It provides tools for managing production planning, pulling production components, job costing, inventory, and sales and operations planning (S&OP). It also includes features for managing shop floor resources, quality control and production operations.

Warehouse management is a module in Dynamics 365 Business Central that helps businesses manage their inventory and warehouse operations. The module includes features for tracking inventory levels, managing orders and shipments, and tracking warehouse activities- ensuring an effective flow of goods. It also includes tools for creating and managing inventory lists, picking and packing orders, and tracking inventory movements.

The Service Management Module in Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive solution for managing and tracking services and service-related tasks. It includes features for managing customer and contact information, creating and managing service orders and jobs, tracking repair parts and supplies, and tracking service delivery progress.

In this module, enabled users can configure the system to send and receive invoices, purchase orders, banking files and other business documents. You can also use the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central web client to view and manage documents that have been exchanged with other businesses and update currency exchange rates.

Key Features of NetSuite

Oracle’s NetSuite is an all-in-one business management solution created by Oracle. It offers a wide range of features to help you manage your finances, supply chain, inventory, sales, order management, warehousing and customer relations. NetSuite is designed to be adaptable to the needs of any business, from small startups to large enterprises. It’s also cloud-based, so you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection.

The Finance Module helps to automate financial processes and improve financial operations. The module includes features for budgeting, expense allocations and fixed assets management. You can also manage and reconcile bank-related records and keep track of  liabilities, capital accounts, income and expenses. Oracle Finance Module supports a complete solution for Tax Management, which is a configurable tax engine and automates the calculation for each transaction. Lastly the built in Financial reports helps to understand the current financial state and predict the future.

 

The inventory module in Oracle NetSuite enables you to monitor inventory levels and deliver orders on time.  Also includes features for item tracking with lot and serial numbers and is focused in stock optimization. The modules helps to minimize manual processes throughout the business, reduces risks, lowers costs and ensures inventory availability. NetSuite provides rich features such as Inventory in multiple warehouses,  order planning and safety stock. Furthermore can perform regular physical inventory counts without stopping operations in different business areas.

NetSuite Supply Chain solutions includes features for supply chain optimization and keep production running smoothly by ensuring inventory availability. Supply Chain module helps suppliers, customers and manufacturers connect with each other to manage supply chain process effectively and efficiently. NetSuite uses planning techniques to help you make the right decisions and  reduces supply chain costs. Some of the key capabilities of the module: Multiple Vendor Management, Vendor Performance Tracking, Planned and Actual Orders, Sales Forecasts, Workflow Approval.

NetSuite Order Management is a key module which enables the businesses to meet and exceed customer expectations for faster deliveries. It can also aid companies in improving order accuracy and order completeness. The Order Management module helps to gain better insights into customer behavior and can drive operational efficiency to overall ordering process. Some of the key capabilities of the module: manage customer price list, manage discounts , promotions and campaigns, batch order processing,  fulfill orders from third parties, generate packing slips etc.

Warehouse Management module optimizes and integrates daily activities performed by warehouse employees. Also, Warehouse Management  increases warehouse accuracy , improves process , minimizes manual  processes and eliminates paperwork. The module supports functionalities  including  barcode scanning, kitting, product tracking,  inventory receiving, put away, picking, packaging,  and  label printing. Warehouse management helps customer service department to improve responsiveness and reduces order returns due to human errors.

Implementation Methodology

Unifying your ERP system, no matter the program, can be difficult. Below are the implementation processes of Dynamics 365 Business Central and Oracle’s Netsuite. 

Implementation of Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is offered on-premise or in the cloud. The implementation of the cloud version of Business Central can happen in a short time while On Premise version can take more time. Microsoft supports Agile Methodology of implementing Business Central and various documentation regarding the methodology is offered to Microsoft Partners.

The implementation strategy of Business Central consists of:

  • Discovery and Analysis
  • Designing
  • Configuration and data upload
  • Trainings
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • GO Live After Go Live support
  • Maintenance

Implementation of NetSuite

Oracle NetSuite can be implemented only ‘In Cloud’ and the implementation includes:

  • Planning and preparation
  • Configuration and data migration
  • Testing and training
  • Go Live
  • Support

The methodology of implementation seems to be more traditional compared with other ERP solutions.

Pricing and Licensing

Learn about licensing and pricing for each program below:

Dynamics 365 Business Central Pricing

There are a various of licensing options you can consider if you are going to implement the Business Central and Microsoft is very transparent regarding the licensing and pricings. Based on your needs you can purchase Essential or Premium licenses. Microsoft also offers the option of Team Member Licenses for users who are not tied to a particular function but require read-only access to the data.

Dynamics 365 Business Central Essentials and Premium

Essentials and Premium user licenses include:

  • Unlimited Business Central Team Members access.
  • 3 External Accountant licenses for organizations with third-party accountants.
  • Unlimited companies.
Dynamics 365 Business Central Pricing

Oracle's NetSuite Pricing

NetSuite is a cloud based ERP platform and the total cost depends how many user licenses you need. Here is some of the information captured from NetSuite’s official website regarding prices and costs:

  • There is an annual license fee which consists of three main components: core modules, optional modules and the number of users.
  • It is required one-time implementation fee for initial configuration.

There are different NetSuite edition types, including:

  • Limited Edition: NetSuite Limited Edition is designated for small businesses with a legal entity and do not need more than 10 users.
  • Mid-Market Edition: NetSuite Mid-Market edition is for medium companies that have two or more legal entities and need more than 10 users.
  • Enterprise Edition: NetSuite’s Enterprise edition is ideal for large companies with more than 1,000 named users.

User license cost starts at $99 per user per month and there are several NetSuite pricing user types, including:

  • Full User License: These users have access to all application areas
  • Employee Self-Service License: They have limited rights across the application but can register their Time Sheet.
  • Read-Only Access: These users can access reports and dashboards inside of NetSuite.
  • Other licenses include Oracle NetSuite Planning & Budgeting Cloud Service Users and NetSuite OpenAir Users.

Customization and Extension

Business Central offers many  ‘Out of the Box’ functionalities, but you always have the option to add more functionalities using these features:

  • Add-ons or extensions which are published at the marketplace AppSource. Everyone can go there and purchase any extension to expand Business Central functionalities.
  • Customizations

Business Central is a Dynamics 365 solution which can be adopted easily for your specific needs using a flexible database and suite of customization tools. A lot of documentation regarding customizations and developments is published online. Furthermore, there are many options for users to Personalize and Design their view. Customizations are also available for NetSuite product. You need to contact any partner which is authorized for adding additional customizations. But there are certain limitations with NetSuite for users to adopt the view based on their needs

Integrations

Outlined below are the integration processes of Dynamics 365 Business Central and NetSuite.

Integrating Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Business Central can be easily integrated with all Microsoft products such as Outlook, Office, Teams, Microsoft’s CRM suite- Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (Sales, Customer Service, Field Service and Marketing. There are some powerful tools such as Power Automate that can be used to integrate different Microsoft Products and automate manual processes.Also, many options to integrate Business Central with other applications are offered.

Dynamics 365 Business Central Integrations

Integrating Oracle's NetSuite

Oracle NetSuite does not offer native integration but offers ‘Oracle NetSuite Adapter‘ which enables to create an integration with a NetSuite application. However, when considering to have a possible integration it is recommended to perform a feasibility analysis prior.

User Permissions and Security Roles

Here are the Permissions and Roles for Dynamics 365 Business Central and NetSuite.

Dynamics 365 Business Central Security and Permissions

Dynamics 365 Business Central offers rich functionalities to support User Roles and Permissions.

  • Profiles: Can have various profiles (or user roles) based on the job positions for example: Accountant, Accountant Manager, Sales Order Processor, Warehouse Manager etc. Users can personalize their view, add or hide columns, sort in a specific way. There are some customizations that can be performed for a specific Profile.
  • Permission Sets: Permission Sets are used to assign a granular access to a specific user. You can restrict users access different records using Security Filters. (For example, a specific User cannot see the Sales Invoices of a specific customer). You can also assign permissions for each of the actions:
    • Read
    • Modify
    • Insert
    • Delete
  • User Setup: Can be used to add or restrict access to a specific user, for example specify the date ranges which the user is allowed to post transactions.

NetSuite Security and Permissions

There are a few different security roles in Netsuite. The two most common are Administrator and User. An Administrator has full access to the system and can make changes, while a User can only view and edit their own data.

User Roles which represent different employee responsibilities. Therefore, one user can have different roles assigned based on the tasks and duties that have. Users can have two types of Roles: Standard Roles and Custom Roles. 

Other roles include Approver and Reader. An Approver can approve or reject transactions, while a Reader can only view transactions.

Analytics and Reporting

Here’s a look at the analytics and reporting details for Dynamics 365 Business Central and NetSuite.

Business Central Analytics and Reporting

Dynamics 365 for Business Central provides powerful analytics capabilities that enable you to gain insights into your business data and make better decisions. With Dynamics 365 for Business Central, you can:

  • Easily create custom reports and dashboards to visualize your data.
  • Quickly find the insights you need by drilling down into your data.
  • Get real-time insights into your business performance.
  • Understand how your business is performing compared to your goals.
  • Identify opportunities and trends in your data.

Business Central offers a powerful concept, called Dimensions Reporting. Dimension Reporting in Dynamics 365 Business Central is a way to group and report on data that is related to a dimension, such as time, Business Units, Entity, department, item categories, territories, geography, or product type. Dimensions can be used to group data in reports, filters, and dashboards.

There are a few different types of reporting features in Dynamics 365 for Business Central. The first is the standard reporting tool, which allows you to create reports based on your data using a variety of filters and criteria. There is also a built-in dashboard tool that allows you to create custom dashboards with widgets that display your data in different ways. Additionally, there is a built-in charting tool that allows you to create charts based on your data.

Other reporting features include:

  • Out-of-the-box Reports for each Module – Each module come with some pre built reports
  • Export views in Excel – Every view can be exported in Excel and can be used as a source for reporting
  • Analysis Views – Create different reports in the Business Central
  • Account Schedules – Create financial reports inside Business Central
  • Connect with Power BI – Create dashboards and complex reports in Power BI tool

NetSuite Analytics and Reporting

NetSuite provides reporting options too and there are some options for analyzing your data:

  • Standard reports are prebuilt report definitions that can run to review, present, and analyze your account’s data. 
  • NetSuite financial reporting gives finance and accounting teams tools to analyze and display data.

Conclusion

Both Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Oracle NetSuite are powerful ERP systems. During your reviewing process you should take into consideration all the factors which were explained in this article:

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