Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) and SAP are two important contenders and are frequently compared during the selection cycle. Both platforms are very powerful as Gartner and Forrester reports will illustrate. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is now frequently selected over SAP for the reasons you will discover.
Choosing to implement new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is one of the most important decisions a business will make. The journey of discovering what system is the best fit for your organization takes time and can be overwhelming with all the choices available.
Starting with a clear vision of your business needs, required functionality, special circumstances, integrations support, etc. will aid you during your selection process and help you avoid wasted time with software that is not a fit from the start. While tier one ERP software offerings all support a range of needs and have sophisticated tools, however, they do have important differences that should be considered during selection.
While the total cost of ownership (TCO) is not something that can be generically calculated, there are several components that roll up to TCO that can be discussed and considered without your company’s specific details.
Pricing, of course, is an important TCO concern but that is just one small piece of the TCO landscape. Arguably, nearly every selection consideration can be rolled up into a TCO discussion. However, at selection time you may not have fully imagined the realm of all possibilities and how bright that future world may look.
We will discuss the foundation topics of TCO here and take on the outstanding tools that distinguish D365 separately.
Implementation costs are always of great importance when selecting the system to use in your business. Every company is looking for a system that can accommodate their needs but at the same time can help them stay in budget. Implementing a system like SAP ERP for a medium-sized business is typically multiple times the cost and usually takes many, many more months, even years than implementing D365.
Dynamics 365 is a highly configurable ERP system that can be adapted to a wide range of business process across multiple industries. This has been a hallmark of D365 and its prior versions. SAP has extremely mature business processes built into the software, however, adapting to process exceptions can cost time and money.
Microsoft has an innate advantage when it comes to the value proposition of usability. Nearly the entire world is familiar with Microsoft Office products and is comfortable using them. With the same look and feel, menu systems, et cetera, Dynamics 365 is more easily adopted by end-users than SAP. Certainly, all competing ERP offerings will attempt to achieve this familiarity, but with D365, it has this distinct advantage which directly translates to savings in implementation costs.
Specialized skills are required to sustain SAP and, typically, a team size in orders of magnitude. Dynamics 365 has traditionally supported a specialized coding language called X++. While this is still available in D365, the tech stack is all Microsoft standard product utilizing familiar technologies like C# and DevOps (formerly known as Visual Studio). These comfortable, familiar technologies usually translate to easier recruitment and few positions to fill.
Dynamics 365 licensing costs offer many options where licensing is concerned based on user functionality: full user, team user, device user, etc. (add a get-consult call to action here?) SAP will offer somewhat similar consideration, however, traditionally been and continues to be a more expensive option despite very comparable functionality. We invite you to do perform this comparison for yourself!
Microsoft has always had a robust offering of toolsets to extend and augment all the primary business suite software packages. This eco-system has exploded in recent years with an embarrassment of riches of supporting tools.
The Power Platform, consisting of Power Automate (a system agnostic workflow engine), Power BI (enterprise business intelligence) and Power Apps (a low-code, no-code application builder) make extending your ERP investment easy and economical.
Native Azure tools such as next generation data storage innovations and low-code, no-code data transformation tools such as Logic Apps can turn your data warehouse visions into an economical dream come true.
Additionally, Microsoft has augmented the D365 ERP and CRM landscape with additional D365 products to extend ERP and CRM functionality. D365 Field Services and D365 Project Operations are too fine examples. D365 Field Services allows service work orders to be created for service technicians and their routes optimized. For companies using Projects and Project Accounting, Project Operations leverages robust scheduling boards, skills and certification tracking as well as utilizing Microsoft Project for Web to power project creation and management.
All in all, the D365 landscape is very exciting with new announcements and released feature sets coming every month!
Integrations can be one of the costliest propositions of any implementation. Choosing an ERP system with the right integration tools is a critical selection component. While SAP has integration tools that may serve a company well, Dynamics 365 offers a technology stack that makes integrations an economical as well as simpler proposition.
As expected from Microsoft, they have made sure that Dynamics 365 works with all their other products making it the perfect example of a hyper-connected software. Due to this, businesses can take full advantage of the functionalities that the Office 365 suite offers without worrying if this system will integrate with their ERP system. This has also been the case with the systems evolution in the Market. Even though new functionalities are continuously being added to D365 these new functionalities are designed to work effectively with all other Microsoft products.
Integration to non-Microsoft systems is widely supported by Microsoft leveraging out of the box connectors and standardized data standards.
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