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NetSuite vs SAP Business One

Netsuite vs SAP Business One
Corinne Boyd

By Corinne Boyd Digital Marketing Manager, Updated 17 May 2017

If you’re looking for a full-featured, all-in-one enterprise software suite that can manage every aspect of an organisation’s processes, two of the first solutions you’re likely to think of are NetSuite vSAP Business One.

Both applications were developed in the mid-to-late 1990s and have a customer base comprising thousands of people. Their systems are built from the ground up as single systems instead of integrating stand-alone applications, which means that both solutions let users interact with a single data source and offer a 360-degree view of the consumer from one system.

This helpful guide assessing NetSuite vs SAP Business One will look at the strengths and weaknesses of both products, and help you decide which is the best software of the two.

Functionality

SAP Business One includes;

  • Financials
  • Inventory/warehouse management
  • Supply chain management
  • Sales order processing
  • Warehouse management
  • Demand planning and CRM tools
  • 24 industry-specific options.

However, there is no embedded e-commerce platform, forcing users to integrate third party tools for e-commerce instead.

NetSuite also offers a complete choice of functions, including CRM, accounting, supply chain management, inventory management and more, but unlike SAP, does contain an e-commerce solution that can be adapted to either B2B or B2C requirements and facilitates smooth operation at every step of the process.

Deployment

One of the main differences between the two solutions is the mode of deployment. SAP Business One was built to be installed on a user’s own IT system. NetSuite on the other hand is exclusively cloud-based, and is therefore run by the service provider at a shared data centre in another location.

Licencing

The two licence model is different for both systems. SAP Business One is sold as an upfront perpetual licence, whilst NetSuite is provided as a subscription service where the annual fee includes the cost of hosting and managing the software.

This means that there’s no capital hardware investment, and you’re covered by one licence to use all the features you need. NetSuite provides effective financial planning and allows you to avoid the difficulties of handling IT and costs from managing and upgrading the software

Analytics & Reporting

While many ERP systems collect business data without any means of analysing it, or presenting it in a useful manner, both SAP Business One and NetSuite are proficient in providing reporting, KPIs and dashboards.

NetSuite lets users generate real-time reports that immediately reveal insight into all of their business processes for quick and easy optimisation. The system automates calculation, provides continual revenue recognition monitoring and reporting and complete support for all main revenue recognition rules.

HANA, SAP’s in-memory computing platform, has similar functionality to that of NetSuite, as it also grants real-time access to and display of data, as well as reporting functions. HANA provides the SAP Business One user with the added benefit of an Excel tool for interrogating data. A lot of SAP’s analytics offerings demand separate licences, which adds to the time and cost needed for deployment.

Web Access

By virtue of always having been designed as a cloud solution, NetSuite allows for unlimited possibilities to work remotely. All it requires is a web browser and log-in details for access to the software. There are different portals for employees, customers and suppliers, which are essentially restricted views of the same system, with e-commerce displaying a storefront view of the data for clients.

SAP can run through any web browser with Java. However, it requires an excessive amount of work to create the various bits that you need. There is no standard client either. There are clients built especially for Business One, but these are usually developed as part of a project and can be expensive.

Workflow Management

Both solutions can deal with complex workflow through providing a flowchart interface to their respective development environment, which allows users to build comprehensive process flows.

However, SAP’s basic workflow and approvals functionality stands out in comparison with NetSuite’s. It is simple to set up and has been designed especially for an end user to configure. There is also an alert system that is intuitive to use.

Customisation

Both systems let users add custom or user-defined fields and tables to construct custom logic related to both custom elements and standard fields and records. All these customisations are transported automatically via an upgrade.

However, SAP Business One’s licence agreement permits them to make changes to code, which restricts the customer’s ability to upgrade and apply fixes. It’s also necessary for skilled partners to implement customisation of any kind. NetSuite’s capacity to edit and customise forms, master records, KPI’s and visual appearance diminishes any need to modify the code.

Integration

SAP Business One and NetSuite both offer web services for accessing the items in the ERP database. However, NetSuite is easier to integrate with other source systems, as it’s built to be compatible with other systems and with a livelier ISV ecosystem.

It contains an effective XML, API and Integration Management System and can optimise existing applications such as CRM, Financials, Project Management and other vital processes.

SAP provides transparent access to the database, allowing for more flexibility for companies who want to examine the data with their own reporting tools. However, it doesn’t include a standards-based open architecture for connecting to partners and other applications. Also the add-ons are fewer and less effective than NetSuite’s.

Mobile Access

Both applications can work on mobile. However, as NetSuite is fully web-based, it is easy to use on all major mobile operating systems. There’s only one version of NetSuite, so there’s no risk of not being able to access the software from any device. SAP Business One on the other hand is more limited than NetSuite and, depending on the software version, can be more complicated to use.

When pitting Netsuite vs SAP Business One against each other, both applications have their strengths: if you are looking for a simple, intuitive ERP application with excellent reporting and workflow management capabilities, then SAS Business One may be for you. However, NetSuite is arguably overall the more effective application, as it contains e-commerce functionality, better and more add-ons and integration, and the advantages of being completely cloud-based, including better web access and no costs associated with hardware.

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