NetSuite is the most established brand name when it comes to cloud ERP software, as it’s widely regarded as the first cloud computing software company ever established (yes, even before SalesForce.com).
But what truly sets NetSuite apart from its competitors is that it’s a “true cloud” ERP software; in other words, it’s designed and built from the ground up to function on the cloud.
This gives NetSuite various advantages over competing cloud ERP software that began as on-premise solutions, such as:
NetSuite also comes with features that enables it to support the regional or global expansion of any business.
What Oracle NetSuite brings to the table. Source: Courtesy of Crazy Egg
With its acquisition by Oracle in 2016, NetSuite is also backed by the expertise of a leading brand name in the ERP market today.
This means if you’re looking for a true cloud ERP software for your business, NetSuite is one of the first choices you should consider.
However, you probably know of several alternatives to NetSuite, which leads to the question; is NetSuite the most suitable cloud-based software for your business, or would an alternative fit your needs better?
Here's a quick comparison guide that will show you the relative strengths of NetSuite with that of its closest competitor products, to help you decide which would work best for your business needs.
Businesses often upgrade from QuickBooks to NetSuite. Source: YouTube
Intuit’s QuickBooks is generally cited as the de facto accounting software for small businesses and startups, thanks to its low price point.
The cloud-based QuickBooks Online offers a range of basic features that are designed to manage the financial management needs of a recently-established business, such as payroll, sales, and inventory etc.
An on-premise QuickBooks Enterprise solution is also available, and offers some additional inventory management functionalities. However, you’d still need third-party integrations to add any advanced features to the accounting software
On the other hand, NetSuite is a full ERP software, with a comprehensive set of features that supports various business functions beyond financial management. This contrasts with QuickBooks, which is designed as an accounting solution first and foremost.
Some of the features in NetSuite which QuickBooks lacks include:
Therefore, while QuickBooks seems like the more affordable choice of accounting software for small businesses and startups, you’re find it much easier to scale NetSuite in line with the future growth of your business.
Choose QuickBooks if: Your business is just starting out, and you are yet to have concrete plans for future growth.
Choose NetSuite if: You have a concrete plan for the future growth of your business, and need a solution that can scale up to support this growth.
A software-as-a-service (SaaS) accounting software, Xero is most often compared to QuickBooks instead of NetSuite.
That’s because like QuickBooks, Xero is primarily an affordable solution for small businesses and startups that need basic financial management features and little else, at least for now.
However, Xero has a more similar feature set to NetSuite than QuickBooks does. Both Xero and NetSuite offer a full range of accounting capabilities, including:
Both Xero and NetSuite also handle multiple currencies, making both solutions a good choice for businesses that are planning to expand in the region.
That said, NetSuite distinguishes itself from Xero in that unlike the latter, its financial management features are part of a comprehensive, integrated business suite that combines it with ERP, CRM, e-commerce, project management, business intelligence and other features.
Therefore, while you could pursue a regional strategy with either SaaS solutions, you may find your business needs growing beyond Xero’s capabilities at some point should you choose to go with the accounting software over the cloud ERP.
Choose Xero if: You need a cloud-based accounting software that supports regional expansion at a lower price.
Choose NetSuite if: You need a full-featured business management suite combining accounting with other business functions, with support for regional expansion.
Designed to be a “best-in-class” SaaS accounting software solution for SMEs, Sage Intacct is intended for SMEs which only need support for their finance functions.
This means it provides a robust set of features for accounting and financial management in the cloud, but also means that Intacct’s feature set is limited to the aforementioned function.
On the other hand, NetSuite is designed to be a full-service ERP solution, which combines financial management and accounting capabilities with features for other business functions such as CRM, warehouse management (WMS), e-commerce and more.
In addition, Intacct does not offer functionalities for managing subsidiaries, such as intercompany auto-elimination and multi-currency support.
This makes NetSuite, which comes with these features, much more suitable for fast-growing businesses that have a regional expansion strategy in the works.
Choose Intacct if: You need robust accounting and financial management capabilities in the cloud for your business, but not much else beyond that.
Choose NetSuite if: You require a full cloud ERP solution with features for all business functions, and can be scaled for a fast-growing business with a regional expansion strategy.
While NetSuite and SalesForce are both pioneers in the SaaS field, trying to compare both solutions seems like comparing apples to oranges.
The latter's a dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) software, while NetSuite is a full ERP system that combines CRM functionalities with features for supporting all other business functions.
As such, SalesForce is the better CRM solution due to a deep feature set, refined user interface (UI), and ease of reporting, but NetSuite is a solid choice for businesses which need a more comprehensive business management solution in the cloud.
That said, the comparison becomes more even when we add FinancialForce – a partner of SalesForce – into the mix.
An integrated CRM and ERP solution that resides on the Force.com cloud computing platform, FinancialForce is intended to provide ERP capabilities for SalesForce’s large user base.
But while NetSuite is a complete ERP software with a full feature set, FinancialForce suffers from a relatively limited feature set focusing on financial management and professional services automation (PSA).
For that reason, FinancialForce appeals primarily to existing SalesForce customers which operate in the professional services sector, and/or does not require robust ERP capabilities.
Even so, should you need to combine NetSuite’s best-of-breed financial management features with SalesForce’s best-of-breed CRM capabilities, you can turn to Celigo’s NetSuite-SalesForce Connector for easy integration of both pioneering SaaS software.
Choose SalesForce and FinancialForce if: You’re committed to the SalesForce technology stack, and do not currently require a full ERP feature set.
Choose NetSuite if: You need robust ERP capabilities and best-of-breed SaaS financial management.
SAP and Oracle have long been two of the biggest players in the ERP market, and have maintained a long-standing feud that continues to this day.
This extends into the mid-market segment, where SAP Business One poses the most direct competition for NetSuite’s SME target market.
Banking on the dominance of SAP in the enterprise-level ERP market, SAP Business One is a popular choice for subsidiaries of large enterprises for ease of integration with the SAP technology stack.
And SAP has made great advances in extending their signature ERP products into the cloud in recent years, such as with the development of SAP S/4HANA and the Web Client that came with SAP Business One Version 10.
On the other hand, businesses with multiple subsidiaries in Singapore or the region would be better served with NetSuite, which comes with built-in consolidation features and functionalities.
Choose SAP Business One if: You’re committed to the SAP technology stack, and/or have less need for real-time international multi-subsidiaries consolidation and reporting functions.
Choose NetSuite if: Real-time international multi-subsidiaries consolidation and reporting is a non-negotiable factor for the future growth of your business.
Microsoft has also emerged as a strong competitor for Oracle in the cloud ERP market in recent years with Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Based off more than a decade of experience and lessons learned, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a comprehensive suite of business solutions which businesses can implement individually to answer specific needs.
These range from Dynamics 365 Business Central — an all-in-one ERP system for small to midsized enterprises (SMEs) — to applications for large organisations that target specific functionalities, such as Financials, Customer Service, Supply Chain Management etc.
As a Microsoft software product, Business Central also enjoys tight integration with other products under the Microsoft software ecosystem, such as Office 365, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams.
If your business processes already rely heavily on other Microsoft products, such tight integration means that you can deploy Business Central in your operations much more seamlessly.
Moreover, Dynamics 365 users have access to AppSource — a web-based marketplace for thousands of business apps that integrate seamlessly with Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft products — enabling customers to extend the value of their ERP software's implementation.
However, Dynamics 365 is built upon legacy Microsoft ERP software such as Dynamics NAV, AX and GP. These began as on-premise solutions which were then rebuilt for cloud delivery with Dynamics 365.
This means that when it comes to the cloud-based business management software, Dynamics 365 is a relatively late entrant to the market, even though Microsoft is doing its best to make up for lost ground.
This means that Oracle’s NetSuite, which was built from the ground up as an SaaS solution and is thus the first true cloud ERP software available in the market, has the advantage with more mature cloud features.
These include features which support your business's multi-national operations, such as intercompany accounting capabilities, as well as tax and compliance management capabilities in more than 20 countries.
Choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 if: Your business already use other Microsoft products (e.g. Office 365, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams) which Dynamics 365 can integrate seamlessly with for a smooth implementation.
Choose NetSuite if: Maturity of cloud technology, quick deployment, real-time reporting, built-in financial consolidation, and support for multi-national operations are more important for your business needs.
With many existing alternatives and a growing trend of established names joining the cloud-based business management software market, Oracle NetSuite is definitely not short on competition.
But having been established since 1999 as the first ever true cloud ERP software platform in the world, NetSuite offers a more mature cloud solution that offers more features and greater scalability to better support the growth of SMEs than most of its rivals.
With this comparison guide between Oracle NetSuite and other software products in the cloud-based business management software space, we hope you’ve gotten a better idea of the relative strengths that the true cloud ERP software has over its competition.
We also hope that this has helped you with your decision on whether the true cloud ERP software would be the best fit for any future growth plans you may have in place for your business.
If you’d like to learn more about the main differences between mere accounting software and a full cloud-based ERP software like Oracle NetSuite, click the image below.