Boxing gloves representing Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite

On the hunt for a business software solution?

With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.

When searching for the perfect software vendor for your business, it’s important to let your individual needs inform your final choice, but that said, taking a look at the market’s big hitters can be a good jumping-off point. After all, they must be doing something right to command such a significant market share.

To help you find the best CRM or ERP vendor for your requirements, we’ve created a series of guides comparing some of the market’s leading products.

In this edition, we’re going to look at two closely competing cloud-based platforms; Microsoft Dynamics 365 and NetSuite.

Dynamics 365 and NetSuite have a lot more in common with each other than many of their other competitors. Both systems started out as cloud-first software (though it is also possible to implement Dynamics 365 on-premise), both solutions roll together CRM, ERP, and e-commerce into one interface, and both target small to midsize businesses.

Some businesses, depending on their size and type, may not need both CRM and ERP solutions. We’re going to start by taking a look at these vendors’ CRM offerings, so if you’re only interested in ERP, you can skip ahead.

Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite CRM

Both Microsoft Dynamics 365 and NetSuite feature modules that encompass the three central touchstones of CRM; sales, marketing, and customer service.

NetSuite’s CRM offering, marketed as CRM+, was released in 2005, and marked NetSuite’s shift from accounting software to comprehensive business solution provider. At the time, NetSuite heralded the software as the only CRM solution to automate the entire customer lifecycle. CRM technology has advanced at a breakneck pace over the past decade, so does CRM+ still hold up?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM was launched in 2003, and formed the customer relationship management wing of Microsoft’s suite of Dynamics business management programs. In 2011, Dynamics CRM was made available in the cloud, and subsequent versions formed the basis for the intelligent CRM apps that exist within Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite CRM: features

NetSuite CRM+

Like many cloud-based service providers, NetSuite split functionality down into modules to give users more flexibility when it comes to building a solution that meets their needs. NetSuite’s CRM+ platform is made up of four modules:

  • Sales Force Automation
  • Customer Service Management
  • Marketing Automation
  • Partner Relationship Management
Module Features include:
Sales Force Automation Opportunity management
Sales forecasting
Quote and order management
Incentive compensation management
Customer Service Management Case management
Customer portal
Knowledge management
Time tracking
Marketing Automation Lead reporting and analysis
SEO
Landing page and forms
Campaign and email management
Partner Relationship Management Lead management
Joint selling
Joint demand generation
Knowledge management and sharing

Dynamics 365

Like Netsuite, Dynamics 365 breaks down its CRM functions into distinct apps; three in total, with another on the way. This modularity gives users the flexibility to choose only the functionality they require. Each app can be used individually, or as part of the broader suite, with all Dynamics 365 apps, as well as, Office and Outlook, able to share data and synchronize with one another.

Dynamics 365’s CRM service is made up of the following major apps:

  • Dynamics 365 for Sales
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Retail

Microsoft also offers additional apps including:

  • Project Service Automation — project-based business management for resource planning and automation
  • Field Service — an app for managing employees and workflows in the field
  • Microsoft Social Engagement — a social media management and social listening app (included with both Sales and Customer Service at no additional cost)
  • Microsoft Relationship Sales — a sales navigator integrated with LinkedIn data

Here’s an overview of Dynamics 365’s main CRM features:

Module Features include:
Dynamics 365 for Sales Customer data management
Partner Relationship Management
Task management
Sales performance management
Contract management
Quote and order management
Marketing automation
Customer service
Knowledge base management
Reporting and analytics
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Cross-channel customer case management
Knowledge base management
Service intelligence
Incident routing
Microsoft Social Engagement Social media management
Social listening
Social Selling Assistant
Social analysis and insight

Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite CRM: Pricing

NetSuite CRM+

Like its parent company Oracle, NetSuite is not forthcoming about pricing for its CRM solutions, requiring interested businesses to contact NetSuite, or a NetSuite Solution Provider, directly to obtain a quote.

NetSuite’s licensing requires a business to purchase a standard NetSuite license — either Small, Mid-Market, or Enterprise depending on its size — and add in additional modules that met its individual needs. A baseline NetSuite license starts at $999 a month.

Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365’s CRM modules are available either as standalone apps, or as part of one of two predetermined plans. The Dynamics 365 plan gives users access to both ERP and CRM modules, while the Customer Engagement Plan focuses only on CRM apps.

NetSuite also has an equivalent joint ERP and CRM solution, NetSuite OneWorld, for which pricing begins at around $1,999 per month for a license covering up to three subsidiary companies.

Plan Price Modules included
Dynamics 365 Plan Full user — $210 /user/month

 

Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
  • Operations Activity — $50 /user/month
  • Operations Devices — $75 /device/month
Finance and Operations
Retail
Talent
Sales
Customer Service
Project Service Automation
Field Service
Social Engagement
Relationship Sales
PowerApps
Customer Engagement Plan Full user — $115 /user/month


Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Sales
Customer Service
Project Service Automation
Field Service
Social Engagement
Relationship Sales
<PowerApps
Standalone Apps
Dynamics 365 for Sales Full user — $95 /user/month


Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Sales
Social Engagement
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service Full user — $95 /user/month


Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Customer Service
Social Engagement
Dynamics 365 for Retail Full user — $175 /user/month


Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Retail only

Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite CRM: Pros and Cons

Pros: Dynamics 365

  • Dynamics 365 is a single-tenant solution and gives users full control over updates. Users can choose whether or not, and when, to implement these regular updates depending on how it will affect their operations.
  • Dynamics 365 works in tandem not only with other everyday Microsoft products such as Office and Outlook but also with LinkedIn. Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator join together to become Microsoft Relationship Sales, using data from LinkedIn’s 500m users to generate leads and foster relationships.
  • Dynamics 365 has more reporting options than NetSuite CRM+, and reports can be customized without the use of a developer.

Pros: NetSuite CRM

  • Reporting functions are fast, simple, and user-friendly.
  • Third-party integrations are very well-supported through SuiteTalk, which allows users and developers to build web-to-NetSuite integrations and lightweight custom mobile apps.

Cons: Dynamics 365

  • Although Dynamics 365 for Sales does feature some marketing automation capabilities, Dynamics 365 does not yet have a purpose-built marketing module. Dynamics 365 for Marketing will be released in early 2018.
  • Launched in November 2016, Dynamics is still in its infancy as a product. Though it is currently among the fastest-growing platforms on the market, some users may favor a more proven solution.
  • As with its productivity counterparts such as SharePoint, the number of functions and capabilities can be overwhelming to new users, and can prolong set-up.

Cons: NetSuite CRM

  • NetSuite does not currently utilize machine learning or the option to use personal AI assistants.
  • Despite supporting many third-party web integrations, NetSuite lacks integration capabilities with many commonly used productivity tools such as Skype.
  • Some users have reported difficulty in obtaining customer support, and NetSuite has comparatively high fees for support access.

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Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite ERP

Both Dynamics 365 and NetSuite ERP are built on the foundations of mature and sophisticated business management programs, making them reliable choices for companies to run their financial and organizational processes.

Launched in 1998 as online accounting software, NetSuite ERP predecessor NetLedger became a popular choice for financial management. The company later acquired several smaller software companies that helped to build out NeetLedger’s functionality, leading to the birth of NetSuite ERP.

The product of 25 years’ experience in ERP, Dynamics 365’s ERP modules draw on antecedent Dynamics software, including NAV, AX, GP, and SL, to cater to businesses of all types and sizes.

Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite ERP: Features

NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP is delivered via seven individual modules:

  • Financial Management
  • Order Management
  • Production Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Warehouse and Fulfillment
  • Procurement
  • HCM
Module Features
Financial Management Finance and accounting
Billing
Revenue recognition
Financial planning
Financial reporting
Global accounting and consolidation
Governance, risk and compliance
Order Management Pricing and promotions
Sales order management
Returns management
Production Management Product data management

Work order management
Planning and scheduling
Quality assurance
Manufacturing execution system

Supply Chain Management Planning

Execution
Collaboration
Support

Warehouse and Fulfillment Inbound logistics

Outbound logistics
Inventory management
Warehouse management system

Procurement Sourcing

Purchasing

Order management

HCM Core HR functions

Payroll
Employee self-service center
HR analytics

Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 also splits its ERP functionality into a number of discrete, but interconnected apps. Most core ERP features can be found within Dynamics 365’s largest app, Finance and Operations, with extended functions such as talent management available in additional modules. Currently, three modules make up Dynamics 365’s ERP arm:

  • Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
  • Dynamics 365 for Retail
  • Dynamics 365 for Talent

Microsoft will add another ERP app to the Dynamics 365 stable in Spring 2018. Closely modeled on Dynamics NAV, the new module will be a complete ERP offering targeting small to medium businesses.

Module Features include:
Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Accounting
Financial management
Budgeting and planning
Tax management
Manufacturing support
Supply chain management
Time and expense management
Project estimation and management
Dynamics 365 for Talent Talent acquisition
Candidate portals
Onboarding
HCM management
Performance and development management
Dynamics 365 for Retail Unified commerce
Omni-channel buying
Brand loyalty programs
Tailored sales and service
Sourcing and merchandising
Inventory management
Marketing

Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite ERP: Pricing

Netsuite ERP

Since being acquired by software giant Oracle, NetSuite does not publicly list its license prices. Businesses interested in obtaining a quote must contact NetSuite or a NetSuite Solution Provider directly.

Ultimately the cost will depend on many factors, including the number of users and user types, implementation, and the level of customization required.

As a starting point, businesses often purchase a standard NetSuite license — Small, Mid-Market, or Enterprise level depending on turnover and number of users — and add additional modules as and when required. A basic NetSuite license starts at $999 a month.

Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 pricing is more straightforward than NetSuite’s. Dynamics 365’s ERP modules are available via one of two plans, depending on which apps you need. Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is not currently available to purchase as a standalone app.

The Dynamics 365 plan gives users access to both ERP and CRM modules, while the Customer Engagement Plan focuses only on CRM apps. NetSuite also has an equivalent joint ERP and CRM solution, NetSuite OneWorld, for which licensing begins at around $1,999 per month for a license covering up to three subsidiary companies.

Plan Price Includes
Dynamics 365 Plan Full user — $210 Per user/month

 

Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 Per user/month
  • Operations Activity — $50 Per user/month
  • Operations Devices — $75 Per device/month
Finance and Operations
Retail
Talent
Sales
Customer Service
Project Service Automation
Field Service
Social Engagement
Relationship Sales
PowerApps
Unified Operations Plan Full user from $190 Per user/month

 

Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 Per user/month
  • Operations Activity — $50 Per user/month
  • Operations Devices — $75 Per device/month
Finance and Operations
Retail
Talent
PowerApps
Standalone Apps
Dynamics 365 for Retail Full user — $175 /user/month


Additional Users:

  • Team Members — $8 /user/month
Retail only

Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite ERP: Pros and Cons

Now you have a general overview of the features and pricing offered by both vendors, let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each product.

Pros: Dynamics 365

  • Dynamics 365 for ERP comes with robust business intelligence capabilities thanks to Microsoft’s Power BI tool.
  • It’s also infused with machine learning and artificial intelligence, and can be used with a digital assistant.
  • Like its CRM counterparts, Dynamics 365’s ERP apps benefit from tight integration with Microsoft’s productivity products such as Office and Outlook.

Pros: Netsuite ERP

  • Interface, menu bars, and forms are all easily customizable.
  • Its order fulfillment process is straightforward and can be integrated directly with distributors such as FedEx or UPS.
  • NetSuite began as accounting software, so its financial management features have been perfected over time, and are some of the best in the ERP market.

Cons: Dynamics 365

  • Due to the vast amount of data, it can house, and the extent of its features, some users have found it a little slow when running reports.
  • Although it builds on the functions of its predecessor Dynamics AX, Dynamics 365 hasn’t fully caught up feature-wise, and some capabilities are still being introduced.
  • Dynamics 365 can be customized, but many organizations may find the customization process difficult to master in-house without some development knowledge.

Cons: Netsuite ERP

  • NetSuite’s interface is somewhat dated compared to other more intuitive business software and can be tough to navigate.
  • Some users have reported poor search functionality, and difficulty retrieving the information they need.
  • Changes to the software are out of users’ hands, with no option given as to whether or not, or when, to apply updates.

What’s next?

Selecting the right software will come down to the specific needs of your business, and getting into the nitty-gritty of thoroughly assessing a vendor, you’ll need information more tailored to your particular circumstances.

If you think either of these products could be the right fit for you, then it’s time to get in touch with the vendors to ask for a proper business proposal and a personalized quote. Both Dynamics 365 and NetSuite also offer demos and free trials to help you decide whether their product suits your team.

Want to see how Microsoft Dynamics compares to other giants of the business software world? We’ve stacked it up against Hubspot, Oracle, and Salesforce to help you find the perfect match.

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