Whenever I see comparisons of products I think about the bias of the writer, and I-BN is an SAP partner, so yes we are biased. However, NetSuite is a leader in Cloud ERP and we always need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the competition from the customer’s viewpoint in order to know when to compete and how to win.
Judge a Book By Its Cover
The first thing anyone does in evaluation is look at it from an aesthetic point of view. As a “true cloud” application the look and feel of NetSuite has always appealed to a web generation. In its early days NetSuite looked and acted like a website with major inherent limitations. Most of the limitations of browser based applications have been overcome through enhancements in technology and the User Interface (UI) of NetSuite is generally considered very appealing.
SAP Business One was developed over 10 years ago as an on premise application and has historically had a more traditional application feel. The current release now has both a traditional and browser based UI. In addition the HANA in memory database version uses the SAP Fiori interface which runs like a traditional application but is based in HTML5 code, with the modern web look.
In the end the graphic appeal of an application is in the eye of the beholder.
Feature and Function
“So how does this baby drive?” Just as in shopping for a car, not every buyer desires the same feature set. More often than not the feature set required is based upon your industry.
NetSuite and SAP Business One both have large install bases in Distribution and Light Manufacturing which are more horizontal industries. Both NetSuite and SAP B1 can serve the needs of a discrete goods products company with basic requirements well. It is when you get to the more advanced requirements where you start to see differences in approach and capability between the two products.
Both products offer basic materials requirements planning and multiple warehouse capabilities, but this is where NetSuite’s prices start to be augmented by feature packs which add to your subscription costs. SAP Business One offers all features with every Professional user license, and tends to have more depth in the core product for warehouse management.
In fairness, NetSuite has its own eCommerce package which is tightly integrated into the core NetSuite product; SAP relies upon integrations or third parties. For example, I-BN has developed the 2Simpli Connect platform which contains standard integrations with Magento and Shopify.
Both developers utilize an extensive third party developer network for deeper functionality and industry specific solutions. In Part 2 of the series we will explore additional comparative characteristics, such as the platform for growing your business, customization capabilities and pricing.