Choosing your new ERP software – NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics AX?

If you’re a growing business looking to upgrade your enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to better cope with your expanding company, making the right choice can be a minefield of critical decisions.
Questions about what capabilities you need both now and in the future and which solution can best meet your individual business needs must be examined carefully. As your new ERP system will be at the heart of your key operations for years to come, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. The wrong choice could leave your company struggling with a solution that isn’t fit for purpose.
When you’re looking at the various solutions available, Microsoft Dynamics AX is likely to be one that you consider, but have you thought about NetSuite? In this article, we look at some the issues you need to be thinking about when choosing your new ERP software, and we explain why NetSuite should be one of the options you review.

Will your software always be up to date?

Your ERP system is a big investment and will play a central role in your business operations for years to come, so the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money implementing a system that will be out of date in a few year’s time.
Your Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation would more than likely be customised and may use a lot of partner-developed bolt-ons and custom development which means that it could be difficult to upgrade to the newest version.
Whilst the range of customisations make it possible to build a solution bespoke to the exact needs of your company, deployments can often end up too customised and become difficult to upgrade efficiently – which may leave many users stuck on old versions. Many customers suffer “version-lock” where they are tied to the original version of the software that they signed up for.
NetSuite, on the other hand, has been designed to be a perpetual business management solution. Whilst it can still be customised to your specific business needs, it also boasts automatic upgrades twice a year so it’s always at the cusp of the latest business and technology requirements. It will therefore always remain right up-to-date, giving companies a peace of mind they might not get with another option.

Can you easily access it anytime, anywhere?

The working environment has changed dramatically in recent years, and giving employees the ability to access critical business information when they are at home or on the move is vital to success.
MS Dynamics AX is either “on-premise”, or “hosted ”, which means that the legacy solution, originally designed to be on-premise, is hosted on remote servers and delivered via the internet. In order for customers to easily access their critical business information on the move, they must have a “rich-client” application and MS Excel / MS Word to access full financials and run reports. It is possible to get around this, but only with significant investment and expertise.
NetSuite was built for the cloud and is a true cloud product, which means it is held remotely and delivered via the internet with a high level of performance and reliability. It can be accessed easily from any browser-enabled device – all you need is an internet connection – as well as having many endpoints for accessing the underlying data, such as web queries from your preferred spreadsheet package.

Will it integrate with your CRM software?

By linking your accounts, customer information, sales and marketing initiatives, you get a comprehensive view across your entire business. An integrated system is therefore vital to the smooth running of your operations and can help you to make better, faster, more informed decisions.
Microsoft Dynamics AX doesn’t offer a truly integrated system – in order to link your Dynamics CRM with your Dynamics ERP, a connector is required. And it isn’t particularly easy to link external CRM software, such as SalesForce to your system either – this requires potentially costly expert help as it can be a complex process.
NetSuite delivers comprehensive fully integrated CRM capabilities with no need for a connector. However, it also has adapters to allow existing CRM systems to work easily with NetSuite.

Can you easily automate key business processes?

Integrated and automated workflows can greatly improve efficiency by eliminating time consuming manual entry and reducing errors.
Whilst it is possible to create workflows in both Dynamics AX and NetSuite, the process is much easier in the latter. NetSuite can be customised much more easily because it has a more modern web architecture and expert help can therefore be found by anyone who is proficient in JavaScript (internally referred to as SuiteScript).
Any customisations can be tested in a sandbox environment before they are deployed so you can be sure that the software is working exactly how you need it to before you implement it.
MS Dynamics AX, on the other hand, uses a combination of proprietary (X++) code and .NET, and customisation often requires modification of the legacy code. It can therefore be difficult and costly to find experts to help.
If you would like to know more about which ERP software is the best option for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts.
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Stephen Adamson


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(+44) 115 758 8888
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