Background

Dynamics 365 Business Central
In 1984, three young entrepreneurs in Denmark released the precursor application to Navision (which would later become Dynamics NAV) under the name PC&C (Personal Computing and Consulting). In 1987, the developers released Navigator 1.00, which took PC&C’s single-user application and turned it into a client/server-based accounting program which allowed multi-user access. The first version of Navision for Windows was released in 1993.

In 2000, Navision Software merged with Danish firm Damgaard, making it a 1000+ employee company with partners in 25 (primarily European) countries. A mere 2 years later, Microsoft acquired Navision and brought it under the Microsoft Business Solutions umbrella managed by Doug Burgum. Microsoft rebranded Navision (along with Microsoft CRM, Great Plains, Axapta, and Solomon) in 2005 as Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Dynamics 365 Business Central was released in April 2018 as an “all-in-one business management solution.“ Built on the functionality, code, and development experience of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Business Central is a native-cloud solution that delivers a modern, browser-based ERP experience. Designed to integrate directly with Office 365, Business Central features extensive customizability and extendibility options via PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Power BI.

Oracle NetSuite
NetSuite, founded by Evan Goldberg in 1998, was one of the world’s first accounting systems that was entirely web-based. From 1998-2007, both the product and company grew rapidly, culminating in a successful 2007 Initial Public Offering. NetSuite was officially acquired by parent company Oracle for more than $9 billion on July 28, 2016, though the two companies had experience working together on the Oracle Small Business Suite in the early 2000’s, when NetSuite was still NetLedger.

NetSuite is currently offered by Oracle as comprehensive cloud-based ERP and CRM solution designed and priced for small to midsize businesses. More than 16,000 businesses across 200 countries currently use NetSuite ERP. While it is owned by Oracle, Netsuite is not the same as Oracle ERP, a system designed for enterprise organizations.


Pricing and Considerations

Business Central

NetSuite

Licensing: $70/user/month. Additional add-ons available.

Billing Frequency: Monthly

Implementation: Financial Accounting Implementations begin at $19,995 USD. Manufacturing implementations, because they are more complex, begin at $30,995 USD.

Licensing: NetSuite prices are not published publicly. Estimated pricing is $999/month + $99/user/month.

Billing Frequency: Annual

Implementation: Implementation prices are not posted publicly. Former NetSuite employees report that implementations begin at $25,000 USD for single-module implementations. Mid-sized organizations typically range closer to $90,000-$100,000 USD.

Other Considerations:

Dynamics 365 Business Central contracts are managed through Microsoft Partners. Business Central licenses can be added removed on a monthly basis limiting cost of a changing business. All major updates are applied automatically by Microsoft at no additional cost to the end user.

Other Considerations:

NetSuite users report that contracts are often negotiated annually, and pricing generally changes each year. Some users report prices increasing by as much as 10% year-over-year. Because NetSuite is a highly customizable, modular system, as an organization grows or changes, it may find itself requiring additional modules. NetSuite will almost certainly accommodate the growth, but monthly costs will likely increase as well. Personalization in NetSuite is possible through the SuiteCloud, which comes with an additional fee. Some users have complained that the SuiteCloud is rather hard to learn without the correct training courses offered from Oracle, costing up to $1600 for a two day course.


Customer Reviews

Dynamics NAV (Now Business Central)

Common Pros: Advanced financial management functionality, user friendly, integration with Office 365, affordable, cloud-based

Common Cons: Occasional glitches, lacks CRM capabilities on its own.

Dynamics 365 Business Central provides a robust financial management application that is easily scalable. End users will find the cloud-based web application easy to use and enjoy the comprehensive integration with Office 365. 

Common Pros: Advanced ERP functionality, ease-of-use, scalable

Common Cons: Lack of customer support and training, Lack of integration with 3rd party applications, expensive

NetSuite is regarded as a comprehensive ERP system with exceptional depth and usability. While you cannot purchase individual modules, Netsuite gives small, medium, and large companies the ERP tools they need to succeed.


Trial Options

Business Central

NetSuite

Dynamics 365 Business Central 30 day free trials are available through Microsoft on the Dynamics 365 website. A free trial includes access to a Dynamics 365 Business Central trial account loaded sample data (you have the option to import your own). The free trial also allows you to invite other users from your organization to test for the duration of the trial.

NetSuite 30-day free trials are available through Oracle’s partner channel. A free trial includes complete control over a test account with unlimited access to the application and ability to import your own data.


Release Schedule

Business Central

NetSuite

Microsoft releases two major updates to Dynamics 365 Business Central per year – in April and October. These updates will include new capabilities, performance improvements, and better support experiences. All releases are automatically updated however, any major changes to the user experience will be turned off automatically giving administrators time to test and enable these features as they see fit.

NetSuite has two major version updates per year that are typically released in February/March and August/September. These major releases contain new functionality or enhancements to existing features. NetSuite recommends working with an implementation partner to test and implement every release.


Customize & Extend

Business Central

NetSuite

A major strength of Business Central is its flexibility and ability to integrate with Microsoft and other 3rd party applications. This is done by creating custom apps, installing 3rd party apps from Microsoft AppSource, or working with 3rd party services. Business Central is built to maximize customization, so the majority of app development requires little to no coding.

In addition to the wide range of apps that extend the functionality of Business Central, much can be done to personalize and enhance the interface each user will have. Using the Designer, users can easily drag-and-drop fact boxes, data fields, tables and grids, and other data that was previously hidden. Beyond basic changes, complex enhancements can be made to the UI using Visual Studio.

NetSuite allows for a similar amount of modification as Business Central does through its SuiteCloud Platform. The SuiteCloud allows users to personalize their dashboards and feeds, build custom apps, and incorporate third-party solutions through SuiteApp.com.

In addition to the SuiteCloud and SuiteApps, NetSuite has connections with SAP, SalesForce, and Google Apps. NetSuite comes out-of-box as a strong but inflexible ERP system, and the SuiteCloud platform that allows users to personalize their settings, build apps, and integrate with others comes with an additional cost.b There is also a fee for sandbox environments, which are used to develop and test the customizations you build in a place that will not impact current operations.

The Bottom Line

The difference between Business Central and NetSuite when it comes to customization lies in the pricing and licensing details. Dynamics Business Central comes out-of-box with all the tools you’ll need to customize interfaces, develop apps for your business, and download external apps that improve how you operate. This includes the Designer and Visual Studio, sandbox environments, and access to Microsoft AppSource at no additional cost. Nearly every Microsoft business app was made with integrations in mind and Microsoft clearly recommends connecting all of the apps you use to get the most out of each one.


Business Central Features

Financial Management

  • General Ledger

  • Payables & Receivables

  • Collections

  • Predict late payments

  • Automatic payments

  • Payment tolerances

  • Reconcile vendor payments

  • Prepayments

  • Transfer bank funds

  • Intercompany

  • Cost Accounting

  • Transfer cost entries

  • Cost budgets

  • Multiple companies

  • Reverse postings

  • Employee expenses

  • Defer revs and expenses

  • Import payroll transactions

  • Closing periods, books

  • Preparing closing statements

  • Report VAT

Purchasing

  • Purchase invoices

  • Purchases orders

  • Purchase quote

  • Convert purchase Quote to order

  • Purchase items

  • Correct/cancel invoices

  • Combine receipts

  • Returns / cancellations

  • Date calc. for purchases

Inventory

  • Register new items

  • Bill of Materials

  • Categorize items

  • Item attributes

  • Catalog items

  • Reclassify inv.

  • View item availability

  • Transfer inventory between locations

  • Reserve items

  • Serial & lot numbers

  • Block items

  • Inventory costing

  • Revalue inventory

  • Adjust item cost

  • Physical inventory

  • Calculate expected inventory

Order Management

  • Move items

  • Plan movements

  • Quote assemble to order

  • Production orders

  • Subcontracting

  • Batch post consumption

  • Batch post output

  • Batch post run times

  • Post Scrap

  • Post capacities

  • View work centers

  • Receive items

  • Cross-dock items

  • Split activity lines

  • Warehouse assignments

  • Picking and shipping

Employee Management & General

  • Add comments

  • Track doc. Lines

  • Send docs. by email

  • Add extended item text

  • Define user tasks

  • BC suggestions

  • Workflows

  • Data exchange

  • Customize BC

  • Classify sensitive data

  • Create new companies

  • Job queues

  • Publish a web service

Project Management

  • Job cards and tasks

  • Assign resources to job

  • Define work types

  • Use time sheets for jobs

  • Estimate job costs

  • Manage job budgets

  • Manage job supplies

  • Monitor progress and performance

  • Acquire, maintain FA

  • Transfer, split, combine FA

  • Revalue FA

  • Depreciate / amortize FA

  • Dispose / retire FA

  • Manage FA budgets


Inventory

  • Specific costing

  • Item kits

  • Item images

  • Pricing rules

  • Audit trail for inv. Adjustments

  • Replenishment warnings

  • Multi-location

  • Multiple UOM

  • Kits, assemblies

  • LIFO, FIFO, avg

  • Price levels per item

  • Preferred vendor record

  • Lot mgmt.

  • Barcoding

  • Expiration dating

  • Serialized inventory

  • Inv. Matrix items

  • Reorder point tracking

  • Physical inv.

  • Bin mgmt.

  • Landed cost

  • Demand based inv. replenish

Financial Management

  • GL

  • Chart of accounts

  • Fin. Statements

  • Multicurrency AP

  • Multicurrency AR

  • Payroll, DD

  • Mult. Budgets

  • Adv. Billing

  • Rev. recognition

  • GAAP reports

  • Allocations

  • Check printing

  • Online banking

  • Bill pay

  • Update taxes

  • W2, 940, 941

  • Print 1099

  • Customize COA

  • Reversing JE’s

  • Acct. Periods

  • CC address verification

  • EFT bill pay

  • Memorized transactions

  • Aging periods

  • Vendor EFT pay

  • Adv. Project acctounting

  • Amortization schedules

Order Fulfillment

  • Mult. Ship to

  • Mult. Bill to

  • Sub-cust. Tracking

  • Discount calculation

  • Sales taxes

  • Bulk order approval

  • Partial shipments

  • Back orders

  • Cust. Order tracking

  • Quote and estimate

  • Order processing

  • Available to promise

  • Inv.Commit

  • Pricing & discounts

  • Sales tax

  • CC authorize

  • Pick, pack, ship

  • Drop shipments

  • Special purch. Orders

  • Fedex ship integration

  • UPS ship integration

  • Returns

Purchasing

  • Back orders

  • Purch. history

  • Special order POS

  • Approval routing

  • Partial receipt tracking

  • requisitions

  • Purchase orders

  • Purch. Request tracking

  • Receiving

  • AP

Customer & Vendor Center

  • Order history

  • Track ships

  • Return orders

  • Update profile

  • Pay invoice

  • Online self service

Employee Management & General

  • Time/billing entry & reporting

  • Remote time entry

  • Integrated case mgmt.

  • HR publishing

  • Schedule & task mgmt.

  • Employee records

  • Payroll with Direct Deposit

  • Expense reporting

  • Time, expense, billing

  • App reminders

  • Quickbooks import

  • CSV import/export

  • Audit trail

  • User privileges

  • Data exports


 
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