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If your SMB is in the market for a new ERP system, particularly a cloud-based ERP, two names can’t escape your notice, Acumatica and NetSuite. Like many ERPs, these two seem to be very similar on the surface. So, which is the best fit for your business? The answer depends on your needs. But here are three key factors no one should overlook in the NetSuite versus Acumatica debate.
NetSuite Versus Acumatica: Key Differentiators
Implementation process and policies
One of the fundamental ways NetSuite differentiates itself in this crowded market is price, particularly low cost, quick implementations when compared to the competition. How do they achieve this? NetSuite relies on a proprietary implementation method known as “SuiteSuccess.” And while a fast, inexpensive implementation might sound like the ideal scenario for a budget conscious SMB, there are some not so obvious risks you must know:
- It prohibits integrations with other software or modifications to make it fit your business processes. It also does not include the migration of your historical data.
- The financial management and CRM modules are the only ones included
- Customers must adhere to a strict schedule of go live dates. If they miss one or more of them, the customer risks receiving heavy penalties from NetSuite.
What you get with a SuiteSuccess implementation of NetSuite is a purely vanilla instance of the software. This is ideal if yours is an SMB who has very basic needs and you’re implementing NetSuite as your first ERP thus, do not have historical data to move over from an old system.
If that doesn’t describe you, and you choose NetSuite, please make sure you get clarity into your project’s scope including a detailed implementation plan, one that spells out in writing the resourcing levels for each activity and each milestone you must meet, before signing on the dotted line. Otherwise, your NetSuite implementation may cost you far more than you expect. Or worse, leave you with a system that doesn’t fit your needs at all. Unfortunately, these scary scenarios are not uncommon. A simple web search of “NetSuite rescue” reveals legions of ERP partners offering to correct incomplete and failed NetSuite deployments.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all strategy emphasizing speed, Acumatica favors a custom approach to each implementation. Its partners start each implementation by going through what’s known as a “discovery phase”, during which your partner will have multiple discussions with you and your team to nail down your unique needs and priorities. That way, you create and agree on a plan for project success right from the very beginning. To avoid any nasty surprises once you reach the go live phase and because these meetings are such a crucial part of Acumatica’s implementation process, your partner will include their cost in your project estimate.
For those who need a fast, simplified, fixed scope for their implementation, like the one SuiteSuccess offers, Acumatica has its own “Fast-Track Deployment” option. Yet, unlike SuiteSuccess, it doesn’t bypass the crucial planning and discovery phase of the process.
Not coincidentally, a web search for “Acumatica rescue” does not uncover horror stories of failed deployments, or partners who focus their business on helping companies bounce back from one. Rather, what you’ll find are best practices and tips for a successful ERP deployment which are useful to anyone, regardless of which platform you choose.
Pricing and Cost Structure
Like with almost all other ERP vendors, NetSuite bases a customer’s licensing cost on the number of users they have. So, if you plan to add seasonal or part-time employees, or consultants or other external users, expect your licensing costs to increase. But with NetSuite, per user licensing costs are only part of the equation. Your “service tier” also affects your price. These govern the number of users, the amount of file storage and the monthly transaction lines you may have. Should you exceed these, you may incur what NetSuite refers to as “resource consumption” fees. In addition, like most ERP vendors, NetSuite changes its pricing from year to year. And in NetSuite’s case, these price hikes can increase your cost by more than half.
Remember, NetSuite competes on implementation cost. To sweeten the deal, new customers often get a low introductory rate for the use of the software itself. However, don’t expect to hold on to those rates for long. Once your contract is up for renewal, you will pay whatever the current list price is at that point, not your initial discounted rate.
Unlike every other ERP vendor, Acumatica does not charge a per user licensing fee. Rather, Acumatica uses consumption-based pricing, which means you only pay for the computing resources you use. That way, you can finally use your ERP system as intended to improve collaboration and interdepartmental visibility and communication. You can grant access to every employee and external partner without subjecting yourself to ballooning licensing fees. But that’s not all. Acumatica’s customer Bill of Rights protects customers from unreasonable price hikes, like the 50% year-over-year increases NetSuite customers commonly see.
Ease of Doing Business
Independent ERP analysts, “Third Stage Consulting” warn NetSuite buyers to consider their relationship with Oracle as an important factor when selecting an ERP vendor. They state, “there are companies out there that don’t like working with Oracle. They find their pricing and contract structures too complicated and cumbersome and difficult to work with.” Why? Because the ERP giant has a questionable reputation when compared to its peers. Many clients report their working relationship with Oracle is strained. The most common frustrations include the company’s practices of over-promising and under delivering, providing lackluster customer support, and showing a general apathy towards downtime issues.
But its questionable practices don’t end there. The company has become the subject of a class action lawsuit where plaintiffs complain it “misled investors about the sales of its cloud products by threatening customers with expensive software licensing audits unless they agreed to use Oracle’s cloud software. The suit also alleges that Oracle offered customers large discounts for on premises products if they accepted short-term cloud contracts they didn’t want and were unlikely to use.”
Acumatica’s mission is to be “the most customer friendly ERP provider”. They offer:
- A formal customer Bill of Rights, which guarantees every user to friendly and fair treatment.
- A customer portal as part of its ERP software, which gives users an easy and secure way in which to communicate and collaborate with customers and outside partners, such as vendors and consultants.
- Free online training for anyone who wants to learn the software, via Acumatica Open University.
- Award-winning usability and customer satisfaction ratings as evidenced by respected industry insiders such as G2, IDC, Nucleus Research and Gartner.
Hopefully, this quick overview of a few key factors to consider in the NetSuite versus Acumatica debate has brought you closer to a decision that’s in the best interest of your business. However, it is not an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to conduct your own research.
If you’re ready to dig deeper, we suggest you read “Evaluating Acumatica and Oracle NetSuite: Considerations for SMB Companies”, visiting review sites like G2, Capterra, and others, plus talking to current users of any software you’re considering.
Should you need help to find the right ERP software to drive your SMB forward, let’s talk. We have over 30 years’ experience matching businesses of all shapes and sizes with the software they need to succeed.
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