Careful consideration is important when choosing the best Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for your business. There are many options to consider, but two of the most popular solutions are NetSuite and SAP.
We’re here to lend our expertise in comparing NetSuite vs SAP. This post will give you some insight into the similarities and differences to enable you to make an informed decision about which is right for you.
NetSuite vs SAP: The Fundamentals
Both NetSuite and SAP are ERP solutions. They unify the disparate departments of an organisation into a single, feature-rich platform that streamlines processes like financials, inventory management and even CRM. There are many similarities between the two, but there are also some significant differences that you need to understand to decide between them.
Generally speaking, NetSuite is out in front when it comes to technology. Both solutions now offer a cloud-based ERP platform, but SAP has only incorporated cloud computing into its product over the last 9 years. NetSuite, on the other hand, has been a leading cloud ERP system for over two decades.
- Has capabilities for ERP, CRM, PSA, financial management, eCommerce, human resources and inventory management.
- Provides swift, user-friendly mobile access.
- Has been cloud-based since inception way back in 1998.
- Offers advanced customisation features.
- Integrates seamlessly with existing software.
- Real-time analytics.
- Ideal for businesses of any size.
- Integrates easily and includes a suite of add-ons.
- Originally developed as an on-premise solution, then added a cloud-based version in 2012.
- Provides an intuitive user interface.
- Has the capability to offer integrations, though with some limitations.
- Real-time analytics capabilities.
- Offers mobile access, though not directly through SAP so access can be difficult sometimes.
SAP is actually offered in several different forms:
- SAP Business One: aimed at small businesses, this is the original SAP software and can be deployed on-premise or via the cloud. Recommended for 5-1000musers.
- SAP Business ByDesign: the mid-market ERP available only via the cloud. This is designed for organisations with 20-1000 users.
- SAP S/4HANA: this is the most sophisticated version aimed at enterprise-level businesses and provides more advanced technology like AI and analytics capabilities. Many aspects of production, revenue and even sustainability can be automated.
Comparing NetSuite vs SAP
When making our comparisons, we will focus on NetSuite vs SAP Business One, which is the most popular SAP software. Here’s how the two compare in a range of key areas:
NetSuite: Formulated in the cloud, NetSuite has deployed and managed its cloud software solutions for more than 18,000 customers since its inception in 1998. It was essentially the original cloud software company, so they are a trailblazer in the cloud ERP space. The deployment lead time is generally quick compared with some ERPs.
SAP: SAP is a relative newcomer to the cloud software space, having migrated from an on-premise solution to the cloud in 2012. They can now offer greater flexibility and technology for customers, but they are playing catch-up in their technology.
Analysis: NetSuite is usually easier and faster to deploy with a long history as a cloud software solution. The timeline for a deployment of any ERP solution depends primarily on the number of customisations you require but NetSuite usually has a shorter timeline to get up and running.
NetSuite: Integration with other software is critical to ERP systems and NetSuite offers a number of integrations and add-ons including out-of-the-box APIs and custom integration functions. Integrations with things like Shopify, Salesforce and HubSpot through Implementation Platforms-as-a-Service (IPaaS) like Celigo are just a few of the popular choices.
Bear in mind, however, that NetSuite integrations require custom development and can therefore incur costs. Look for partners who offer pre-built NetSuite solutions that work for your business to reduce costs and speed up implementation.
SAP: There are some add-ons and integrations available with SAP Business One, but its offerings are less robust than those of NetSuite. There is access to data and user interface APIs for integrations based on SQL. The pre-configured integrations include Magento, Shopify, UPS, Salesforce and MailChimp.
Analysis: If you require unique customisations or numerous integrations with niche software, NetSuite is probably the better option. There are no guarantees with SAP that it will have the necessary integration capacities. If you went with the SAP S/4HANA option you might find more powerful integration potential but the cost of this would be far higher than a NetSuite subscription.
NetSuite: There are far more out-of-the-box customisation options with NetSuite than with SAP Business One. You can personalise your home dashboard, saved searches, reports and much, much more to tailor NetSuite to specific roles. You can even take the customisation further with code adjustments, though this will require the help of experienced NetSuite developers.
SAP: Code customisation is also available with SAP Business One, but with some limitations. You can create some custom reports, though this requires an additional purchase of SAP Crystal Reports for every user who needs that capability. Software updates for SAP Business One have been known to have a negative impact on existing customisations and integrations.
Analysis: Both NetSuite and SAP offer customisation options for the software and the main dashboard. Some feel the SAP dashboard is more user-friendly than that of NetSuite, but both can be personalised to ensure only the most relevant data is displayed. Going by what’s said in user reviews, there appears to be more potential for SAP customisations to go wrong, mainly due to issues with software updates or interruptions to workflow processes.
NetSuite: The features of NetSuite are diverse, incorporating ERP, eCommerce, CRM, HR and PSA. Some popular features include:
- Data Analytics
- Lead Management
- Employee Centre
- Project Management
- Ecommerce Order and Inventory Management
SAP: SAP Business One has many of the same capabilities, but it lacks some key features that may need to be purchased additionally. For example, HR management requires a purchase of SAP SuccessFactors and eCommerce integration requires SAP Commerce Cloud.
Analysis: If you need to use a range of different features with rich customisation and integrations, NetSuite is probably the wiser choice. With SAP, the additional features can become quite expensive and require additional work to integrate them effectively.
NetSuite: Updates are automatically rolled out, so you don’t have to worry. You know your NetSuite software will always be the most up to date and the most secure it can be.
SAP: SAP gives you the power to plan software updates so that they don’t occur during busy times. However, updates are likely to impact customisations, so you will need developer assistance to keep everything functioning correctly.
Analysis: Updates are important but can cause frustration. Automatic updating means you need to keep abreast of NetSuite’s update schedule and plan around it. SAP offers more flexibility with regard to software updates.
NetSuite: The reporting capabilities of NetSuite are robust, including complete customisations and drill-down reports. Real-time reporting enables informed decision-making while custom reports and advanced analytics allow the construction of relevant dashboards and presentations as required.
SAP: The reporting capabilities are relatively detailed but more limited than NetSuite. Advanced customisations for reports and dashboards require the SAP Crystal Reports add-on, which costs an additional cost of $495 per user.
Analysis: The right choice depends on what your reporting needs actually are. SAP has more limitations than NetSuite, and it requires a licensing add-on to access more sophisticated customisations, so you need to think carefully about what you require.
NetSuite vs Other SAP Versions
SAP Business ByDesign is not as fully-loaded as NetSuite when it comes to additional features like HR or eCommerce. Again, you would have to purchase additional licenses to access those things with SAP Business ByDesign. That said, some people find SAP ByD is simpler to set up than NetSuite, though the latter is more scalable for growing businesses.
SAP S/4HANA is an enterprise ERP solution with lots of powerful features, but it is SAP’s most expensive software. There are users in some industries who prefer this version of SAP to NetSuite, but it can easily be a far more expensive option that offers only a handful of benefits and still lacks some of the robust features of its competitor.
NetSuite vs SAP: Which is right for me?
The answer to this depends on your specific needs. There is no answer that covers all businesses. You will need to consider factors like:
- Your Implementation Partner
With careful consideration through discussion with an ERP specialist, you will be able to judge which option is the better fit for your business.
For a more in-depth look at functionality available in NetSuite, please feel free to read our informative article What is NetSuite and how does it work?.
Why choose Eventura to deliver your NetSuite ERP Project?
As an official NetSuite solution provider, we have successfully delivered countless NetSuite implementations. Our expert team of business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff can guide you through your entire project, from initial scoping through to implementation and on-going support.
We believe that NetSuite offers its customers a comprehensive suite of products that can digitally transform their businesses, replacing a range of disparate systems and softwares with one unified solution to business management.
If you would like to speak to one of our NetSuite experts, you can request a free call back here.