21 August, 2023

NetSuite Vs. Great Plains: Software Comparison & Competitive Checklist


In the dynamic realm of modern finance, the ‘NetSuite vs. Great Plains‘ debate stands out as a crucial consideration for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) navigating the complexities of today’s business environment. Faced with challenges that demand efficient, integrated, and scalable solutions, CFOs play a pivotal role beyond traditional accounting. As the demand for advanced Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems grows, NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains emerge as frontrunners, offering sophisticated industry features.

This blog provides an in-depth analysis tailored specifically for CFOs grappling with modern financial challenges, from the need for real-time financial data to the intricacies of regulatory compliance. Understanding that CFOs seek solutions to streamline data integration, enhance reporting accuracy, automate processes, and provide real-time insights into the financial health of their organizations, this comparison goes beyond mere technicalities. It delves into how NetSuite and Great Plains align with strategic financial goals, whether in managing a global, multi-subsidiary company or ensuring effective cost management and risk mitigation.

Both NetSuite and Great Plains are renowned for providing a single data source across companies, enabling automation that saves time and money. However, significant differences exist between the two, influencing their suitability for specific organizational needs. Through this article, we aim to explore how NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics GP respond to market dynamics and offer a detailed, head-to-head comparison. The focus will be on their system architecture, functionality, customization, integrations, support, and implementation strategy, enabling companies to make an informed decision based on a comprehensive understanding of these two leading ERP solutions.

NetSuite: Pioneering Cloud Business Applications for the Modern CFO

NetSuite stands out as a pioneering cloud-based solution, designed to meet the multifaceted needs of today’s CFOs. As the first of its kind in cloud business applications, NetSuite offers a comprehensive suite covering ERP, CRM, and e-commerce, integrated seamlessly to provide a centralized platform for managing critical business operations.

Leveraging Cloud Power for Financial Efficiency and Accessibility:

NetSuite harnesses the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model to its full potential, leveraging cloud technology for enhanced accessibility and efficiency. This approach allows CFOs and their teams to access and utilize NetSuite’s applications from any web-enabled device, streamlining operations and reducing the dependency on extensive IT infrastructure. The result is a significant control over operational costs and a minimized need for in-house IT resources, a key consideration for CFOs aiming to optimize financial resources.

Streamlining Global Operations with Multi-Faceted Support:

Recognizing the challenges of managing global, multi-lingual, and multi-subsidiary organizations, NetSuite is uniquely equipped to streamline these complex processes. It provides CFOs with tools to consolidate financial data effectively, thereby simplifying multinational operations. This functionality is crucial for CFOs who require a unified view of their organization’s financial health and performance across diverse geographical locations and business units.

Comprehensive Financial Management and Real-Time Insights:

NetSuite’s strength lies in its comprehensive business software, offering real-time insights into financial data, thereby enabling CFOs to make informed, strategic decisions. The platform’s integrated nature ensures that financial reporting, compliance management, and risk assessment are conducted with high accuracy and efficiency.

Why CFOs Choose NetSuite?

Hear directly from NetSuite customers who have opted for this robust solution over Microsoft’s offerings. Their experiences underscore the practical benefits of NetSuite in addressing the specific challenges faced by CFOs in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.

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Microsoft Dynamics GP: A Versatile Solution for Diverse CFO Needs?

Microsoft Dynamics GP represents a robust mid-market accounting solution that caters to the evolving demands of CFOs in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Created in 1983 as the pioneering Windows-based accounting software, Dynamics GP has evolved to offer both cloud (hosted on Azure) and on-premises solutions, addressing a wide array of business needs including retail, supply chain management, accounting, and payroll.

Technical Flexibility and Compatibility:

Dynamics GP is built on a .NET and Service-oriented (SOA) architecture, ensuring robustness and flexibility. This platform compatibility extends across various operating systems, including Linux, macOS, Unix, Windows, and Novell Netware, making it a versatile choice for organizations with diverse IT infrastructures. The system’s adaptability is further enhanced by features such as:

  • SmartList Builder: A powerful query tool that allows CFOs to generate detailed data outputs tailored to their specific reporting needs.
  • Comprehensive Browser Support: With HTML5 browser support and compatibility with multiple browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Edge, Dynamics GP offers flexible access options.
  • HTTPS Support: Ensuring secure data transmission, a critical factor for financial data integrity and compliance.

Tailored for the Mid-Market with Key Considerations:

As a solution initially designed for on-premises deployment, Dynamics GP offers a unique blend of cloud and traditional infrastructures. While it may not be a pure cloud solution, its flexibility in deployment options can be advantageous for CFOs looking for a gradual transition to cloud computing or needing a hybrid approach.

It’s important to note that Dynamics GP does not natively include CRM functionality or allow for extensive customizations. This aspect is crucial for CFOs to consider, especially if their organization requires a tightly integrated ERP and CRM system or highly customizable software.

Meeting the Needs of CFOs in a Changing Business Landscape:

While Dynamics GP may not offer the full range of cloud-native features, its strength lies in its ability to provide solid core financial and distribution capabilities, particularly for SMBs. The platform’s historical reliability and adaptability make it a dependable choice for CFOs who prioritize technical flexibility and have specific requirements for on-premises solutions.

Infographics show the Microsoft Dynamics GP: A Versatile Solution for Diverse CFO Needs

NetSuite vs. Great Plains: Key Differentiators

Differentiators NetSuite vs. Great Plains
Pricing Model:
The pricing model is one key difference in this NetSuite vs Great Plains comparison. NetSuite follows a subscription-based pricing model. The cost of NetSuite varies based on factors such as the number of users, the modules required, and the level of customization needed. Whereas Great Plains typically follows a perpetual licensing model. Users purchase the software upfront and pay an annual maintenance fee. The cost of Great Plains depends on factors like the number of users and the modules needed.
Deployment Model:
NetSuite’s cloud-based nature provides the advantages of easy accessibility, automatic updates, and scalability. Great Plains still carries some legacy architecture that isn’t cloud-native, which means certain processes can only be completed by batch. Additionally, financial consolidation via its General Ledger (GL) can only be done manually, and some transaction details get lost in translation once the GL is consolidated.
Integration and Customization:
NetSuite provides a robust development suite of tools that enables users to customize the system and integrate with other applications seamlessly. On the other hand, Great Plains has limited customization and integration options, as it is considered a closed platform.
CRM Functionality:
NetSuite incorporates CRM functionality within its accounting software, offering a unified platform for managing customer relationships, sales, and marketing. In contrast, Great Plains does not include CRM features natively and requires separate integration for CRM capabilities.
Real-Time Data:
NetSuite provides real-time data processing and reporting, allowing users to access up-to-date information anytime. In contrast, Great Plains relies on batch processing and manual consolidation, particularly in its earlier versions. It may suggest manual reporting options, which can delay obtaining real-time data insights.
Industry Focus:
NetSuite provides industry-specific solutions tailored for various sectors. On the other hand, Great Plains offers core financial and distribution capabilities but has a different level of industry-specific functionality than NetSuite.
Infographics show the User Guide for NetSuite Solutions

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NetSuite vs. Great Plains: Key Advantages of NetSuite in Addressing CFO Needs

NetSuite vs. Great Plains: Advanced E-Commerce Integration:

  • Dynamics GP Limitations: While Dynamics GP includes a Business Portal with basic dashboard functionalities and some key performance indicators (KPIs), it lacks flexibility and customization in e-commerce support.
  • NetSuite’s Edge: In contrast, NetSuite offers a fully integrated e-commerce platform, enabling seamless data flow across all business processes without the need for additional connectors. This integrated approach is beneficial for CFOs overseeing e-commerce operations, as it ensures efficiency and real-time data tracking. Presently, more than 2,000 companies leverage NetSuite for their e-commerce needs, highlighting its effectiveness in this area.

NetSuite vs. Great Plains: Comprehensive Revenue Management:

  • Dynamics GP Shortcomings: Microsoft Dynamics GP does not support intricate revenue management needs like recurring billings, distributor revenue management, and complex revenue recognition schedules, including FOB revenue recognition delays and planning.
  • NetSuite’s Comprehensive Solution: NetSuite excels with a total GAAP-compliant revenue recognition system within a single platform. It offers editable and customizable revenue recognition schedules, ensuring detailed control and audit capabilities at the line-item level. This is crucial for CFOs who require rigorous compliance and accurate revenue forecasting. NetSuite also efficiently handles reverse amortization for credits/refunds and integrates these features with advanced billing, providing a holistic approach to revenue management.

NetSuite vs. Great Plains: Integration and Flexibility:

  • Integration Challenges with Dynamics GP: Great Plains, with its extensive proprietary code base, can present significant integration challenges, often requiring years for complete system integration. Many of its modules are sourced from third-party vendors, complicating the integration process.
  • NetSuite’s Integrated Architecture: NetSuite is designed as an inherently integrated application, offering a seamless experience whether purchasing the entire suite or individual modules like CRM. Its deep integration with partner applications is a significant advantage for CFOs seeking a unified system that minimizes integration hassles and enhances operational coherence.

Further Reading: For a deeper dive into how NetSuite compares with other major ERP solutions, read our detailed analysis in the article ERP Software Comparison: Key Insights for Executives

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Final Verdict: NetSuite vs. Great Plains

In the comprehensive comparison of NetSuite vs. Great Plains, it becomes evident that the choice of an ERP system is not just about current capabilities but also about aligning with the long-term vision and strategic goals of your business, especially from a CFO’s perspective.

Oracle’s NetSuite stands out as a formidable contender in the ERP landscape, particularly for its cloud-first approach and singular focus on providing a comprehensive, integrated business solution. This focus is crucial for CFOs who are looking for a system that not only addresses their immediate needs but also positions their organizations for future growth and adaptability.

NetSuite’s ongoing commitment to research and development is a testament to its dedication to innovation and staying ahead in a competitive market. This investment ensures that NetSuite remains at the forefront of ERP technology, continually evolving to meet the dynamic needs of businesses. For CFOs, this means access to a platform that is not only robust and scalable but also consistently up-to-date with the latest financial management trends and regulatory requirements.

Being recognized as a “Leader” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant underscores NetSuite’s robustness and scalability, critical factors for CFOs overseeing the financial operations of growing, dynamic businesses. Moreover, NetSuite’s extensive partner ecosystem provides unparalleled access to industry-specific solutions and expertise, enabling CFOs to tailor the ERP system to their unique industry needs and challenges.

For CFOs seeking a leading software vendor that offers a singular product focus, a proven and scalable platform, and a robust partner ecosystem, NetSuite emerges as the top choice. It is well-equipped to handle the multifaceted challenges faced by modern CFOs, from real-time financial reporting to global operational management and compliance.

To truly understand the capabilities and benefits of NetSuite, experiencing it firsthand is invaluable. We recommend exploring NetSuite further to see how it aligns with your specific financial and operational goals.

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