In the dynamic and ever-evolving business landscape, where innovation, efficiency, and modernization are the key drivers of all business operations, growing companies across industries have found that more than entry-level accounting tools and spreadsheets are needed. Thus, businesses turn to cloud-based ERP systems to get their operations off the ground and increase operational excellence. Similarly, companies stuck on dated versions of legacy systems are looking for cloud-based ERP to capitalize on their delivery model’s intrinsic benefits. 

NetSuite and Microsoft Great Plains are two software providers that often end up on the top ERP solution checklist. Both are renowned in the ERP market and possess advanced features for businesses across multiple industries. NetSuite and Great Plains (GP) provide a single source of data across the company, enabling automation that saves customers time and money. 

However, there are significant differences between Microsoft Dynamics GP and NetSuite that companies should know to make an informed decision. Therefore, this article explores how NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics GP respond to market dynamics. Also gives a detailed head-to-head NetSuite vs Great Plains comparison elaborating on how both systems differ considering their system architecture, functionality, customization, integrations, support, and implementation strategy.

NetSuite: overview of first cloud business application 

NetSuite is a comprehensive cloud-based solution that offers integrated functionalities covering ERP, CRM, and e-commerce. It operates primarily from a single data center, providing a centralized platform for businesses to manage their critical operations. 

With its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model, NetSuite leverages the power of the cloud and provides access to its applications through a web interface. This implies that users can access and utilize the platform from any web-enabled device, eliminating the need for extensive IT infrastructure and administration. As a result, organizations can control operational costs and reduce their dependence on in-house IT resources. 

One of the notable strengths of NetSuite is its ability to support multi-lingual, multi-national, and multi-subsidiary organizations. It streamlines processes, consolidates financial data, and comprehensively assesses the organization’s performance. 

Hear from NetSuite customers because they chose its comprehensive business software over Microsoft’s offerings.

What is Microsoft Dynamics GP? 

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a mid-market accounting solution with cloud and on-premises options. It was created in 1983 as the first Windows-based accounting software and primarily targeted SMBs for retail, supply chain management, accounting, and payroll. Great Plains offers cloud (hosted on Azure) and on-premises solutions with core financials and distribution.  

Technical specifications of Microsoft Dynamics GP include: 

  • .NET and Service-oriented (SOA) architecture. 
  • Compatible with Linux, Mac OS, Unix, Windows, and Novell Netware. 
  • Offers SmartList Builder, a powerful query tool for data output. 
  • HTML5 browser support. 
  • HTTPS support. 
  • Multi-browser support (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Edge). 

Note: Microsoft Dynamics GP is not a pure cloud solution as it was originally built for on-premises deployment. GP does not include CRM functionality or customizations.  

Technical specifications of Microsoft Dynamics GP include: 

NetSuite vs Great Plains: Key Differentiators 

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.

NetSuite vs. Great Plains: What Gives NetSuite an Edge over Great Plains 

No native e-commerce support: Dynamics GP has a Business Portal feature that gives a limited dashboard functionality but cannot be customized and is not very flexible. It does offer some canned KPIs, but nothing like NetSuite’s business KPIs. NetSuite provides integrated e-commerce support for seamless data flow between all business processes without needing connectors. Today, over 2,000 companies run their Web store or website on NetSuite.  

No native revenue management support: Dynamics GP cannot manage recurring billings, distributor revenue management, ship-and-debit contracts, and FOB revenue recognition delays. It cannot natively support planning or phased timing of revenue recognition and support for sales-related expenses, such as royalties.  

NetSuite provides total GAAP-compliant revenue recognition within one system with checks and balances for review, approval, and execution of revenue. NetSuite provides editable and customizable revenue recognition schedules with detailed drill-down/audit capabilities at the line-item level. NetSuite manages reverse amortization for credits/refunds and reports forecast future revenue recognition schedules– all integrated with advanced billing. 

Cumbersome integration process: Great Plains is a primitive solution with 21 million lines of proprietary code. It often takes years to completely integrate a customer’s solution because most of the modules are built and purchased from many third-party vendors, not Microsoft itself.  

NetSuite is built from the ground up as an integrated application, whether one buys the entire suite or separate modules such as CRM. It provides deep integration with partner applications. 

Final verdict  

In this NetSuite vs. Great Plains comparison, it’s essential to consider the long-term vision and stability of the software vendor, along with your business needs and scope. While Microsoft offers multiple ERP platforms, Oracle’s NetSuite stands out as a leading, cloud-based ERP solution with a singular product focus and a strong track record.  

NetSuite’s commitment to investing significant revenue into research and development ensures that the platform remains innovative and competitive. Additionally, NetSuite has been recognized as a scalable and robust solution by being positioned as a “Leader” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Furthermore, NetSuite boasts a thriving partner ecosystem, which provides businesses with access to a wide range of industry-specific solutions and expertise. 

NetSuite should be your top choice if you seek a leading software vendor, a singular product focus, a proven and scalable platform, and a robust partner ecosystem. To experience its benefits firsthand, it is recommended to try NetSuite today.