According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives, approximately 30 million small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) operate in the United States. Although these organizations are in various stages of process automation and digital maturity, most will benefit from a technology backbone that can manage their core operations, namely an ERP system.
Two leading ERP vendors for SMBs are Oracle NetSuite and Acumatica. Both NetSuite and Acumatica provide a cloud-native ERP suite designed for small and mid-sized businesses and offer comprehensive capabilities for supporting back-office and customer-facing operations. Both suites offer robust reporting, analytics, and configurable dashboards that streamline data analysis and inform executive decision-making. Since both were born in the cloud, they alleviate costly hardware needs and provide access anywhere on any device via standard web browser.
So, how should businesses evaluate the two systems beyond feature-function comparisons? Let’s discuss.
NetSuite vs Acumatica: Key Differentiators
Implementation and Risk
The risk is personal and professional. Yes. Directors have been fired for buying the wrong ERP software!
NetSuite uses a prescribed implementation methodology called “SuiteSuccess,” designed to deploy the ERP software in a minimum timeframe. SuiteSuccess is the means to NetSuite’s deeply discounted implementations. To defray costs and time, SuiteSuccess follows a defined scope that details:
- only core Financial Management and CRM are deployed.
- the solution is based on NetSuite-defined best practices, prohibits any modifications or integrations with other software, and does not provide data migration of historical data.
- customers can be held accountable for missing planned go-live dates—with penalties from NetSuite for delaying or missed milestones.
The SuiteSuccess methodology introduces high risk into the initial implementation. With a strict scope and timeline, many customers must extend the implementation to deploy the functionality they need to run their company properly. Or they find the installation does not support their needs at all. Customers who engage in a NetSuite implementation should always get clarity on the project’s scope, including a detailed implementation plan with resourcing levels for each activity and deadline—in writing!
Acumatica partners conduct a thorough “discovery phase” at the beginning of the implementation process to ensure they meet every customer’s needs and priorities. For example, the process includes transparent, bi-lateral discussions with the client’s implementation team to validate the scope and project plan for success. Acumatica partners include these steps as part of the implementation cost estimate to avoid unpleasant surprises at go-live.
Alternatively, Acumatica offers an accelerated installation for customers that need a rapid, simplified, fixed-cost scope for their implementation, called “FastTrack Deployment.” Yet, unlike SuiteSuccess, the FastTrack methodology doesn’t bypass critical customer discovery and initial planning steps, which help verify expectations and ensure the achievement of implementation goals. More importantly, Acumatica’s deployment methodology encourages customers to retain and leverage their unique business processes, which provide a direct competitive advantage in their markets.
Pricing and Cost Structure
NetSuite, like other ERP vendors, bases licensing costs on the number of users. Adding seasonal or part-time employees may increase costs. “Service tiers” also impact price, affecting users, file storage, and monthly transaction lines. Exceeding these may result in “resource consumption” fees. NetSuite changes pricing yearly, with potential cost increases of over 50%. New customers receive a low introductory rate, but subsequent renewals are at the current list price.
Acumatica has a customer-friendly licensing model that creates organizational value. Consumption based pricing allows every employee—and external trading partners—to access the software! This price structure fosters collaboration across your whole ecosystem and breeds operational excellence as every stakeholder contributes to the company’s success. Further, the more users engage with the ERP system, the lower the software cost becomes—a win-win for customers all around. Moreover, Acumatica’s customer Bill of Rights ensures protection against unreasonable price hikes.
NetSuite has faced criticism for its usability, with users finding the system unintuitive and challenging to navigate. The standard reports are often inadequate, and customization requires technical expertise. System outages and the use of proprietary “SuiteScript” add to the usability concerns. NetSuite users have also expressed frustration over the slow introduction of critical features.
Acumatica’s ERP system prioritizes usability and flexibility, driving user adoption, training success, and overall productivity. Its consumption-based pricing model encourages collaboration, while features like process workflows and integrations with Adobe and Microsoft Teams enhance usability. With regular updates based on user feedback, Acumatica’s adaptable architecture helps businesses stay competitive. Highly regarded for its comprehensive utility, Acumatica receives top ratings from G2 and Nucleus Research.
NetSuite’s partner dynamics are complex, with both direct and VAR sales approaches. However, this has resulted in channel conflicts and challenges for partners, impacting support, training, and pricing. Dissatisfied partners may affect end-users and lead to clients seeking alternative support options. Former partners have publicly shared their reasons for ending their partnerships with NetSuite.
Acumatica’s robust partner ecosystem is crucial for the successful deployment and utilization of its ERP system. Their value-added reseller partners (VARs) are increasingly attracted to Acumatica’s modern offerings, resulting in a dynamic marketplace of software applications. Acumatica relies solely on VARs for customer sales and support, ensuring top-tier service and expertise for end-users. With a commitment to nurturing their partner channel, Acumatica delivers top-quality care to their clients.
Ease of Doing Business
Independent ERP analysts, “Third Stage Consulting,” caution potential NetSuite buyers to carefully consider their relationship with Oracle when selecting an ERP vendor. Some companies express dissatisfaction with Oracle’s complex pricing, contract structures, and cumbersome processes. Moreover, Oracle has faced client criticism for over-promising, inadequate support, and lacking responsiveness to downtime issues. Oracle is also the subject of an active lawsuit, accused of coercing investors to use their cloud software through expensive licensing audits. The lawsuit alleges Oracle offered on-premises discounts in exchange for unwanted short-term cloud contracts.
Acumatica is committed to providing the best customer experience as an ERP provider. They offer a formal customer “Bill of Rights”, ensuring friendly and fair treatment for every user. Their ERP software includes a customer portal for seamless communication and collaboration with customers, vendors, and consultants. As a user you can take advantage of their free online training at Acumatica Open University to learn the software.
SMBs seeking an ERP platform to support their production systems and overall business operations have many choices, Acumatica and Oracle NetSuite being two of the most popular. Choosing the right ERP vendor is a business altering decision (good or bad) and you should prioritize your specific needs, risks, and long-term goals to find the right ERP solution for growth and digital transformation. We believe that Acumatica is THE choice for your business.
If you’d like to see the full pros and cons between Netsuite vs Acumatca, you can download our guide here.
If you prefer the full extended commentary, you can download the guide here.
If you prefer to get all the answers upfront on whether Acumatica is right for your business, you can schedule a call by clicking here.
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