Choosing the right ERP platform to power your Small to Medium Sized Business (SMB) is a key decision, one that could be the difference between success and failure. With dozens of platforms to choose from it can be hard to navigate the ocean of information. In this article we will look at five key differences between Acumatica and one of its competitors, NetSuite.
1: Risk and Implementation
As stated above, choosing the wrong ERP partner can be incredibly risky- it has been known to cost executive’s jobs. One alluring feature of NetSuite is the rapid and inexpensive implementation they offer, but like many ‘too good to be true’ offers, it has massive risks lurking just underneath the surface. Unlike Acumatica, which offers an in-depth implementation heavily planned and tailored to the client’s needs, NetSuite offers a one-size-fits-all implementation process they call “SuiteSuccess”.
This method is offered at a deeply discounted price, sometimes even free, which can be alluring, but there are serious issues with this methodology. The biggest is that it is not tailored to a clients needs, and in fact only covers “core systems” decided by NetSuite themselves. It is implemented according to NetSuite’s own “best practices” and has no input from clients, meaning there is a very large chance that aspects of the implementation are not best suited for unique business needs. This challenge is compounded by the fact that this SuiteSuccess process is not modifiable or customization. This often, if not always, leads to an increased (and decidedly not free) additional implementation and updating to actually suit the clients needs.
Acumatica, on the other hand, has an extensive planning phase before every implementation to ensure that the solution is a perfect fit for the client. This is a standard part of every Acumatica implementation, even their “fast track” or core system implementation, equivalent but superior to the SuiteSuccess model.
A simple illustration of the difference in philosophies and their relative success can be seen by googling the terms “NetSuite Rescue” and “Acumatica Rescue” and comparing the results. One is full of horror stories of failed or incomplete implementations, the other is full of helpful tips for maximizing implementation success.
2: Predictable Cost Structure
For most small businesses the key to achieving financial success is in keeping costs low and predictable. A key difference between Acumatica and NetSuite comes in their pricing model, and it’s clear that Acumatica’s is far more customer-friendly, especially for SMB clients.
NetSuite operates on what could be considered an “old school” licensing model. Each individual user needs a license, and there are “service tiers” that determine things like file storage capability and monthly transaction limits- if companies go above either they incur costly, unexpected fees. This per-user licensing model also makes it difficult to integrate seasonal employees or outside partners into business workflows, as the cost can sometimes be prohibitive, leaving businesses in a lose-lose situation. This also inhibits the ability of NetSuite to scale to meet business needs, which can lead to SMBs being locked into contracts for a system that no longer is capable of handling their workload.
Acumatica, on the other hand, operates on a consumption based model. This means that businesses are charged based on how much they use the system, regardless of how many users they have. This allows for everyone at the company, even part-time or seasonal employees, as well as external partners to have access to the system and their companies data.
NetSuite users have also reported surprise and dissatisfaction with the process of renewing their contract once the initial period has run it’s course. Many are shocked to find steep increases to the price, sometimes as high as 50% more than their original contract. Businesses are encouraged to keep these unexpected costs in mind when making their final decision.
3: Ease of Use
It is often overlooked in today’s high-tech world, but usability is a key consideration when choosing an ERP platform. Usability directly impacts an implementation’s success- training success, employee retention, and and staff productivity can all be massively impacted by a hard to navigate system.
Acumatica’s usability has won copious awards and co to-navigate workflows that are customizable through an intuitive visual based architecture, and users will find dozens of reports, dashboards, and other easy-to-customize visual representations.
This usability is also for the future- as 75% of Acumatica’s staff works on research and development, ensuring that as technology continues to evolve the platform evolves with it. This is seen in the easy upgrade and adaption process, a vital component for growing businesses.
Compare that to NetSuite, whose reviews often include phrases such as “hard to navigate”, “steep learning curve” and “unintuitive”. If usability is your main criteria, there’s only one choice.
4: Partner Ecosystem
One oft overlooked way to grade a business is by how they treat their partners- the contractors, resellers, and other adjacent businesses that are a vital part of the experience. The difference between the partner ecosystems of Acumatica and NetSuite are stark.
NetSuite’s reputation in this department is, to be frank, less than pristine. There are several reports of Value Added Resellers (VARs) having potentially profitable sales opprotunities taken away from them by NetSuite so the company can get the sale directly. Other partners used the terms “difficult to work with” and “inadequate training” when asked to describe working with NetSuite. Some partners even wrote publicly about the difficulties they had with NetSuite, and why they terminated their working relationships.
Acumatica, on the other hand, has a thriving partner ecosystem. Acumatica relies on VARs for all of their sales, and thus has no conflict of interest. This symbiotic relationship extends to customer support as well- while Acumatica support is available for product issues, Acumatica entrusts the VARs with direct customer support. Acumatica need their partners to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty, they are never at odds with them.
5: Doing Business Made Easy
Just like how they engage with partners, a provider can be judged on how they interact with their end customers. Like in the previous section, Acumatica comes out looking good in this category as well.
Acumatica pride themselves on their dedication to customer service and do so in visible, apparent ways, not just lip service. Acumatica lives by a “Customer Bill of Rights” they created to ensure that every customer is treated equally, fairly, and to the highest standards. They also employ a customer portal, ensuring direct contact is always possible with support, and offer free training to all customers, whenever it is required.
NetSuite, on the other hand, NetSuite and Oracle have developed a reputation for customer frustration, including reports of support tickets not being addressed, over promising and under delivering, and even accusations of showing apathy towards customer downtime.
While the specifics of each case vary, the overall trend is obvious: NetSuite lags far behind Acumatica in regards to customer service and satisfaction.
Make the Right Choice
These five categories give a sampling of the myriad reasons that Acumatica stacks up well against its closest competition. With clear advantages in functionality, usability, and service, the choice is clear for SMB owners of all types.