If you’re researching cloud ERP software, it’s likely that you’ll end up comparing the two most notable solutions: Acumatica, the fastest growing cloud ERP company, and NetSuite, the largest. Acumatica has achieved triple digit customer growth every year over the last five years. That is impressive considering that 80% of their staff is focused solely on research and development and sales only come through their channel of certified partners. NetSuite has not been reaching this kind of customer growth even though roughly 70% of their in-house staff is made up of salespeople. Pretty staggering.
Although NetSuite has a larger customer base they also had nearly a ten year head start, being founded in 1998 as NetLedger, back when Netscape was still the most popular internet browser. Acumatica was founded in 2007, the year the iPhone came out, and a time when technology and cloud-based systems were making huge waves. Recalling how different the internet, email, and cell phones were in 1998 compared to 2007 is also staggering. It's no wonder that Acumatica was built to run in a modern web browser, not rewritten and updated to run in one.
Before you select a system, consider the 7 reasons why companies have been rapidly choosing Acumatica over NetSuite:
1. Acumatica lets you control your business data
Acumatica allows customers to backup their data at any time in their desired format and take it with them. NetSuite holds your data hostage and prevents you from extracting your data instantly or exporting it in a relational format.
Unless you have a crystal ball, you never know what will happen in the future. You should always have the ability and freedom to move or extract system data without the frustration of extra fees and costs.
2. You can decide where, and how, your software is hosted
Acumatica offers multiple deployment options: private cloud (in your facility or one of your choice) or as multitenant in the public cloud. Our customers like the private cloud option since it gives them a bit more flexibility. NetSuite only offers one option for a system deployment and has limitations in their software architecture.
Consider future needs as your business evolves, requirements change, compliance issues, acquisition, etc. Having the option to alter your deployment method when needed is important in an ever-changing business landscape.
3. Software updates can be scheduled around your business needs
Acumatica lets users choose to update software on their terms. NetSuite controls their customers’ software updates. NetSuite’s multitenancy deployment requires that updates occur automatically, regardless of your schedule and how the business could be affected.
Software upgrades already take up time and resources. Add to that being not being able to control the timing and it can become a real headache. I don't know many customers that want to upgrade their software during their "busy" time, but with NetSuite you may not have a choice.
4. The ability to forecast your software costs and budget for the future
Acumatica charges by resources used (consumption-based), allowing unlimited users, and guarantees no more than a 3% price increase per year if necessary.
NetSuite uses an outdated and cumbersome pricing model that charges by users as well as transaction resources.
NetSuite is also known for aggressively discounting prices in the first year, only to raise them substantially in subsequent years.
5. Implementations are based on the full project scope with experienced partners
Acumatica only sells software through a certified and experienced partner channel. The partner you work with will estimate the implementation cost based on how much your team and their team will do and the complexity of the project.
NetSuite offers a fixed-bid program (SuiteSuccess), but this is for customers with limited complexity, few or no add-ons, and the ability to do much of the work themselves without partner involvement. Any changes required outside of this program can be costly.
The fact is, nobody can tell you exactly what an implementation will cost. The majority of customers need an ERP partner that takes time to really understand their business and can provide a deep level of training and support to get the system running efficiently and ensure a smooth transition.
6. Customer satisfaction surveys and usability ratings are the highest
Looking for a quality customer experience? Over the last few years, Acumatica has consistently been rated #1 in customer satisfaction and usability by Industry Analysts. NetSuite has always struggled with customer satisfaction issues, despite over 20 years in business.
Always do your research and ask for references from at least three to five similar companies in your industry before buying. Make sure the references come from customers that have been using the software for multiple years and gone through multiple upgrades.
7. The ability to customize your solution in a cost-effective way
Acumatica uses standard Microsoft programming languages (.NET and C#), plus current web service standards such as Python, Ruby on Rails, and Json.
Customizing modern business software is becoming faster and easier than ever before, except for NetSuite customers. When software customizations are needed, expect a lot of billable hours from a NetSuite programmer, that may or may not have any familiarity with your business or specific system deployment.
A customer focused company
We have outlined seven meaningful ways Acumatica has a leg up on NetSuite without even touching on software functionality. I wanted to take it one step further though. In a recent post from Acumatica's CEO, Jon Roskill, he described Acumatica’s Customer Bill of Rights. This is unlike anything else in the ERP industry and unique to Acumatica. The Bill of Rights echos what’s been described above and includes the following customer guarantees:
1. A readily comprehensible and unchanging SaaS end-user license agreement
2. A flexible, open platform for rapid integrations
3. Consumption-based licensing that does not inhibit business growth
4. Sustainable pricing with annual increases of no more than 3% when needed
5. ERP implementations without hidden fees
6. Deployment flexibility
7. Access to THEIR data, anytime
8. Consistent, 24/7 customer service
9. Local channel expertise
10. 99.5% uptime
I hope this post was found to be educational for those looking at cloud ERP options. This post was not about bashing a competing software product, but about knowing the facts, good or bad, before making a very costly decision that consumes a lot of company resources. We recently moved a customer from NetSuite to Acumatica and it was the right move for them due to some of reasons given above. We hope for the opportunity to help others select and implement ERP software that is the best fit for their business needs.