“Competitive advantage comes not from systems, but from doing something better than competitors.” – Thomas Davenport.
As the digital age transforms businesses and how they operate, many organizations are re-evaluating how their operations run and the software they’re using. Many platforms will help you manage and grow your company, which can make choosing the right one for you a tricky decision.
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Two of the biggest hitters on the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software market are NetSuite and Sage, with the former positioning itself as the market leader. It may be difficult to get a definitive answer on who has a bigger influence, but it’s definitely important to carry out a thorough review of the available solutions before committing to a business management software solution:
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- NetSuite features
- SAGE features
- Comparison List of benefits & features
- Our take on it
What is Sage software?
Founded in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, in 1981, Sage is the world’s third biggest supplier of ERP. The company was initially set up to provide accounting software for small businesses. It has since become the UK’s second biggest technology company and has provided Enterprise Resource Planning and Service Resource Planning solutions to over 6 million customers around the world.
Sage software products
Sage has a number of different products available to you depending on your business needs. As this piece is looking at ERP solutions, the best direct comparison would be Sage business 100 cloud, which is the closest like-for-like competitor to NetSuite.
It can be used either on-premise or solely in the cloud, and can also be integrated with cloud-based applications and services to complement and customize what you’ve purchased ‘off the shelf’.
Sage 100 cloud has been rebranded several times as new features have been added, but it markets itself as the perfect solution for small to medium sized businesses with an annual revenue from $1m-$100m. It’s most often used by companies involved in manufacturing, distribution and services, but as it evolves it is being used in a variety of industries.
Sage software reviews
Sage is generally considered a more affordable solution by small to medium sized businesses. If price is your main consideration then Sage ERP might be worth having a closer look at, note that it may not have as many features as NetSuite.
One of the highlights is that you can also create shortcuts easily, which makes it a breeze to customize and configure it to your exact needs and preferences. Sage has also made several enhancements under each version, so there are a lot of added security improvements with Sage 100.
If your company works in different languages or countries, Sage may not be the best solution. While other Sage products can support it, at present multi-currency is only available as an add-on, and the software works exclusively in English.
Exporting or working with large amounts of data can also be a rather slow process with Sage 100 cloud.
What is NetSuite ERP?
NetSuite is an American company focused on business optimization, created by Evan Goldberg in 1998. Founded and based in California U.S., the company has offered cloud ERP solutions since its inception. It began with accounting software solutions before turning into more rounded business management services. It was taken over by Oracle in a $9.3 billion acquisition in 2016.
NS has always been a cloud-based platform, rather than an on-premise solution. As companies look to move the backoffice of their businesses to the cloud, which offers far more flexibility, it’s worth considering that NetSuite certainly has more experience in this space. The platform also offers a lot more integration of existing solutions such as Salesforce into their product.
Businesses which use NetSuite commonly have between 50-1000 employees, so its services are tailored towards organizations who want to grow to that size.
NetSuite ERP Reviews
As a cloud-based solution, NetSuite ERP benefits start with being hosted online, meaning very little downtime and worldwide access from desktop & mobile devices. NS offers a guaranteed uptime of 99.5% and their track record over the last five years is actually 99.96%. They also offer a service credit if they fall below their Service Level Commitment. Because its a web-based platform, it works smoothly on a number of different operating systems, so whether you’re viewing it on a Windows or Mac, or a mobile browser, you should have a flexible way of working.
You can also work in many different languages, including Spanish, French, German & Japanese. This means it is a solid solution if your operation is multinational.
As it is based in the cloud, updates occur automatically, which can sometimes annoy end users & impact some of their custom scripts. As any cloud software a tad of new learning is necessary. However, you don’t need to install these updates yourself, they are pushed by the system twice a year (you’ll get ample heads up with release notes).
The user interface looks a tad dated/simple with many users on forums suggesting that the look & feel could be better – compared to some of the more modern looking options available on the market.
NetSuite ERP vs Sage Software
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|Finance and accounting:
Although Sage 100 offers a fairly robust accounting package with invoicing, bank reconciliation and mobile accessibility; NetSuite reigns superior as oracle’s cloud offering is widely recognized by financial users for its prowess due to advanced features like revenue management and fair value allocations. When it comes to accounting, don’t look elsewhere.
|Global accounting: This Module tells the same story – if the title has accounting in it, the choice is undisputed. NS aides multinational companies by making their lives easier with global consolidation, multi-language interface and international compliance and regulation to name a few features.
Sage 100 cloud on the other hand, is limited in its global accounting capabilities as it is made to operate in North America, Sage 500 Enterprise Resource Planning will have to come rescue its sister product to offer global accounting functionality.
|Governance and compliance:
Both platforms do a great job of keeping your organization out of trouble with audit, being PCI/PA-DSS compliant with NS offering a little bit more with SOC 2, ISO 27k.
Additionally, Sage 100 can also ensure FAS 52 compliance but requires the provision of multi-currency suite for extra $$.
We all want our money right away – both systems offer strong capabilities to decrease your receivables and help you manage your cash flow. This is done with automated processes to synchronize orders to billing/invoicing to flow seamlessly into financials with eye-catching features like recurring billing & multiple tax rates.
Native features like subscription-based billing and ASC 606 compliance for NetSuite and divisional accounting for Sage 100 help these systems shine under their own light. If your enterprise demands best in the business billing tool, you can’t go wrong with either platforms.
|Financial planning and reporting:
NetSuite offers a fair value with its tool by sticking to what they are good at – Reporting. Customizable financial statements, easy to use report builder allowing you to access to data specific to budgets, forecasting and reporting, via real-time data manage to keep it competitive.
However, Sage 100 takes the crown when it comes to financial planning and reporting as with features like “Plan Sheets” allowing for the consolidation of multiple department budgets and “what if” analysis. This gives you visibility into the future for effective budgeting and planning process to make quicker and well-informed decisions across the organization.
|Business intelligence and reporting:
If your company has large business intelligence needs (most company’s do not), the choice is easy with Sage 100. It can help you Increase visibility across your enterprise with easier reporting.
Users appreciate the Sage 100 intelligence reporting feature for its ability to dynamically view their organization through flexible reporting trees and reporting groups.
NetSuite offers basic features like via SuiteAnalytics with capabilities such as personalized real-time dashboards and Easily built key performance indicators. Although BI is always nice to have, it’s important to consider how much you need it.
|Sales and customer management:
Both systems are similar in their CRM offering. Sage 100 offers an easy to use CRM allowing you to view customer satisfaction metrics, capture information from the business’s page and ability to integrate with your telephone.
Gaps exist in its inability to track competitors and limited integration features. Additionally, a rapidly growing company can outgrow the platform and its features.
NetSuite, offers a simple but effective sales and customer management functionality by streamlining the information throughout the life cycle of the customer and simplifying lead to cash process.
If you are an organization that needs to ramp up its sales numbers, you will enjoy the forecasting, upselling and commission management. As a growing enterprise, I would go with NS strictly due to its scalability.
|Purchase/supply chain management:
Both systems offer automated purchasing management with the ability to automatically generate a purchase when the quantity falls below a specified threshold. While supply chain management is not a forte for either,your warehouse employees will appreciate NS’ bin management capabilities as it allows for receiving inventory and easy pickings for an efficient order fulfillment process.
Sage 100 will also please you warehouse team with its offering of a powerful barcode solution, which can help streamline your entire warehouse process by allowing you to access more data and saving your company more money by reducing inventory errors.
So, If you are looking for an automated solution for a small to mid sized enterprise where resources are limited, the Barcode feature could do wonders for you.
Both erp systems have robust inventory management features allowing organizations to have full control and real time visibility of inventory – where it is, where is has been and where it is headed.
This could help your company improve turnaround time and reducing loss of sales due to under stocking while avoiding the cost of overstocking.
Both include standout features such as multi-location, demand based replenishment and return management.
NS wins the race in a photo finish strictly due to integrated order management and shipping allowing you to fulfill orders though pick, pack and ship or drop shipping items.
Both offerings are similar when it comes to manufacturing with robust bill of material (BOM), work order management and assembly management features. Both systems allow for integration with inventory management and sales orders for a holistic distribution.
Both systems are very close in function, your decision might be based on how big your business is as Sage 100 offers plenty of value for a solution targeted towards small- mid sized businesses while NetSuite targets mid-large enterprises.
One of the most important modules for most businesses especially if you are in a professional service space. It could be one of the most overlooked features. Both ERP systems stayed on top of their project management modules by automating project/job creation when services are sold, tracking cost and revenue to the finest detail (% complete or fixed interval), time and material invoicing and job profitability.
As closely matched they are, NetSuite’s reporting gives it a slight edge if you are part of a mid to large company.
Sage provides excellent customer service and support with multiple channels like phone, live chat and various software resources, while Suite support from NetSuite in house team is not the top choice by customers. For NetSuite support, it’s usually recommended to engage a partner that has experience in support services.
Although functionality will always be top of the list when considering implementing a new platform, cost will invariably be a factor. To get updated pricing for either system you will need to do some homework, engage a Sage or NetSuite Partner and schedule a demo.
NetSuite typically doesn’t list the prices for any of their products anywhere as it’s constantly in flux due to market factors & industry vertical trends. Instead, it’s best to contact a Solutions Partner for a quote. For your convenience, we have put together some ballpark NetSuite Pricing for full projects based on 3 years of data from implementations.
Sage also asks potential customers to contact a software provider to get an exact quote, so that they can tailor their product according to your requirements. Although this means a little more work on your part, it means that you will avoid spending money on modules that you simply won’t use.
How you go ahead with your implementation will also be a big consideration. Although Sage is more of an ‘off the shelf’ service, there’s still much to consider before just jumping into it. If you don’t have any specialists within your team, there are many experts who can assist you, and Sage’s technical support is solid, should you get stuck.
With NetSuite, any technical assistance is best served via a Solutions Partner. If you don’t have someone with experience of at least a couple of implementations, you should look at a NetSuite provider who can help with the process. It is also very important to plan before going through this transition so that you provide as much information to the incoming partner as possible for a healthy start.
Good to note: In a recent survey of NetSuite professionals, the most cited reason for delayed migrations is a lack of planning.
Make sure your data is clean and ready to go, and don’t rush the transition. If something isn’t working, go back and test, don’t just work on patches. You never know when an update might mean your quick fix no longer works, you’ll have an even bigger problem on your hands.
- Sage is a solid option for small to mid-market companies that focus on manufacturing & warehousing. Since Sage has many product offerings, you can choose a templated package that fits to your general requirements. SG also has a very low-cost entry price, which is attractive for smaller teams.
- NetSuite benefits mid-market and larger companies that are in the professional services, software, marketing, distribution and eCommerce sectors. NetSuite is highly flexible in configuration and forms to your company DNA, it does, however, have a higher cost entry point, but you get all the modules you need to run the business, inclusively.
- Engage an ERP Partner early on, get demos and know that both solutions offer free trial versions of their products, so you’re able to ‘try before you buy’.
- As end user ‘buy-in’ is essential to a successful implementation, getting a couple of demos to satisfy the majority of core requirements allows for a closer look at both solutions to make a more informed choice. NetSuite claims that if you’re already using a Sage product and are looking to upgrade as you’ve outgrown your current solution, you would be better moving to them rather than considering an upgrade. They also offer more integration, which could make your migration much less of a headache.
- What works for one organization may be wholly unsuitable for another. The beauty of both solutions is that they can be customized (and priced) specifically to your individual requirements.
Hope this post helped – If you’re still comparing cloud ERPs, then check out the popular Microsoft Dynamics vs NetSuite ERP comparison, and feel free to reach out for a demo, we’ve been doing this for 14 years – always happy to help.