Epicor vs NetSuite | ERP Selection Comparison
We are continuing our series of of ERP comparisons; this time looking at Epicor vs Netsuite. This is a little bit different from when we compare Epicor 10 to Infor 10X, Sage X3, and Dynamics AX; as Netsuite and Epicor are more of an apples to oranges comparison. Companies evaluating both systems will likely find one to be a better fit for their business needs than the other. Our goal in this piece is to help you understand what those decision-making considerations might be. As we always say, the right tool for the right job.
Manufacturing and distribution businesses are at a critical juncture. Changing market demand and increased industry competition is driving a new wave of digital innovation. This means many organizations are in the process of evaluating and improving their software investments; starting with their ERP system.
In the totality of our head to head series, we have pinned the capabilities and user reviews of leading ERP providers and solutions on the market today. However, no two ERP systems are quite as divergent as Epicor 10 and NetSuite’s current version. This week we analyze vendor credibility, how post-implementation care is disrupted for current customers when organizational changes occur at the vendor level, and why a vendor’s robust customer network should never be a considered in a buying decision.
The Right Fit, and Credibility – Epicor vs Netsuite
It should come as no surprise to the thousands of NetSuite customers that attended the recent Suite World 2015 user conference, that the vendor’s cloud led ERP instance and omnichannel commerce suites continue to grow inside of the world’s largest global companies. NetSuite has poured their resources into stock piling revenue with an aggressive sales and expansion approach. This is a testament to the popularity and utility of the software, but it does not come without its downside. Back to back lawsuits against the ERP vendor have detailed fallacies in Netsuites implementation processes and initially proposed solutions to customers. Based on court documents and user groups, the company is known for an overly aggressive, over-promising sales force and poor user adoption support; however when these risks are properly mitigated the software delivers precisely as advertised.
If you look to our articles on ERP and CRM selection best practices, you’ll notice we echo the same message over and over again — it takes the right tool for the right job. It may sound cliché’ but could not ring more true in our comparison here. NetSuite opened its doors nearly two decades ago with only a few capabilities, and has since grown to fully involve an end to end solution for small and medium businesses (SMB). Yet, as more industries entered the market (i.e. the service sector, distribution and retail) NetSuite found their solution could remedy the pain points in each of these spaces. NetSuite has become an industry leader in the ERP space, but the vendor also imposes a high price tag upon these businesses for a solution that is not a fit for all businesses or industries despite a marketing approach that may state otherwise.
Comparing Epicor vs Netsuite, and their stories is actually very intersting. As both have experienced struggle and success. Epicor has driven its brand to the top of the leader boards by simply understanding the market in which its solution’s capabilities have the greatest potential fit — manufacturing, distribution, batch and discrete processing. Additionally, the majority of businesses today rarely provide a single solution. Epicor designed a flexible, agile resource planning software capable of being configured around each of these value adding programs. Epicor’s primary struggles have come at their releases which have often required multiple updates to fix bug and glitches; however most of these are easily mitigated. It’s most recent release Epicor 10, has really excelled; bringing the flexibility of its hierarchy-based configuration for sophisticated industry-specific enterprises to the forefront of its messaging. Additionally, the vendor remained focused on core industry-specific methodologies despite organizational changes that occurred in Q2 of 2015 that were aimed at improving in areas where the company had been criticized.
Edge: Epicor (for manufacturing, distribution, and made to order or batch products) – Netsuite for most other industries
Organizational Change at the Vendor Level
Change, in many ways, is a great thing; however when industries and software change at the same time, the results can be dramatic. This is the primary reason the majority of manufacturing and distribution groups are looking to latest version ERP systems to support these new changes and capabilities.
Those investing in ERP often choose to remain divested in their legacy system, but then chooses to upgrade to meet industry demand. What happens when the vendor restructures their business model after implementation? These business that had waited a long period of time to upgrade, and likely thoughtfully considered their options, are now left with system (and price) different from the one they selected.
For small and midsection businesses whom heavily rely on a vendor (their software and services), the main risk is losing their full attention for post go live support. And like NetSuite, Epicor too has undergone an organizational restructuring as of late. Likewise we’ve touched on changes ERP vendor giant, Infor, has undergone and how it affected their customer base. The conclusion? The manufacturing and distribution space is undergoing rapid changes. This is a priority reason why industry experts recommend sourcing a third party consultant on an implementation.
Post Go-Live Support – Epicor vs Netsuite
Another primary disparity comparing Epicor vs Netsuite is their partner network, whom should work as a certified extension of the business. Out of the box, NetSuite’s software is so complex and unique to their development, locating an external source knowing the ins and outs is robust, but can be hard to find someone specific to your business that fully-understands the business processes that the ERP can support. It is also why NetSuite charges higher prices for continuous improvement and 24 hour support; because their own internal team of experts is limited. Epicor runs on Microsoft and SQL reporting making it easy to train non-technical users and in-house developers that may already understand elements of the software.
Additionally, partner networks are sources the vendor can turn to to extend the value for the investor lost in the change at the vendor level. For the majority of small and midsized businesses whom employ a limited IT division, post go live support, or any change management, is non-negotiable. They simply have to have it. After an implementation partner validates the system, and walks users through use cases inside the system, the system will be live and the company will procure full ownership of it. What then? If you’re a NetSuite user you will need to do a lot of due diligence to properly equip your organization to mitigate future risk. This means location specific partners, and employees that are experts in BPMs.
Investors of Epicor are fortunate. Epicor requires its partner network undergo rigorous training and best practice configuration certifications to render the system properly, and since the software is specific to the manufacturing, distribution, and made-to-order/ batch-based processing industries it’s not as difficult to source or acquire experts in industry BPM’s that can work with the software.
Ease of Use – Epicor vs Netsuite
An important element of all software is its ease of use. In a nut shell, ease of use reflects how users experience / understand the software (UX), and what the interface looks like and acts like (UI). Both Netsuite and Epicor are developed with modern flair, they are more appealing to everyday users than most other comparable ERP’s. Users of both systems will likely have few complaints.
All of this important to user adoption. Epicor’s interface resembles latest versions of Microsoft, with flat, large icons and a beautifully developed external facing screen (like Windows 8 or 10). Additionally, Epicor has moved from Crystal Reporting to SQL (SSRS) reporting in their latest 10 version. While SQL reporting can be complex to build, more developers and administrators are becoming trained on this type of reporting sequence. NetSuite’s cloud led ERP is integrated with NetSuite reporting schemes; which can be more difficult to adopt. For companies employing one or two in the IT division, it could take months for personnel to learn how to create these reports. In all, it is more expensive to adopt an ERP system where specialists, developers and consultants are far and few between.
Edge: Slight to Epicor
Where NetSuite often falls short for businesses with manufacturing and distribution components, Epicor has succeeded. Epicor credits much of their improvement to their dedication of simplifying software, creating value added partnerships and vendor reputation—three key considerations of today’s software investor. Epicor vs NetSuite is a very formidable battle; as NetSuite does possess some strong capabilities for business outside the realm of manufacturing and production, such as retail or financial. ERP selection always comes down to selecting the right tool for the right job. The information above should properly help you lay out which best fits your organization.
Investing in infrastructure is an emotional decision that should be considered by many in an organization. One of the best ways to mitigate these risks is to invest in having an expert assist you during selection and implementation. Datix has helped hundreds of businesses successfully navigate these projects. Contact one of our experts today to learn more about how we can help.