Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which is a buzzword these days, derives its name from its predecessor, Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II) and is now helping to transform our industrial landscape.
ERP now is an enterprise-wide set of management tools that balances demand and supply. It provides a link between the customers and suppliers in a complete supply chain, employs robust business processes for decision-making, and provides high degrees of cross-functional integration among various departments like logistics, purchasing, finance, new product development, sales, marketing, manufacturing, operations and human resources.
In recent times, MS Dynamics CRM (now popularly known as Microsoft Dynamics 365) and Business One from SAP Technologies are amongst the frontrunners in the E.R.P Industry. In this article, we will be discussing the salient features of both the software and draw a comparison between the two.
“SAP” stands for Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing. SAP is a technology leader in client and server enterprise application software, providing solutions to companies across different sectors and sizes. SAP was founded in Weinheim, Germany in 1972, and over time it has made its presence in over 130 countries across the globe.
SAP Business One is an affordable, integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed to empower small to midsized enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises with subsidiary operations and assists in managing the entire company. SAP Business One provides one simple solution that streamlines business processes, provides real-time information, and helps boost overall business performance.
SAP Business One is perfect for small to midsized businesses that have outgrown their current packaged accounting software or spreadsheets and/or may need to replace multiple, non‑integrated applications.
The users first start their research knowing they have a specific business issue – such as redundant data entry, poor reporting or sales challenges due to lack of visibility into customer accounts and inventory. Through the discovery process, they see how SAP Business One can solve these challenges.
Simultaneously, SAP Business One is also a good fit for large enterprises using SAP and looking to quickly integrate their subsidiaries or rapidly grow into new geographic markets.
SAP Business One is available as an in-house or hosted solution through Amazon Web Services (AWS).
SAP Business One is a unique solution that provides organizations the control they expect over their business processes. It provides visibility to the key business areas, including but not limited to:
- Accounting & Finance
- Purchasing and Operations
- Inventory and Distribution
- Sales and Customer Management.
SAP Business One has the provision of implementing various Add-Ons, which assist with the day-to-day business operations. The users can either opt for the state-of-the-art pre-packaged software solutions or can go for customized software solutions. Some of the pre-packaged software solutions are:
Business Intelligence, Business Process Management, Cloud & Web Computing, E‑Commerce, HR & Payroll, Project Management, Quality Management, Supply Chain Management, etcetera.
Like any other premium service, The SAP Business One also requires the user to enroll in one of the 4 licensing types, namely:
- Limited Financial User: Specially designed for Users dealing with Financial, Banking and Purchase related Business Areas.
- Limited Logistics User: Specially designed for Users dealing with Sales, Inventory, and Production related Business Areas. However, it supports some features from Purchase Modules as well.
- Limited CRMUser: Specially designed for Users dealing with sales, marketing, and customer relations related Business Areas.
- Professional User: Specially designed for Power Users who have access to all Modules; these uses can be a CEO, President or Management Staffs of the organization.
Now that we’ve learned about some of the highlights of SAP Business One, let’s compare it with another big name in the ERP industry, The Dynamics 365 from The Microsoft Corporations.
The MS Dynamics 365 is a state-of-the-art cloud-based product from The Microsoft Corporation which is distributed as a Software-as-a-service (SAAS) platform to the customers. It is one of the big players in the ERP and CRM industry. The first production version of MS Dynamics was released in 2003, following the acquisition of a smaller company named communicate by Microsoft Corporation, in 2001.
Deployment is available either in Microsoft’s cloud or in private on-premises or on a partner-hosted cloud. Both kinds of deployment can be done simultaneously (in certain cases such as migration).
Just like the SAP Business One MS Dynamics provides different ERP Solutions, made especially for different market segments, like Finance & Operations, Sales & Marketing, Field Service, and Customer Services, among others.
However, unlike the SAP Business One, which is made for small to medium-sized organizations, the MS Dynamics 365 targets across all business segments. The functionality of the SAP Business One is tailored to a particular segment. So as the organization grows, they would discover the shortcomings in SAP Business One, prompting them to migrate to a better option. Here, MS Dynamics 365 proves to be handy, since it can be personalized, is future-ready, and undergoes constant version upgrades.
As discussed earlier the SAP Business One is supported by a large number of add-ons to assist in day to day operations. However, the MS Dynamics 365, goes a step further with over 750 add-ons and counting!
Compared to SAP Business One though, MS Dynamics offers far more kinds of subscription licenses (SLs) under two broad heads, namely, User SL and Device SL. Dynamics for Marketing is also available but licensed as per the organization.
- User SL is available for Full Users, Team Members, and for Unified Operations. This spectrum covers a range of features – from high-end business functionality serving salespeople, controllers, supply chain managers to team subscriptions providing access to conduct various team tasks under customer engagement and more to mid-range features allowing users more rights than team members but not as many as full users. This includes all activity related transactions, creation or editing of items related to shipping and warehousing, among others, and operating as a Point-of-Sale device.
- Device SL which allows multiple individual logins to access one licensed device using separate User SLs.
These features can be accessed by internal users.
For external users such as customers, off-site vendors or third-party users of the organization, no SL is required to access Dynamics 365 (this does not include Customer Engagement Applications graphical UIs).
One of the biggest areas where the MS Dynamics 365 steals the show, is the Azure Cloud platform where the MS Dynamics is hosted. The Azure is renowned to host a plethora of unmatched Microsoft Dynamics 365 services available for the users. Whereas SAP Business One relies on third-party applications along with only 37 in-house Apps.
SAP Business One also offers less implementation flexibility than Dynamics 365. Business One deployments include at least ten core modules, irrespective of the use of all the modules. However, Dynamics 365, on the other hand, allows the user to select individual modules in line with their business requirements.
Having looked at the features of both the ERP solutions we may conclude that the Microsoft Dynamics 365 surpasses SAP Business One. Even though both these platforms efficiently support start-ups and large organizations, MS Dynamics provides far more features by providing scalability, flexibility, and lower implementation and ownership costs. Dynamics 365 for finance with Azure cloud services provide a plethora of tools that SAP Business One cannot just match hands-down. But ultimately, the decision to pick one of these depends totally on your individual business needs, the scale of the organization and other factors.