Sage Intacct vs. Oracle Netsuite Part 2 — The Suite Approach vs. Best-of-Breed
There are, generally speaking, two main ways to create a solution for your company: a holistic suite approach, where all (or most) modules are created by the same company (aka the Suite Approach), and an approach that cherry-picks solutions from different companies, to build a one-of-a-kind system (aka the Best-of-Breed approach). Generally, the suite approach gives a cohesive journey and similar controls across all modules. The Best-of-Breed or Best-in-Class approach means you are getting the crème de la crème of solutions for each individual module. Both have merits, with the Suite approach being taken by global players like Microsoft and many newer companies opting for Best of Breed. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the merits and downfalls of each, and how NetSuite and Sage Intacct employ them.
One quick note: if you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, you should probably mosey on over to that first.
The Suite Approach
We mentioned SuiteSuccess briefly in our previous blog on Customization and Scalability. This is the software bundle that Netsuite sells to prospects, and the methodology for implementing it. In fact, a large majority of NetSuite users use this bundle. The bundles are their approach to the Best of Suite model of ERPs. Suites may suit some companies, it simply depends, much like all other factors, on what your individual business needs. NetSuite has 33 different SuiteSuccess industry editions, so there are certainly a lot of options. They all work on a perpetual license that will continue after implementation, for as long as the software is being used.
The SuiteSuccess bundles often contain NetSuite’s own software, such as: CRM, eCommerce, HCM, PSA, Payroll, BI. This keeps everything very tightly integrated for extra insight & very easy for automatic updates. That said, features not needed must be turned off, instead of turned on, however, this often means that companies are paying for things they don’t need or want.
In Part 1 of this blog series, we discussed how some SuiteSuccess editions include a OneWorld license, while others include modules like Fixed Assets and Allocations.
Customers may be required to move from a module they currently use/like or spend a lot of money creating a custom connector, which becomes the customer’s responsibility to manage through updates. This is unfortunate, especially considering a large percentage of NetSuite users integrate with 2 or more partners.
NetSuite does allow API integrations, and does so using SOAP suite app standards. SOAP APIs tend to have larger file sizes, and the strict standards mean added layers of complexity when integrating more than one API. When you work with APIs that miscommunicate between them, errors are likely to pop up.
Sage Intacct is a champion of the Best-of-Breed platforms in that it focuses on lean and effective operations.
At its core, Sage Intacct is a financial solution. It is the only solution endorsed by the AICPA because it leverages insight from financial professionals so well and produces a powerhouse for all financial functions. However, most small- to medium-sized businesses – especially those that foresee rapid growth and development of the business model – need more than just financials. This is where the Best-of-Breed philosophy comes into play. The Sage Intacct team knows the software is great at financials. By that same logic, they know other developers are best at their own solution. So, part of their business model is high-quality integrations with many market leaders in their respective spaces, like Salesforce and Criterion.
It also means that customers only pay for what they need. Software isn’t pre-bundled, so users can build their perfect system from hundreds of integrations.
Sage Intacct’s API system is based on REST architecture. REST is a way of creating APIs that are particularly suited to use with cloud options, as they use less bandwidth than other types of APIs. Using REST API means that, even if there is no current integration available on their marketplace for the program that a user wants to retain, it is easy to access the necessary documentation and make those changes. There are also no strict standards for REST APIs, making it simpler to implement and since REST is strictly an architectural style, multiple integrations are easier to handle.
One of the main benefits of SuiteSuccess, according to Oracle NetSuite, is that they can take you from “Zero to Cloud in 100 Days”. G2 tested the veracity of this (indirectly) when they published a comparative chart of Implementation stats for major cloud ERPs. They found that NetSuite implementations took an average of 6.3 months before going live. The implementation also called for 34% of the work to be done by the customer’s in-house team. Comparatively, Sage Intacct generally went live in 3.3 months with 25% of the burden on in-house staff.
Detractors of the Best-of-Breed approach note that it can often be frustrating to have a disrupted user experience when going back & forth between solutions from various vendors. This problem is shrinking though, in line with custom-built integrations that consider UX in their build.
Even NetSuite is moving away from the holistic approach, as according to Craig Sullivan, Group VP of Product Management at NetSuite: “customers had to rely on NetSuite to develop scripts which were often flaky and the cause of much angst among customers”. They are now building a network of ISVs (independent software vendors.)
While both approaches have their merits, the tide seems to be moving more towards the Best-of-Breed approach. However, every business has its own needs, and for some, a Suite approach can be a less disruptive user experience and cohesion in the system. For businesses concerned with lean operations, though, Best-of-Breed is a great path to take.