In the years we have been providing our annual technology-agnostic ranking of the top ERP systems, we have never seen one quite like the list for 2020. Not only were there some surprises on the list – particularly with Service Now, Workday, and SAP S/4HANA – but some vendor products fared better than others.

This year Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle NetSuite fared well, with both placing in the top 3. With such a close ranking and a common parent company ever since Oracle’s acquisition of NetSuite, many of our clients are uncertain of how the two compare or which one to choose for their organizations. To further complicate things, most ERP systems integrators have their own biases on which they might recommend.

Every organization has different needs and priorities, but there are a few criteria you can use to compare the products as part of your ERP software selection project. The analysis below provides an objective comparison of how Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle NetSuite compare to one another. I also keep “score” of each product throughout the analysis below.

What a difference a year can make in the annual ERP system rankings

When we published last year’s results, NetSuite was #2 on our list and Oracle ERP Cloud missed the top 5 in the 2019 ERP rankings, which created a fair amount of controversy. We identified Oracle as the sleeping giant, but we did not expect them to rebound as quickly as they did this year. Their rebound was largely due to increased market adoption and improving functional maturity of both products.

Oracle ERP Cloud vs. NetSuite: Functional maturity

The biggest thing holding back Oracle ERP Cloud in 2019 was its lack of functional maturity. There were simply too many missing pieces of functionality, particularly in supply chain and manufacturing.

Over the course of the year, the company appears to have shored up its overall product roadmap to improve some key functionality. Strengths in its EPM, financials and supply chain modules are often seen by our clients and consultants as differentiators – especially when compared to SAP S/4HANA (also see our comparison of SAP vs. Oracle). Some key gaps in manufacturing functionality is one of the things keeping the product from climbing further up our list.

Similarly, our independent review of Oracle NetSuite explains how the product has started to improve its light manufacturing capabilities, which has historically been a weak spot. The product’s overall functional and technical maturity is generally superior to Oracle ERP Cloud – largely because it has been a native cloud product for over 20 years, while Oracle ERP Cloud just recently migrated to the cloud.

Advantage: Oracle NetSuite. Score: NetSuite leads 1-0.

Oracle ERP Cloud vs. Oracle NetSuite: Flexibility

Flexibility is another key differentiator in the Oracle ERP vs. NetSuite debate. Generally speaking, Oracle ERP Cloud provides a great deal of flexibility, while NetSuite is less flexible due to its SaaS cloud model, which limits the amount you can change the software to fit your needs.

Oracle ERP Cloud has a robust ecosystem of tools to enable flexibility, such as its Platform as a Service (PaaS) tools to enable integration to third-party systems and apps. NetSuite’s strength, on the other hand, is to drive common and repeatable business processes via its SaaS model. Just because you can change your ERP system (as is the case with Oracle Cloud) doesn’t mean that you should. It all comes down to your needs and priorities.

Advantage: Oracle ERP Cloud. Score: tied 1-1.

Oracle ERP Cloud v. Oracle NetSuite: Systems integrator and implementation partner options

As is the case with many of the leading ERP systems, availability and quality of implementation resources is another big differentiator between the two leading ERP systems. For more on this, download our Definitive Guide to Choosing the Best ERP Systems Integrator

Oracle ERP Cloud has had a head start on building a robust network of implementation partners and VARs, while NetSuite has historically relied on its internal team to provide these services. NetSuite’s call center-style implementation support leaves a lot to be desired for our clients, while its Suite Success methodology is often viewed as overrated.

Oracle ERP Cloud may have a more robust network of implementation partners, but there is a high risk of a shortage of qualified resources as customers using JD Edwards, eBusiness Suite, and other legacy Oracle products rush to transition to the cloud in the next few years. NetSuite’s customers, on the other hand, are already on a cloud product (and always have been), so there is less of a rush to compete for limited resources.

Advantage: Oracle ERP Cloud. Score: Oracle ERP Cloud leads 2-1.

Oracle ERP Cloud vs. Oracle NetSuite: Customer adoption rate

Successful customer adoption rate is one of the key criteria we use when compiling our top 10 ERP systems list. Last year, Oracle ERP Cloud was at a severe disadvantage in this category compared to NetSuite. We simply didn’t see enough of our clients making the jump to Oracle ERP Cloud, with legacy Oracle customers content sitting on the sidelines with their EBS and JD Edwards software.

Oracle Cloud has made market improvements in customer adoption rates over the last year, particularly among Fortune 1000 companies and larger mid-size organizations. But NetSuite has never really had a problem with customer adoption, particularly among small and mid-size customers. It’s native SaaS cloud solution again provides an advantage in this area.

Advantage: Oracle NetSuite. Score: tied 2-2.

Which is better: Oracle ERP Cloud or NetSuite?

As the above “score” indicates, these products are both very strong – though they have very different strengths and weaknesses. The video below provides the answer to which is best:

Despite our rankings and analysis above, it is important to note that every company is different and has different priorities. One day we may recommend Oracle ERP Cloud to one of our clients, but on the very next day we may find that NetSuite is a better fit for another client. This is why it is so important to engage in an objective software selection process that takes your needs, priorities, strategy, and business model into account.

If the video above still doesn’t help you get any closer to a decision, please contact me to discuss. I am happy to be a sounding board as you navigate your comparison between these two ERP systems and other potential solutions. I’m happy to help!

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