NetSuite vs SAP: What's Best for Your Business?

     Choosing the perfect enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for your business is a big decision! There are many different contenders, but two popular ERP software stick out: NetSuite and SAP. 

     Our cloud software experts are here to compare NetSuite vs SAP so you fully understand their similarities and differences, giving you the power to make a data-informed decision. 

NetSuite vs SAP: The Basics 

     SAP and NetSuite are both ERP software designed to streamline business processes such as inventory management, financials, and even CRM. They're similar in many ways, though there are some glaring differences that potential users should be aware of. 

     In general, SAP has some catching up to do technologically. While both NetSuite and SAP offer cloud-based ERP software now, SAP's cloud software capabilities have only been around for about nine years, whereas NetSuite has been a leading cloud ERP system for over 20 years. 


  • Includes ERP, CRM, PSA, eCommerce, financial management, inventory management, and HR management capabilities
  • Has been a cloud-based software since its inception in 1998 
  • Offers quick, intuitive mobile access 
  • Seamless integration with existing software 
  • Advanced customization available 
  • Real-time analytics 
  • Quick, easy mobile access 
  • Provides easy integration and a suite of available add-ons 
  • Perfect for any-sized business, whether it's a small local firm or a multinational corporation 


  • Originally created as an on-premise solution 
  • Started offering a cloud-based version of its software in 2012
  • Intuitive user interface 
  • Mobile access is available, but not directly through SAP so access can be spotty
  • Has the ability for integrations, though they are a bit limited  
  • Real-time analytics 

There are a few different types of SAP: 

  • SAP Business One  - Created primarily for small business owners, SAP business one is the original SAP software. While it was only offered as an on-premise solution at first, SAP now includes cloud deployment. It's recommended for 5-100 users.    
  • SAP Business ByDesign - This is SAP's mid-market ERP software solution, and is only offered with cloud deployment. SAP Business By Design is best for companies requiring 20-1,000 users. 
  • SAP S/4HANA - The most advanced software of the bunch, SAP S/4HANA is an enterprise solution that includes more advanced technologies, AI, machine learning, and analytics abilities than its counterparts. Its automation capabilities allow businesses to optimize every aspect of production, revenue, and even sustainability efforts. 

NetSuite vs SAP: How Do They Compare? 

     For the purposes of this comparison, we're going to look at NetSuite vs SAP Business One (B1), as that's the original (and most popular!) SAP software. 


     SAP: One of the biggest differences between NetSuite and SAP is the deployment method: SAP Business One started with on-premise deployment only. In 2012, they released a cloud version of SAP Business One, giving customers more flexibility and technology for their business software needs. 

     NetSuite: On the other hand, NetSuite has always been a cloud-based ERP software. NetSuite has deployed and managed cloud software solutions for over 18,000 customers since 1998, and was essentially the first cloud software company, making them a clear leader in the cloud ERP space. 

     Bottom line: NetSuite tends to be easier to deploy, as its legacy as a cloud software solution gives partners the necessary experience to create a quick, yet comprehensive, implementation process. Of course, the full deployment timeline for any ERP software depends on the customizations needed by your business, however, NetSuite tends to have a shorter timeline to go live. 


     NetSuite: Ease of integration with other software and vendors is an important feature of any ERP system. NetSuite offers many different add ons and integration options, from out-of-the-box APIs like SuiteTalk to custom integration functions through RESTlets. NetSuite also provides integrations for Salesforce, Shopify, HubSpot, and Celigo to name a few. 

     That said, NetSuite integrations can become costly as they require custom development work. Because of this, the development team at SCS Cloud has created an entire suite of pre-built NetSuite solutions that take care of everything from billing automation to data integration with PowerBI. Since they've already been coded, it's quick and easy to integrate with your NetSuite solution. 

     SAP: SAP Business One provides some add ons and access to its database, however, it's not as robust as NetSuite's offerings. It does provide access to data and user interface APIs for SQL-based integrations. Preconfigured integration options for SAP Business One include Shopify, Magento, UPS, MailChimp, and Salesforce. 

     Bottom line: If your business requires customizations or multiple integrations with niche software that isn't on the regular integrations list, NetSuite might be your best bet. If you went with SAP, there's no guarantee that SAP Business One will have the necessary integration capabilities. SAP S/4HANA has more robust integration potential, however, that could get much more expensive than NetSuite or SAP BusinessOne. 


     NetSuite: NetSuite contains a lot more out-of-the-box customization capabilities than SAP Business One does (which we'll get into in the next section). You can customize the home dashboard, reports, saved searches, and a lot more so NetSuite is tailored to your exact role. 

     If you need to customize more than what NetSuite allows, the code can be adjusted as needed with the help of experienced NetSuite developers.

     SAP: SAP Business One also allows users to customize the code, though capabilities are a bit limited. Also, creating certain custom reports requires purchasing SAP Crystal Reports for each user that needs the ability to create them. It's common for software updates to SAP Business One to negatively affect any customizations and integrations made prior to the update. 

     Bottom line: Both NetSuite and SAP Business One have the ability to customize the software and main dashboard. Some say that SAP's dashboard feels a bit more intuitive than NetSuite's home dashboard, but both allow users to change it around and make sure only the data most relevant to them is displayed. Based on user reviews, it seems that SAP Business One customizations have the potential for more things to go wrong, including issues with future software updates or interruption to established workflow processes. 

Software Features 

     NetSuite: NetSuite comes with many different features, including eCommerce, ERP, PSA, and HR management. Some of the most popular features of NetSuite include lead management, data analytics, payroll, employee center, eCommerce order, and inventory management, project management, and procurement. 

     SAP: While SAP Business One has many of the same capabilities mentioned above, some key features are not included with the software and require purchasing additional licenses. For example, you'd need SAP SuccessFactors for HR management functions and SAP Commerce Cloud for eCommerce integration. 

     Bottom line: If your business requires advanced customizations and add ons to integrate with different software, vendors, or customer data, NetSuite is probably the better option. SAP Business One can get a lot more expensive if you require features such as eCommerce and HR Management. Plus, since these functionalities are already built into NetSuite, there's no need for additional work to properly integrate those features and their data. 


     NetSuite: Updates to NetSuite are rolled out automatically, meaning NetSuite users don't have a say in when their software is upgraded. This could be frustrating if a new update is no longer compatible with certain integrations or customizations.

     SAP Business One: SAP Business One allows users to plan software updates, so they can make sure it's not during business hours or a busy season and have proper time to prepare for it. Updates are likely to affect SAP BusinessOne customizations, which means customers will need the assistance of developers to get the software back to its original state. 

     Bottom line: SAP Business One offers more flexibility when it comes to software updates. With automatic updates, NetSuite users don't have much control over when they happen. 

Reporting Capabilities 

     NetSuite: NetSuite provides robust reporting capabilities, including full customizations and drill-down reports out-of-the-box. Its real-time reporting helps business owners make data-informed decisions. Plus, custom reports and data analytics allow users to build relevant dashboards and presentations as needed. 

     SAP Business One: SAP Business One's reporting capabilities are relatively in-depth, however, there are more limitations compared to NetSuite. To obtain advanced customizations with SAP Business One, such as certain custom reports and dashboards, it requires the SAP Crystal Reports add-on, which costs an additional $495 per user.

     Bottom line: The better choice here depends on your specific reporting needs. SAP Business One is more limited than NetSuite and requires licensing an add-on to take advantage of certain types of customizations. 

NetSuite vs SAP Business By Design (ByD)

     Similar to SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign doesn't come as fully loaded as NetSuite does. NetSuite has the upper hand if you need HR management or eCommerce functionality. With SAP Business By Design, you'd have to purchase additional licenses for SuccessFactors and SAP Commerce Cloud to get up to speed with all of NetSuite's features. 

     Some SAP ByD users say it's easier to set up than NetSuite, which is important because ByD is meant to be a fully out-of-the-box solution. This makes implementation fast and efficient, assuming your setup doesn't require customizations, integrations, or add ons.  

     One huge benefit of NetSuite is its scalability — you can go from a local business with five employees to a multinational company that employs thousands, and NetSuite will continue to grow with your business with ease. SAP could require additional work, licensing costs, and add-ons to be as efficient as NetSuite already is for your company.  

NetSuite vs SAP S/4HANA 

     SAP S/4HANA is an enterprise ERP solution created to provide stronger data processing, AI, analytics, and business optimizations than any other SAP product. As one of SAP's largest innovations in years, and now their most expensive software, SAP S/4HANA is a powerhouse capable of managing all of the software needs for large companies. It can be deployed in the cloud, on-premise, or a hybrid of both. 

     SAP says the software was designed to "help companies adopt new business models" and impact the bottom line using predictive AI. It also improves the user experience of previous SAP software, providing what might be the most intuitive ERP from SAP yet. 

     While some users in certain industries tend to prefer SAP S/4HANA to NetSuite, it can become much more expensive than a NetSuite implementation depending on what the business needs. 

NetSuite vs SAP: What's Best for My Business? 

     The best ERP software for your business ultimately depends on your specific needs — there's no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not you should choose NetSuite or SAP. The answer differs depending on a few things, such as necessary integrations, add-ons, customizations, deployment type, and even who you choose as your implementation partner

     If you're still deciding between SAP and NetSuite, we can help! Contact us to set up a free consultation so we can walk you through how NetSuite works and tell you exactly what it can do for your business.

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