ERP Showdown: SAP Business One vs Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

This article is part of our blog series comparing SAP Business One vs. Microsoft Dynamics. Check out the main article to see how SAP B1 fares against the full slate of MS Dynamics products.

Choosing the right ERP solution can make or break your small business. Choose the right one, and you’ll be well on your way towards scalability and efficiency; choose the wrong one, and you may very well find yourself several thousand bucks shorter, frustrated and struggling to keep your business processes intact.

This article will compare two ERP leaders for small and medium businesses: SAP Business One vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in a head-to-head analysis. We’ll go through each of their features and functions in detail so that you can better understand which solution best fits your business needs. 

Background Overview

SAP Business One is an ERP solution developed by SAP SE and designed to serve small to medium enterprises. SAP acquired the system when it bought out Israeli firm TopManage Financial Systems in 2002. SAP B1 has strong functionality and an excellent fit for select industries.  B1 has a large customer base and large network of SAP VAR's and ISV's.  

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is the latest addition to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 umbrella. Much of it is built around the Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) codebase, and it is sold as a cloud-native, browser-based solution. Recently released in May of 2018 this brand new ERP solution is being marketed as Microsoft's first "cloud" ERP product.  

SAP SE vs. Microsoft: Company Comparison


 

SAP

Microsoft

Overview
SAP is the global leader for ERP software, currently at the top of the list in terms of market share.

They offer a staggering number of products and services ranging from cloud ERP software and CRM solutions to IoT and machine learning applications.
Microsoft is a tech giant known by most for its flagship products such as Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, and its Xbox gaming devices.

The Dynamics product line consist of several ERP and one CRM product with the latest being Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. 
Years in Business
47 Years
44 Years
Customers
~60,000
Unknown; New Product
Target Industries
Manufacturing Distribution
Retail Services
Manufacturing (less than 100 users) Distribution (less than 100 users)
Ecommerce/Retail (less than 100 users) Services (less than 100 users)

SAP Business One vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Features and Functionality


 

SAP B1

MS Dynamics GP

Product Brochure (Download) SAP Brochure Cover Image-1 Business Central Image

Financial
Management

AR / AP
General Ledger
Fixed Asset Management
Cash Flow Management
Invoicing Prepayments
Banking & Reconciliation Processing Currency Management
Financial Reporting & Analysis Intercompany Transactions*
Cost Accounting

AR / AP
General Ledger
Payments Management
Bank Transfers
Intercompany Transactions
Cost Accounting
Defer Revenues & Expenses
Import Payroll Transactions
Closing Periods
Preparing Closing Statements

Sales and CRM

Sales Cycle Tracking
Drop Shipping & Special Orders
Marketing Campaign Management
Marketing Campaign Analysis
Customer Data Management
Contract Administration
Service Call
Sales Forecasting
Pipeline Tracking
Returns & Cancellations
Service Order Management
Multi-Tier Price List Management (including periodic and volume management)

Quote Generation
Contact Management
Sales Invoicing
Payment Processing
Opportunity Management

 Supply Chain Management  
Procurement Process Tracking
Purchase Schedule Management
Inventory Tracking & Reporting
Warehouse & Accounting Data Synchronization
Real-Time Production Reporting
Stock Location & Transfer Tracking
Distribution Management
Production Planning
Bin Management
Warehouse Management*
Automated Data Capture / Scanning*
 

Inventory and Purchasing Control
Shipment and Distribution
Returns and Cancellations
Procurement
Vendor Management
Assembly Management
Manufacturing (only in Premium)

Business Intelligence

Report Creation & Customization
Predefined & Custom Metric Tracking
Data Visualizations
Workflow-based Alerts
Customer Insights
Self-Serve Reports
Interactive Dashboards
Built-In Intelligence
* Indicates SAP Add-On functionality

SAP Business One vs Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Customer Support


 

SAP B1

MS Dynamics GP

Tech Support

24/hr toll-free phone support.
24/hr toll-free phone support.

End-User Training

Instructor-led training and virtual training (via openSAP) available.
Some online support via online channels; with outside support from Microsoft Partners.

Online Support

Full suite of diverse online support options available to all subscribers.
Round the clock support comes w/ basic subscription; advanced professional support upsold

User Groups

Local user groups exist in multiple locations across the US.
Local user groups exist in multiple locations across the US.

Primary Strengths of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central:

• Look & Feel: Business Central has a new and improved UX/UI in efforts to deliver a high quality consumer-grade experience.
LinkedIn Acquisition: Microsoft has a native connection between LinkedIn and CRM Sales providing all information on profiles directly into customer records.
Integration with Microsoft’s Ecosystem of Solutions: Beyond LinkedIn, Microsoft is focusing on business applications like Microsoft Office, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, Power BI, Cortana and more. 

Primary Weaknesses of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

•  Limited Reporting Dimensions: Business Central offers a limited number of reporting dimensions. This may limit/prevent specific  detailed reporting capabilities.  
Manual Consolidation Across Subs: Since this platform is designed for small business this isn’t a focus of Business Central and requires manual consolidation.
• With Dynamics 365 Business Central, customer are required to deploy an integration layer to support the use of ERP and CRM together. 
• Dynamics 365 Business Central doesn’t offer Revenue Recognition or Project Accounting. For companies that need rev rec or deep project accounting  will need to look to add-on solutions or 3rd party PSA offerings.  
• New & Unproven: Been on the market since Spring, 2018. Limited number of live customer references.  

 

Primary Strengths of SAP Business One:

SAP Integration
• Within SAP Tier 2 deployments situation, SAP Business One tightly integrates with other leading SAP ERP and business applications. 
• SAP B1 provides a robust suite of applications, including standalone analytics (SAP Analytics Cloud), in-depth travel & expense management (Concur), and end-to end procurement (Leonardo & Ariba). 
Manufacturing Capabilities
• SAP Business One provides deep functionality in the manufacturing space, especially around Engineer to Order (ETO), Demand Planning and MRP.  
Multiple Deployment Options
• SAP’s Business One can be hosted on a partners cloud, SAP's private cloud or deployed on-premises.
Proven
•  SAP Business One is a proven platform amongst SMB manufacturers and distributors and offers a deep ecosystem of partners and solutions developed for B1.  

Conclusion

We have yet to see how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central will unfold in the future—only time will tell. For those of us who don’t have the luxury to wait, SAP Business One is an excellent ERP choice for small- and mid-size businesses looking to migrate from QuickBooks or legacy accounting software to a leading ERP solution.

Curious if SAP Business One is a good fit for your particular industry and budget?  Check out our B1 readiness quiz below for real-time insights and pricing info.  

SAP Business One Readiness Quiz