SAP Business ByDesign vs. Oracle NETSUITE.

In truth, NETSUITE is a fantastic tool once delivered people stick to it. I have been selling SAP Business ByDesign for eight years, and only once I have met someone looking to move away from NETSUITE.  Even then, they weren't actually upset with NETSUITE it was an integration between their deployment of Openair that was causing them the majority of their problems. 

If you have chosen to look at NETSUITE, it may be worth adding SAP Business ByDesign to your list as you might be surprised because it's richer in functionality and usually works out at around 60% of the total implemented cost, even if you have made your decision its worth mentioning because it will definitely  get you a better discount!

So why SAP Business ByDesign?


We don't lose many deals to NETSUITE because the total project cost is usually lower. Business ByDesign is configured using the 'Best Practise' based processes and the solution compiled to save time and money. The configurator is essential because it is at the heart of the product and allows us to delivers a flexible deployment efficiently from the get-go. I am not selling my customers a template, Business ByDesign users the configurator to build a tailored solution that works every time.

NETSUITE uses a template, and while that appears to make sense, where complexity is discovered, the customer will usually need to pay for additional time. 

When your business changes, all you need to do is reopen the configurator and make the relevant changes. This flexibility allows you to implement the solution and then as you grow, add more functionality. Business ByDesign is designed to help businesses standardise with pre-built best practice processes that are readily adaptable where needed.  Standardised processes and a built-in implementation methodology means less configuration and quicker roll-outs, while full localisation provides smooth global deliveries.

Suite in a Box

Business ByDesign is a suite in a box. Customers receive all the tools to run their primary business functions as part of their license. So if you want AP Scanning all you need is a folder to drop the PDF’s in to, SAP’s Artificial Intelligence will the rest.  Scanning in NetSuite can cost around $50K and there’s still no guarantee on whether you’ll get the OCR to recognise more than 50% of the invoices.  

If you are a 10,000 employee international professional services business with a requirement to implement advanced project management functionality, please let me know. I will arrange a discussion with the team who implemented across 100 countries with full legal and fiscal compliance.  Business ByDesign, professional services functionality, fulfils even the most complex customer requirements.  Business ByDesign is seamless and scalable, meaning that growing businesses can incorporate new operational requirements and expand into new markets without changing their ERP.


The vast majority of my customers want ten licenses to run their business finance solution. I'm usually talking about a £16K subscription and a £25K implementation fee.  Where customers sign a 5-year deal, I'll flatten the initial investment by spreading the cost of implementation across terms so the monthly charge can be as little as £1,600.

11 Reasons for looking at SAP Business ByDesign

  1. SAP involvement – Customers regularly highlight the commitment shown by SAP during partner sales cycles and our willingness to work together going the extra mile.
  2. Pricing transparency – SAP Business ByDesign is licensed as a single and fully integrated suite. NetSuite's licensing takes a modular approach, which is often discounted for the initial contract term, followed by a steep rise at renewal.
  3. Support included – The SAP Business ByDesign subscription includes the cost of support. NETSUITE charges between 22.5% (email) to 37.5% (telephone) of the list price, pre-discount.
  4. SAP global support – Business ByDesign support is provided by the SAP internal support organisation to the same high standards as for all of SAP's products.  Despite the additional cost of NETSUITE support, having it based out of Manila has proven to be notoriously problematic.
  5. The simplicity of offering – SAP Business ByDesign core solution provides key functional areas for a growing mid-market business. NetSuite relies on either advanced modules, acquired solutions with different user interfaces, or partner developed and maintained solutions.
  6. Genuinely global – SAP Business ByDesign is localised to provide legal and fiscally compliant for local accounting standards and practices in more than 100 countries with for language available in 19 of them. NetSuite was fully localised in just eight countries (Aug 2017) despite NETSUITE’s claim of over 100 localisations, which extend only to indirect tax.
  7. No hidden costs – A sandbox is essential for testing each new release before go-live. Business ByDesign provides this free of charge while NEETSUITE charges an additional 20% of the list price for 12-month access.
  8. New features include – A Business ByDesign subscription provides access to all new functionality. NETSUITE has been known to break out product enhancements into "Advanced" modules, for which there is an additional charge.
  9. Truly scalable solution – Business ByDesign is seamlessly scalable between local and global organisations, without an upgrade. NETSUITE has a distinct offering, namely OneWorld, for global organisations, which often requires both a re-implementation and software upgrade.
  10. Defined market – Business ByDesign has a clearly defined target market within the SAP product set. NetSuite has had to redefine its place in the market since Oracle acquired them, with Oracle currently pushing NETSUITE downmarket.
  11. Partnership model – SAP has a clear commitment to the customer, and involvement during the partner's sales cycle is a clear differentiator. NETSUITE instead focuses on selling direct and is notably absent in partner-led sales.

Questions I would be asking:

Price list – Can NETSUITE provide a copy of their price list? I understand the NETSUITE’s price list is confusing, serving to highlight the number of add-ons and Advanced Modules supplementing what Business ByDesign provides as standard functionality.  Look for the cost of the Excel Add-in, quantify how much the scanning solution is, is it integrated?  Does it cost more to complete the accounts for your group of companies across multiple countries?

Discounting – Will the price I pay in the first year be the same for the entire term of the contract and then what happens beyond that?  Will the discounts offered initially also apply to new purchases during my contract term? From what I have heard NETSUITE's attractive initial discount soon gives way to far higher list pricing.

Contracts – Will my solution be entirely on NETSUITE paper or will there be separate agreements with ISVs and acquired companies? Solutions frequently comprise of multiple contracts, as NETSUITE requires a patchwork of products to satisfy requirements.

Seamless two-tier – Pre-built deep integration with SAP Enterprise Products makes for straightforward roll out to subsidiaries.

If you are interested, I have a few more; please let me know.

Questions that I have been asked recently:

Has SAP sued some of its customers?  Yes, they like many companies, including Google, Microsoft, Sony, Oracle, and NETSUITE, have sued customers. These organisations need to protect their Intellectual Property and the misuse of their software. When the courts find in favour of SAP, relationships are quickly repaired because the customers need to continue to use the solutions that have ultimately made them as successful as they are.

Does it cost more to access SAP Business ByDesign's API's and will we be charged if we do?  SAP Business ByDesign provides its customers with free access to all its API's and does not have an indirect usage model. SAP Business ByDesign was designed to allow organisations to deliver a 'single source of the truth' with a simple pricing model, so let's assume it will not.

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