This article is relevant if you are considering Magento and /or NetSuite for your eCommerce and backoffice management requirements.
In my article, Solving B2B and B2C Sales on Magento versus NetSuite, I discuss important considerations for selecting Magento and / or NetSuite for solving eCommerce and backoffice capacities. ¬†All the elements in that article 18 months later still apply and I recommend reading it for a good first talk orientation. ¬† This article will offer new contrasts and thinking relative about the two platforms in light of NetSuite’s latest SuiteCommerce functionality.
Organizing What you Care About
I assume that if you are reading this article, the following applies to you:
- You have an eCommerce business.
- You know that Magento is the most popular Open Source eCommerce Platform and this gives you comfort that there are add-ins and talent available.
- You like NetSuite’s vision for full end-to-end transaction management and that they are the #1 Cloud ERP solution.
- You are nervous about NetSuite’s eCommerce features and capability and don’t want to be locked in nor stuck because the tools won’t deliver.
- Are you new to mid-market ERP, eCommerce frameworks and packaged business applications? ¬†If so, you may experience price sticker shock.
- Is it your nature to want to build all the IT related components in a database driven software solution?
- Do you feel that “software is just software” and it’s no big deal how the software was conceived so long as it gets the job done?
- Do you feel that a single vendor solution will tie your hands? ¬†Or do you see freedom from multi-party breakdowns?
- Do you believe that software should work for the remaining life of your business (in perpetuity unless you enter a new business model)?
- Are you custom software risk averse? ¬†Or do you embrace the possibilities that open up when you develop software?
- Do you believe that once two software solutions are integrated, it now should behave as a single system?
- Do you have multiple companies that buy and sell to each other? ¬†Do you want a wall between them or do you want them to share services?
- They both offer “on-par” eCommerce capacities. ¬†Each are strong with their differences in approach.
- They each offer a framework and an API to develop eCommerce functions. ¬†Each are strong. ¬†NetSuite has now caught up to today’s demands with SuiteCommerce (NetSuite’s next generation offering).
- They both offer inventory and product management. ¬†Each are strong with their own approach.
- They both offer order management. ¬†Each are strong with their own capacities.
- The each advertise they offer content management but both of them are not strong compared to powerful tools such as Expression Engine.
Major Functionality Differences
- NetSuite has full financial management and reporting capacities. ¬†Magento does not.
- NetSuite supports true multi-company management with financial consolidation. ¬†Magento does not.
- NetSuite supports a powerful CRM system that can, in some respects, rival salesforce.com. ¬†Magento does not.
- Magento gives you a way to host your own solution. NetSuite is only available via subscription.
- NetSuite shields many arcane technical aspects from you as you customize. ¬†Magento does not.
What is Lost on Most on the Journey
When I speak with executives about these platforms, I find a number of matters may not have been carefully considered all which demand investment:
- If you are in an eCommerce business, someone (or people), somewhere, is going to have to be technically competent in making the eCommerce system become what it needs to become to drive revenue. ¬†Are you ready to own that investment?
- The power of these frameworks are realized when you fully embrace their designed capacities. ¬†Meaning, learn the tools and apply the capacities to the business problems. ¬†Take matters into your own hands and invest. ¬†Are you prepared to nurture the right intellectual talent drive these tools and thus your business?
- Despite an application framework, over time, the eCommerce environment will become convoluted and difficult to enhance. ¬†Be prepared to let go of things you previously invested in as this will slow you down and drive us costs. ¬†Are you prepared to make investments that may only have a few years payback?
- Any integration will cause information latency, errors, need for controls and diagnostic complexities in day-to-day management. ¬†You will need to have experts that understand your specific integration especially as issues arise. ¬†Are you ready to have someone own this care?
- Any integration will cause information to be separated driving the need for a future reporting project to pull data together centrally to make sense of your business performance. ¬†Have you factored this element into your solution equation?
Pulling it Together
- If you want a new backend which includes finance, HR management, budgeting, and operational / financial reporting, ¬†then NetSuite is your winner.
- If you also want an integrated CRM system to the transactional backend, then again, NetSuite is your winner.
- If you need serious multi-company transaction and relationship management, then NetSuite is your winner.
- If NetSuite is your winner, carefully think twice about going with a different eCommerce engine. ¬†No matter what you do, you must invest (as noted above). ¬†What you can avoid is the cost of integration, the maintenance of your integration, and the inevitable need for a central reporting database if you are instead willing to become good with the eCommerce tools.
- If you do not value the CRM aspects or the financial management because these are incidental, then Magento is your winner. ¬†Remember though, data will need to get to and from the accounting system but that may not be that important in your business strategy.
- If you believe that “best of breed” is the only way to go, and you understand the risks with a multi-application solution and the investment profile, then perhaps Magento is the winner.
We are a NetSuite systems integrator but have a long history solving for these kinds of challenges. ¬†Feel free to contact us¬†and or use the comments below for a public dialogue.