We compared the differences between Oracle NetSuite and Fusion Cloud ERP
Oracle has two cloud-based ERP platforms on offer. These are the older and more popular NetSuite and the newer contender Fusion. In this article, we will compare these two ERP systems, Oracle NetSuite and Fusion Cloud ERP, and present the differences between them.
Mainly targeted at smaller companies, NetSuite was launched in 1998, whereas Fusion, which was developed for use at larger companies, came out in 2012. For you to be able to make the right choice between these two platforms, a more in-depth review may be in order, especially for medium-sized companies.
Fusion and NetSuite, as ERP systems in general, are advertised to do the same things. However, there are also real differences between ERP systems, and this is the case with Oracle’s ERP platforms as well. If we generalize functionally and abstractly, the differences between the two Oracle enterprise resource planning systems are found in their intelligence and depth. Fusion is a premium ERP and a clear winner in multiple international reviews, not only in relation to NetSuite but also to all other ERP platforms in the world. However, both systems are excellent, which is showcased by how NetSuite has for years held its position of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant leader in the Financial ERP category and how Fusion has repeatedly topped the Financial ERP category while also taking first place in the Service ERP and Product-Centric ERP categories.
The basic similarities and differences between NetSuite and Fusion Cloud ERP
Both NetSuite and Fusion are extensive and comprehensive as solutions but also open, agile, extendable and customizable ERP platforms that support multi-cloud architecture. At their best, both platforms work as a backbone of international groups. Fusion also shines as a system serving domestic public administration, i.e. cities, municipalities and health districts. Respectively, NetSuite is also used by purely domestic groups, especially when a strong financial engine and excellent integration readiness are on the wish list.
In Finland, NetSuite is most commonly used at companies with a few dozen users or maybe even less. NetSuite’s maximum user numbers are typically a couple of hundred users. In Finland, Fusion’s user numbers start at a couple of dozen, going all the way up to ten thousand, so there really is a great deal of fluctuation with Fusion.
Unique systems for global use
Both ERP platforms are extensive global systems and are, thus, not competing in the category of small local packaged financial administration systems. Both Fusion and NetSuite are unique systems, and this uniqueness is also reflected in the user base – a typical NetSuite or Fusion user organization’s operations and/or goals often have exceptional characteristics, such as remarkable market growth, a unique business model or a multi-disciplinary business approach. In localization, Fusion is ahead of NetSuite.
Fusion offers a noticeably larger selection of modules than NetSuite, but, on the other hand, NetSuite has a larger number of third-party extensions (Suite App). In contrast to NetSuite, Fusion offers only a single service level, which means that Fusion does not have staggered processor capabilities. Purchased by Oracle, the NetSuite software was also originally developed using Oracle technologies. More recently, NetSuite has been moved to development on top of Oracle’s Cloud Generation 2 infrastructure, which has started to generate significant technological synergies for NetSuite on all system levels (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS). Fusion was developed directly on top of the Gen 2 cloud, giving it a lead over NetSuite when it comes to, for instance, the utilization capabilities of intelligent automation (AI/ML) and expansion towards the rest of Oracle’s cloud portfolio.
Functional differences between the systems
NetSuite and Fusion are both highly advanced financial engines that have been recognized by the analysts, and their advantages are truly able to shine in a group environment. However, the functionalities that Fusion offers are clearly deeper and richer than what NetSuite has to offer. Examples of financial characteristics that separate the systems are Fusion’s support for internal service centers, real-time multi-dimensional balance cubes as well as an unlimited number of books of accounts and bookkeeping standards.
On the operative side, distinguishing factors for Fusion include more advanced tools for the management of the global supply chain and logistics, planning and implementation, complete support for HR management as well as extensive tools for satisfying the demands of good governance, risk management and compliance. Where NetSuite provides support for mainly light production, from a raw computing power standpoint, Fusion can manage even the most demanding types of production and production models. However, NetSuite has an extensive selection of third-party applications available that support operative functions, including PLM and planning solutions. In Fusion, these and many other tools are found right in the platform’s own module selection.
With NetSuite, increasing the degree of automation is quick and easy, especially with regard to repetitive tasks. In addition to this, Oracle Fusion offers clearly more advance automation capabilities, making use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and smart document management. The difference between the Oracle ERP systems in the automation of business processes is evident in that, with Fusion, in addition to automating tasks, it is also possible to question and replace, i.e. make redundant the workflows producing these types of tasks.
Customization and personalization
NetSuite and Fusion are genuine, automatically updated cloud services, and as it is known, cloud services cannot be tailored. However, Oracle’s ERP platforms can be personalized, expanded and enriched in a variety of ways. The customization functionalities of both systems are available directly through the user interface.
NetSuite allows the creation and editing of simple changes, such as views, workflows and records, without the need for coding skills. However, the development of actual functionalities in NetSuite leans heavily on scripting, so knowing the programming language is a basic requirement when it comes to more demanding implementations and further development.
Fusion’s customization capabilities are similar to those of NetSuite, but it also offers, for example, integrated and embedded low-code tools, which can be used to implement both functions as well as full-scale web apps and mobile apps. Fusion offers more versatile tools for development than NetSuite does, and some of these tools also require less technical competence than those that NetSuite offers. Fusion includes real-time user-specific “sandboxes” for customization and personalization, whereas NetSuite’s sandbox is environment-based and updates at set intervals.
Both NetSuite and Fusion offer a marketplace for various extensions. At the ecosystem level, NetSuite has a larger number of customers, suppliers and also “custom workshops” that develop extensions. On the other hand, Fusion is already more versatile and can do more without programming, so the number of extensions will continue to be greater for NetSuite.
Usability and implementation of Oracle’s ERP platforms
The user interface of both of Oracle’s ERP platforms is snappy, effective and intuitive. Fusion’s user interface relies upon the stellar and esthetically pleasing Oracle Redwood user experience. It is also possible and to be expected that NetSuite will move to using the same user interface technology as Fusion due to synergy reasons.
Fusion is a premium ERP that offers more diverse and in-depth functionalities across the board than NetSuite does, in addition to the more advanced intelligent automation. The number of pre-installed functionalities and configuration options in Fusion is manifold to what NetSuite has to offer. Simply defining the functions takes considerably longer in Fusion than in NetSuite, but, on the other hand, Fusion provides the opportunity for more finished results at once. This is beneficial especially when the requirements of the organization are high. Fusion is typically the option chosen by companies operating under more stringent requirements and regulations, often also running considerable numbers of transactions. When it comes to making the choice, it ultimately boils down to the ROI, i.e. how fast the system pays back the investment.
Various implementation possibilities
With NetSuite, progress usually follows the model of incremental development, which means taking smaller steps and purchasing extensions (incl. third-party extensions). What is most typical in NetSuite implementations is to quickly implement basic financial functionalities and then move on to the continuous development mode. This may be wise, especially in the reality of limited resources and also due to the fact that NetSuite increasingly benefits from Oracle synergies, following in the footsteps of the larger systems. Inevitably, Fusion’s state-of-the-art functionalities will also slowly trickle into the hands of the NetSuite userbase, to be made use of with fewer resources.
Both ERP platforms have their own technical and functional advantages as well as target groups based on company size. However, in tha age of digitalization, size is not as big of a factor as it was in the age of a purely physical reality. Where possible, dreams and ambition play an increasingly large role.
Both platforms have implementation templates available that speed up implementations. Both can also be expanded upon one module at a time and approached as continuously developing platforms. It is useful to gauge the desired outcome with the platforms from a roadmap perspective, for example, by looking at the next three or five years. Both platforms can be used to manage and cover more business data than by using traditional ERP systems, which opens highly positive future prospects from a process standpoint. From the outset, Fusion can be used to replace an even larger number of software than NetSuite, drive even longer business process than before on a single platform and run extremely large numbers of transactions. On the other hand, these are a basic requirement or at least a significant accelerating factor enabling genuine utilization of AI-based intelligent automation and analytics in an organization.
Based on the traditional classification, ERP systems are placed on three ERP tiers with regard to their size, complexity, scalability and internationality. There are also differences in the operating cultures between these tiers. Fusion represents a tier-one solution and NetSuite a tier-two solution, but the matter is not quite so simple, as NetSuite includes some tier-one characteristics, while Fusion is offered to both large and medium-sized companies, the latter of which have typically represented the tier-two ERP systems market.
As tier-one ERP systems have traditionally been marketed toward large international companies, Fusion’s ecosystem is strongly linked to large international consulting houses and the most competent supplier organization professionals across the board. The experience, competence, resources and methods required by tier one are naturally first-rate. This also shows in how the more challenging and international operating environments have molded the tier-one ERP culture; the expertise is deeper by orders of magnitude and the tasks more specific. At tier two, the operations are traditionally less strictly organized and the personnel of both the customer companies and the ERP suppliers are working on multiple tasks simultaneously. However, this division is changing.
Both of Oracle’s ERP systems are, above all else, agile business platforms that characterize the principle of self-service on multiple levels. The users can customize the system without the help of consultants, and the consultants can implement more demanding customizations without the help of technical personnel. The implementation of both of these systems requires stringency and practice, which is naturally found more abundantly in tier-one companies.
Which system is a better fit for my company?
Fusion is suited to any type of company, regardless of its line of business, while SMEs rarely require the plethora of capabilities that Fusion has to offer. On the other hand, NetSuite is suited to a more limited, albeit larger number of companies. NetSuite’s affordable license is more suitable to most SMEs, while Fusion’s prices are favorable to some medium-sized companies. This can be explained by Fusion’s more robust functionalities that make it possible for a customer to make do with fewer applications in their overall architecture, without the use of third-party extensions. The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) varies between the systems, as does their extent, so comparative calculations should be done extensively, with a focus on the architecture and roadmap instead of simple license costs.
Both ERP platforms have their own technical and functional advantages as well as target groups based on company size. However, size is not the deciding factor in the current age of digitalization. Where possible, dreams and ambition play an increasingly large role. When a company seeks the automation of repetitive tasks and continuous and agile development of functions on the ERP platform, NetSuite is often an excellent choice. A medium-sized company should consider Fusion when that desire is supported by the readiness and resources to utilize the opportunities in intelligent automation. Fusion is also a great choice when a company is growing to clearly become a large company, not so much in terms of revenue but more from the perspective of computing power and numbers of transactions.
Also in Finland, it has become more common for a customer to consider which of the two Oracle ERP platforms to choose. How to find which one is best suited for you starts by contacting an Oracle alliance partner with an understanding of both products. An alliance partner will also be familiar with the opportunities for updating between platforms and the opportunities for utilizing Oracle’s offering across platforms, both with individual ERP platform modules and the rest of Oracle’s cloud offering.