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4 min read

NetSuite vs Great Plains: Which is best?

The ERP selection process is tedious—and rightfully so. The system you choose will inevitably become the backbone of your business processes for years to come.

Select the right one, and you’ll be well on your way to being a more efficient business; choose the wrong one, and you’ll find yourself wrestling with all kinds of bottlenecks and complications. Worst case, you might run your business processes to a grinding halt.

Below we compare two well-known ERP providers: NetSuite vs Great Plains (Microsoft Dynamics GP). Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, with different competencies depending on business use-cases and implementation.

At the end of this article, you will gain better perspective on the NetSuite vs Great Plains debate and, hopefully, get one step closer to finding the right ERP software for your business.



A brief history


NetSuite, was founded in 1998 by Evan Goldberg. The company started out as a web-hosted accounting management software, but quickly evolved into an end-to-end cloud-based solution for ERP, financial planning, and omnichannel commerce.

In 2016, NetSuite was acquired by Oracle for an estimated $9.3 billion. Today, the company serves over 16,000 customers in more than 200 countries and territories, and is widely considered a pioneer in the cloud-based software space.

Great Plains

Great Plains has an extremely rich history predating Microsoft Dynamics. The software traces its origins to 1983 in Ohio, where Solomon Software (originally TLB) built an accounting system called Solomon I. Through the years, Solomon I (and subsequent versions up to Solomon IV) gained widespread acclaim, impressing both users and software pundits.

Solomon Software was acquired by Great Plains Software in 2000 and by Microsoft in 2001. In 2004, Microsoft released Great Plains and three other solutions under the Microsoft Business Solutions suite. Microsoft Business Solutions rebranded to Microsoft Dynamics in 2006, offering better integration within its suite of ERP products.

The software is now better known as Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Head-to-Head Comparison




Great Plains


NetSuite provides cloud-based CRM, PSA, ERP and e-commerce solutions to small and medium businesses and mid-market companies. The company was acquired by Oracle in July of 2016 and continues to operate as a separate global business unit.

Great Plains offers both cloud and on-premise solutions for accounting, payroll, supply chain management, and retail. Great Plains is part of Microsoft Dynamics GP, and primarily services small- to medium-sized businesses.

Years in Business






Target Industries

  • Retail & Ecommerce
  • Advertising, Media & Publishing
  • Nonprofits & Social Venture
  • Professional Services
  • Software and SaaS
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Distribution
  • Public Sector
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Services
  • Healthcare
  • Staffing & Recruiting



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Features & Functions



Dynamics Great Plains

Financial Management Capabilities
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • General Ledger
  • Multi-Currency
  • Fixed Assets
  • Multi-Company & Consolidation
  • Revenue Recognition
  • Subscription Billing
  • Forecasting & Budgeting
  • Financial Planning & Analysis
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • General Ledger
  • Analytical Accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Cash Flow Management
  • Grant Management
  • Multi-Currency Management
  • Fixed Asset Management
Supply Chain Management Capabilities
  • Order Management
  • Production Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Procurement
  • Warehouse & Fulfillment
  • Demand Planning
  • WIP & Routing
  • Work Orders & Assemblies
  • Shop Floor Control
  • BOM Maintenance
  • Inventory Management
  • Warehouse & Fulfillment
  • Demand Planning
  • Vendor Self-Service Portal
  • Distribution Planning
  • Intercompany Trade
  • WIP & Routing
Human Capital Management Capabilities
  • Human Resources Management
  • Employee Onboarding
  • Vacation Scheduling
  • Employee Directories
  • Payroll
  • Human Resources Management
  • Recruitment Management
  • Employee Development
  • Absence Management
  • Employee Directories
  • Payroll
Native E-Commerce and Retail Capabilities
  • Point of Sale
  • Mobile Point of Sale
  • E-commerce
  • Order & Inventory Management
  • Product Content Management
  • Marketing Automation
  • Dynamics GP does not offer any native Ecommerce or retail capabilities.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Capabilities
  • Sales Force Automation
  • Customer Service Management
  • Marketing Automation
  • Partner Relationship Management
  • Sales Force Automation
    (requires add on or partner integration)
  • Customer Service Management
    (requires add on or partner integration)
  • Marketing Automation
    (requires add on or partner integration)



Curious about the cost?
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Customer Support & Training



Great Plains

Tech Support

24/7 toll-free worldwide phone support available

Tech support available but only limited to developer and app performance support

End-User Training

Live and/or online training available by NetSuite training department and by partners

Live and/or online training by third-party providers

Online Support

NetSuite has extensive knowledge base (SuiteAnswers) available to all users as well as online user group

Web support via Dynamics 365 Admin Center

User Groups

Multiple local user groups across the United States

Multiple local user groups across the United States


How are they different?

The Great Plains application played an important role in an era of on-premise ERP deployments. However this mode of software investments & deployment is going by the wayside. On-premise software requires substantial hardware investments, larger IT budgets, and challenging upgrade cycles, which is why NetSuite introduced the idea of a fully cloud-based business solution. No hardware or IT supervision necessary!

Best of all NetSuite offers seamless twice a year upgrades that eliminate version lock and ensures you are running the latest and greatest software available.

Other major differentiators...

  • Microsoft GP relies on batch processing – which can cause reconciliation issues at month end, if someone forgets to post in one of the modules. 
  • Customizing native reports is difficult in GP. Ironically reports do not easily export into Excel, you have to format and "pretty up" each time. NetSuite maintains the report format and even the formula in Excel saving you time.
  • Great Plains does not offer any dashboards or KPIs whereas NetSuite's offers pre-packaged dashboards and KPI's to provide deeper insights in real-time.

The biggest difference between NetSuite vs Great Plains is that NetSuite is an industry leading all-in-one cloud-ERP solution, while GP is an aging accounting application but don't just take our word for it.

Leading industry analyst Gartner, named NetSuite a "leader" as one of only three ERP solutions listed in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management Suites for Midsize, Large and Global Enterprises. 



Other points to consider...

Great Plains still carries some legacy architecture that isn’t cloud native, which means certain processes can only be completed by batch. Additionally, financial consolidation via its General Ledger (GL) can only be done manually, and some transaction details get lost in translation once the GL is consolidated.

NetSuite requires a partner for compliance controls (e.g. ISO, TS, and FDA), while Great Plains provides all those out-of-the-box. Also, naturally, NetSuite lags a little behind Great Plains when it comes to integration with Microsoft tools like MS SQL server, Power BI and Excel.

In closing

The answer to the NetSuite vs Great Plains discussion is not just a matter of a what you need from an ERP system, it's also a conversation about what you can expect from your software vendor and your future IT investments. 

Microsoft has been heavily marketing and positioning their Dynamics 365 Business Central cloud ERP product leaving many wondering what the Microsoft road map looks like in the coming years. 

NetSuite is 100% focused on investing in a single, leading, cloud-based ERP platform while Microsoft has acquired, maintained, and retooled multiple platforms (SL,GP, NAV, AX) over the years leaving many prospects scratching their head about what ERP product they should invest in.

If you desire:

  • a leading software vendor (Oracle)
  • a singular product focus (NetSuite invest 25% of all revenue back into R&D)
  • a proven & scalable platform (Gartner Magic Quadrant "Leader")
  • a robust partner ecosystem

...then NetSuite should be your #1 choice. Still on the fence? Try NetSuite today.


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