The last few years have witnessed a tremendous change in the way organizations do business. The new wave of digital innovation demands a need for technology that meets the capabilities of the latest trends and supports rapid business growth in an increasingly competitive landscape. This implies organizations need to evaluate and improve their software investments, starting from their core system ERP for better business management. Luckily, ERP systems today are getting better and better at bringing all your business processes together to collaborate efficiently and allowing you to make data-driven decisions to improve productivity and keep ahead of the game.
But, choosing the right ERP is better said than done with a plethora of options for anyone looking to implement a new ERP or upgrading their legacy system to a modern ERP system. The options range from big players like SAP or Oracle and mid-market ERP players like Microsoft Dynamics or Epicor to relatively new players in the ERP market like Automatica, Aptian, etc. The choice is not only for selecting a vendor but also in choosing the right deployment options (Cloud or On-Premise), choosing the necessary modules, pricing plans, and much more. Comparing the features and capabilities of various ERP solutions and weighing them against your business needs and expectations from implementing an ERP is one of the first steps in choosing the right ERP for your business.
In this blog, we bring to you two major mid-market ERP solutions – Epicor and Microsoft Dynamics. For SMEs looking for an ideal ERP solution, Epicor and Microsoft Dynamics turn out to be potentially ideal options. They were the top performers with the highest scores in the ERP Functionality use case in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities report for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Midsize Enterprises.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs Epicor- Feature Comparison
A look at the features might not really help you in making a choice as both offer very similar features with only very minor differences.
However, there are few features where one outperforms the other like Dynamics 365 has stronger business analytics features compared to Epicor whereas Epicor outshines Dynamics 365 when coming to finance management functionalities. Also, you may see considerable differences in other factors such as cost, deployment options, support services, usability, etc.
So, let’s now dig into the pros and cons of Epicor and Microsoft Dynamics 365 so that you can evaluate both solutions and determine which one best suits your business needs.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft which is ranked # 3 by Panorama Consulting in its 2020 Top 10 ERP vendors report is indeed one of the largest players in the ERP market today. Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution targets small and mid-size companies with up to 1000 employees.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based business application platform that combines components of CRM and traditional ERP system capabilities by delivering new purpose-built applications to help manage specific business functions.
Unlike most of the other ERP systems in the market, Microsoft is focusing on key business groups within and organizations rather than focusing on specific industries for offering maximum flexibility and extensibility. The Dynamics 365 suite has the following applications that cater to different business functionalities and the customers can select the business areas that they need.
- Dynamics 365 Sales
- Dynamics 365 Marketing
- Dynamics 365 Customer Service
- Dynamics 365 Field Service
- Dynamics 365 Project Service Automation
- Dynamics 365 Finance
- Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
- Dynamics 365 Commerce
- Dynamics 365 Human Resources
The Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solution which is designed to be a SaaS application is based on Microsoft’s legacy ERP systems Dynamics AX and is now called Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. It basically consists of two applications Dynamics 365 Finance and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain management to offer more flexibility to the users to adopt the capabilities that they need. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is targeted at larger organizations.
Microsoft also offers another product Microsoft Dynamics 365 Central which is based on the legacy system Dynamics NAV, GP, and SL and is targeted for small and mid-market space.
By combining Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP with Microsoft’s productivity applications, users get a connected view of data intelligence on customer records, transactions, behaviors, and preferences, along with information about orders, inventory, and shipping, and in addition to predictive insight tools for decision-makers.
Microsoft Dynamics 365, although designed to be a pure SaaS, offers other deployment options as well including hosted and on-premises.
Pros and Cons of Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Easy Integrations with Microsoft Products – Tight integrations with Microsoft Office 365 and LinkedIn boost productivity. Its integrations with Microsoft Power Platform for custom additions make customizations easy.
- With Microsoft Power BI, Cortana Intelligence, and Azure Machine Learning built in, Dynamics 365 has some of the best analytics tools that help businesses make better decisions with data.
- The common User Interface throughout Microsoft’s suite of business applications makes end-user adoption easier with less training and improves efficiency.
- Offers flexibility with their purpose-built apps allowing users to start with what they want and grow at their own pace.
- A large partner community
- The total cost of ownership to make it an end-to-end solution is quite high as adding multiple portals incurs additional cost.
- Named user-based license model which allows only named users to access the system.
- No focus on industry-specific functionalities.
- Integrations with other Software or tools are limited.
- Microsoft’s regular product changes to the Dynamics products cause a lot of confusion for users.
- Although it offers On-Premise deployment, there are several important features that are not yet available with an On-Premise deployment like Power BI.com integration, analytical workspaces, configurable business processes, Electronic reports integration with LCS, and Sharepoint, etc.
- It requires a lot of third-party extensions to become a complete solution.
- Very complicated licensing and pricing options.
- No direct support service from Microsoft.
Epicor is a mid-tier industry-specific ERP system targeted at mid-size and large businesses. It has been Positioned as a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Midsize Enterprises. Additionally, Epicor received the highest score in the ERP Functionality use case in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities report for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Midsize Enterprises and Panorama Consulting ERP report identifies it as the top performer in the midmarket.
Epicor ERP has top-notch features that enable businesses to streamline their business processes and scale as the business grows. With flexible deployment options including on-premise, hosted, and cloud, and embracing the latest technologies like AI, IoT, Big Data, and Business Intelligence, it is a highly evolved ERP system allowing businesses to keep pace with the digital revolution today.
Epicor ERP is a complete end to end solution that helps to manage every part of your business with its various modules including financials, planning, HR, CRM, supply chain, logistics, sales, risk management, asset management, etc.
Pros and Cons of Epicor
- Has strong industry-specific functionalities for industries including Manufacturing, Distribution, Retail, Hospitality, etc.
- A pretty UI that is intuitive and easy to navigate through.
- Strongly positioned for the manufacturing sector and has features tailored to meet needs for various manufacturing processes like discrete manufacturing, MTO (Make to Order), Engineer-to-order (ETO), and Configure-to-order (CTO).
- The strong industry-specific functionalities eliminate or minimize the need for customizations.
- Same feature set for the on-premise and cloud deployment options.
- Strong financial functionality.
- Choice of partners vs direct for implementation and support services.
- A Concurrent user licensing model that enables you to share the license between people working in different time zones or shifts effectively and saving significantly on license cost.
- Relatively new to the cloud system.
- Limited partner network.
- Limited support service.
Microsoft Dynamics vs Epicor – Who Wins?
Well, the choice of Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs Epicor comes down to what you need from your ERP. Both solutions offer really great features. But based on the points discussed here, Microsoft Dynamics turns out to be a great choice for smaller businesses looking for specific business functions. Whereas Epicor becomes a better choice for mid-size to large organizations looking for industry-specific or end to end solutions spanning across all your business processes. Additionally, the lack of industry-specific functionalities in Dynamics 365 and a higher cost of ownership for adding various Dynamics 365 apps can be an issue. Epicor provides a complete solution with strong functionalities and technology at a better cost. Epicor also becomes a clear winner for businesses looking for on-premise deployment as Dynamics 365 is a solution designed for the cloud with limited features in its on-premise version.
Choosing the right ERP for your business is a very critical step and it is extremely important that you get it right from the beginning. Identifying your business needs and how the ERP fits your process is the key to getting it right. Read our blog on the Checklist to Choosing an ERP System for your Business to get a clear picture of how to go about selecting the best fit ERP for your organization.
If you are still looking for some help in choosing the right ERP for your business, talk to our team of experts at RheinBrücke. We at RheinBrücke, provide ERP program and project management, technical consulting, development services, maintenance, and support services as well as ready solutions to clients globally.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog represents the opinion of the author. Though the information herein has been obtained from public sources believed to be reliable, RheinBrücke makes no representation as to its accuracy or completeness. Hyperlinks to third-party websites in this report are provided for reader convenience only. RheinBrücke neither endorses the content nor is responsible for the accuracy or security controls of these websites.