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SAP Business One and Dynamics GP or which ERP to choose?

SAP acquired a while ago accounting application initially architected and programmed in Israel.  Around 2005 SAP Business One had good market gain here in the United States with version 2005A.  Great Plains Dynamics in its turn is older and it was introduced on Windows and Mac platforms in earlier 1990th as one of the pioneering applications completely in graphic user interface.

Each system has its pros and contras and consulting to both communities of users we would like to share our impressions:

1. Cost of licenses, implementation and ownership.  Here we would like to give you some excurse into history.  Dynamics GP was acquiring new modules through its own ISV channel.  And large number of modules currently offered from Microsoft was actually adapted, including Manufacturing, Project Accounting and Fixed Assets to name a few.  Business One is probably on the same route but its history is not as long.  This means that if you need industry verticals for SAP B1 they are likely available directly from ISV partners and not directly by SAP.  Having said that we would like to point out that Dynamics GP has more granolas ant its pricing is more diversified.  Implementation hours might be comparable.  We believe that software licenses cost is slightly higher for GP.  Annual support plan is based for both on the software price list and percentage is about the same

2. Light manufacturing.  This is nice fact about B1 that it offers in its license simple discrete manufacturing and MRP functionalities.  Great Plains also has manufacturing package but it is rather for midsize or large production mills.  If what you are looking for is in fact bill of materials then you may decide to see GP presentation

3. Integrations.  GP is open via Integration Manager as well as through SDK eConnect.  Business One has Data Transfer Workbench which is based on CSV templates.  It might be not as flexible as IM.  Second option for SAP BO is programming in MS Visual Studio with Software Development Kit code samples.  If you are planning to code you custom integration in SQL Stored Procedures then if you are pulling records from GP or B1 then it is probably fine.  However if you plan to feed in documents on SQL level then it is not advisable.  Business One has application server layer and direct SQL input intervention might be dangerous.  In the case of Great Plains it seems to be kind of not recommended but you can try and in case if you got records compromised it is easier to do repair directly in SQL queries.  Cross platform integration with such systems as Linux PHP and MySQL could be achieved by eConnect or SAP SDK programming in Microsoft Visual Studio and shaping the project as SOAP XML Web Service

4. Customizability.  In B1 you can create new tables and add fields to existing tables without programming.  In the case of Great Plains you have several options: Modifier with VBA, Dexterity, Extender or Visual Studio SDK.  Basic customization is probably easier in B1 while GP might be more open to surgery in such tool as Dexterity as it is in fact application programmed and designed directly in Dexterity

5. Financial Reporting.  Traditionally Great Plains was open to consolidated financial statements via FRx.  Currently FRx is under phasing out process to be replaced by Microsoft Management Reporter.  In our opinion MMR is pretty similar to FRx in its functionality.  In SB1 it is possible to build consolidated Balance Sheet or P&L by creating new company which merges all GL transactions from your branches.  In 8.82 we see the trend to adopt cross branch consolidation tool and we need more clarity here

6. Managerial Reporting.  Besides incorporated reports we should mention that SAP is tending to favor Crystal Reporting while Microsoft is rather recommending its own SQL Server Reporting Services.  If you prefer something else that you can probably do it as both are hosted in Microsoft SQL Server and it is not a rocket science to base reporting on SQL Tables, Views and Stored Procedures

7. Openness to web.  Both should be classified as ‘fat clients.’  Microsoft Dynamics has portion of its functionality in web based Business Portal adopting Sharepoint technology.  Business One has Ecommerce module as well as various web enablers such as Web Views or Apple Iphone applications.  Obviously you can make both of them could be deployed over the internet via Citrix or Microsoft Terminal Server technologies

8. Exit strategy.  Well today everybody might be enthusiastic about your new ERP software.  In the future however you should expect facing such projects as version upgrade and even phasing out relations with software vendor.  In the case of Business One license key is coded on your server motherboard MAC which might case you a problem if you are on outdated release and want to move your SAP B1 to the new server hardware

9. International business.  Both applications are available internationally however GP is only available in some countries (English and Spanish speaking except Spain plus Arabic and French Canadian versions) while Business One is localized in major world regions including Brazil, China, Russia and most of Europe to just open the list

10. Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904,  We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, Atlanta Georgia, South West MichiganFree Reprint Articles, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA and Canada nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed).  We are working on Brazilian ERP consulting market in Sao Paulo since 2004

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Andrew Karasev is SAP BO consultant and Great Plains Certified Master, MVP, 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904. He is also the initiator of eFaru project and founder of Alba Spectrum information space

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