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Sage and SAP are two of the closest rivals in the Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) software mid-market; however, Sage and Microsoft have some of the most similar ERP solutions in terms of functionality and application. Sage X3 and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 product line (formerly Microsoft Dynamics AX) are two of the closest competing ERP systems for mid-market businesses and enterprises. The key differences that determine which is the best ERP for your needs are also those that define how your business operates.
While Sage X3 and Dynamics 365 are both mid-market and enterprise-focused software solutions, they feature different approaches to fulfilling those roles. When comparing X3 versus Microsoft Dynamics 365 for selecting the best ERP, these distinct strategies must be reviewed and weighed before coming to a final decision. Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides the most value for businesses with clear, static demands and already using a full range of Microsoft products, while Sage ERP X3 is a scalable solution that can be positioned for growth and shifting conditions with help from the right partners.
Here are the key differences when comparing Sage X3 versus Microsoft Dynamics 365 that determine which is the best ERP for you:
Publisher Size and Focus
Vendors of software products will position publisher size and market share as a deciding factor in your ERP system purchase, as we have pointed out previously. This is a misleading obfuscation that does not serve to inform you on how these factors will actually impact your search for the solution that meets your needs. These features only help you determine what a publisher’s focus is and what their future direction will be based on precedent.
Microsoft is a household name for its Windows operating system, which occupies over 80 percent of the personal computer market. However, while Microsoft commands the majority in this sector, their ERP products are outclassed by many other ERP solutions – including Sage in various markets. Dynamics 365 is just another item Microsoft sells into a market that is not their primary priority, while Sage X3 is Sage’s flagship ERP system for their target customer base.
Product History and Informational Resources
Sage X3 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be confusing products to research due to several name changes and redesigns both have experienced. Both Sage X3 and Dynamics AX were acquired from previous European developers in the early 2000’s and have gone through several successive development stages. The Dynamics suite in particular has gone through multiple redevelopments, including recent major changes that Microsoft has made little effort to explain to its customers or partners.
Microsoft Dynamics AX has gone from being named for yearly releases, to being named for Office 365, to being named Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise Edition. It has been left up to Microsoft vendors to explain the changes and difference to customers, and some have not even bothered to update their materials because of the confusion. Microsoft’s approach is to avoid committing effort to communicating Dynamics 365’s functionality to every possible individual user.
Sage X3 went through a similar change but has had less major rebranding than Microsoft Dynamics and Sage provided clear informational updates throughout the process. As of 2018, Sage X3 became Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management as a more descriptive title that would communicate the product’s purpose succinctly. All of Sage X3’s Business Cloud features are presented clearly and in a way that any end user can understand.
Stability and Scalability
Mid-market ERP systems fulfill a vital operational role and consequently must be able to provide functionality for multiple tasks. Out-of-the-box features available (or lack thereof) at initial implementation affect the total cost of ownership (TCO) for your new software. Knowing what integrations you will need from the start will provide you with insight into the final TCO, as well as being aware of what integrations are actually compatible before you actually need them.
The Microsoft Dynamics suite is inherently compatible with Windows and the full array of Microsoft office applications (Outlook, SharePoint, etc.); additional integrations require vendor development and it cannot be used on Apple or Linux machines. Historically, the Microsoft Dynamics suite also lacks core out-of-the-box functionality for several features and users will have to purchase additional modules to include those roles in their Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP.
Sage X3 is a more flexible solution that is designed to fulfill multiple objectives and be applied to a wide range of stages of growth within the mid-market. It is built specifically to allow medium-sized businesses to grow into larger enterprises without being forced to adopt new technology applications to accommodate additional operational tasks. Sage X3’s native functionality and open architecture allow it to be easily positioned as a vertical solution with seamless integrations by a Sage Master Developer such as SWK Technologies.
Partners and Support
There is a noticeable difference in how Microsoft and Sage communicate with their audiences, as illustrated above. This translate further into the level of support customers and even partners receive from both publishers. Microsoft’s approach is reflected in their vendor relationships as well, who are also subjected to the sparse informational updates and lack of two-way interaction.
Sage takes a measurably different approach with partners and maintains a close relationship with valued resellers. Sage Master Developers such as SWK receive the same level of training as Sage’s own personnel as well as access to product source code for additional development and customization. Sage will also personally become involved in supporting Sage X3 implementations, as seen with SWK customer Avlon Industries in Melrose Park, IL.
Sage vs Microsoft – The Best ERP is the One That Fits Your Needs
Sage X3 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 rank closely for several core features but do have key differences in native functionality and publisher focus that will affect the value your system delivers. Dynamics 365 Enterprise is technology-focused and is progressively pushing cloud-hosting on Microsoft Azure; Sage X3 is a more reliable, proven solution that is accommodating of customization. The best ERP for your business depends on your particular pain points and goals.
Watch the video of SWK’s implementation of Sage X3 for Avlon Industries and sign up for a free demo to see what this solution can do for yourself.