My Take on Striven vs Netsuite ERP

No Comments

Photo of author

By Ewen Finser

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Ewen Finser

If you are trying to figure out if Striven offers enough as a Netsuite ERP alternative, you are in the right place.

Netsuite is a stalwart in the ERP space and I’ve used it various times over the last 5+ years. Our editorial team has already compared to some of their top industry competitors (see “alternatives” section at the end), but Striven is a new (for me) ERP option so I wanted to see how they compared head-to-head.

As I’ll cover more later, Striven immediately got my attention for their affordable and straightforward pricing structure. If you’ve dealt with pretty much any Oracle sales process (and Netsuite is fairly well ingested into Oracle since their acquisition), you know the pain! They won’t even list prices up-front!

But the next question I had was, “are the features comparable?” This is what my goal is here.

First, let’s highlight some of the significant differences between these platforms.

The Primary Differences Between Netsuite and Striven

Here’s how I see the core differences right now:

  • Pricing: It’s hard to pin down the latest pricing without talking to the dreaded sales team, but Netsuite generally starts at $999/month (often more), whereas Striven starts at either $35/month per user (Standard Plan) or $70/month per user (Enterprise Plan).
  • Target Customer: Netsuite definitely targets mid-sized to large-enterprise companies, whereas Striven feels more squarely aimed at growing small to mid-sized SMBs.
  • Operational Focus: Netsuite offers more financial management and accounting tools, whereas Striven focuses more on real-time operational insights and ops management.
  • Customization: Striven offers more ways to customize reports and insights, whereas Netsuite has more modules but requires you to work inside their structures a bit more.
  • Accessibility: Unless you are a power user, Netsuite likely requires trained team members to properly leverage (or even dedicated administrators), while I was able to fairly quickly get a handle on how to set up Striven on my own.
  • International Markets: Netsuite has international versions, whereas Striven is currently focused on the US market.

Alright, so these contrasts may already provide you some bread-crumbs to narrow your decision point, but I’d like to provide some additional context on both platforms.

What’s the Background With Netsuite?

I was first exposed to Netsuite back in 2015 before they were acquired by Oracle. This was fairly big news at the time as Netsuite was one of a handful of pre-internet bubble companies that survived (and thrived) in the next era.

Netsuite’s initial positioning (ironically much like Striven today), was as a small to mid sized business alternative to the big players like Oracle, SAP, Dynamics, etc…

As such, they evolved around a core product offering of ERP and CRM services, with perhaps a strong hold in the CRM market than many of their peers in the ERP space.

They are known for their modular approach to business solutions, often customizing packages (and sales pitches) based on their understanding of your unique needs. Effectively, Netsuite today operates as Oracle’s little brother, focusing on the middle market funnel.

What Exactly is Striven ERP?

Striven – on the other hand – is a lightweight cloud-based ERP for smaller companies looking for the benefits of a true ERP, without the exorbitant costs and administrative overhead common with many leading ERPs.

Striven really feels like a “back to basics” ERP, with an emphasis on the “resource planning” part of the acronym. Everything just works, is easy to manipulate, and can be integrated and assigned across functional teams (leans more to the project management vs accounting end).

But overall, Striven is by FAR the lesser-known upstart, so it’s not exactly a household name. I’ll admit to never hearing of it until I did a deep dive on ERPs recently for my own reasons.

As such, there’s less of an established track record, fewer third-party integrations, and even fewer potential employees who’ve had experience with it already.

Striven vs Netsuite Pricing Plans Compared

This is where it gets a bit murky due to Netsuite’s custom sales “quote” process. I’ve received different quotes from different reps and custom plans, even for similar setups.

To add complexity, most times you are dealing with a Netsuite reseller to handle the implementation, which adds cost and opaque variability to the cost structure.

The actual comps vary wildly based on your business, but generally follow this logic:

Service Type
Pricing
Frequency
Licensing
Variable
Annual
Modules
Variable
Annual
Implementation
$10,000 – 100,000
Once
Integrations
up to $4,000
Annual or One Time
Customizations
$150-300 per hour
To spec / as needed
Training + Support
$2,000 – 15,000
One time (optional)
Even for a healthy business, this can be a SIGNIFICANT one-time and ongoing cost structure!

I do like Netsuite for large enterprises with really well-established workflows, but to be honest, I was turned off by the entire cost and organizational “lock in” required with Netsuite.

Striven, on the other hand, offers very transparent pricing (no “sales calls” and run-arounds). It’s also just plain more affordable compared to any Netsuite quotes I’ve received.

It is worth pointing out the small print below for additional users (it’s less expensive to scale).

Then, Striven has a monthly hosted pricing fee based on the modules you need (Customer Portal, Vendor Portal, Career Portal):

What makes this so attractive to smaller organizations and startups is the FREE tier (up to 100 accounts) for each of these categories. And the first $99/month tier isn’t an astronomical leap.

You also DO still have to contact their sales team up-front, BUT I really appreciate the up-front pricing benchmarks vs the complete mystery and variability surrounding NetSuite.

Striven ERP Standard vs Enterprise Plans

So what’s the key difference here between the plans?

They are both identical, with the following exceptions:

Standard Plan
Enterprise Plan
Chart of Accounts
250
Unlimited
Classes
50
Unlimited
Inventory Items
100,000
500,000
Inventory Locations
1,000
Unlimited
Entity Types
20 per Type
500 per Type
Display / Print Formats
20 per Format
500 per Format
Columns Per Report
15
50
API Usage per 24 Hours
5,000
25,000
Max API Calls per Minute
100
500
Honestly, the best way to “find out” what you need is probably to start with the Standard Plan and then upgrade once you establish a good usage pattern.

Striven also has some custom field limitations between the two plans:

Side note: You can also take a fully functional FREE TRIAL of Striven, whereas getting a Netsuite demo is fairly involved and later on in the dreaded “sales process”.

Integrations Compared

If Striven “wins” the pricing war, Netsuite has the lead at least in commerce with their dedicated logistics, ecommerce, and inventory integrations via their “connectors” functionality.

That said, Striven appears to be adding new integrations (of the more traditional variety) to their system on a regular basis.

Currently, Striven integrates directly with:

  • Authorize.net
  • ShipStation
  • Stripe
  • Twilio
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Microsoft Calendar

They also feature a fairly user-friendly email relay setup and an API for custom integrations with external data sources.

I also found a surprisingly robust (for a relative newcomer) array of Zapier integrations here, including WooCommerce, Slack, Wix, Amazon Seller Central, Mailchimp, Hubspot, Salesforce, and more….

These were definitely integrations I personally found more useful for our agency / client management side.

On the flip side, NetSuite STILL doesn’t play at all with Zapier…

All in all, I get that feeling that Striven is going to be more integration-friendly and not as much of a “walled garden” as Netsuite long term.

If you rely heavily on Netsuite’s specific e-commerce connectors, I can see a clear reason to stick with them for now… but I prefer the approach Striven is taking.

Things I Liked About Netsuite

Integrations and pricing notwithstanding… these are features that still stand out as selling points to me with Netsuite:

  • Strong eCommerce Connections: If you are selling enterprise-level via Walmart, Amazon, Shopify, or BigCommerce, it’s hard to beat the power of Netsuite’s direct “connectors” here. It’s like a super-powered integration to maximize data flow into your ERP infrastructure.
  • Built for Mid to Large Scale: If spending $50k+ on a platform implementation is on the “affordable side”, Netsuite has pretty much every function under the sun.
  • On-Premise Implementation & Support: If you need help getting organizational buy-in or need to build a knowledge foundation, Netsuite’s authorized resellers do have some really solid implementation plans and training. It’s not cheap, but a huge advantage vs trying to roll it out on your own with all of the “unknown unknowns”.
  • Widespread Market Share: There’s a whole cottage industry of Netsuite developers, administrators and tech support professionals. Most mid to large enterprise staff tend to have some familiarity with NetSuite (or Oracle) products. This means it’s actually a “safe” choice for many industries that can’t afford to experiment with upstarts.

Things I Liked About Striven

I was really pleasantly surprised by how Striven punched above its weight with these standout features:

  • Ease of Implementation: I could sign up for a demo right away and theoretically could sign up and be setting up our ERP system within 24 hours. No need for “implementation consultants”, just a straightforward and intuitive dashboard that is very “figureoutable”.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-29.png

  • Preset Modules: Striven comes with a standard array of presets, helpful for specific types of businesses and their workflows. You can always get started with their “vanilla” version, but they have dedicated presets for Professional Services, Field Services, and Manufacturing.
Here’s what the “Manufacturing” module looks like, for example.
  • No Additional Costs Required: Unlike NetSuite, you won’t need to outlay 10s of thousands of dollars for implementation, consulting and support. It may still be helpful to get team members trained up or cross-trained on the Striven platform, but since it’s much easier to grasp, there’s no direct cost here.
  • Affordable! This is the BIG selling point for me. There’s just so much value here for the price and no matter how you slice it, Striven is one of the most cost-effective ERP platforms I’ve seen recently.
  • Suitable for SMBs: NetSuite really isn’t suitable for small businesses (<50 head-count) due to its cost and complexity. Striven has a lot of the CORE ERP functionality but IS suitable for SMBs (and really all the way up – although it becomes a tougher call for large enterprise).
  • Lightweight: Striven is a 100% cloud-based system so there’s it’s versatile and requires no onsite resources or maintenance.

Some Competitors to Consider

I’d be remiss without at least mentioning the rest of the competitive landscape here. NetSuite and Striven aren’t the only fish in the sea.

Broadly speaking, the upmarket Striven and NetSuite competitors are fairly well-established and well-known. Names like:

But chances are, if you are deciding between Netsuite and Striven, you are probably in the neighborhood of smaller, lightweight, and relatively affordable ERP solutions.

I definitely prefer Striven overall, but these are some similarly targeted SMB to mid-sized company solutions worth mentioning:

  • Odoo: Odoo is an ERP / CRM combo that is squarely targeted at NetSuite’s market and is a more visually appealing UX compared to Striven. It’s also slightly more affordable per user up-front than Striven. The main downside is that it’s apps are a bit more limited in scope and their data API pipe is less customizable and capable (for custom data integrations). Further read: Odoo vs NetSuite.
  • Dolibarr: Dolibarr is an open source alternative that is “free” to download. A good option if you have someone in mind to customize it and maintain it (probably NOT free). Ideal if you just don’t want to be locked into any priced system.
  • monday.com: I personally love monday.com as a versatile swiss army knife operating system for digitally native workflows. It might not be the best for completely offline companies, but the project management core means it’s an excellent productivity oriented visual planning tool. Also integrates with everything!
  • TallyPrime: Another option similarly to Odoo, but with a heavier emphasis on inventory management applications.
  • Hubspot: Similar to monday.com, I wouldn’t call Hubspot an ERP in the traditional sense, more of a CRM-first ecosystem that can be extended into many of the traditional ERP functional areas. A good option for marketing heavy organizations.

Who Should Use NetSuite?

I feel pretty strongly here that NetSuite is suitable for larger organizations if one of the true is following:

  • Already have Oracle products? If you already have Oracle contracts and staff in place, it’s going to be an easier “add in” to just go with NetSuite..
  • Global or publicly traded company? Going with a proven and well known system of record like NetSuite makes sense. At this scale, you probably have the resources, revenue and reach to make the most of ALL of the many powerful features NetSuite offers.
  • Large multichannel ecommerce? If you are a brand selling on multiple channels like Shopify, Amazon, Walmart, etc… NetSuite’s direct “connectors” will be a significant value add.

Who is Right for Striven?

On the other hand, I feel like MOST businesses that don’t fit the described mold above for NetSuite, should lean strongly towards Striven.

But here are some particularly strong use cases that I see:

  • Are you a smaller business? NetSuite is probably overkill and a huge waste of resources relative to what you can get with Striven. I’m sticking with Striven for SMBs here.
  • Manufacturing shop? The specialized preset in Striven is well worth it and will be MUCH easier than wrangling NetSuite to get the end result you want. If this is you, go with Striven here.
  • Agency or Professional Service? Similarly to the above use case, if this sounds like you, Striven’s Professional Services module is a great launch point.
  • Don’t want to pay implementation fees? If the principle of the matter just grinds your gears (like it does mine), Striven is a breeze compared to NetSuite and will minimize up-front costs. If you are cost sensitive right now, go with Striven.
  • Don’t want to MAINTAIN an expensive ERP system? For similar reasons to the above case, Striven is just much more affordable and the comparatively low maintenance.

In general, if you are still on the fence or have any doubt, I’d recommend starting with Striven here. Worst case scenario, you spend a few hundred bucks over a few months seeing if it works. The alternative, tens of thousands with NetSuite, will lock you into a path you may not have the optionality to come back from.

Leave a Comment

English