If you are considering implementing a new ERP solution, or if you are in the market for ERP software, our ERP Software Guide - Longlist Options - is a great place to find the best vendors to include in your initial market assessment. Each of our nine ERP vendor solutions has been in the market for a number of years, and our selection is collated from various trusted sources, taking into account analyst feedback, market share, and customer reviews.
What is ERP Software?
ERP Software is often the central piece of software that runs a company's end-to-end business processes. It can be implemented in areas or in phases, but it generally sits at the very heart of a company and without it, life is very difficult. ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning and the software became popular in the 80s and 90s when large companies began to install it across various core departments.
ERP Software Options
The ERP software market is diverse. There are many vendors working in the space and some of those vendors offer multiple different versions of ERP solutions - some for small and medium-size businesses, and some for large companies. As such, it can be confusing to really get a grip on the marketplace and what's available.
The following nine vendors (not products) are great companies to start discussions with. Every ERP selection process is a little different and some businesses will want to talk to many vendors, whilst others will stick to those that they know. At Viewpoint Analysis, we recommend casting the net wide in the initial market research - creating a 'longlist' of vendors and seeing how they can help, before drawing that in for the RFI or RFP process.
Here are nine vendors that we think are worth including in the initial longlist or market assessment phase. A more detailed ERP Software Guide is available to get deeper on the topic and where we look at each one in a little more detail.
SAP is synonymous with the word ERP as a pioneer in the sector. Established in the 1970s, the German business has grown to become the name in the ERP marketplace.
History: Founded in 1972, SAP is one of the oldest and largest ERP vendors globally.
Size and Shape: SAP is a multinational company with a presence in over 180 countries and more than 440,000 customers.
ERP Solution: SAP offers comprehensive ERP solutions that cover various industries, including modules for finance, HR, procurement, manufacturing, and more.
One of the largest software businesses in the world and a major competitor to SAP for decades, Oracle built their ERP solutions organically and via a number of high-profile acquisitions.
History: Oracle, established in 1977, is a major player in the enterprise software market, including ERP.
Size and Shape: As one of the world's largest technology companies, Oracle serves a vast customer base, including many Fortune 500 companies.
ERP Solution: Oracle provides a wide range of ERP solutions, offering integrated functionalities for finance, supply chain management, project management, and more.
History: Founded in 1983, IFS is a global ERP vendor known for its focus on specific industries like manufacturing, aerospace, and defense.
Size and Shape: IFS serves over 10,000 customers worldwide and has a presence in more than 60 countries.
ERP Solution: IFS offers a modular ERP solution that covers important areas such as project management, manufacturing, asset management, and service management.
History: Founded in 2002 but with constituent parts of the business much older than that, Infor has grown through acquisitions and now delivers a broad range of enterprise software, including ERP.
Size and Shape: Infor is a global company with customers spanning across 170 countries, serving industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.
ERP Solution: Infor's ERP solutions target various industries and offer comprehensive capabilities in finance, supply chain management, human capital management, and more.
History: Established in 1981, Sage is a leading provider of business management software, including ERP solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Size and Shape: Sage serves millions of customers globally, ranging from small-scale businesses to larger enterprises.
ERP Solution: Sage offers a range of ERP solutions tailored to different business sectors, with features such as financial management, inventory control, sales, and analytics.
History: Epicor, founded in 1972, is a global ERP vendor that focuses on sectors like manufacturing, distribution, and retail.
Size and Shape: Epicor has a substantial customer base, with companies in over 150 countries utilizing their ERP solutions.
ERP Solution: Epicor provides end-to-end ERP solutions that cover various business processes, including supply chain management, manufacturing execution, CRM, and financials.
History: Known primarily for its software products, Microsoft entered the ERP market in the early 2000s through acquisitions but has provided business applications of different types for many years.
Size and Shape: As one of the world's largest technology companies, Microsoft serves a vast customer base across multiple industries.
ERP Solution: Microsoft Dynamics is the company's ERP solution, offering modules for finance, supply chain management, HR, and more. It can seamlessly integrate with other Microsoft products like Office 365.
History: Netsuite, founded in 1998, was one of the pioneers in cloud-based ERP solutions and has been part of Oracle for a number of years.
Size and Shape: As a cloud-based ERP vendor, Netsuite has a strong presence in various industries and serves companies of different sizes.
ERP Solution: Netsuite provides a cloud-based ERP platform that covers core business functions like finance, inventory management, CRM, and e-commerce, with the advantage of being accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
History: Unit4, established in 1980, is a global ERP vendor known for its focus on service-based industries, education, and not-for-profit sectors.
Size and Shape: Unit4 serves customers in over 100 countries and has a strong presence in Europe, offering ERP solutions tailored to specific industries.
ERP Solution: Unit4's ERP software emphasizes flexibility, ease-of-use, and modularity, with features for finance, HR, project management, procurement, and more.
ERP Selection Process Options
An ERP system is a critical part of a technology landscape and therefore the process to find and select ERP software is perhaps one of the most challenging and difficult decisions that an IT team or business leadership team will ever make. There are a number of ERP selection process options, our recommended approach is as follows:
Initial ERP Market Assessment
Start with a broad-based look at the ERP marketplace by casting the selection net far and wide. In the initial market assessment, we just want to speak to different vendors and see how they and their software fit with our business needs.
Viewpoint Analysis runs a Technology Matchmaker that is designed to do just this. We write up the business needs and take this to a variety of ERP vendors and ask them to present how they can help the business. This is something that Viewpoint Analysis can do or it can be done in-house.
Once we have a 'longlist' of suitable options (that came from the initial market assessment), we want to quickly narrow down the field and choose our shortlist. The shortlist (of maybe 5 vendors) will receive our RFP. To get from this longlist to a shortlist, we always suggest using an RFI.
Viewpoint Analysis uses a 'Rapid RFI' process to quickly get from the longlist to the shortlist but there are a variety of different RFI processes to choose from. The key element is to move as quickly as possible so that we are talking to the best vendors in the shortest period of time. The longer we spend in the RFI process, the less time we have with the most suitable vendors for our needs.
The final step of the selection process is to issue an RFP. As mentioned above, we want to keep this tight - the more vendors that get the RFP, the longer the process and the harder it is for all parties concerned. If the RFI was done well, it would be extremely unlikely that the preferred vendor would be outside of the top five options. The RFP goes from the shortlist to the ultimate option - your preferred vendor.
Viewpoint Analysis runs a Rapid RFP process to help businesses move from the shortlist to the preferred vendor - and justify the project. Again, keeping the process moving along and setting aggressive goals ensures that we have a seamless project that gets to business value quickly - rather than a process becoming a project.
There are some fantastic ERP vendors producing some great pieces of ERP software. In this article we have looked at just nine of them. Are they the best options for you? Only you and your team can decide. Our suggestion would be to add more and take some away - but to get out and make contact with the vendor community. If you can pose your challenge, you can then quickly learn more than you know today. Then, get through from a longlist to a shortlist and on to your preferred ERP vendor.