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There are hundreds of ERP systems available to organizations wanting to embark on a digital transformation. However, there are four larger, Tier I ERP vendors that are more commonly leveraged than any others: SAP Hana, Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Infor CloudSuite.

Sure, there are plenty of others to choose from, but these four dominate in terms of scalability, robustness of functionality and breadth of capabilities. This translates into a larger market share for these four “titans,” as we outlined in our annual 2016 Clash of the Titans Report.

Despite their ubiquity in the market,  these four options are not created equal. They all have their unique strengths, weaknesses and tradeoffs. Below are just a few ways that they differ:

Implementation Duration

WINNER: Infor CloudSuite

Over the last several years that we have been studying actual results from ERP implementations across the globe (download our Clash of the Titans and 2016 ERP Report summaries for more detail), we’ve found that the average implementation time is remarkably steady at around 18 months. However, Infor CloudSuite is typically implemented in the least amount of time, at 16 months – two months less than the average duration across all vendors and a full three months less than any of the other three titans.

Total Cost of Ownership

WINNER: Microsoft Dynamics ERP

For some organizations, time is just as or more important than implementation cost. In this category, Microsoft Dynamics ERP has the edge at an average $1.7 million price tag. This is nearly 40-percent less than the most expensive option of the four (Oracle). It should be noted that this category includes all costs associated with implementation and adoption of the system; such as software, maintenance, hardware upgrades, third-party consulting services and others.

Functionality Achieved

WINNER: Oracle Cloud

At the end of the day, most organizations are implementing new systems to receive some sort of quantifiable, measurable business benefits to improve their businesses. In this category, Oracle Cloud has the edge with their solutions. This also includes JD Edwards and eBusiness Suite. A majority – 74-percent to be exact – of Oracle customers reported receiving 40-percent or more of the expected functionality, which is 10 percentage points above the next closest vendor (Infor) and 24 percentage points above the trailing vendor (SAP).

Risk of Implementation

WINNER: Infor CloudSuite

Many CFOs and executive teams are obsessed with managing the risks of their implementations – and rightfully so. We measure risk in terms of the negative operational disruption at the time of go live, and Infor leads in this category. A slight minority of 47-percent organizations find some sort of material operational disruption at go live, such as not being able to ship product or close the books. This number may seem high, but the risk level for Infor is nearly 30-percent lower than the highest risk option (Microsoft Dynamics).

Payback on Investment

WINNER: SAP HANA

CFOs also like to look at return on investment. At the end of the day, it could be argued that this is most important metric for any company about to embark on a digital transformation or ERP implementation. In this category, SAP HANA has the lead, with the average company realizing enough business benefits to pay for the investment in just nine months. This is roughly 1/3 of the time required to get a positive ROI on the longest-payback option (Infor).

As this data shows, any ERP software decision involves tradeoffs and there is rarely a silver bullet solution that finishes first in all categories. This is why it is so important to carefully evaluate your options and understand the tradeoffs between each.

Download the Top 10 ERP System Rankings Report.

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