The evaluation process can be daunting, which is why we created our 2020 Top 10 ERP Vendors Report. Based on our experience with hundreds of ERP systems, our list of top 10 ERP software highlights the vendors that our ERP experts have found to be strong in functionality across a variety of industries, including manufacturing and distribution, professional services, retail and more.
2020 Top 10 ERP Vendors Report
This report provides ERP selection guidance to organizations across all industries that are evaluating ERP systems. The vendors featured in this report were chosen based on the strength of their functionality across a variety of products.
Overview of the Top 10 ERP Vendors
The report provides details on these vendors’ strongest products but following is a brief overview of our Top 10 list:
SAP is designed for large, enterprise type companies across the globe. While the solution set can be the longest in duration to implement, it is often built specifically for the company’s needs.
Oracle and NetSuite
Oracle also has made its mark on a global scale. The platform is a complex set of applications that can be leveraged in basic and advanced ways. The acquisition of NetSuite by Oracle is proving beneficial for both sides. NetSuite is able to develop and offer add-on advanced functionality from the Oracle product suite, while Oracle is benefiting from NetSuite’s leading SaaS methodologies and market presence.
Microsoft has strong products for small to mid-sized companies. It is typically a good fit for companies that are already leveraging the Microsoft technology stack (i.e., Microsoft Dynamics). Microsoft is emerging and gaining market-share with many pre-configured business processes.
Infor is still emerging as a global, enterprise solution. The platform is a set of applications that can be configured to meet companies’ needs. Many large enterprise type companies are matching up well with best practice implementation accelerators.
With an emerging US market, IFS has strong end-to-end functionality. The product is a good fit for large consumer packaged goods companies with a global footprint.
With strong human capital management features, as well as a focus on financial management, the Workday solution is a robust SaaS product that is growing into an end-to-end ERP.
Epicor’s focus for research and development is on future-proofing the investment. Their partnership with Microsoft makes for an innovative solution available to the small-medium cap market.
The abas ERP system has broad capabilities for small- to mid-sized manufacturers in the assemble-to-order, make-to-order and engineer-to-order environments. abas listens to the needs of their customers and makes adjustments to their releases to meet these needs.
Deltek is a steady-paced vendor experiencing growth and cloud consolidation of their products. This vendor offers a varied set of solutions for small to large companies and has flexibility in their basic versus advanced functionality.
Sage Enterprise Management has solid end-to-end functionality. Our clients have been pleased with its intuitive user interface, and the product has high adoption rates across the market overall.
Tips for Selecting an ERP System
1. Outline Specific Benefits Your Company Wants to Realize
ERP projects often deliver minimal ERP business benefits because they are not aligned with the company’s strategic goals. This is because clearly defined goals help you evaluate software based on its functional fit.
For example, if your company wants to improve its customer service, one of your ERP requirements might be the ability to automatically order inventory when it reaches a certain level and automatically update this information for the sales department. With this functionality, the sales department would be able to quickly and easily provide customers with a realistic delivery date, thus improving the customer experience.
It’s important to find customer relationship management (CRM) functionality that improves the customer experience. If you’re determining what CRM functionality your company needs, you may find our ERP vs. CRM blog post helpful.
Many of the vendors in our report provide ERP software systems with strong reporting capabilities that ensure data consistency across departments and enable real-time data insights. While scheduling ERP demos, we recommend asking vendors to demonstrate their reporting functionality in a test case, using your data.
Whatever functional areas you’re hoping to improve, you should define these with the executive team before selection. This preparation is essential for many reasons, one of which is minimizing ERP customization.
2. Understand ERP Market Lingo
This is especially important when you’re talking about buzzwords like, artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT because different vendors have their own definitions of these terms.
While some vendors may consider AI to be a system that autonomously learns and solves problems, other vendors may simply consider AI to be an automated workflow.
It’s important to understand what a vendor means by AI because the most advanced AI in ERP systems is typically expensive and complicated to fully integrate. Large enterprises with the money and resources to invest in AI may achieve long-term ROI, but smaller companies may not be able to wait this long for a payoff.
For these companies, integrating a niche application – such as robotic process automation (RPA) technology – with their main ERP, may be a better option.
Another niche application example, besides RPA, that many small to mid-sized companies benefit from is specialized cash applications. These applications can automate financial management processes, like the process of receiving a payment from a customer, applying it to the most recent invoice, entering it into the system and processing checks for validation. These applications are designed to learn and improve overtime.
For example, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations integrates machine learning and AI into its finance applications giving finance leaders better insight into the business.
While AI is exciting, it’s not right for every company. We recommend only implementing the technology that aligns with our short-and long-term enterprise strategy.
3. Seek External Guidance and Support
Many companies face resource constraints when building an ERP project team to assist with ERP selection. There are several ways to address this challenge depending on your unique situation:
- If your company doesn’t have sophisticated internal IT resources, consider hiring external IT resources.
- If your company already has sufficient internal IT resources, focus on backfilling these roles with temporary contractors.
- If your company has identified an ideal ERP project manager but he is having difficulty balancing his day job with the ERP project, you may want to backfill his previous role. Strong ERP project management is important, and an internal project manager has the intel necessary to make difficult decisions when your team faces challenges.
- If your company lacks ERP selection experience, then hiring an ERP consultant is beneficial. They have lessons learned from implementing ERP systems for companies across a variety of industries.
What Does This Mean for You?
These tips are only a few of the secrets to selecting the right ERP system. More ERP selection tips can be found in our ERP Selection Guide.
Your company ultimately needs to decide what section criteria are most important, then narrow down your options based on these criteria. This may or may not lead you to consider one of the top systems from this year’s list. No matter which systems you’re evaluating, the ERP selection advice in this blog post and our report is essential for finding a solution that supports your organizational goals.
Panorama’s ERP consultants have helped hundreds of companies select the right ERP system and develop an effective ERP project plan. Request a free consultation below and be sure to download our 2020 Top 10 ERP Vendors Report for vendor details and ERP selection advice.