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Although it may sound like a joke with a punchline, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and Infor actually do have several things in common.

Last week, we published our 2017 Clash of the Titans report, which summarizes the results from our study of nearly 500 organizations that have implemented one of the leading ERP vendors in the last year. This data is helpful as you evaluate how these solutions may or may not fit your business needs.

The similarities between the products run counter to common perception, so understanding them may ensure that you don’t eliminate any ERP software vendor from consideration based on faulty information. Here are five areas where the five vendors are very similar to one another:

The difference in market share is immaterial. It wasn’t too long ago that SAP and Oracle dominated in terms of market share. In recent years, these numbers have tightened considerably. SAP still leads the pack, but now, for the first time since we began the study, Microsoft Dynamics is in a close second, followed by Infor and Oracle. In addition, Tier II and Tier III vendors make up 37% of the market. This all points to the relatively new reality that large and small organizations both have very viable alternatives in the market.

Actual costs for customers exceed estimated costs. None of the leading vendors have a clear advantage when it comes to the discrepancy between planned and actual implementation costs. While cost overruns range from 2% (Oracle) to 45% (SAP), all of the numbers tell the same story: customers of the leading vendors have trouble implementing within their estimated budget. And, with the exception of Infor, customers also struggle to implement within their estimated timeline.

Operational disruption is very consistent – and consistently too high. Operational disruption, which highlights the percentage of companies that have some sort of operational disruption at the time of go-live – such as not being able to ship product or close the books – is the most consistent metric among the four vendors. Between 41% to 44% of customers (depending on the product) experience an operational disruption at the time of go-live. The silver lining is that these disruptions are largely caused by the way these ERP systems are implemented rather than a flaw in the systems themselves.

Most customers are failing to realize the business benefits they expect. SAP customers realize the most expected business benefits, with 34% realizing at least half of the benefits they expected. Infor rounds out the pack with only 10% of customers realizing the benefits they expected. Although the numbers are slightly different, they all tell a story of customers failing to realize business benefits. As is the case with operational disruption, the cause for this is typically the way the software is implemented – rather than the software itself.

Cloud adoption continues to gain momentum but most implementations are still on-premise. All four vendors are investing heavily in cloud ERP deployment options, but, with the exception of Microsoft Dynamics, a majority of customers are still implementing on-premise options. The numbers are definitely trending toward more cloud adoption year-over-year, but adoption has not yet reached the majority. This should continue to change as vendors and other third parties continue to provide more viable cloud deployment options.

While every organization has different business requirements, Clash of the Titans can be the starting point for your own ERP evaluation and selection. In addition, understanding the similarities between the vendors can help your organization navigate the challenges inherent to digital transformation, regardless of vendor.

Download Clash of the Titans: SAP vs. Oracle vs. Microsoft Dynamics vs. Infor.

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