The complexities of running a business with enterprise resource planning software aren’t lost on today’s executives. But ERP is at the center of everything a company does. It tackles the core tasks of managing and integrating core business processes in real-time. The enterprise software typically addresses project management, scheduling, procurement, production, sales, order management, distribution, billing, shipping, logistics, and supply chain management.
An ERP system might also address numerous other tasks, including data management, governance, human resources/human capital management, customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting. By managing and coordinating data and workflows between and among these various components, it’s possible for an organization to improve processes, trim costs and achieve a more streamlined and effective business framework. Increasingly, ERP systems interact with other enterprise software on premises and in the cloud.
In addition, these systems increasingly deliver data to a growing array of machines connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. This has disrupted and transformed the ERP landscape—and led to a shift in competitive positioning.
Here’s a look at the some of the top ERP vendors. eWEEK has tapped a number of sources to assemble this vendor list. These sources include: G2 Crowd, Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management Suites, Business-Software.com’s 2019 Top 20 Enterprise Resource Planning Software Report, Gartner Peer Insights, IT Central Station and others.
Value Proposition for Buyers: Epicor focuses heavily on enterprise business processes, including manufacturing, supply chain, distribution, sales and service. It offers a number of solutions that fall into the general ERP category, though its flagship product is Epicor ERP. The platform was first released in 2008 (though the company’s roots date to 1984) and the company has established itself as a major player in the enterprise resource planning space. It has a presence in more than 150 countries.
- Epicor ERP appeals to businesses across a wide range of industries. These include: manufacturing, retail and hospitality. Key features include: human capital management (HCM) tools, sophisticated MRP functionality, and powerful financial tools. These include: multicompany accounting, consolidation and allocation, along with strong OLAP and reporting features.
- The platform, which can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, is known for its flexibility and ease of use. Businesses that have adopted Epicor ERP are able to adapt it to their workflows and business processes with minimal difficulty.
- The reporting tools are highly customizable, but some users complain about missing features and capabilities. There are also some complaints about service and support.
eWEEK Score: 4.2/5.0
See user reviews of Epicor.
Value Proposition for Buyers: The vendor bills itself as a provider of a “different kind” of enterprise resource planning software. IFS, using a service-oriented architecture (SOA), delivers a highly configurable, flexible and agile approach with an emphasis on ease of use. This makes the ERP platform useful for a wide range of industries and applications, including construction and engineering, aerospace and multi-mode manufacturing.
- The ERP platform, designed for medium and large enterprises, places a heavy focus on engineer-to-order processes. It includes robust asset management features along with human resources, project management and multi-site planning.
- The company boasts a user base that extends to 50 countries and more than 2,000 installations. IFS is particularly attractive to vertical industries.
- The platform offers an appealing user interface, easy navigation and overall simplicity—while offering powerful capabilities (along with some quirks). IFS also includes dashboards that allow users to drill down into information, including orders, invoices, and contact information.
- Finally, IFS is a less expensive solution than many other ERP vendors.
eWEEK Score: 4.1/5.0
See user reviews of IFS.
New York, NY
Value Proposition for Buyers: Infor offers a highly scalable cloud-based platform that focuses on specific industry segments and verticals. This makes the platform suitable for a wide range of industries that span manufacturing, consumer goods, services, public sector, and energy. The application incorporates artificial intelligence functions and powerful analytics and reporting functions.
- Infor delivers a “two-tier” ERP approach that focuses both on the front-office business needs of an enterprise and the back-end operational requirements of manufacturing. The approach, which aims to bridge gaps between business users and operations creates a shared-services model for a wide range of tasks, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, human capital management, supply chain management and customer management.
- Flexibility, scalability and agility are at the center of Infor’s approach. The two-tier approach, designed primarily for medium and large companies, makes it easier to integrate applications and services, including legacy systems. However, some users say that the application is complex and difficult to use.
- A major selling point for Infor is strong analytics functionality. The vendor’s Birst Smart Analytics software uses AI and machine learning to power reports and dashboards to provide deeper and broader insights into events and activities.
eWEEK Score: 4.3/5.0
See user reviews of Infor.
Value Proposition for Buyers: Microsoft offers a number of ERP solutions. The vendor’s core ERP product is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. The SaaS solution incorporates CRM and field-based operations. It can be deployed as a SaaS solution or on-premises, and it can be used with core functionality or as a suite. The platform is valuable for companies operating globally. It supports 118 countries along with 24 languages.
- Microsoft delivers strong functionality and a flexible coding and analysis framework within Dynamics 365. It also delivers good accounting tools and features. The platform—which includes strong automation and forecasting capabilities—is nevertheless praised for relative ease of use.
- One of Microsoft’s strengths is business intelligence and analytics. The Dynamics platform features real-time, in-memory multidimensional analysis. Among its strengths are powerful demand forecasting and product change management tools, along with granular tracking of products and serial numbers. A few users complain about pricing.
eWEEK Score: 4.5/5.0
See user reviews of Microsoft.
Redwood City, Calif.
Value Proposition for Buyers: Oracle has established itself as a top-tier provider of ERP solutions. It offers SaaS-based solutions through both its NetSuite and Oracle ERP Cloud platforms (the latter can be deployed on-premises as well), along with human resources and other solutions that fall into the ERP category. NetSuite is focused on financial services and financial management. It addresses the needs of organizations across a wide range of industries. The latter delivers core financial management and enterprise capabilities across various industries.
- NetSuite is designed for companies with revenues under $500 million. It features a broad partner ecosystem that includes integration with Salesforce and other business software platforms. It is equipped to handle global ERP/financial tasks through a flexible framework. Oracle ERP Cloud also delivers a robust platform and partner ecosystem. Gartner ranks the latter a “Leader” in its 2018 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management Suites.
- ERP Cloud receives continuing high marks for both the breadth and depth of features and functionality. It is consistently rated among the top enterprise business platforms. Gartner noted that Oracle invests heavily in the platform and that the vendor has a strong vision.
- Both platforms tap Oracle’s strength in data and analytics. They deliver powerful embedded reporting and analytics tools and capabilities. This makes it possible to better manage assets across their entire lifecycle.
eWEEK Score: 4.8/5.0
See user reviews of Oracle.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Value Proposition for Buyers: QAD bills itself as an ERP software vendor that fuels innovation and industry disruption. It uses a cloud-based framework to create an Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) business environment. This helps organizations in manufacturing and across a variety of industries—including food and beverage, life sciences and consumer products—personalize products and manufacture to order at scale.
- The ERP platform facilitates integration with existing enterprise software, systems and business processes. The integrated nature of the platform makes it easier to connect various tasks such as engineering, customer service, supply chain and finance without various add-ons and third-party additions. It essentially offers ERP, CRM and sales within a unified environment.
- The company lets users adapt the software to their specific needs rather than forcing them to conform to the structure of the application. QAD is also known for solid customer service and support. However, some users complain that the application is too proprietary and thus requires in-house expertise.
eWEEK Score: 4.3/5.0
See user reviews of QAD.
San Ramon, Calif.
Value Proposition for Buyers: Rootstock offers ERP software for manufacturing, distribution and supply chain in the cloud. It is built on the same platform as Salesforce and shares data with the CRM application. Rootstock also seamlessly connects with other internal modules and third-party applications to deliver a 360-degree view of business activity.
- Rootstock delivers a highly agile platform that offers an integrated approach to sales, sales order processing, engineering, supply chain, production, inventory, logistics, financial and more. In addition, it works with other leading business and financial applications. Rootstock is highly customizable, and it offers sophisticated analytics and collaboration tools.
- Integration with Salesforce means that there can be less of a learning curve and streamlined data flows within an organization. Strong APIs make many features customizable directly from the Salesforce application. Strong integration with other application providers provides further possibilities to use add-ons and toolkits within the Rootstock platform.
eWEEK Score: 4.2/5.0
See user reviews of Rootstock.
Value Proposition for Buyers: Sage has established itself as a leader in the ERP space by offering specific solutions designed for small, medium and large companies. Sage focuses heavily on manufacturing, distribution and financial tasks. It also offers payroll and human resources products and tools.
- Sage delivers a vertical industry focus, with the emphasis on construction, manufacturing, chemicals, food and beverage, professional services and non-profits. The company offers three major solutions: Sage 300 ERP, a comprehensive business management platform for large global enterprises; Sage 100c for small and medium businesses looking for a cloud-based ERP framework; and Sage Intacct, which delivers financial tools.
- The products have deep and broad integration with data across the organization. Among other things, this allows sales and service staff to access customer information quickly and have real-time visibility into the status of accounts. The products are feature rich and deliver intuitive and strong user interfaces.
- Sage offers integration with outside products and tools, including Salesforce. The products include strong automation and reporting functions.
eWEEK Score: 4.4/5.0
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Value Proposition for Buyers: SAP pioneered the ERP space and has managed to remain among the top vendors by delivering a rich set of features and capabilities, including excellent treasury and financial risk management tools, human resources components and procurement, logistics and supply chain management (SCM) capabilities.
- The vendor offers more than three dozen products and solutions aimed at almost every aspects of enterprise resource planning—and across vertical industries. SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA serve as the foundation. However, numerous other on premises and cloud solutions address specific functions through analytics; data management; IoT, and cybersecurity, governance risk and compliance.
- SAP remains the undisputed market leader in ERP. The vendor receives high marks from G2, Gartner and others—particularly for its ability to deliver industry-specific solutions. Although SAP sometimes receives criticism for complexity and difficulty, it’s used by many of the top companies in the world. The company also has expanded its products over the years. For example, SAP Business One is aimed at medium and small businesses.
- SAP has adopted a framework called the “intelligent enterprise.” With ERP and digital core functionality built into various products and modules, the focus is on agility and flexibility. The approach revolves around machine learning/predictive analytics, Internet of Things and cloud infrastructure.
eWEEK Score: 4.7/5.0
See user reviews of SAP.
Costa Mesa, Calif.
Value Proposition for Buyers: Manufacturers looking for an ERP platform should take a look at SYSPRO, which was founded in 1978. The focus is on planning, execution and control of production through a powerful set of tools, features and capabilities. The vendor offers industry specific software for automotive, electronics, food and beverage, industrial machinery and equipment, fabricated metals, packaging, plastics and rubber, and more.
- SYSPRO ERP offers a comprehensive set of tools and features aimed at managing manufacturing. The product is designed for businesses of all sizes and includes robust point-of-sale (POS) tools and highly integrated data focused on production, distribution and inventory management. This end-to-end approach appeals to many businesses. The company receives high ratings for a powerful and functional user interface.
- The vendor places a strong focus on simplifying processes and putting the customer in charge. The platform is flexible and agile. SYSPRO has established itself as a leader in delivering powerful features, incorporating business intelligence and analytics, and delivering new features based on customers’ needs and desires. The company is known for outstanding customer service.
- SYSPRO further distinguishes itself through an extensive content library that includes documents, videos and demos. The vendor’s site includes e-books, white papers and other content as well. A few users say that the platform can be pricey and that managing customizations can prove challenging.
eWEEK Score: 4.5/5.0
See user reviews of SYSPRO.