There are a lot of ERP options on the market. Some are fit for smaller companies, while some are made for hundreds of users in a massive company. Some are best suited in certain industries like process manufacturing, while others have basic functions. Some will cost less, some will cost more. Clearly, there is no one-size-fits-all and you have to do some research to find the best ERP solution for you.The ERP landscape is constantly changing as industry leaders are acquired and new applications are introduced. ERP software can be generally categorized into four categories: entry level, small & medium business, small & medium enterprise and tier one ERP vendors.
ENTRY LEVEL ERP
Low-cost accounting software with limited inventory management and manufacturing features. Most of these business systems can be self-implemented and many third party options are available to extend core features to more closely resemble an ERP business application.
QuickBooks has one of the largest customer bases, about 6 million people are using the software. In addition, they have a community of CPAs and accountants “ProAdvisors” that reaches to about 130,000. There are two options available for QuickBooks, enterprise or online, which is a cloud-based option. There are about 310 apps available to help with the functionality of the product in their app store, Apps.com.
Sage 50, formerly known as Peachtree, has about 500,000 customers. It is based in the UK, but has a decent presence in North America. Similar to QuickBooks community of “ProAdvisors”, Sage 50 has their Sage Accountant Network with about 26,000 accountants. Sage 50 is not currently available in the cloud and there are no known plans for it to be in the future. Sage 50 also has an app store with about 80 available add-ons in SagePSS.com.
Xero is a new player in the game, having been founded in 2006. Despite their newness, they already have about 600,000 customers on their product. This makes them one of the fastest growing entry-level solutions. Xero has about 16,000 global partners and is available exclusively on the cloud. The Xero app marketplace boasts about 400 add-ons to extend the life of the product.
SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESS
This is the entry-level ERP category. These products typically offer much more distribution and manufacturing functionality but typically require assistance in setup and training as the software is much more complex. SMB ERP is generally a good option for companies that need between 5-100 users on the system.
We’re defining traditional ERP as those that were created as on-premise systems, but are now also available as a hosted solution in the cloud, as well. There are quite a few options available in this space, but the leaders that we have identified are Sage 100, Sage 300, Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The nice part about these products are they are all very similar, so your decision is based mostly off personal preference and what functions you are looking for.
All four ERP solutions are available either on-premise or hosted in the cloud. They also have a large network of add-ons to allow for the systems to extend their functionality. Price is also very comparable for all the products. The main thing that stands out between the products is that Sage 100 and Microsoft Dynamics GP are primarily available for North America, while Sage 300 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV are global solutions. So how would you make a decision between these four ERP options? Take a look at the small details, which is where the difference will lie.
We have pegged these ERP options as the “cloud leaders” because they are available exclusively in the cloud and were created for the cloud.
Sage Intacct is a cloud-based financial management solution built by financial experts for financial professionals. Sage Intacct has been delivering its accounting software for more than 15 years which is part of the reason it is the AICPA’s preferred provider of financial applications.
- Sage Intacct’s subscription model means you can add capability (e.g. additional entities, advanced revenue recognition, consolidation) as your business expands and even goes public
- Sage Intacct’s Buy with Confidence guarantee means you will get the service you expect
- Sage Intacct’s seamless integration with leading software applications means you can always choose the best applications for each department (e.g. CRM, inventory, or shipping)
Netsuite is one of the largest SaaS ERP options. It is available as a hosted subscription only through a VAR partner or directly through Netsuite. There are a few add-on options available and the network is growing, however, there are not as many out there compared to our traditional leaders. Netsuite’s strengths lie in its solution for CRM and e-commerce and automation for those in the professional services industries. Although it has strong capabilities for distribution, it has limited capabilities for manufacturing, especially those that may have a complicated manufacturing process.
Acumatica is a hosted subscription only available through a VAR partner only. They also still have limited options in their add-on community. Acumatica offers strong accounting and professional services functions, as well as strong distribution. There are manufacturing functions available, however it is available as a third party add-on. Acumatica differentiates itself from the rest of the ERP community because it has unlimited users available, you’re not paying for licenses per user.
SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
More sophisticated ERP systems are available from a limited number of vendors. These systems generally take considerably more effort to implement often costing twice as much in consulting services as the initial software price and are ideal for businesses with about 20 users up to around 1,000 users.
Epicor ERP has a broad industry focus from retail and services to distribution and manufacturing, however, the strength of Epicor ERP truly lies in their discrete manufacturing capabilities. The ERP is scalable for growth due to their ICE platform. Epicor is made up of multiple different modules that give it a lot of functionality, because of this they are limited for add-on options. Epicor has recently refocused their efforts on the cloud and are hoping to move more of their customers this way. The ERP is a global solution offering multi-currency, multi-location, multi-everything.
Sage X3 has a narrowed focus on discrete and process manufacturing and distribution. It especially is powerful for process manufacturers, allowing for strong lot tracking and batching. Sage X3 is also an ERP system that can grow with your company, scalable for growth with their SAFE platform. One area unique to Sage X3 is their embedded workflow, allowing you to automate and link every area of your business. This is also a global solution with multi-everything.
MICROSOFT DYNAMICS AX
Microsoft Dynamics’ SME ERP product, AX, has extensive functionality. This allows the product to range in availability for industries from distribution to discrete manufacturing, services and financials. This ERP option can be deployed either on-premise or hosted on Microsoft Azure. There are a lot of add-ons available for AX, especially for process manufacturing to extend the functionality of the software. The solution is available only through VAR partners.
There really isn’t just one product to look at for Infor in the SME space. They own dozens of ERP products (CloudSuite, BPCS, Mapics, Lawson, Syteline, Baan, and Visual) that could be a good match. The most strategic product for Infor in SME is Syteline, which has a focus on distribution, discrete manufacturing and services. There are a limited number of add-ons available, however, the solution contains a lot of extensive features specific for each industry. This product is available either directly through Infor or through VAR partners.
There are really only two options available in the market today for the world’s largest businesses – SAP and Oracle. However, even the largest businesses often run subsidiaries on ERP applications designed more for SME or SMB segments.
SAP is the largest ERP vendor in the world. Their customers are high-profile companies, including 87 percent of the Forbes Global 2000 and 98 percent of the 100 most valued brands. SAP takes up such a large area of the market that 78 percent of the world’s food comes from companies using SAP ERP and 82 percent of the world’s medical devices are manufactured under SAP products. SAP is available as an on-premise system, hosted in the cloud or as a hybrid solution. SAP has a large community with over 12,200 SAP partners worldwide offering solutions to companies. SAP ERP can benefit a wide array of businesses with solutions for 25 different industries and 12 lines of business.
Oracle is the second largest ERP vendor in the world, with over 420,000 customers worldwide. Their ERP solution can also be deployed either on-premise, in the cloud or in a hybrid model. A wide array of businesses benefit from using Oracle, although they list their key industries as communications, education, engineering, construction, financial services, health sciences, hospitality, public sector, retail and utilities. Oracle is also well known for the world’s number one database, which can help with analytical performance.
There are literally hundreds of ERP systems available on the market and many that are designed specifically for a particular industry. The products listed on this page represent some of the more popular options available today but certainly do not represent the only options that you should consider for your business. As such, you should consider all options available to you based on the size of your company and your particular industry requirements. With that said, most businesses evaluating ERP will consider ERP leaders as well as smaller and more specialized Industry ERP vendors.