Enterprise Resource Planning

Growing businesses are often faced with a tricky problem as they evolve: when should they start using an ERP solution to run their business? Move too early and the company could be overwhelmed with complexity while realizing only a minimal value. Moving too late can mean that the business is losing out on efficiency and leaving growth on the table. ERP literature is flush with implementations gone wrong and their adverse impact on the business, and that worries managers. This buyer’s guide is written to help managers make sober decisions. Read more.


Compare ERP Solution Providers

IFS

The Power of Any

Any service, geography and complexity

Leader in Enterprise Service Management

Native EPM, EAM and ESM

Average rating

3.1

Sage

Business management solutions for SMBs

Multisite, multicompany, multilanguage

Pay-as-you-go pricing plans

Sage Business Care service plan

Average rating

3.9

NetSuite

The World's #1 Cloud-based ERP Software

Slash financial close by over 50%

Save up to 93% in IT costs

Real-time visibility 24/7

Average rating

3.8

Aplicor

Built-In Is Simply Better

Most Extended Cloud Enterprise App

Cloud B2B & B2C business portals

Anytime, anywhere and from any device

Average rating

3.7

Infor

Engineered for speed

For manufacturing and distribution

Intuitive user interface

Used by more than 70,000 customers

Average rating

3.8

Unit4

Cloud ERP Designed for People

Agile for frequent, ongoing changes

Extensive list of business modules

Social and mobile features

Not Yet Rated

Microsoft Dynamics

Keep your business going and growing

One license, all functionality included

Easily adapt as your needs change

Built-in Office interoperability

Average rating

3.5

Epicor

Inspired ERP Inspires Preformance

Specialized by industry

Supports the global enterprise

Available in more than 30 languages

Average rating

3.5

SAP

The Best-Run Businesses Run SAP

More than 40 years of experience

Supports 25 different industries

Supports global businesses

Average rating

3.4

Oracle

Platfrom of Choice for CFOs Worldwide

Hundreds of cross-industry capabilities

Support for emerging technologies

100% agile development

Average rating

3.6

ComputerEase

Leading Construction Accounting Software

Effectively allocate resources to tasks

Identify critical interdependencies

Detailed, timely Work In Progress repors

Average rating

4.4

Intacct

Award-Winning Cloud Accounting Software

AICPA's preferred financial application

95% subscription renewal rate

Free, 30-day full trial

Average rating

4.1

Aptean

Where Software Works

For strongly regulated industries

Multi-language & multi-currency

Serial Number Traceability

Average rating

5.0

QAD

As Easy as Connect. Deploy. Enjoy!

Simple, user-based subscription fee

1-3 month implementation

99.5% sytem uptime

Average rating

3.4

Syspro

Symplifying Your Success

35 years of ERP experience

More than 15,000 satisfied customers

98% customer retention rate

Average rating

5.0

Foundation

#1 Construction Accounting Software

Up-to-date job costs for quick decisions

Complex card time entry made simple

Interactive reports for Executives

Not Yet Rated

Jonas Construction

Fully integrated construction software

Effectively manage your budget

Create, update & manage job schedules

Native eMobile software solution

Average rating

4.0

Passport Business Solutions

Quality Solutions Meet Real World Needs

Increased credit card data security

Versatile reporting and data access

Improved PBS SQL processing speeds

Average rating

5.0

E2 Shop System

Create complex estimates and quickie quotes

Generate shipping labels and track shipments

Align purchase needs with orders

Automatically find best prices

Average rating

4.3

ECi M1

Flexible ERP support mixed mode manufacturing

Flexible and easy to customize

Inbuilt CRM capability

Exceptionally good search capability

Average rating

3.5

ERP-One

Built to automate wholesale and distribution

Provides support for multiple industries

Provides very board range of functions

Close support of training teams

Average rating

4.6

Metasystems

Handle needs of many different manufacturers

Supports make / engineer to order

Handles very complex configuration

High quality support teams

Average rating

4.4

PayTraq

Cloud based easy to use ERP solution

Completely track any business transaction

Highly affordable and flexible

Feature rich and very easy to deploy

Average rating

5.0

Polygon PolyPM

ERP solution focused on clothing industry

Manage complete product lifecycle

High quality customizable reports

Vast range of industry specific functions

Average rating

4.5

Praesto AE

Engineering support ERP tracks real time data

Good native integration with QuickBooks

High quality customer support

Server based-solution, requires hardware

Average rating

4.0

ProcessPro

For Pharma, personal care and cosmetics

Suited for specialty chemical industry

Great process management features

Continuously improved and user friendly

Average rating

4.3

Sofcom Spectrum

Customizable ERP for construction industry

Web based design, accessible via mobiles

Some modules available offline as well

Additional components available

Not Yet Rated

VIENNA Advantage

Open Source ERP available on cloud or on premise

Offers BI, reports and automated workflow

Very easy learning curve

Excellent user reviews

Average rating

4.5

Visual EstiTrack

User friendly ERP for small / medium businesses

Highly visual ERP with drag and drop features

Very flexible and cost effective

Easy interfacing with QuickBooks

Average rating

4.6

WorkWise

Focus on user roles instead of software modules

45 applications used to define 100s of roles

Very intuitive, user friendly interface

Check out carefully that your SOX needs are met

Average rating

4.3


ERP Buyer's Guide

There are four important components of the decision to select a particular product:

Understanding Your Business Requirements

In general an ERP buyer can be classified as one of the following:

Understanding one’s buyer type is important to the short listing process.

ERP Buyer's Considerations

Over time, the following features have been found to appeal most to buyers (ordered by importance):

ERP Product Selection

Cloud Hosting (cloud-based solution):

An early part of the product selection process starts by deciding whether the solution will be hosted in-house or in a data center. Most medium businesses could opt for a “Software as a Service” (SaaS) solution where an ERP vendor runs the product in a data center and the business simply purchases a number of licenses or seats. This simplifies the setup and removes the need to manage servers and databases.

In-House Hosting (on-premises):

One issue with SaaS solutions is the limited capability to customize the solution. Larger businesses will probably require extensive customization and may want a solution that is hosted in-house. While this means higher upfront costs and a more complex installation and setup, such users typically have qualified IT personnel who can undertake these tasks.

Modules:

Most ERPs start with a few core modules and add on to these to build a complete product. These core modules have features that almost all businesses use. These core modules are:

Almost all businesses will have a requirement for some or all of these modules. Once a required features list has been drawn up and some solutions are short listed, project managers will check carefully to see how the required features are actually implemented.

Interface:

User interface is becoming an increasingly important issue. This has direct bearing on the usability of the software.

User Trials:

Most users begin the short listing by reviewing trade literature, user reviews and using consultants. However, once some ERP vendors have been shortlisted, it is important to see an actual trial. With many cloud based vendors, this can be easy if the vendor gives clients trial access for a few days. With an on-premise installation, things can be trickier. The vendor will be required to install a trial version of the solution and load some actual data. It is important to make the trial runs as realistic as possible so that users can get a good idea of the functionality and the ease of use.

Costs

Many things go into the calculation of costs of the ERP system. These can be broken down into three subheads - direct costs, indirect costs and surprises.

In most cases, the vendor will not tell you about indirect and surprise costs. Managers will need to figure these out.

ERP Vendor Selection

With reselling being the norm in the industry, many vendors could offer the same product. Proper vendor selection is therefore an important determinant of success of the project. It is important to select a vendor with:

Conclusion

Selecting and implementing an ERP is perhaps one of the most complex tasks a manager can undertake in the software domain. It is critical that the ERP be looked at as a strategic asset rather than as an application. Involvement of senior management in every aspect of the selection and implementation process is critical to the success of the project.