As with almost all software, ERP (enterprise resource planning) software comes in a few price tiers. When I say “a few” I of course mean enough tiers to cover everything from free all the way up to hundreds of millions of dollars.
In this piece, I’ll cut the market into three broad groups. First I’ll coverfree and the ultra-cheap. These are systems that almost any business could afford. Next, we’ll work our way into the midrange, normally priced systems that fill out the bulk of the small and medium business market. Finally, I’ll talk briefly about the unfathomably expensive software up at the top end.
There’s a full listing of ERP options over in Capterra’s ERP directory, so remember to swing by and check out features and user reviews for any system you might be considering. Without further ado, the breakdowns:
Free ERP software
We’ve got an article specifically devoted to this topic, but let’s cover the highlights. Free ERP options are actually really good.
ERPNext is a great small option for a small business. The company has a free option for a single user, which is great for a one-man shop or a business where only one person needs to access financials, inventory, and customers. You can expand the system for between $300 and $3,000 per year.
Odoo is another excellent free option for users who can manage the installation and upkeep of an ERP. While it also has a free-for-two-users cloud version, you can get the whole thing for free if you take on the support, hosting, and daily management tasks by installing Odoo Community locally.
Midrange, sort-of-normal-cost ERP options
If you’re a bigger business than a single-user solution is designed for or a busier and less technically-inclined business than a locally installed solution requires, you’re like most of the ERP users in the world. You’re the kind of company that’s in the market for a ‘normal’ ERP, a midrange offering that fits lots of business models.
Openbravo Business Suite is the new version of Openbravo ERP. The company used to offer a single, broad ERP option, but it split the software into two offerings last year. The Business Suite is the more traditional ERP offering, while Openbravo Commerce is the company’s retail-focused offering.
Other midrange players include WorkBook, which starts at $19 per user, per month, and ECOUNT, which comes in at $600 per year for unlimited users. The more specialized and focused your needs are, the more you can search for stripped-down ERP, which can keep your costs lower.
Finally, with many of these options, you’ll end up spending more than the price tag due to costs like training, customization, and support. Keep that in mind as you work out your budget and compare vendor offerings.
Millions of dollars. Just, more money than you’ll ever see.
Customized SAP, Oracle, or home-brewed ERPs can end up costing companies a fortune. This often has a bad connotation, as a failed installation is the same thing as setting money on fire. It doesn’t have to be like that, though.
LG Electronics successfully implemented an ERP that helped bring its sprawling, 82,000-employee business back under control. LG used Oracle for its solution, due to an existing relationship with the business.
Let’s be honest, though, if you’re reading this article, you’re not looking to spend $125 million on an ERP. You might be interested in fun ERP failure stories though, so here are a few for you to read in your spare time.
- Confessions of an SAP Expert Witness on Panorama’s site
- The Top Three ERP Implementation Failures on Shared Services Link
- 10 Biggest ERP Software Failures of 2011, which was an excellent year for bad news, over on PCWorld
Getting money out of an ERP is all about setting realistic expectations, going in with a clear plan, and not letting the implementation get out of hand. A good vendor can help guide you through the process and keep you running smoothly as the years run by.