There are a huge number of ERP systems on the market, but there are just a handful of names that take up a huge chunk of that market. The top five most popular ERPs – as determined by Gartner – account for almost 50% of the entire thing. Far out in front, SAP continues to dominate the landscape, with a 23% market share. In a distant second, Oracle takes up 11%, follow by Sage, Infor, and Microsoft all hanging out with 5% – 6% market shares.
These companies aren’t in the business of pointing out what they do better or differently, as they all claim to basically do everything for everyone. Today, get a little more insight into how these five players distinguish themselves in a crowded field. Here’s Capterra’s overview of the top five most popular ERPs.
SAP is the carnival barker at the mime convention – just try to ignore it. Oracle is like, well, like another carnival barker that says basically the same stuff. I know we want to distinguish these things, but choosing between Oracle and SAP is as close to a false choice as any enterprise IT team is likely to get.
Panorama – an ERP consulting firm – summed it up best in an SAP vs Oracle article, saying, “At the end of the day, the technological backbone of your chosen ERP system doesn’t really matter.”
Both systems are massive, both are infinitely customizable, and both can solve the problems of almost any enterprise business. Panorama found the largest discrepancies on the implementation and satisfaction sides, with Oracle being slightly cheaper to get up and running, but SAP achieving more of the initial goals set out by businesses.
In a way, this is a reassuring idea. If you’re choosing between these two giants, it would be almost impossible to choose the wrong tech. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a way to screw things up, but at least you won’t have to sweat the first hurdle.
If you’re Zack Hicks, CIO of Toyota North America, you’re going to be picking one of these two. Also, “Hi, Zack.” If you’re somebody else, there are other options.
Sage offers three flavors of ERP, with Sage 100, 300, and X3. Look at that – first line and we’re already finding defining features. Sage 100 is designed for small to medium businesses, Sage 300 is for the same businesses, but spread over international or diverse locations, and Sage X3 is the enterprise solution.
While Sage 100 and 2300 are similar, they have some small differences that buyers should be aware of. Sage 100 can manage manufacturing, while 300 can’t, for instance. But Sage 300 can handle foreign currencies, Canadian payroll, job costing, and it offers mobile access.
In classic tiered style, Sage X3 does all of the things for all the people, throwing in SaaS and web-based options to boot.
Sage is in the running with Microsoft for the ‘best popular ERP for a small business,’ in my opinion. Sage has the benefit of being a non-Microsoft product – if that’s your thing – but I can see this being a difficult choice if you haven’t bought into either universe.
Infor’s ERP also comes in multiple flavors, but unlike Sage’s size-based offerings, Infor bases its styles on industry. That means you’ll be buying a different product depending on which category – global manufacturing, consumer goods, discrete manufacturing, wholesale distribution, or service – your business falls into.
On of Infor’s quirks is that the underlying technology for each vertical’s solution can differ wildly from the tech provided to other verticals. For instance, Infor M3, the solution for consumer goods, is Java-based. Infor CloudSuite, for discrete manufacturing, is based on the Microsoft .NET and SQL frameworks.
Infor is a nice choice for large businesses that, for one reason or another, don’t want to work with Oracle or SAP. I like Infor’s offerings and I like their focus on verticals, which shows an understanding of the specific challenges in each market. I wish they had a slimmed down set of offerings, but there’s something to be said for choice.
Microsoft says that its ERP “goes beyond traditional ERP systems by bringing the applications that run your finances, sales, and operations together with the familiar Office apps you already know,” which is probably its biggest selling point.
This is a product for companies that are heavily invested in the Microsoft world and want to be even more invested. If you’re rocking SharePoint and an Exchange server, all while you develop apps in an Azure cloud, Dynamics might be the ERP for you.
Microsoft has made a play for smaller businesses in the recent past and it’s seen some success. According to its most recent annual report, Microsoft Dynamics ERP has grown and seen a major refresh in the last year.
I think Microsoft has made a very nice product for fans of Windows, especially on that smaller business level. As a small business, I can easily see picking between Microsoft and Sage based on your company’s existing Microsoft commitment.
Your business is going to answer a lot of questions before it even gets to this step of the process, but once you land here, it can be hard to get out. Hopefully, this has given you some insight into the options out there and how they differ. The marketing material can be a bit overwhelming.
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