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Top 10 ERP Solutions

Top 10 ERP

Top 10 ERP Solutions explained

People often are interested in knowing which are the Top 10 ERP Solutions available. This is a difficult question to answer because it depends upon the company that is asking the question and for what criteria. For example if you are a manufacturer looking for an ERP solution, it would not only matter that you are in the manufacturing Industry, but also which form of manufacturing are you; ie. Discreet, process, or project-based manufacturing are all different with different Top 10 ERP offerings within their respective niche.

Probably the best way to answer the Top 10 ERP solution question is to define the overall ERP market leaders, who both have good track records as well as those who meet the Top 10 ERP criteria in many industries.

We have listed out the Top 10 ERP solutions that we see as market leaders. The big caveat here is that while they may be a market leader, they may not be right for your company. You should look carefully at any ERP vendor you evaluate and determine if they are truly a good fit for you.

Our Top 10 ERP Solutions

There are three tiers of ERP Software. These tiers refer to the size of the systems relative to the size of the companies. Tier 1 is the largest systems which support the largest companies. Tier 2 is the middle market solutions serving companies of about $50 Million in revenue up to $500 Million. Often these solutions are scaled so that they roll out individual installations on a plant by plant basis. Tier 3 is for those companies under $50 Million in revenue and is designed for the smaller companies.

We will look at the Top 10 ERP solutions by Tier so as to give you a relative sizing of the systems. Keep in mind that the Tiers are only a general guide and that there is no rule that says a Tier 1 system cannot work in a Tier 2 client.

Tier 1 ERP Solutions

SAP
SAP is one of the market leaders in ERP software. Having been around since the early 1970’s SAP has implementations in many of the Fortune 500 and is well suited for global corporations. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t work locally and with smaller clients. They have put an emphasis in the last ten years on meeting the needs of the smaller company. By smaller, we mean the smaller corporations and companies whose annual revenue exceeds $50 Million per year. This is not a hard and fast rule, as now there are more offerings from SAP that are well suited to the smaller companies. Bottom line is that there is probably nothing that SAP cannot do. Along with Oracle, they are probably on most people’s Top 10 ERP list.




Oracle
A strong competitor to SAP is Oracle. Although Oracle started as a database company, it quickly moved into the ERP Applications world and won over many large organizations. Like SAP, Oracle’s sweet spot is in the larger market. But they too have learned to work in the middle market. (Companies of $50-$500 Million in Sales) Again, like SAP, Oracle can do just about anything. But keep in mind with both of these systems that they are almost a platform that can be built to suit any company (for a price).


Microsoft
Microsoft joined the ERP world several years back with the acquisitions of multiple ERP Packages. They have since re-branded, retooled, and integrated these solutions into their Office and Web offerings. Solutions such as the powerful Microsoft AX can scale to very large companies and provides a lot of functionality. Microsoft NV is a very flexible package that can be modeled to fit any type of business. Microsoft GP has roots in service and distribution and is a good financial system. Microsoft SL is for companies who are looking for a project and financial software.

Tier 2 ERP Solutions

Our Top 10 ERP list has a majority of its players in the Tier 2 level. Tier 2 Solutions are suitable for the companies that have revenues greater than $50 Million in revenue. They are well suited for the division level of very large companies or for businesses that have a single market focus. They too can scale up, but usually they are not seen in companies over $500 Million in revenue, except at the plant level.

Infor
Infor is an interesting company in that they came into the market and made multiple acquisitions and have continued to develop these various solutions. They have a package for just about every type of business. The way they work is they find out what business you are in and then provide you with a solution that works well in your industry. You will be sure to find a suitable product from Infor.


IFS
Industrial and Financial Systems (IFS) does exactly what their name says. They are a tremendous ERP solution for the Industrial manufacturing world.


Abas
Always strong in Manufacturing and Distribution. This Tier 2 solution works very well and has many successful installs. If you are a company who is larger than $25 Million and Smaller than $1 Billion in sales, then you should probably take a look at this solution.


Epicor
Similar to Abas, Epicor is a strong middle market ERP solution that works very well in Accounting, Distribution, and Manufacturing. They have a great story to tell and their products are well-developed. They too are worth a look.


Syspro
Syspro is another middle market competitor who does very well in the small to medium size businesses. Originally developed in South Africa, they have taken on the world with tremendous force and have done quite well.


BatchMaster ERP
BatchMaster is included her for all the process-based manufacturers who struggle with forumlations and tracking liquid blend or chemical products. With a long legacy of helping paint, coatings, chemical, and recipe based manufacturers, BatchMaster is a great solution for the growing process manufacturer.


Sage
Sage has, like Infor and others, acquired numerous products over the past 5 to 10 years. As such, they have some great offerings for various industries. Systems such as their mainstay, MAS200 or even MAS500 are great products that serve distribution and manufacturing quite well.

Top 10 ERP solutions roundup

As we mentioned in the beginning, this is an overall ERP solutions comparison. But each industry and market can have their own top 10 ERP list. Use this guide as a starting point in your ERP Selection.

We hope this Top 10 ERP solutions guide has been useful. Please feel free to comment if you have other solutions that you would include in the Top 10 ERP listing.

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Small Business ERP

Finding the right Small Business ERP for your company

Small Business ERP is a unique category of enterprise software. It typically needs to have all the functionality of large corporate ERP software, but it needs to have as few clicks and screens as possible to ensure that the users are not overburdened with a lot of time spent entering data. The size of the business does not necessarily change the functionality required in the software. Rather, the small company often has a need for higher efficiency since they cannot afford the manpower to maintain the system.

When you look at ERP software, there are three tiers of applications. Tier 1 is large multi-national software solutions, such as Oracle, SAP, and JD Edwards. Tier 2 is the mid-market level. These applications are suitable to businesses in the range of 50M to 250M. This is the sweet spot of the market. Like any bell curve, the mid-market has both the most customers, as well as the most product offerings. The last tier is the Tier 3 offerings which is the small business ERP category. These are systems suitable for 1 person startups to about the $50M level, although some of these products become inefficient if they have more than 20 users on the system. So while they claim to be Small Business ERP offerings, they are for the smallest of companies.
Small Business ERP

Things to look for in Small Business ERP

When evaluating small business ERP solutions, it is important that you properly screen the potential software candidates to ensure you get a software that fits your business. If you don’t you will run into many different issues. Here are some tips:

1. Make sure that the small business ERP software you are looking at fits into your niche.
2. Make sure that the data entry is simple and efficient
3. Make sure that the database platform can be managed by you or your staff
4. Look at the support offerings of the small business ERP provider to ensure that it is tailored to your needs
5. Determine that the small business ERP reseller provides enough training to properly get your staff up and running

Let’s discuss these points. First you need to make sure that the software you are looking at fits within the business model or industry that you work within. A retail store should not use a software designed for distributor. See what other customers that the software provider has worked with in the past and ask for specific examples of companies in your industry.

You need to make sure that the users do not become slaves to the system. Make sure that the data entry screens are simple, efficient and do not require a lot of bouncing around to other screens to input simple things such as invoices or purchase orders.

The heart of the system is the database. You need to make sure that the database does not require a full time system admin to maintain it. It should be designed to be self maintaining and easily managed. Learn a little bit of the technical requirements from the Small Business ERP solution provider. You do not want to be in the situation where you need to bring in a specialized database administrator if later something goes wrong.

Small Business ERP should have support designed for you the small business owner. You should easily be able to call in and immediately speak to a rep for support. You don’t want to have to wait for days to get answers. Be careful of small systems with small support staffs. Especially be wary where the system is developed and maintained by one or two people. Yes, they are also a small business, but it will be a big problem when they are not available to assist you.

Lastly, you and your staff need to have enough training to properly operate the application. Do not skimp on this point. You need more training than you think. In fact, it would be good to plan on training to go live and at least one other training session a month after go-live to answer any questions and resolve any problems from a lack of knowledge. You won’t become experts on the system in a day, so plan on future training sessions.

The future of Small Business ERP

The future of Small Business ERP seems to be one of two paths. There are those systems that will continue to be operating on a small network of computers and do quite well on them, such as Quickbooks or DBA Software. The other path is that of small business ERP companies such as Netsuite, who are leading the charge to bring small business ERP to the cloud. This means that you will have access to the application through a browser and no installed software will exist on your site. You are licensing access to a system that stores your data remotely and operates via an internet connection.

People often are concerned with this model as your data lives somewhere else. The fact of the matter is it is probably safer there than on a computer sitting in your back room. The data center security policies and the high-levels of authentication that are enforced by cloud computing providers truly lock down your data and its accessibility. Whereas your server in your back room is often open to anyone who happens to wonder by. This seems to be riskier. Nonetheless, whichever path you choose, you can be assured that the small business ERP industry is continuing to grow and develop.

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Small Business ERP