ERP systems empower businesses to grow. They enhance everyday activities, automate various processes, help with planning budget and predicting issues, and report crucial financial results. 

Enterprise resource planning also improves companies’ internal communication by integrating all functions and departments into a single system.

ERP process improvement
SOURCE: Panorama Consulting Solutions

It’s hardly surprising that the global ERP software market was evaluated at $35.81 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $78.40 billion by 2026, according to an AMR report. ERP systems are widely recognized as one of the most powerful tools for accelerating growth for businesses of all sizes and in all industries.

In the past, only large corporations and multinational organizations could use ERP software. It was costly and complex, and it demanded lots of skilled technical support. Although ERP software for enterprises still costs a small fortune, in recent years, ERP systems for midsize and small companies have become quite affordable. 

ERP solutions can be of three types: custom-builthybrid, or off-the-shelf. Each of these solutions can be a perfect match depending on your circumstances. 

custom-built solution is developed by your chosen ERP development company according to your requirements, your company’s workflow, and your experience and processes. It’s an exclusive system built around your company.

hybrid model is picked by companies that want something between a custom and off-the-shelf solution. This model is used by organizations that can efficiently run on ready-made ERP software and require just a couple of additional features.

Off-the-shelf software varies a lot and can be a good match if available modules cover all of your needs. It can also be a good option for small companies with typical business processes.

In the article “Custom, Off-the-shelf, or Hybrid ERP: Which Do You Need?” we expand on each of these types and discuss their benefits and risks.

best ERP examples
source: public domain

Off-the-shelf ERP software comes in all shapes and sizes, which makes it popular in many industries. Prospective buyers of ready-made ERPs have hundreds to pick from. There are around 250 systems currently on the market, which makes it time-consuming for business owners to go through each one to make an informed decision. In order to simplify your choice, we’ve prepared a list of the best-performing and top-rated ERP vendors and systems.

But before we reveal our selections, we want to share five helpful tips to guide you through your search for the right ERP system.

Tips for selecting the best ERP software for your business

Tip #1: Determine what you want to get out of your ERP

Make sure that the software you choose covers as many aspects of your business as possible to make it worth the cost. Outlining clearly defined goals and benefits that your company wants to get from an ERP will instantly make the selection process faster and leave you with no doubts. It’s best for you and your team to break down your requirements into three categories — must-have, value-added, and nice-to-have — to set your priorities. 

Tip #2: Calculate expenses and ROI in advance

Before any major purchase (such as purchasing ERP software), you need to determine your company’s budget, calculate your expenses, and count the ROI (return on investment) when comparing systems. During the research phase, calculate the cost for onboarding each office and branch. Some branches may need less powerful ERP software, and determining this in advance might help you save some money.

Tip #3: Prepare for ERP integration

Introducing organization-wide ERP software often requires training across departments. There are a couple of ways to deal with this — going straight to a vendor and asking whether they supply training sessions, either in-person or online; inquiring with a vendor about trusted training consultants; or searching for a skilled ERP consultant or consulting company through business partners, acquaintances, or with the help of platforms such as Clutch.

Tip #4: Dive into ERP market terminology

This tip is often overlooked. However, it’s necessary for newcomers to the ERP market. You’ll save yourself plenty of time by learning beforehand what certain words and phrases mean. Remember to also pay attention to vendors’ descriptions of the technology they offer. Frequently, different vendors give their own meanings to terms, so it helps to know the basics. 

For instance, a buzzword like AI (artificial intelligence) can mean different things depending on the vendor: some might consider AI to be a system that autonomously learns and resolves issues, while others may regard  AI to be an automated workflow.

Tip #5: Go for a flexible ERP system

Organizations invest in ERP software to boost productivity and save time and money on business processes. ERP systems are moving structures that should grow together with your business. No matter what industry you’re in, your needs probably won’t stay the same. To meet your changing needs, your software should be adjustable and scalable. You should be able to customize it and integrate various third-party applications. Thus, prioritize flexible and upgradeable ERP software that you can improve and customize as your industry changes.

Top ERP vendors and systems

To build this list, we looked through user reports and statistics to discover the best ERP products and software providers on the market. 

Here’s what we found.

Sap

SAP is the vendor of some of themost popular ERP systemson the market. The company has around 200 million users worldwide and offers ERP software to organizations of all sizes, from large enterprises to small businesses. 

SAP Business One is an ERP solution for small and midsize businesses. According to reviews, it’s a good fit for organizations with fewer than $150 million in annual revenue and up to 500 employees. Business One gives options for on-premise or cloud deployment.

ERP examples

SAP Business One: Pros & Cons

Recent user reports state that the biggest benefit of SAP Business One is that it helps to save time by automating business processes. This ERP solution is efficient at extracting reports, creating query reports, maintaining a lapsing schedule of fixed assets with minimal manual procedures, and tracking journal entries for reversals. 

Many users claim that Business One turned out to be the primary solution with which they can manage their whole company. TheERP has a simple and comfortable interface that gives an immediate overview of the business. It’s also possible to customize it or integrate other applications in it based on users’ requirements. For instance, Business One can be integrated with the SAP HANA platform. In addition, SAP Business One has mobile apps that provide instant access to the most pertinent information.

However, users also reveal that the system does need to improve its reporting functionalities. Due to a lack of proper training and training materials, many users experience issues with this ERP. Another downside is that some consider it difficult to find local support, and therefore have to outsource support. Finally, clients deem the license prices to be too high, especially in the long term.

Oracle

Oracle offers a wide assortment of core and industry-specific applications. Forbes reports that Oracle NetSuite ERP was one of the highest-performing solutions in helping customers innovate in 2020. Oracle ERP Cloud was recognized as one of the most popular and most highly rated ERP systems in 2020, according to users. What’s more, in 2020, Oracle ERP Cloud’s training quality and availability scored the highest across 22 ERP providers, and 82% of users reported they were pleased with the system and were receiving value from it.

Oracle NetSuite is a cloud ERP solution for organizations of any size. This well-established platform supports many languages and currencies. It’s also highly customizable and has a partner relationship module inside. NetSuite is engineered to facilitate mission-critical processes and swiftly react to new market opportunities. It promises to give organizations clear visibility and control of their businesses. In addition, for those who are in doubt or just want to find out more about the ERP, Oracle offers a free product tour.

Oracle NetSuite: Pros & Cons

Users praise Oracle NetSuite for its robust business intelligence and reporting, for its high-level functionalities, and for providing a complete overview of all business processes in one spot. Many report that the system is highly customizable, helping businesses meet their growing needs. The software receives regular updates and is always running the latest version at no additional cost. NetSuite is a satisfactory full-featured ERP system that can be efficiently used in many departments. Organizations can use it to better manage many aspects of their businesses, such as project management, order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, timesheet recording, customer relationship management, internal case support, and client invoicing.

On the other hand, users say that Netsuite might take a long time to implement, and the more intricate your customized system is, the longer it might take — sometimes upwards of six months. Hence, current users advise making sure you have the time and money to integrate NetSuite to avoid issues during implementation. Additionally, the learning curve can be high when customizing NetSuite, which can get frustrating.

Microsoft

Microsoft is another top ERP vendor. The company constantly creates new data centres for uninterrupted support of its cloud capabilities. Microsoft solutions have gained market share because of their robust variety of pre-configured processes. According to Forbes, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations became one of the most highly rated ERP systems in 2020 based on user reviews. SoftwareReview found that the system is among the three ERPs which have the highest combined Value Index and Net Emotional Footprint scores, with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations reaching a combined score of 8.2.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a set of interrelated modular SaaS (software as a service) applications and services that combine ERP and CRM capabilities. The system provides automated and intelligent sales and marketing capabilities that effectively turn leads into customers. Dynamics 365 will become a great solution for industries like finance, manufacturing, and retail. It has a built-in predictive analytics module and many options for third-party integrations. It’s also optimized to give more value in less time and to swiftly adopt new solutions or augment current ones.

ERP examples

Microsoft Dynamics 365: Pros & Cons

The most recent customer reviews of Microsoft Dynamics 365 provide great insights into the pros and cons of the software. Users report that the system is easy to integrate, that all the tools work well together and that there are minimal compatibility issues. Dynamics 365 is effortless to deploy to all workstations that have Office 365 installed and works smoothly with existing Excel applications. It provides businesses with the necessary tools and features to help users with their sales, scheduling, and communication processes. Many also claim that they like Dynamics 365 due to its reliability and competitive price. The software makes access to business data and results simple so users can stay at the top of their game.

While the system delivers many benefits to organizations, users have also reported some cons. Many enterprise software reviews mention that the Dynamics 365 system is better for large enterprises and middle-market companies than for small businesses. This is because it’s not very user-friendly, is full of features, and is therefore expensive, placing it beyond what small businesses might need or be able to afford. Moreover, some users report needing to hire an expert development company to make the system more operational. Many customers complain about the interface lagging a lot. Same with the online version of Dynamics 365, users describe slow performance, such as slow page refreshes in the scheduling tool, which may be frustrating.

Infor

Infor has been providing cloud-based ERP software solutions for small, midsize, and large businesses for over 30 years. The company can offer multiple ERP solutions based on the industry and an organization’s business needs. Infor is known for its strong, flexible, and powerful technology, and its solutions are widely used in manufacturing organizations, wholesale distribution companies, and diverse service industries. The company has been focusing a lot on industry-specific cloud ERP solutions, which are designed with pre-configured business processes and setups.

Infor CloudSuite is cloud-based ERP software built for use in selected industries. The ERP’s flexibility lets users pick the functionalities their business needs instead of getting a package with unnecessary features. This in turn helps to shorten the implementation time. Infor strives to deliver the message that there’s no one-size-fits-all ERP solution and that each great system has to be unique. The company promises to create a complete solution tailored to your industry using their extensive ERP business experience and innovative practices. CloudSuite software helps small, midsize, and large organizations fully utilize the business advantages of cloud technology by combining a good base ERP with an incomparable user experience. 

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Infor CloudSuite: Pros & Cons

Infor was recognized by the Panorama Consulting Group as one of the ten best ERP implementation companies of 2021 in a recent report in which Infor CloudSuite is featured as the company’s prominent ERP solution. 

Users note that Infor helps to optimize job performance, make good forecasts, and warn of potential problems in supply chain planning. There are a lot of features to pick from that can be successfully used for bettering an organization’s workflow.

However, this also means there’s a high learning curve. Customers recommend hiring an experienced ERP consultant to guide you through the implementation phase. 

Epicor

Epicor is another leader among the top ERP systems, with almost 50 years of experience behind them. They offer on-premise and cloud solutions for industries such as retail, distribution, building, automotive, and manufacturing. The manufacturing industry seems to benefit from Epicor’s solution the most based on user reports and reviews by ERP consultants. Epicor’s ERP is relied on by many different manufacturing companies producing various products, from high-tech electronics, industrial machinery, and medical devices to furniture, aerospace and defence products, and rubber and plastics. 

Epicor ERP provides software for a wide range of industries — automotive, building supply, distribution, manufacturing, and retail. Each industry-tailored ERP is different and has its own key features.

Epicor ERP is best suited for mid-market and enterprise-level companies according to consultants. The ERP strongly focuses on cutting-edge cloud technology and its future. Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises recognized Epicor's software as the Visionary two times in a row. 

Epicor was featured as one of the best ERP software companiesof 2021 in a Panorama Consulting Group report. The company’s software was also voted one of thetop ERPsamong fit-for-purpose systems by industry analysts and independent customers in a 2020 Gartner report.

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Epicor ERP: Pros & Cons

According to recent user reviews, Epicor ERP stands out among the top ERP systems for manufacturing and distribution-related businesses. It supplies organizations with powerful capabilities for supply chain management, inventory control, labor costing, scheduling of pre-production materials, and manufacturing execution. This ERP excellently handles the accounting, financials, and human capital of many companies. In addition, it can easily be integrated with a company’s internal CRM. Epicor ERP gives you all the necessary knowledge about your company so you can make better decisions and achieve greater profit. Some users describe the system as easy to navigate. Multiple screens can be really helpful when completing particular tasks, and the capacity to do one task in numerous ways is useful. Epicor is also quick to fix bugs and add new features.

As with other ERP systems, the major complaint from users is that the learning curve can be steep. Those who invested in a good ERP consultant or training program were more likely to rate the system higher than those who didn’t. Other areas for improvement include Epicor’s support, mobile applications, and human resources management tools.

What is the best ERP system on the market?

After extensive research and analysis of user reviews, industry reports, and analysts’ statements, we can recommend these top five ERP vendors:

 SAPOracleMicrosoftInforEpicor
PriceBusiness One: $25K–$250K; Business All-In-One: $120K–$2M; Business ByDesign: $150/user/monthPrice is calculated based on requirementsMicrosoft Dynamics 365 from $65/module/user/month OR from $115/user/month depending on the planPrice is calculated based on requirementsFrom $175/user/month (total price is calculated based on modules)
Free trialFor SAP S/4HANA Cloud; SAP S/4HANA; SAP Business ByDesignFree product tour + demoFree 30-day trial for some ERPsNoNo
Large enterprisesYesYesYesYesYes
Midsize companiesYesYesYesYesYes
Small businessesYesYesYesYesYes
LicensePerpetual licenses: $3,213 for professional users; $1,666 for limited users$999/month base license; $99/user/monthDepends on the type of licensingInfor CloudSuite Industrial $25,000/user (perpetual license)Determined by vendor

Decades of experience, thousands of loyal customers from large successful enterprises to inspiring startups, and innovative technology put these companies at the top of each list or report. Decide on your company’s needs and wishes, build a list of requirements, and look through the portfolios of these industry leaders.

If you’ve determined why you need ERP software and what processes you want to automate, you’re aware of troublesome areas in your business processes that might interfere with ERP integration, you’ve established your budget, and despite all that none of the listed ERP systems perfectly matches your needs, then it’s time to think about custom ERP development.

Steelkiwi had a similar issue a few years back, and we concluded that going custom was the best way to get our dream ERP. Here’s how it turned out.

To find out the price of a custom ERP solution built precisely for your needs, shoot us a message.