The ERP market is in great flux as 2018 winds down, positioning some ERPs in unaccustomed positions as market leaders.
Top ERP Systems- A number of emerging trends herald an exciting year for the ERP market and companies’ digital transformations. First and foremost, I believe there will be a shakeup in the ranks of ERP systems, as reflected in our new list of what we consider to be the top five systems for 2019.
This year’s ranking, with some new players included and some traditional incumbents missing, underscores the constantly changing nature of the ERP software industry.
The ranking takes into account: market share; ease of implementation; maturity, flexibility, and scalability of solutions; ease of integration to third-party systems; ease of organizational change management and training; strength of vendor ecosystem; and average time to benefits realization.
Note that my firm, Third Stage Consulting, has no financial ties to ERP vendors. Accordingly, the below analysis is completely technology-agnostic and 100% free of vendor bias.
#5: Salesforce. Long considered a leading customer relationship management system (CRM), Salesforce is slowly becoming a legitimate top ERP system. Financial Force and its ecosystem of integrated third-party applications has allowed Salesforce to address the broad needs outside CRM functionality.
The fact that Salesforce was built natively in the cloud is another strength. While other ERP vendors are scrambling to move legacy applications into the cloud, Salesforce is constantly upgrading its relatively mature cloud solution. It’s flexibility and ease of implementation are two key strengths.
#4: Workday. Another natively build cloud application, Workday has evolved from a human capital management (HCM) system to a full-fledged ERP system. We see more organizations adopting Workday not only for human resource functions, but also for financial, accounting, and other ERP functions.
The company has made tremendous strides in functionality and market share in recent years. It has also moved upstream in the industry by penetrating the upper mid-market and even some larger enterprises. Its flexible product, ease of integration, and expanding ecosystem give Workday momentum heading into the new year.
#3: NetSuite. The Oracle-owned company was the pioneer of cloud ERP. Unlike Salesforce and Workday, NetSuite has always focused on addressing broader ERP functionality, including financials, inventory management, CRM, HCM, and light manufacturing.
A decade ago, NetSuite was a good option primarily for small and some mid-size companies. While that’s still the case, we are seeing more demonstrated scale of the product at upper-mid-market and larger organizations. It continues to broaden and deepen its functionality to meet the needs of manufacturing, project management, forecasting, and other advanced functions traditionally limited to the bigger ERP systems.
#2: SAP S/4HANA. This system has a large market share, especially among Fortune 1000 companies. While the product is relatively immature as the company continues to migrate functionality from its ERP Central Component and other legacy SAP products, it continues to be a de facto option for large organizations that want to scale and standardize.
Relative to other options in the market, the system’s framework offers the potential to provide better real-time analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. The biggest things holding it back from the #1 spot? The system is often overkill for smaller and mid-size organizations, and SAP failures such as Lidl continue to cast a dark shadow.