ERP Software Review – Making Sense of the Midmarket Space

ERP is a crowded market space with many options to choose from. If you are in the market for an ERP solution be prepared for long hours of vendor evaluation, software demos and making one of the most important decisions your company will ever face. No pressure. All kidding aside implementing ERP software is serious business and you want to make sure you are evaluating the right software companies as part of your selection process. This article focuses on ERP solutions for mid-market companies with revenues between $50M and $2B and 100 to 3,000 employees. With these five companies you will be off to a good start with your evaluation process.

Epicor Epicor is known for having a strong foundation of solutions for mid to large scale make-to-order manufacturing distribution and retail companies. Their customer base is the Global 1000 and their subsidiaries. They are known to be a low cost provider and typically leverage their internal professional services organization for implementation services.

As a leading global ERP software company Epicor provide solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail, hospitality and services industries. They offer a robust platform that consists of ERP (enterprise resource planning), SCM (supply chain management) and CRM (customer relationship management) applications that are integrated with the backend financials.

Epicor is a publicly traded global company founded in 1984. They are headquartered in Irvine, CA and have 2,700 employees. Reported revenues for 2008 were $495.6M.

Lawson Software Lawson’s tag line is “Because simpler is better” and this has served them well as they have become a leader in the mid market space. The go to market with two distinct product lines; M3 and S3. M3 supports companies that primarily make, move or maintain products and S3 is focused on services industries such as healthcare.

They have established a strong foothold across several major industries including healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, retail, services and the public sector. Their specialized solutions for apparel, food and beverage and equipment service management and rental has contributed to their success in these vertical markets.

They offers a full suite of ERP solutions supporting core operating functions including supply chain, manufacturing, CRM, human resources and financial management.

Lawson Software is a publicly traded company headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota. They are a global company with 3,700 employees worldwide. Revenues for the company in 2008 were stated as approximately $851M.

Microsoft ERP Microsoft has entered the ERP market through acquisition and offers four different platforms under the Microsoft Dynamics brand. Dynamics AX (Axapta) is known to be the most robust platform offering high quality core horizontal functionality for ERP, CRM and SCM and mostly relies on implementation partners to develop vertical or point solutions. Microsoft’s three other ERP platforms are Dynamics NAV (Navision), Dynamics GP (Great Plains) and Dynamics SL (Solomon).

Microsoft Dynamics solutions tend to be better suited for smaller, less complex organizations. As you move up the ladder of mid-market companies with multiple locations and overseas operations, Microsoft solutions have a difficult time scaling and being able to offer complete solutions unlike their competition.

Microsoft Corporation is a global, publicly traded company headquartered in Redmond, WA. They have 93,000 employees and reported revenues of $60,420M for 2008.

Oracle Oracle’s E-Business suite offers global, highly integrated, industry solutions with configurable best practices developed from working with some of the most successful companies in the world. Being one of the largest software companies globally Oracle makes significant investments in product R&D and being able to offer highly vertical-ized solutions across major industries.

Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards enables them to offer robust, scalable, best of breed solutions, each having a strong value proposition within their respective industries. Oracle’s go to market approach is to position one (or more) of the Oracle brands in front of a client. With so many products to chose from they can offer a solution to address any of your back-office needs around ERP, SCM, HRS, MRP and e-commerce. The downside of all of this technological capability is that implementation and usability can be costly and complex undertakings. This being said, Oracle tends to focus on the upper end of the mid-market space.

Oracle is a global, publicly traded company with over 84,000 employees and is headquartered in Redwood City, CA. Reported revenues for 2008 were $22,430M.

SAP SAP’s Business All-in-One applications are template driven and focused on providing industry specific, highly configurable, pre-packaged solutions for the mid-market space. The All-in-One suite of applications is considered to be a leading solution for the mid-market space. With the help of a vast partner eco-system SAP looks to offer best of breed solutions leveraging years of industry specific R&D at a mid-market price.

SAP offers a complete ERP solution with integrated modules for CRM and SCM. They have comprehensive solutions to address the needs of major industries including manufacturing, distribution, and transportation and have deep vertical solutions with best practice built by working with industry leaders.

SAP is a publicly traded, global company with over 47,000 employees worldwide. SAP is headquartered in Walldorf, Germany and reported revenues of ???11,565B for 2008

ERP evaluation is a complex and time consuming assignment but a worthwhile endeavor over the long term. Look to work with a company that specializes in providing services to help assess and implement ERP solutions to expedite the process and provide you with the knowledge to make the best decision for your business.

About the Author: Ray Forrest Business and IT Consulting Services for ERP Systems

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