The most popular ERP Software comes from SAP and Oracle, followed by Microsoft and Infor. While these four companies enjoy a considerable share of the overall ERP market, they are by no means the only ERP software suppliers out there. Many other suppliers offer a wide variety of ERP software choices for manufacturers in general and for specific vertical markets.
The most popular ERP software is not necessarily the best ERP software for any one particular company. Each company must define their specific needs and find the product or products that offer the right functionality and features to fit those needs.
The most popular ERP software packages in any given industry are likely those that best fulfill that industry’s needs. While manufacturers in general are more alike than different, each industry segment does have unique processes and needs. Some software packages are designed for specific markets: steel centers, printed circuit board manufacturers, food and beverage companies, or automotive suppliers. Others are more general: industrial equipment manufacturers is a relatively broad category. In any specific vertical niche, the most popular ERP software package may be one that is focused on that specific niche, have significant market share in that niche, but not even by on the radar in any compilation of overall most popular ERP systems.
Companies selecting a solution should not be overly focused on market share or popularity. The first concern must be functionality and appropriateness for the company’s specific industry and unique needs. After appropriate solutions have been identified—the proverbial “short list” of most attractive products—proceed with the due diligence of system selection. Study the short list candidates’ offerings in detail and identify any functional shortfalls or missing features. Evaluate the “usability” of the system design—how the future users feel about the screens, functions, and access, and how it will fit in with their every-day duties. Talk to existing users in your industry and companies of about the same size as yours. Investigate the support structure; talk to current users about the support and assistance the supplier provides. Check the company’s financial stability and future product roadmap to assure yourself that the supplier will be there in the future with updates and enhancements to keep your solution “state of the art.”
Expect to pay a fair price for your solution. Yes, there is free ERP software out there in the market, and low-cost ERP software as well, but expect to “get what you pay for.” Totally free “open source” software is community supported and takes more commitment within your company to keep it up-to-date and bug-free. Many open source products are available in a “professional” or “commercial” version that does have a cost associated with it or open source with a paid support option; however, the support offered is not necessarily at the level you would expect with a traditional, commercial software package. Let the buyer beware.