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Top 5 On-Demand Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software Systems
Aplicor at a glance
Intacct at a glance
NetSuite at a glance
SAP at a glance
Workday at a glance
Intacct and NetSuite are both respectable financial and distribution systems for small businesses. The distribution modules fall short of Supply Chain Management (SCM), however, still meets the needs of most small business. Neither company offers manufacturing software and Intacct also has no Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Both companies target QuickBooks customers looking to move up to more flexible and scalable accounting software.
The newest Top 5 Hosted ERP challenger is NetBooks. This small business financial and accounting software system also targets QuickBooks customers, and interestingly enough is developed by the former QuickBooks creator. While an exciting new entrant to the SaaS industry, the system lacks depth and maturity at this point. However, NetBooks is the most likely contender for a future Top 5 SaaS ERP spot.
In addition to the small business market where NetSuite fits nicely, NetSuite seems to (try to) also position themselves in the middle market. However, the product’s lack of functionality in accounting and distribution modules limits this system for most middle market enterprises. The fact that NetSuite stated in its recent S-1 statement that it offers no data center redundancy or client software backup also eliminates this solution from consideration for most midmarket companies.
While Aplicor is most well known for its CRM software, the company also offers an impressive and integrated ERP suite which includes accounting software, distribution software, manufacturing software, human resource and payroll software. With strong international capabilities (e.g. VAT, GST) and 16 languages, Aplicor ERP is a popular system for multi-national and global companies.
SAP is the clear ERP market share leader across all platforms and is positioned to be a leader in the software as a service ERP market. However, SAP is new to the SaaS market and after originally casting doubt and chastising this market has some catch up to do. We’re expecting a series of SaaS announcements from SAP over the next several months.
Workday is a new company from some old ERP industry veterans. Our analysis shows what most people expected – that the former PeopleSoft founder has built some impressive human resource and payroll systems, however, the financials are barely beta and there is no manufacturing or customer relationship management software systems. At this point, the company has more employees than (paying) customers, however, is positioned well to ride the SaaS market growth.
Software as a Service Enterprise Resource Planning Evolution
ERP On-Demand is (Finally) In Demand
The hosted ERP market has continually trailed the CRM software as a service market. However, while CRM software may have made the hosted business systems market popular, demand has turned to the on-demand ERP applications. Instead of capitalizing on the SaaS evolution opportunity from the beginning, ERP giants such as Oracle and SAP began their SaaS campaigns by belittling, chastising and scoffing at the hosted model. Their judgment was poor and their interests were transparent. It was always clear that their disdain for SaaS business systems was little more than a losing strategy to keep SaaS solutions from growing at the expense of their flagship client/server ERP products. Fortunately, it appears these two industry stalwarts have recognized they cannot stall the SaaS evolution by continuing to introduce FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). While their entry into the hosted software market is not yet a full embracement of SaaS, it is at the minimum a defensive tactic, and possibly more so, an experimental product strategy that will grow as the market grows and their cannibalization fears subside.
ERP System Evaluation Criteria
Our ERP system evaluation and analysis procedure consists of a six step review process.
- In step one, we verify the hosted ERP systems are truly software as a service (SaaS) solutions. To meet this criteria, the ERP application should be a thin-client system operated entirely through a web browser, delivered remotely from a data center over the Internet, and procured with a subscription pricing model.
- In step two, we verify the full ERP software application scope. To meet the complete definition of an Enterprise Resource Planning application, the software should offer the following integrated modules:
- Accounting or financial system
- Distribution or supply chain management (SCM) system
- Manufacturing or MRP (Material Requirement Planning) system
- Human resource and payroll systems
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
- In step three, we validate the application delivers a positive user experience and acceptable user performance. A few of the more technology advanced hosted solutions now leverage both a zero footprint client and AJAX browser-based technology which really maximizes system speed, minimizes browser refreshes, improves system interactivity and improves the user experience.
- In step four, we validate the reliability and information security of the hosted systems. Since the vendors become the custodians of their clients’ data, we review the vendors information security capacity, continuous uptime capabilities and Service Level Agreements (SLA). In trying to gauge or judge uninterrupted software delivery, we focus on data center infrastructures, staff qualifications, equipment redundancy, operations resiliency, disaster recovery, business continuity, uptime history and downtime occurrences.
- In step five, we vigorously review the business processes, management team, customer service programs, customer references, enterprise viability and predicted longevity of the software manufacturer.
- Lastly, in step six, we perform a detailed and weighted software application functionality review. This capabilities review uses the criteria which are included in the RFP Kit available for download from this web site. This measured evaluation permits us to provide a relative, weighted and meaningful comparison of each of the ERP systems.
ERPsoftware360.com delivers a 360 degree view of the Enterprise Resource Planning software market