Companies all have silos. Each business unit works independently, and the transfer of information between the departments is challenging.
Therefore, if someone needs to send an interdepartmental update or collaborate on tasks, you'd have to do it one department at a time. This leads to a loss of precious time, a lack of collaboration, and low business flexibility.
ERP software overcomes these challenges.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a means of business process management that can streamline a business. An ERP software merges the various departments, processes, and business units by unifying them on a common platform, where all team members can access real-time information about all processes at any time.
What is the Best ERP Software?
The best ERP software integrates all business processes, increases efficiency, reduces errors, and prevents excess expenditure.
There are many new ERP systems in the market, and choosing the best new technology can get confusing.
To help you make a suitable decision, here are 11 of the best ERP software to choose from in 2020.
1. Microsoft Dynamics.
Microsoft Dynamics is an ERP and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that is perfect for industries like finance, retail, manufacturing, among others. Currently, it is used by more than 200,000 people worldwide.
- Focus Industries: Focuses on multiple industries, including retail, service, manufacturing, finance, and the public sector.
- Predictive Analytics: Comes with an in-built analytics module that generates actionable insights and robust reports.
- Third-party Integrations: Widely integrated with several applications, like Outlook, Lync, Sharepoint, Word, among others.
- Mixed Reality: The software can provide layout (lets you design physical spaces virtually) and remote assistance (collaborate with people through HoloLens).
- Extensive Marketing: Through its Adobe Marketing Cloud and Dynamics 365, it forms a closed-loop marketing system that enables you to analyze the results of your marketing campaigns.
- Provides a highly collaborative environment (users can interact in Yammer)
- Extensive customer support options, including phone and live chats
- Highly customizable and scalable
- Gives server-to-server authentication to enhance data security
- Compatible with numerous platforms, including iOS and Android
- Improves visibility of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), like revenue, turnover and underlying issues
- Extensive automation available
- Doesn't provide 24/7 customer support
- Doesn't offer a free trial period
Microsoft Dynamics offers four pricing plans.
The 'Customer Engagement' is $115 per user per month, the 'Unified Operations' costs $190 per user per month, the 'Dynamics 365' plan is $210 per user per month, and the 'Applications & Offers' plan costs anything between $40 to $170 per user per month.
2. Sage 300.
Sage 300 is a Windows-based ERP system that runs on Microsoft SQL. Currently, it has over 2 million global users and is perfect for small and medium businesses.
- Manage Multiple Companies: This software makes it very easy to manage multiple companies and accounts. It also makes it easier to report results by the company and consolidated company.
- International Business Made Simple: International business can be complicated, but Sage 300 makes it easier by maintaining an unlimited number of currencies, exchange rates, and automation of gains or losses from fluctuations.
- Inventory Management: Inventory management tools take care of essential steps like shipments, returns, and adjustments. Sage 300 also offers multi-location inventory tracking.
- Automate Finances: Your entire finance management is automated, along with the monthly bank statement reconciliation
- Comes in numerous languages, including English, Spanish, French, Italian, and more
- Provides intelligent reporting
- Displays and helps track accounts payable
- Visualizes KPI dashboards
- Offers customer support via phone and live chat
- Wide range of integrations with applications like Amazon, Magento, Shopify, Salesforce, and more
- Enables key stakeholders to get access to instant information for more informed decision-making
- It can provide a solution for a wide range of industries such as construction, manufacturing, wholesale distribution, chemicals, food and beverage, professional services, and non-profit organizations
- 24/7 access to support articles, production documentation, latest updates and more
- Provides forums to share your review, tips, and suggestions
- Doesn't offer a free trial
- Comes with a hefty price tag
The pricing is personalized and quote-based. It depends on a wide range of factors like user count, support needs, functionalities, and more.
Odoo is a comprehensive, all-in-one business software that offers a wide range of applications like CRM, project management, ERP, inventory, and warehouse management.
- Inventory Management: Odoo has a unique, double-entry inventory management system that tracks the entire product journey from manufacture to sale.
- Quality Checks: The software can automatically ensure quality checks for the manufacturing department.
- Dedicated Customer Portals: the dedicated customer portals ensure customer data is stored and accessible in a highly organized manner.
- Centralized Employee Database: The software can pool all the details of the entire workforce on the same platform for instant access.
- Automatic Stock Adjustments: A feature tailor-made for ecommerce business, stock can be maintained by automatic stock adjustments.
- Offers a wide range of hosting choices, including cloud hosting, on-premise hosting, or Odoo cloud platform
- Multi-language customer support teams (English and French)
- Email and live chat support
- Get to use your own domain name
- Offers an excellent free lifetime offer (if you don't install extra integrations) called Odoo community
- Option for a wide range of integrations (DHL Express, FedEx, eBay, VoIP, and more)
- Highly customizable since it is an open-source software
- Automated invoicing procedure
- Offers 15-day free trial period
- Customer support is available only from Monday to Friday (24/7 not available)
- A beginner might find it challenging to operate
- Additional payment for every extra app installed (difficult for people on a budget)
Initially, the 'Odoo Enterprise' plan offers a 15-day free trial period. After that, the price is $6 per user per month (paid annually). You'd have to pay extra if you require additional apps. Other than that, the 'Odoo Community' plan is entirely free for use.
Infor is a cloud-based ERP software that caters to a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare, and retail. Its modern end-to-end solutions are powered by artificial intelligence. Furthermore, it is built on the powerful Infor Coleman AI platform.
- Data Analytics: With its in-built data analytics suite, it can provide actionable insights for businesses to adopt. Moreover, it can handle a large amount of multi-dimensional data, which can help you visualize the results in several ways.
- Planning and Scheduling: It allows workforce planning that can help businesses plan the production and take care of scheduling. It also makes sure that there's no shortage of workers, and production requirements are met.
- Workforce Management: It optimizes the hiring process and ensures that you hire the right talent for the right positions.
- Asset Management: It helps you maximize the reliability and performance of assets, predict failure, carry out preventive actions, and streamline various processes.
- Offers both on-premise and cloud deployment
- It is compatible with all devices, including mobile phones, tabs, etc.
- 24/7 customer support (email, phone, social media and live chats)
- Highly customizable
- It's a multi-language platform for maximum outreach
- Allows excellent collaboration between business units
- Allows a high level of automation of workflows
- Excellent job-tracking feature (all along the funnel from manufacture to sales)
- It isn't very compatible with Excel
- Running tasks in the background can cause the software to slow down
- Can be challenging to use for a beginner
- Customer support may not be rapid
- Drill-down options available but limited
The pricing details are not available on the website. You have to get in touch with the company for a detailed quotation.
Based out of South Africa, Syspro is an ERP software platform that focuses on streamlining business activities like financial, warehouse, and inventory management across the entire business supply chain and operations.
It specializes in the manufacturing and distribution sectors and is currently used by more than 300,000 professionals worldwide.
- Business Digitalization: The software is focused on adopting emerging, value-adding technologies, and using AI to facilitate the integrations.
- Security Management: four-dimensional security management takes care of access levels, controls, visual monitoring, and auditing.
- Advanced Technology Architecture: The software provides a unique combination of robust, scalable solutions that minimize risk and maximize ROI.
- Advanced Financial Management: Syspro delivers core financial and accounting functions and provides essential insights to minimize financial risk.
- Can be deployed in the cloud
- Allows highly personalized workstations
- Engaging, flexible, fast, intuitive, and user-friendly (AVANTI adaptable interface)
- Instant business insights for immediate action
- Offers high scalability
- Offers APIs and services for improved integration
- Use of BOT agents that allow the automation of redundant steps
- Visualization of activity dashboard using graphs and charts
- Real-time predictive analytics modules
- Extremely secure servers ensuring data integrity
- Not much need for costly upgrade and additional IT support
- Customer support could be better
- Direct supplier and transportation relationships are missing
- Brand recognition is limited
Syspro doesn't display the pricing plan options on the official website. You have to contact the company to receive a personalized quote.
6. SAP Business One.
Dubbed as an ERP software for small businesses (SMBs), SAP provides visibility and complete control of all the aspects of your business. Not best for mid-market businesses, it's integrated with the SAP HANA platform and boasts more than 100,000 users.
Financial Management: Helps to improve margins, reduce errors, and enhance profitable decision making.
Sales and Customer Management: Enables overseeing the entire sales process and customer lifecycle more efficiently.
Reporting & Analysis: Design detailed reports on all aspects of sales funnel, from forecasting to pipeline tracking.
Customer Management: Store all your customer information in a central repository for ready access.
Marketing Campaign Management: Create and manage marketing campaigns to convert prospective leads into customers.
- In-built business analytics
- GDPR-compliant (General Data Protection Regulation)
- Multiple deployment options (cloud, on-premise, and mobile)
- Offers various extensibility options (self-services customization, application extensions, service layer development)
- 24/7 support for critical issues via phone and online support
- Reduce duplicate costs
- Compatible with Windows, Android, Linux, Mac, and iOS
- Offers a wide range of integrations, such as Hybris Cloud, Dell Boomi, MuleSoft, and more
- Offers a free trial period
- Can be challenging to use for first-time users
- Beginners may find the design layout a bit challenging to navigate
- One of the pricier options in the market
- Your work won't be saved automatically after every few minutes
The pricing can vary based on several factors like deployment, integrations, and add-ons required. Usually, for a professional license, the price is $94 per user per month. For a limited license, the price is $54 per user per month. However, to get the exact quote, you'd have to get in touch with their sales representative.
7. Oracle NetSuite.
NetSuite is an all-in-one business management suite that encompasses ERP applications, financials, CRM, and ecommerce for more than 18,000 satisfied customers.
Furthermore, it's a reliable and world-class organization that allows organization-wide automation in the cloud through seamless integrations.
- Financial Management and Planning: Helps you combine financial information with instant business intelligence to drive quicker decision-making. It also helps in forecasting, scheduling, capacity, and aggregate planning decisions.
- Order Management: Combines the process of sales, finance, and fulfillment to take care of pricing and sales order management.
- Production Management: Allows complete control over production schedules and processes and helps in efficient product management.
- Human Capital Management: Helps you make the most out of your investment in human capital by ensuring that the right person is assigned the right job.
- Offers high level of automation
- Highly flexible and customizable
- Provides excellent customer support
- Robust functionality and high scalability
- Digital, comprehensive dashboards available
- Excellent PRM (Partner relationship module)
- Efficient security protocols in place
- Supports multiple languages and multiple currencies
- The software is upgraded twice a year
- Nearly 100% uptime
- Provides remote accessibility for enhanced business unit collaboration
- Suitable for all types of businesses, whether it is a small, medium, or large business
- In-built data analytics module to generate actionable insights
- Customer support has many complaints
- Product upgrades are a bit challenging
- Doesn't offer an on-premise version
The plans are quote-based and are tailor-made and personalized for individual requirements. It depends on the integrations needed, add-ons available, among other factors. The base license costs $999 per month, and access cost is $99 per user per month.
Workday is an on-demand cloud-based ERP software aimed at medium and large enterprises. Its primary focus areas are financial management and human capital management.
The best part is that it is relatively inexpensive and quick to set up. The entire business model of Workday involves giving subscriptions to use various services rather than selling the tool.
- Business Planning: Provides comprehensive financial and workforce planning to help businesses become adaptive and flexible.
- Financial Management: Provides holistic management like accounting, finance, audit and internal controls, financial planning, expenses, inventory, and much more.
- Human Capital Management: It offers a comprehensive set of functions like talent management, workforce planning, payroll management, people experience, recruiting, compensation, and more.
- Analytics: In-built analytics module aids in making data-driven decisions.
- Phone, email, and online support
- Compatible with both iOS and Android
- Comes with excellent data security protocols to ensure data integrity
- Provides an exceptional collaborative environment
- Offers extensive third-party integrations
- User-friendly and intuitive interface
- Doesn't offer a free trial period
- Cloud-based (cannot be used by businesses with specific on-premise requirements of ERP)
The pricing details aren't available on the website. To get a personalized quote, you need to contact one of the sales representatives.
Deltek is an ERP system that focuses on delivering business solutions to clients and help them automate and connect project life cycles that fuel their business. It lets you holistically manage, develop, deliver, and measure every aspect of your business. What makes it stand apart from many of its counterparts is that it offers both cloud and on-premise hosting options.
- Project and Portfolio Management: With features like winsight analytics, enterprise planning, and scheduling tools, it also provides a platform for project management with cost, reporting, and risk analysis.
- Information Management and Collaboration: It gives you access to all the information via a single repository, which empowers teams for better communication and speeds up approval and review procedures.
- Human Capital Management: An excellent feature that lets businesses hire the right talent for the right position.
- Vantage Point for A&E and Consulting: A comprehensive solution for architecture, engineering, and consulting firms to manage projects from start to finish.
It has three project ERP solutions:
Maconomy - focuses on financials
Vision - the focus is on SMEs to help them manage resources better
Cloud - provides high scalability & full disaster recovery
- Highly scalable and acclaimed software (provides increased ROI for clients)
- User-friendly and intuitive interface
- Enhanced financial and regulatory compliance
- Allows better collaboration between business units (access to real-time information)
- Extensive automation of processes available
- Integrated, built-in development environment
- Supported by iOS, Windows, and Android
- Phone and online support available
- Fully integrated with Office
- Doesn't provide a free trial
- Timesheet corrections can be difficult
The pricing is not available on the website. To get a detailed quote, you have to get in touch with one of their sales representatives.
Built for manufacturing growth, Epicor helps businesses and manufacturers use data and automation to stay profitable.
- Comprehensive CRM: Helps businesses manage leads, customers, contacts, and quotes.
- Planning & Scheduling: Anticipate and tackle changes in demand to minimize downtime and disruption.
- Human Capital Management: Effective and efficient management of the human capital, assign the right tasks to the right people and foster a culture of collaboration.
- Enterprise Content Management: Manage, access, retrieve and store documents and content any time on any device.
- Project Management: Helps you comprehensively plan and execute multi-level projects.
- Sales Management: It manages your sales process throughout the sales funnel. Helps provide accurate estimates, streamline the order-to-cash cycle, and fulfill orders flawlessly.
- In-built data analytics (provides actionable business intelligence)
- Both cloud and on-premise choices are available
- Enables a highly collaborative environment
- Highly customizable and scalable
- Gives you the independence to work from any location and any device
- Compatible with Linux, Windows, Android, and iOS
- Offers excellent customer support via phone, email, live chat, and tickets
- Modular architecture allows you to opt for only the modules and features you need
- IoT-enabled software
- Doesn't offer a free trial
- Supports only English (no multi-language capability)
The pricing starts from $175 per user per month. For a modular architecture, you can pay for the specific features or modules that you need. For a more customized and personalized plan, you can contact the sales representatives for a quote.
Kronos is a comprehensive suite of workforce management solutions, capable of handling end-to-end functions and processes for your entire business. It boasts of some impressive features, and more than 300,000 users globally.
- Payroll Processing: Streamlines the entire payroll process for added efficiency, speed, and ease.
- Send Automated Alerts: With this software, you don't need to send out alerts yourself. Simply create notifications and send them out at predetermined intervals.
- Compensation Planning Tool: Using their comprehensive compensation planning tool, create compensation cycles based on company or business unit requirements.
- Compensation Management: This is a comprehensive solution that eliminates the need for Excel and spreadsheets and makes the workflow self-sufficient.
- ACA Management: It is one of the few ERP systems that offer comprehensive ACA (Affordable Care Act) management.
- In-built labor tracking and control to reduce errors (use touchscreens, biometric terminals, telephone time tracking, and much more)
- Enhances employee collaboration
- Use of in-built data analytics for actionable insights
- automated payroll processing and tax filing
- Offers a wide range of third-party integrations, such as Ready, Dimensions, and Central from Workforce
- Phone, chat, online, and ticket-based customer support available
- Its mobile application is available
- Allows you to track ACA status of employees
- Secure handling and approval of pay rise procedures
- Cloud-based deployment (cuts down cost and increases efficiency)
- Can be challenging to handle for a beginner
- Isn't compatible with iOS
- Doesn't offer a free trial
- Customer support could be improved
- On-premise deployment option isn't available
The price details aren't available on their website. For a personalized quote, contact one of their sales representatives.
What is ERP Software?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software tools are business process management software that allows a business to organize the multiple processes involved and manage all of them on a single platform.
These are highly powerful tools that allow a company to carry out all the ERP functions related to technology, services, finance, and human resources.
A typical ERP tool consists of numerous modules that cover the entire range of business functions. Each module is dedicated to a business function and takes care of the entire range of the specific function.
Here's a list of all the modules included in a typical ERP software:
- Procurement: maximizes cost savings with the best procurement process possible
- Production: aids in planning and optimizing production capacity
- Distribution: deals with issues like warehouse storage, supply, and demand
- Accounting: covers comprehensive financial functions, along with adhering to regulatory requirements
- Human resources: devoted to HR
- Corporate performance and governance
- CRM: maintenance of customer relationships
- Sales: takes care of activities like forecasting, scheduling, order placing, and more
These software solutions have come a long way in facilitating the smooth flow of information. They help a business look at how the various processes like production, finance, human resources, and more can work together in perfect sync.
ERP solutions lets the companies look at the larger picture, and see the business as a single entity, not broken up into various units.
They can be classified based on a variety of factors.
However, broadly, they can be classified into the following types of ERP software:
- Industry-specific: These are specific to the industry that they are used in. Before deployment, a thorough understanding of the business, deliverables, and KPIs is needed for the best results.
- Small-business ERP: These ERP solutions are focused on SMBs. They are very cost-effective since they don't contain features that aren't likely to be used in a small business.
- Web-based ERP: Also known as cloud-based ERP, these platforms can be accessed through a web browser as well. They can be accessed anytime from anywhere since they only need a fast internet connection.
What Are The Benefits of ERP Software?
ERP software offers a lot of benefits. Some of them are:
- Reduction of long-term costs (despite the high cost of set-up, efficiency improves and saves overall cost)
- Improved accessibility to information
- Better collaboration between business units
- Generation of insightful reports and data analytics
- Facilitates making better, data-driven decisions
- Allows high-level customization
- Enhanced data security (protection to ensure smooth flow of data between various stakeholders)
- Ease of meeting regulatory business compliance
- The efficiency of supply chain management improved
- Help the business make accurate and reliable forecasts
- Reduce operational costs in the long run
What Should You Look for in an ERP System?
While choosing an ERP system, you need to consider a variety of factors apart from regular features.
You must also analyze:
- Whether the features align with your long-term goal
- How this particular ERP software can help you achieve your outcome
- Whether the ERP will add value to your business
Broadly speaking, here are some of the things to expect:
1. Lower Onboarding Time.
The onboarding process is a mandatory yet time-intensive activity and can take anywhere between weeks to months. The lead time can increase based on what features and applications you need to be integrated.
It's essential to identify your specific needs so that you can spend time integrating only those features instead of wasting time with business applications you don't need.
2. Pricing Plans Should Be Worth The Money.
Before making the final decision, you should look at the value the plans are providing, including upfront costs and recurring costs. Take a look at your business operations and decide which back-office features are crucial.
For example, if you need specific features like manufacturing process, inventory control, purchase orders, a general ledger, and accounting software like Quickbooks, check your pricing plan to make sure it's included. Most ERPs have buyer's guides that you can read to view all of their advanced features.
Every business has different requirements, and the costliest plan isn't always the best. Therefore, make sure to look at the best features you're getting for a particular price point.
3. Your ERP Software Solution Should Not be Prone to Hazards.
Once you start using ERP products, it's challenging to migrate to another platform. Therefore, before beginning the import of your data, you should be sure that the one you choose is perfect for you.
Lookout for any hazards that might occur in the future and avoid the platforms that are prone to dangers and have bad reviews. Zeroing in on business management software with a reasonably low number of pitfalls is the key.
4. Cloud ERP and Ease of Use.
The user-friendliness of the software is one of the most critical factors that you need to consider.
To make the most out of your enterprise resource planning system, you should be able to use it across the business by all units as a cloud ERP.
If the software isn't user-friendly and easy to grasp, employees won't be able to use it as efficiently, and training will be of limited use. Thus, it's better to select an intuitive cloud ERP system that can be accessed over the Internet and uses a SaaS model.
At the end of the day, an ERP system should aim at solving problems, simplifying processes, and providing access to information.
5. MRP vs. ERP.
MRP stands for material requirements planning. It's mainly used to determine what materials manufacturing companies need to increase production output. Whereas MRP is more of a solo software solution, an ERP is integrated and can speak to multiple systems. Make sure that you use an ERP that can easily integrate with your tech stack.
Enterprise Resource Planning Software - Summary.
Choosing the right ERP software system can put you in a bit of a dilemma. After all, every business is unique and has different requirements.
Some of the various qualitative and quantitative parameters that should drive the purchase choice are:
- Market share
- Ease of ERP implementation and use
- Training period required
- Scalability and flexibility of software
- Integrations offered and partnerships possible
Remember, it is a long-term investment, so choose carefully. It's essential to align the features of your ERP system with your interdepartmental goals and business needs.
Which ERP vendors are you planning to use for your business? Comment below!
Further Reading on site: Check out my reviews of the best project management software to collaborate with your team and manage tasks effectively.