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Which vendors come short when measuring up the big boys of ERP?

Panorama Consulting’s ‘Clash of the Titans 2017’ report compares SAP, Oracle, Dynamics and Infor…

Clash of the Titans reportAssessing ERP solutions against one another is a devilishly difficult thing to do owing to the complexities of the software and the environments in which it is implemented. Be that as it may, an intrepid North American provider of ERP solutions tackles the task on an annual basis; in its ‘Clash of the Titans’ report, Panorama Consulting pits the top four vendors against one another and assesses them on criteria which range from the straightforward (‘market share’) to the tricky (‘short-list and selection rates’, ‘implementation duration’, ‘payback period’). But is there a clear winner?

Not really. Something of a ‘swings and roundabouts’ result emerges, with the fastest-to-implement solution not necessarily delivering the best total cost of ownership, and the system with the longest payback period delivering the best benefits.

If all this sounds slightly familiar, it’s because at the end of 2016, Panorama ranked ERP vendors and produced a top ten, with Epicor taking the silverware in that assessment.

Sticking to the Titans in this report – that is, the top four vendors by market share – narrows that field down to SAP, in the lead with 19 percent, Microsoft’s Dynamics second at 16 percent and Oracle and Infor each commanding 13 percent.

That’s not global market share, mind, but is instead drawn from responses collected from Panorama’s ERP Benchmark Survey, which it ran between October 2015 and November 2016. The company said ‘the dataset includes 470 respondents who have selected or implemented SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics or Infor ERP solutions. The analysis is based on all solutions offered by the four vendors and is not segmented by industry.’

The Clash of the Titans report makes for valuable reading for anyone considering taking their company into an ERP implementation. Key findings include:

  • Shortlisted most often was SAP at 38 percent; Microsoft next at 31 percent; Oracle at 18 percent; and Infor at 18 percent.
  • SAP, Oracle and Dynamics all exceeded planned implementation duration; Oracle was longest, at 24.5 months. Infor, which on average took less time to implement than any of the others (at around 15 months), came in under the planned duration. However, Panorama’s 2016 ranking claimed Infor solutions took on average 30 months for implementation.
  • Infor has the shortest payback period at 8.5 months; SAP the longest at 30 months (Panorama said its research shows that payback typically happens after three years.)
  • In terms of total cost of ownership, Panorama said Oracle is the most expensive, followed by SAP, Microsoft Dynamics and Infor.
  • 58 percent of SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and Infor customers realised greater availability of information as a result of their ERP implementations.
  • Panorama said its research showed that the highest benefits realisation came from SAP implementations. The lowest? From Infor.

In a follow-up blog, Panorama lead consultant Eric Kimberling said the four vendors assessed do, as might be expected, have quite a bit in common. Most of those things are not positives; they are also not particularly surprising to anyone who has involved themselves in an ERP implementation, vis: actual costs for customers exceed estimated costs; operational disruption is very consistent – and consistently too high; and most customers fail to realise the expected business benefits.

But one finding which might be surprising is this. Cloud adoption continues to gain momentum but most implementations are still on premise. “All four vendors are investing heavily in cloud ERP deployment options, but, with the exception of Microsoft Dynamics, a majority of customers are still implementing on premise options. The numbers are definitely trending toward more cloud adoption year-over-year, but adoption has not yet reached the majority. This should continue to change as vendors and other third parties continue to provide more viable cloud deployment options,” Kimberling wrote.

Access the Clash of Titan’s report here (registration required).

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