Buyer's Handbook: Learn which cloud ERP system can best benefit your company Article 5 of 5

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Discover the best cloud ERP software for your company

Explore the leading cloud ERP software and vendors currently on the market to make this complex decision-making process just a little bit easier.

The ERP market is large and well-established. That means that although the ideal product for most organizations is out there, finding it requires careful research.

An ERP system includes core software modules -- also called components -- that focus on essential business areas, including finance and accounting, HR, production and materials management, customer relationship management (CRM), and supply chain management.

This roundup of the best cloud ERP software offers a quick snapshot of the types of products that provide ERP functionality.

Epicor Software Corp. ERP

Epicor ERP is for organizations of all sizes in manufacturing. It can be installed on premises or in the cloud. However, Epicor ERP may be a bit complicated and expensive for smaller businesses.

As a fully integrated ERP suite, Epicor ERP provides organizations with ways to handle project management, inventory and global business management, just to name a few.

The modular software suite enables organizations to purchase only those essential modules without having to buy other modules to run the system.

Epicor ERP can be deployed in an organization operating in one geographic region. It can also be used by multinational enterprises implementing a two-tier ERP strategy -- i.e., tier 1 ERP for financials and other core common processes at the corporate level and tier 2 ERP for divisions, subsidiaries and smaller locations to address specific needs.

Epicor ERP is compatible with all operating systems and devices. Epicor also offers mobile apps that are available for both Apple and Android. The apps contain features for expense and mobile time tracking.

Epicor's features enable organizations to:

  • Manage financial operations and gain insight into expenses, risk and performance, as well as access fiscal information in real time from anywhere and on any device.
  • Manage all aspects of the supply chain.
  • Capture, store, manage and retrieve documents and content at any time from any device.
  • Produce accurate estimates, streamline the order-to-cash cycle and fulfill orders accurately.
  • Achieve greater visibility into the business to make better decisions.
  • Manage leads, contacts, customers and quotes from opportunity to order.

Editor's note

Using extensive research into the cloud ERP market, TechTarget editors focused on the vendors that lead in market share, plus those that offer traditional and advanced functionality. Our research included data from TechTarget surveys, as well as reports from other respected research firms, including Gartner and Forrester.

IFS Applications

IFS Applications is a component-based ERP system that can help organizations integrate processes and data across different departments and locations. IFS Applications, which can be deployed in the cloud or on premises, offers modules for project management, asset management, supply chain management and more.

With IFS Applications, companies can manage the lifecycles of their assets end to end. The product also offers users capabilities for financials, human resources, document management, CRM, business intelligence and reporting operations.

Components of IFS Applications include:

  • Accounting rules -- a common set of rules for all the manual and automatic postings within IFS Applications. Standardized interfaces can enable users to handle transactions sent to and received by IFS Applications and non-IFS business systems.
  • Business reporting and analysis -- helps companies understand and examine their businesses with prebuilt analysis models; this includes everything from HR to sales and procurement, just to name a few.
  • Enterprise operational intelligence -- enables integrated, end-to-end performance management so organizations can manage the entire business, as well as correct and manage broken or complex business processes. In addition, predictive and prescriptive analytics enable enterprises to make better and faster decisions.
  • Quality management -- offers a fully integrated system that streamlines and standardizes quality management data across the enterprise.
  • Embedded CRM -- gives users who interact with customers full access to enterprise data about the clientele, including invoices, accounts receivables, customer projects and order data. This data can suggest corrective actions or additional sales opportunities.

IFS Applications gears its software toward midsize and large companies in a variety of industries, including aerospace and defense, oil and gas, industrial manufacturing, automotive, high-tech, construction, and food and beverage. Some users say it is initially difficult to learn and use without more extensive training and support.

Infor M3

Infor M3 is an ERP system geared toward multiple manufacturing industries -- like distribution and fashion -- as well as process and discrete industrial manufacturers.

Infor M3 supports single and multi-company organizations, as well as multisite and multicurrency companies. Because of this, it is available in multiple languages and supports different requirements depending on the country.

Features include:

  • Customer sales and service -- lets companies manage their customer-related information, from simple product sales to complex make-to-order products.
  • Financial management -- enables organizations to meet their accounting, budgeting, consolidation and reporting requirements.
  • Manufacturing operations -- manages complex, configured and feature-driven products and supports costing, planning and execution.
  • Supply chain management -- provides tools so companies can plan, schedule and execute across their supply chains with capabilities for demand planning, supply chain planning, plant scheduling and procurement.
  • Equipment management -- these applications are designed for firms that rent, sell or maintain assets or equipment.

Infor M3 offers industry-specific functionality and deploys either on premises or in the cloud. The manufacturing ERP capabilities in Infor M3 enable an organization to quickly adapt to meet changing industry trends. It also offers flexibility to help companies manage mixed-mode and complex environments.

Some customers say there is a lot of training involved in learning the Infor M3 system, so it may not be the best cloud ERP software for companies looking for a quick and easy implementation process.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise Edition

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365 FO), Enterprise Edition offers enterprises ERP functionality in a single application. D365 FO connects financials, inventory, sales and purchase orders, supply chain, production, and distribution processes in one application. D365 FO deploys in either the cloud or on premises.

D365 FO offers organizations digital intelligence and visibility to operate efficiently, providing better customer experiences and speeding growth. Designed for ease of implementation and adoption, D365 FO also integrates with existing systems.

Features include:

  • Finance -- enables companies to register financial transactions; manage internal cost accounting, currency translation and reports in any supported currency; and manage relationships between subsidiaries and their parent organizations.
  • Manufacturing -- helps organizations optimize project management, production planning, operations and activity scheduling, and cost management.
  • Supply chain management -- offers advanced warehouse and inventory management to optimize visibility and fulfillment, product insights, material sourcing and integrated logistics. Enterprises can connect sales and purchasing processes with logistics, production and warehouse management to offer visibility and management throughout the supply chain.
  • Mobile -- the mobile app enables employees to work anytime, anywhere on any device, enhancing customer satisfaction, increasing productivity and driving business profitability.

The application enables customers to enhance their business processes by integrating add-on applications from Microsoft and its partners. It offers intuitive, user-friendly screens and allows users to customize their views.

Some users say that D365 FO can run slowly at times, and system upgrades can cause problems, making the system more difficult to use.

NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP, owned by Oracle, is a cloud-based, integrated suite of applications that enables a company to manage financials, production, orders, warehouses, procurement, fulfillment and human capital. The system, which is scalable, includes seven integrated modules designed to streamline business processes. NetSuite ERP gears toward midsize businesses and large enterprises.

The features of NetSuite ERP include:

  • Financial management -- gives users real-time access to live financial data, as well as direct links between accounting and compliance management. Users get accelerated closings, accurate reporting and real-time data.
  • Financial planning -- shortens cycle times, improves financial agility, strengthens collaboration and enables better-informed, more strategic decision-making.
  • Order management -- enhances on-time delivery, reduces shipping costs, improves cash flow and integrates with CRM.
  • Production management -- enables companies to run their manufacturing operations efficiently and increases on-time delivery. This includes sales order and work order processing, routing and scheduling, order fulfillment and product costing.
  • Supply chain management -- enables real-time visibility, increases service levels and reduces costs.
  • Warehouse and order fulfillment module -- includes real-time inventory updates and support for global businesses, wave management and integration with shipping systems.
  • Procurement -- enables users to streamline procure to pay, achieve cost certainty and improve quality.

NetSuite's ERP modules can incorporate with an organization's other applications, such as inventory, order management, CRM and e-commerce to hasten closings, guarantee compliance, and offer real-time analysis. Some users say that integration bugs with third-party platforms have caused downtime.

Oracle ERP Cloud

Oracle ERP Cloud is a suite of connected SaaS applications that manages core business functions, such as financial management, project portfolio management, procurement, risk management and enterprise performance management.

Oracle ERP Cloud delivers the functionality, security, reporting capabilities, analytics, mobile capabilities and social collaboration tools that organizations need to run their businesses. Some users say that the reporting functionality could be better and the user interface is not user-friendly or intuitive.

This tool can be used by organizations of all sizes in any industry. The system natively connects with all Oracle Enterprise Cloud applications, including Oracle Human Capital Management for human resources and Oracle Supply Chain Management to help companies manage costs across the supply chain.

Oracle ERP Cloud manages core business areas, including:

  • Accounting
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Financial close
  • Revenue recognition
  • Risk management
  • Compliance and governance
  • Procurement
  • Project planning and execution
  • Inventory and supply chain
  • Product lifecycle

Oracle Cloud scales to allow organizations to support added users, transactions and websites as the business grows by size and into new markets. This could be the best cloud ERP software for rapidly expanding companies. Oracle also regularly updates Oracle ERP Cloud to add new features.

Plex Systems Inc. Manufacturing Cloud

Plex gives companies the visibility and control they require to run their manufacturing businesses. The software connects an organization's manufacturing operations in the cloud to automate the shop floor.

Plex ERP software links suppliers, manages materials, controls machines, and distributes the accounting and business intelligence manufacturing that organizations need. The software also manages other financial aspects, like reporting and sales tax computing.

Plex can be purpose-built for industry verticals, such as high-tech and electronics manufacturers, industrial manufacturing, precision manufacturing, aerospace and defense, the automotive industry, and the food and beverage industry.

Plex's features include:

  • Business intelligence for smart manufacturing. The IntelliPlex business engine unifies the shop floor to the top floor with analytics and advanced reporting.
  • Manufacturing execution system and quality management system functionality for the factory floor.
  • Customer relationship management features for sales and marketing.
  • Supply chain management functions for procurement.
  • Cloud-based applications that support key manufacturing processes, including consolidate to report, product lifecycle management, order to cash, plan to produce, procure to pay and reconcile to report.

Plex also purpose-builds its systems for specific manufacturing practices, such as the internet of things, lean manufacturing, manufacturing intelligence and mixed-mode manufacturing that consists of both batch manufacturing and process flow work. This capability makes it suitable for companies that want specific customizations.

However, some customers say the software is very difficult to use and requires extensive user training.


QAD Cloud ERP is a complete ERP suite designed to meet the needs of manufacturers in a vast set of industries.

Features of QAD Cloud ERP include:

  • Manufacturing -- supports mixed-mode manufacturing. This feature includes tools for planning, scheduling, cost management, inventory and material control, quality, reporting, and management and shop floor control.
  • Financials -- streamlines day-to-day financial operations and supports the needs of large, complex manufacturers and small, single-site organizations. QAD Cloud ERP includes general ledger allocations and consolidations and sophisticated budget modeling. It supports IFRS and multi-GAAP reporting and taxation to enable manufacturers to meet regional reporting requirements.
  • Customer management -- backs all aspects of the customer lifecycle.
  • Supply chain management -- offers a number of functions from purchasing to warehousing and transportation management.
  • Service and support -- manages installations, parts and repairs, warranties, and service and engineer scheduling to help manufacturers improve customer satisfaction.
  • Enterprise asset management -- supports plant maintenance activities, including preventive and predictive maintenance, maintenance work orders, and service requests.
  • Analytics -- provides decision-makers with timely and accurate information to continually improve business performance, as well as to make better business decisions more quickly.

QAD Cloud ERP supports multiple local languages, country-specific business practices and legal requirements. The company claims that the software architecture lets manufacturers easily configure ERP to match their organizational structures, including support for shared services.

Some users say that it can be difficult to integrate the software or synchronize it with other third-party applications.

SAP Business One

Business One is SAP's best cloud ERP software for small and midsize companies in a number of industries, including consumer products, retail, professional services and high tech, just to name a few.

Business One helps users streamline key processes, gain greater insight into their businesses and make decisions based on real-time information. This ERP software, which deploys on premises or in the cloud, also integrates with a business intelligence module that enables analytics.

Features include:

  • Financial management -- helps improve margins, reduce errors and enable better decision-making for increased profits. This module includes accounting, cash flow management, a fixed asset management system, banking and reconciliation features, and financial reporting and analysis.
  • Sales and customer management -- lets users manage the entire sales process and customer lifecycle, from the initial contact through to the final sale, after-sales service and support.
  • Purchasing and inventory control -- manages the complete order-to-pay cycle to optimize purchasing practices and control costs. This module includes master data management, warehouse and accounting integration with real-time synchronization and accounts payable features, streamlined procurement processes, as well as integrated reports with real-time data.
  • Analytics and reporting -- enables users to capture critical data in real time and uses dashboards and reports to make the information instantly available throughout the company.

Business One is a single integrated product that provides visibility into the entire business. With Business One, organizations can manage every aspect of their business, like accounting and inventory, just to name a few. Some users say that it tends to run slowly.


SAP S/4HANA is a cloud-based and on-premises ERP business suite based on the SAP HANA in-memory database that allows companies to perform transactions and analyze business data in real time.

The main features of S/4HANA include finance performance measurement, supply chain management, purchasing, contract management, lifecycle management, production cost management and accounting.

According to company reps, S/4HANA enables organizations to:

  • Understand financial performance in real time so they can optimize their finance processes from planning and analysis to period-end close and treasury management.
  • Increase visibility and agility across the digital supply chain by using machine learning for logistics, manufacturing and asset management.
  • Use intelligent apps with machine learning to enhance supplier management, streamline purchasing, and deploy collaborative sourcing and contract management.
  • Develop fully aligned product portfolios that enable admins to manage lifecycles, control production costs and effectively deploy resources.
  • See a complete picture of operations, including customer insights to help marketing, sales and service teams enhance productivity, increase revenue and speed business opportunities.
  • Meet the specific needs of the business by customizing core systems without the challenges of integration and custom coding.
  • Analyze purchase orders, purchase requisitions, invoices and contracts to get extensive, real-time information on purchasing spend.
  • Integrate contract management with sales, pricing and logistics processes to improve visibility and efficiency.

S/4HANA enables organizations to optimize their core processes from finance and human resources to supply chain management and product lifecycle management, and it is for companies of all sizes in any industry, the company claims.

Some users say the learning curve may be a bit steep for organizations that don't have people in-house with the necessary skill sets, as well as potential barriers to consider, so S/4HANA may not be the best cloud ERP software for companies that don't have those resources.

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