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Top ERP systems need ability to deliver as well as tech

Panorama Consulting Group's '2022 Top 10 ERP Systems' report focuses on function set, technology, usability and ability to deliver on implementation, support and services.

The top ERP systems are characterized by usability and functional reach, according to the "2022 Top 10 ERP Systems" report from Panorama Consulting Group.

The Denver-based firm, which provides ERP selection services, compiles a list of the top 10 ERP systems annually. Compared to previous years, Panorama's list of the best-rated vendors has seen little change, although Epicor, a vendor customarily present on the list, did not make the cut for 2022.

The top 10 ERP systems come from Acumatica, Delmiaworks (formerly IQMS), IFS, Infor, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle, Oracle NetSuite, Rootstock Software, SAP and Syspro. Panorama does not rank vendors in its annual list.

Feedback from ERP vendor customers and prospects who are considering implementing an ERP system is one of the main data sources for the report, according to Alan Salton, director of innovation at Panorama Consulting.

Some vendors listed will come as no surprise, including Oracle, SAP and Microsoft, Salton said. But other decisions, such as including Syspro and Rootstock in the top 10 or dropping Epicor from the 2022 list, may be less obvious.

Need to deliver important for top ERP systems

The Panorama report doesn't just consider a vendor's systems and functional scope, but also its ability to deliver on implementation and services. This year, Epicor has struggled with the latter, according to Salton.

Alan Salton, Panorama Consulting Group director of innovation.Alan Salton

"What we found this year is that some of these vendors were doing better, and some were doing substantially worse," Salton said. "While we like the Epicor system and what they've done with the system, what we've seen is their ability to deliver through the process -- the demo process, the design process, the implementation process -- has been a struggle."

Although the list of top ERP systems includes market heavyweights like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, market share was not among the criteria used, Salton explained. The four main factors are the functionality of the systems, the technology, usability and the vendor's ability to deliver.

Usability, in particular, is becoming a much bigger factor in ERP selection decisions, he said.

"We're moving into an age where there's newer people coming into the manufacturing or industrial environment -- and pretty much every business -- who are younger and they've got a different expectation of the user experience," Salton said. "So the user experience has become something we look at very carefully."

Infor, SAP, IFS standout for tech

Infor's Cloud Suite Enterprise platform and SAP S/4HANA are strong in the areas of technology and system functionality, while IFS has done well with its industry focus, particularly in aerospace and defense, according to the report.

Microsoft was singled out for its ability to deliver on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform by using value-added resellers (VARs) to serve highly specialized niche markets. In one example, Salton said, a Native American community that was looking for an ERP system worked with a Microsoft VAR that specializes in tribal government ERPs.

What we found this year is that some of these vendors were doing better, and some were doing substantially worse.
Alan SaltonDirector of innovation, Panorama Consulting Group

Delmiaworks is taking advantage of the integration with technology from corporate parent Dassault Systèmes, which acquired IQMS in 2019.

The name change risked confusing customers, but Salton said that Dassault Systèmes has been able to bring IQMS' manufacturing-focused ERP into the SolidWorks manufacturing management platform.

"IQMS has historically been a pretty good manufacturing package," he said. "They have their [manufacturing execution system], they've got good usability, and now we're beginning to see some of the leverage with Dassault Systèmes to bring some of their technology into Delmiaworks."

Cloud architecture helps Acumatica, NetSuite

Cloud strategy was a differentiator in Panorama's report. Acumatica and NetSuite have cloud-native architectures that provide an advantage over vendors that have had to move from an on-premises base to the cloud, according to Salton.

"Acumatica does well because it's cloud native and has a good UI," he said. Although he added that, while the ERP vendor has broad functionality, it isn't as deep as the industry-specific functionality from IFS, NetSuite or Infor.

Salton also added that, "Epicor has invested a lot in the cloud, but they were a little late to jump on the bandwagon, which hurt them, although they are playing catch-up very well."

Rootstock, Syspro offer a surprise

Rootstock Software and Syspro are ERP systems that are poised for growth, Salton said. Rootstock is a cloud ERP system that was developed on Salesforce, which gives the vendor an advantage with Salesforce customers looking to implement an ERP system.

"Some companies that have already invested a lot into Salesforce are unwilling to consider anything else when they're looking at ERP systems," he said. "So they may look at a system that has some kind of integration or interface, or they can look at Rootstock, which is right on Salesforce."

Syspro, based in the U.K., has a strong market presence for its manufacturing- and distribution-focused ERP applications primarily in Europe, but it is making inroads into the U.S. market.

"Syspro is a bit of a surprise in that it's gone through a series of changes and are repositioning in the U.S. market, but they've done a good job with the product and they've done a good job of demonstrating what they can do," Salton said. "They sit in front of their clients and make it work for them."

Jim O'Donnell is a TechTarget news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for SearchSAP and SearchERP.

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