ERP Software for Medium/Large Business buyers guide by Inspector Jones

We’ve compared the 20 most serious ERP software options for Medium and Large business, so you can review and compare the best. These cover your core business operations - finance and accounting, purchasing, HR management, sales/customer orders, manufacturing, distribution, and more…

ERP Software Finalist 1

Oracle (E-Business Suite and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne)

Our independent review for ERP selected Oracle as one of the top 3 vendors because of its amazingly broad and rich offering, high customer satisfaction and strong industry presence. Oracle produce a range of ERP software including Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, Siebel, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, JD Edwards World, Hyperion Financial Performance Management, and Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management.

ERP Software Finalist 2

SAP (SAP Business Suite and SAP Business All-in-One)

We’ve selected SAP as one of the top 3 ERP software vendors because of their comprehensive suite of software, highly customised industry-specific ERP offering, and excellent availability of implementation partners. SAP have a track record of successful ERP implementations. Their product offerings include SAP ECC, SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign, and SAP Business All-in-One.

ERP Software Finalist 3

Microsoft Dynamics AX

We’ve selected Microsoft as the third of our top 3 ERP software vendors. Microsoft provide a comprehensive and cost-effective ERP software solution, a large number of partners to choose from, and a wide variety of different industries they support. Microsoft’s options include Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics POS, Microsoft Dynamics RMS, and Microsoft Dynamics SL.

The ERP Software Shortlist

We’ve reviewed dozens of different ERP software packages on the market, for medium and large enterprises. This shortlist is the best-of-the-best - enterprise-grade solutions that are proven, well-maintained, and being actively developed. Also, see the full list of ERP software…

ERP Software Features to Look For

As a medium or large organisation, you have very complex business, and a number of regulatory and legal needs. You may also operate globally (or at least in multiple locations). Virtually any ERP solution you select will a significant amount of customisation, over an extended period of time. Plan for at least twelve months to implement, and probably a long payback period.

To kickstart your ERP project, I highly recommend engaging a vendor-neutral, independent advisor to help select the best solution.

I recommend using the following features as a starting point to document your unique ERP software requirements.

Standard ERP Software Features

I recommend you look for ERP software that, at a minimum, contains all of the following:
  • Financial management, including the risk, compliance and regulatory needs of your organisation
  • Human capital management (HCM) - not only good quality human resources management functionality and payroll, but also recruitment, performance management, learning, time and attendance
  • Sales and service - including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales force automation (SFA), Marketing automation, and Sales order management
  • Supply chain management (SCM). Your needs may be very specific, but at a minimum expect strong Inventory management, Purchasing, Importing, transportation and Supplier Relationship Management
  • Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
  • Contract management and Document Management
  • Planning specific to your organisations needs - may include Material requirements planning (MRP), Capacity requirements planning (CRP) and Distribution requirements planning (DRP)
  • Reporting, Business intelligence (BI), and Enterprise performance management (EPM)
  • Business activity monitoring (BAM) - real time monitoring of business processes
  • The ability to integrate with other enterprise systems, and manage workflow
  • Global single-instance support, if your organisation spans multiple locations

Implementation Partner

The support and features provided by an implementation partner may be as important a decision as which ERP software you choose. Make sure you look for:
  • Availability - skilled professionals who are available to help during your implementation and for ongoing optimisation after going live
  • Track record of success. Make sure you speak to reference sites who have used the same partner.
  • Quality customisations. Often the partner's customised code may be of a lower quality, or with poorer documentation than the core ERP software. Speak to technical teams who have worked with this partner before to verify their quality.
  • Industry-specific experience. Most of the bigger ERP solutions cover a broad range of industries, many of which will have no relevance to your business. Finding a partner with experience in both the ERP solution and in your industry will accelerate your project.

Industry-Specific ERP Features

ERP Software for Manufacturing
ERP software is often tailored for discrete manufacturing management, Process manufacturing management, or some combination. Look for:
  • Manufacturing execution systems (MES) and plant automation
  • Warehousing, logistics and distribution
  • Ordering, quotes, product and price configuration
  • Advanced planning and scheduling (APS)
  • Product lifecycle management (PLM)
  • Quality management
  • Material requirements
  • Shop floor scheduling
  • Process and cost accounting
  • Health and safety
ERP for Distribution
  • CRM
  • Order entry and change
  • eCommerce
  • Sales commissions
  • Forecasting
  • Distribution requirements planning (DRP)
  • Centralized purchasing and Importing
  • Inventory management
  • Warehouse management
  • Barcoding, RFID
ERP for Services Industries
May include professional services (also known as Professional Services Automation or PSA) and field services.
  • Project management
  • Resource management
  • Calendars
  • Timesheets
  • Expense reports
  • Contract management
  • Invoicing and billing

All Medium/Large Business ERP Software