When looking for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to help manage your business operations, you have a few good options to choose between. There are similarities between them, but each puts its own stamp on the concept and has different strengths and weaknesses.
The key is identifying the needs of your company and aligning that with the ERP that will offer you the most value. This involves taking an honest look at what is and is not working for your business currently, including things like accounts and finances, supply chain management, human resources, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and more.
With an ERP system, all those disparate operations, and the databases that come with them, can be unified into a centralised solution. This will enable you to pool all the data and visualise it concurrently, in real time. It will also facilitate the implementation of automation tools, advanced analytics and reporting and countless other resources designed to improve efficiency, productivity, collaboration and more between departments.
Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, in a huge range of industries with differing needs and personnel with different skill sets. You will need to weigh up all these factors and more to zero in on the right ERP solution for you. Here’s a list of the main contenders as a rough guide to help you along.
NetSuite has a global reputation, powering top enterprises ranging from small to medium businesses right through to multinational corporations. It is an innovative piece of software that will equip your organisation with powerful, advanced technology. Based in the cloud, it is a market leader among cloud ERP and financial suites, helping businesses of all sizes lower costs whilst increasing productivity. NetSuite is:
It will continue to be a powerful tool as your company grows and changes. The suite includes the ERP system along with things like finance and accounts management, eCommerce, inventory and warehouse management, and CRM.
It is by far the largest ERP solution available with tens of thousands of customers. The industries it can be used in are wide-ranging, with deployments in digital media, educational institutions, food, health and beauty, healthcare, manufacturing and retail environments (to name a few). Its core features include:
- Core and advanced financial capabilities (general ledger, global financial management, accounts payable/receivable, etc.)
- ERP features (inventory/order management, vendor records, drop shipment and special orders, etc.)
- CRM functionality (campaign management, competitor tracking, customer service/contact management, salesforce automation, etc.)
- Ecommerce (full compliance tools, third-party seller integration, multiple languages/currencies, customer acquisition enhancements, etc.)
The benefits of NetSuite are many, no matter the size of your business. Its agility and scalability are a particular benefit, as you will never need to replace it, and the cloud-based structure means you only ever pay for what you need. You also get reliable updates that won’t impact your functionality, and there are many ways to add apps and modules or integrate with other systems to get the setup you require.
Sage 200 is a robust finance, accounting and business management solution aimed at businesses with up to 200 employees. It can provide management tools, automation, data reconciliation, analytics and centralisation for disparate business departments like stock, supply chain, financials, manufacturing, construction and warehousing and distribution among others.
Sage 200 can integrate seamlessly with other modules from Sage, like Payroll and Salary, to enhance its capabilities per your requirements. The result is a streamlined and fully coordinated business. The software is configurable, scalable and flexible – similar to NetSuite, it can grow with you and provide additional functionality through additional apps and modules as well as integrations.
With Sage 200, you will be able to compile and analyse data in real-time from:
- Finances and Accounts
- Supply Chain and Warehousing
- Project Management
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- And more
Sage 200 is used in a wide range of industries and sectors and it is an affordable solution even for smaller businesses. Sage 200 Standard is based in the cloud and is an out-the-box solution that will fit the needs of many businesses.
Sage 200 Professional is an on-premise solution that can be cloud hosted on platforms such as Microsoft Azure. It is highly customisable, with a wide range of industry specific modules available to provide solutions for industry specific challenges. With Sage 200, automation and smart insights will help you cut costs and focus on increasing productivity and revenue via a broader perspective of your business.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 is the unification of Microsoft’s ERP and CRM applications into a single, integrated solution. It offers a comprehensive suite of services with a plethora of available tools to configure the system to work for your business. Not known to be as powerful as NetSuite or Sage 200, it is nevertheless a robust option and its natural integration with virtually any other Microsoft application is a strong selling point for many.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be used for:
- Connecting people, processes and data across many departments and applications into a single, centralised system.
- Using AI and analytics tools to help make smarter decisions across the business.
- Adapting applications to your needs rather than looking for workarounds and changing the way you do things.
- Becoming more innovative through the use of technologies like AI, social media, mobile capabilities and mixed reality.
You will get most of the tools you need for managing finance and accounting, CRM, project management, sales and more, though you may find it doesn’t offer quite as much for things like HR, supply chain, warehousing and such. Many businesses will find it meets their needs with a few integrations, and compatibility with other Microsoft products is a big plus.
This ERP software from SAP SE leverages advanced technology for a wide range of business operations. The basic principle is the same as other ERP systems – providing a central source of data to unify the disparate arms of an organisation for the purpose of increasing efficiency and visibility of company health from a holistic perspective.
SAP is an on-premises software, meaning you have to purchase it and install it on-site. This means investing in infrastructure and deploying an internal or external IT team to configure and launch it within your business. Though costly, this does give you complete control over how everything works and can be an attractive prospect for a business that has the necessary budget to do it. The main advantages include:
- Standardisation of your organisation’s business processes.
- A unified perspective of the health and running of the business.
- Very deep customisation
- Powerful reporting and analytics features to make informed decisions.
We have seen SAP deployed in a wide range of industries, from consumer and discrete industries to things like financial services, energy and natural resources and various service industries. It aims to transition more to the cloud in the future, but it is likely to be somewhat behind platforms like NetSuite and Sage 200 that have been operating in the cloud for years.
The cloud-based version of Epicor helps provide anywhere, anytime connectivity to your business systems, leveraging industry best practices and reducing your IT burden. It’s also offered as an on-premise solution although this will incur costs associated with on-premise hardware and maintenance and upgrades. It is a highly customisable solution that offers tools and capabilities for virtually every arm of your business, including:
- Service and Asset Management
- Production Management
- Supply Chain Management
- Governance, Risk and Compliance
- Financial and Accounts Management
In addition to its centralised database and powerful automation features for different workflows, it also offers robust business intelligence and analytics to inform decision-making. Its capabilities are diverse and powerful, suited to businesses of almost any size with good scalability.
Its features are not generally considered to be on par with systems like NetSuite and Sage 200, but it is a superb platform from a software provider with an outstanding reputation, so you could definitely do worse than implement an Epicor ERP solution in your organisation.
There are also some solutions aimed at smaller businesses and even sole traders that might be worth considering. They tend not to includefull ERP functionality, but offer high-quality accounting capabilities to manage the needs of the smallest companies. However, they are often lacking in functionality for growing businesses and may start to cause more problems than they solve as you get bigger, so you need to be aware of when you outgrow their capabilities.These solutions include:
- Sage 50
Generally speaking, these solutions are entry-level accounting software and will not meet the needs of a forward-thinking, growth-focused business. But if you do not foresee any rapid growth in the near future, they may have everything you need to manage your accounts and finances.
Choosing the right ERP solution for your business can be a daunting task. With the potential costs involved and multiple solution providers out there with rafts of information, it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees.
It’s all about assessing your business needs and understanding which ERP software is the best fit. It’s also essential to choose the right ERP implementation partner who will work with you to deliver an ERP solution that works for your business on every level. We hope you found this article informative, and here are a few more article you might find useful.
- What is ERP software?
- Top Benefits of an ERP System
- ERP Implementation Steps
- Building an ERP Implementation Team
- Cloud ERP vs On-Premise ERP
- 10 Reasons to Embrace Cloud ERP
- Global ERP – Making The Right Choice
Why choose Eventura as your ERP implementation partner?
Eventura has been providing robust business solutions to countless organizations for over two decades. We are ERP experts and can identify all of your business needs, and deliver a comprehensive ERP solution that works for you.
As Sage 200 Partners and NetSuite Solution Providers, we can help you identify which solution will fit your business needs the best. Our expert team of business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff can guide you through your entire project, from initial scoping through to implementation and on-going support.
We’re also managed IT service providers meaning we can help you identify your entire IT infrastructure requirements from day one. If you would like to speak to one of our ERP experts, you can request a free call back here.