The state of ERP

The state of ERP

Summary: Looking to enhance your business with an ERP system? Here's our round-up of the top vendors.


The world of enterprise resource planning, or ERP, is a complex and varied one.

It's not simply that there are a lot of vendors and ERP solutions available, but rather that the fundamental purpose which underpins ERP is to provide businesses with the ability to enhance workflows, integrate lines of business, share information and streamline operations; that is, to act as a general "enabler" for all functions critical to the successful running of any major company. Given the massive range of industries and markets, and the huge scope of companies within those markets, there are in theory as many ERP solutions as there are businesses to purchase them.

The importance of any ERP system within an organisation will vary depending on the extent to which it can be customised to meet that organisation's needs, but that isn't the only consideration. A system that might be incredibly flexible and customisable may not be as appropriate as a system that is less dynamic but has a long history supporting a particular industry. This is why we tend to see ERP applications and vendors focus on particular market segments and vertical solutions — specialisation is the key to success in ERP, rather than trying to be all things to all people.

Having said that, there is still plenty of competition. Also, with businesses and economies all over the world in the process of extricating themselves from the global financial crisis, many organisations are in the process of examining existing workflows and the systems which underpin them. So as the 2009 calendar year draws to a close, it's a good time to take a look at the top vendors and their vision for ERP.

Topics: SAP, Enterprise Software, Oracle

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  • OFBiz?

    I'm curious to know how OFBiz compares to the others
  • Reliance on Partners

    Call me biased (I am director at eintel). The idea of this product being opensource is that you have choice. You can go with partners or use the community to go your own way. Partners also offer training development and support as well.

    Compared to Oracle and others (I put oracle in an SMB and it cost in excess of $180K) Openbravo can be installed for 10% of that cost and offer similar features.

    Its all about choice... open community and access to source code and development tools for no cost.
  • I know this comment is a little late after the article was published but it still ranks well in Google so hopefully this can be helpful to some people.

    Some things you may want to consider while selecting your next system, if your business is constantly evolving or expanding consider selecting an ERP system with the flexibility to adapt with your business as you grow and change. As some ERP systems are bespoke to each client any further customisation can be difficult and costly.

    If your business has a high staff turnover, consider training and staff retraining time for your selected software system as this could become a drain on productivity and resources. Make sure the system is easy to get your head around and is user friendly.

    Finally as James stated there are many many different systems available in Australia. It may take time to filter through them until you find a suitable fit.

    Rupert Ralston
    IRIS Enterprise Software (Australia)