Panorama issue the latest version of the Clash of the Titans ERP report

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Also posted on: The Holloway Angle

Panorama have just released their annual report on the “clash of the titans” looking at the 4 major ERP players: SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and Infor. There are some very interesting conclusions coming out of this report which I felt worth sharing with the Bloor audience. I have paraphrased some of the findings for you.

SAP has the largest market share, but Panorama feel it is expensive to implement ( SH – what still? Based on my own experience I would agree particularly if you customise the h*** out of it!) I was interested in the comment Panorama made “our research finds that SAP customers realize the least amount of potential functionality compared to the other Tier I vendors”. Could this be due to purchaser customising rather than making decisions to go with best of practise processes? Or was this due to the time it takes to implement? Panorama did have some good new in that “SAP implementations deliver the quickest financial payback relative to the others”.

Panorama found that Oracle implementations were the most expensive of the four companies reviewed. They found that customer implementation durations and costs were “unpredictable and experience higher deltas between planned and actual numbers”. The good news was that Oracle implementations were found to have the highest success rate in terms of customers’ subjective self-assessment of whether or not they felt their implementations were successful. Panorama also commented specifically on JD Edwards and eBusiness Suite customers realising a higher degree of functionality compared to SAP and Microsoft Dynamics.

Microsoft Dynamics was found by Panorama researches to take the longest to implement but to have the lowest cost of ownership. Panorama postulated that the length of implementation “could be at least partially attributed to the fact that Microsoft Dynamics also has the highest customization rate of the four systems”. The good news for Microsoft Dynamics potential customers is that the total implementation costs were the lowest of the companies compared. Panorama made a very interesting comment that they considered Microsoft Dynamics to be the most flexible option of all the companies reviewed.

Panorama found that Infor was not short-listed as nearly as often as the other 3 vendors, but once it had been it was selected at a very high rate (“a close second to SAP”). This was the first year that Infor has been included in Panorama’s study. They gave the reason as due to Infor’s increasing penetration of large, multi-national organisations globally. The research found that Infor implementations were the most predictable in terms of planned vs. actual implementation cost and duration. They also found that Infor customers experience the lowest level of operational disruption.

So how does this report help if you are looking at changing your ERP or implementing and ERP?  Well it does give you some independent answers to some of the questions over flexibility, ease of implementation, length of implementation, and likelihood of achieving your objectives. You still have to work out what functionality you want covered and what part of this is critical to achieving the objectives of your organisation. You also need to consider what sort of organisation you are in terms of both size and activity. Of course the report only cover the 4 major players – SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and Infor – but that covers 4 SAP, 4 Oracle, 3 Microsoft Dynamics and 8 Infor products!  So there are a number of other vendors and products that might better suit you. But Panorama’s report is worth reading in details to give you a better feel if one of the Tier 1 players is the solution you should consider or not.