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Brad Windecker

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Related Topics: ERP Journal on Ulitzer, SAP Business One

ERP Journal: Blog Post

Tools to Compare ERP Applications

Compare ERP Applications

ERP Comparison Resources

I've been getting a lot of feedback from people lately in the sales process that it's really hard to find adequate comparison tools for SAP versus other products.  This has led to my own quest for knowledge about how to find out how to compare the best ERP systems for a business.  Here is what I've found...

First, like any good internet nerd, I went to Wikipedia.  You can find a pretty complete list of ERP vendors along with their associated software packages.  It was good to see SAP at the top of a few of the lists along with a reasonably well developed article about SAP Business One.  After searching around for a bit, I finally found a comparison page that, while rather light on features, provided some excellent resources in the reference section.  The search was on.

I also ran a quick Google search and found some of the same links intermixed with the annoying pay-for-a-report sites.  There were also several "how to" guides for choosing ERP software that could be valuable.  I was really trying to find a true comparison tool, so I'm not going to bother listing these.

SAP Software Comparison to Microsoft & Sage

Most of the resources were looking at non-SAP products, while some had evaluations for MySAP.  Most were focused around the smaller packages and comparisons between Sage and Microsoft.  The paydirt came when I checked out 2020software.com and then later ran into a Google ad for Top10ERP.org.  Both provided an excellent snapshot into what each system's capabilities were.  There was even some information about average software costs, number of implementations, core features, and support for the products.  Next to the SAP battle cards that I get for being a reseller, these two sites really had a lot of information.

The Best Place for ERP Comparison

A final site to recognize is findaccountingsoftware.com.  They're undoubtedly the most comprehensive place for free information I've been able to find on the web.  Plus, we use them for a lot of our lead generation, so a shameless plug was in order.  Their site doesn't have a ton of comparison tools, but the sheer volume of information is impressive.

ERP Comparison Summary

All-in-all, SAP still doesn't show up in internet searches as frequently as Sage, Microsoft, Epicore, Syspro and others in the SME Market despite being one of the fastest growing ERP applications.  This is probably because we haven't been around as long.  However, we do compete rather strongly on features and price.  I think that's why a SEO offering is in order similar to the one we're about to launch here at Orchestra.  I did like that SAP ranked rather well in terms of value against the competition.  It's good to see some validation of all the sales talk that we absorb played out in the high-stakes arena of the internet.
That said, I think there may be a market for a true peer-review system for ERP software packages.  This wouldn't have to be focused around any one product, but giving people the chance to comment about the software application they use and get honest comparisons would really do a lot for consumers.  I've always been somewhat put-off by the lack of good information available on expensive products.  I suppose there is an argument there for the protection of a competitive advantage.  The strange thing is, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind who hides information and who doesn't.  Call me a socialist left-winger, but when I pick up a piece of open source software for the web, you better believe there are at least several hundred people telling me that it rocks before I spend the time to implement it.  The same thing could be possible for ERP software.
Fundamentally, the best way to do software selection is to carefully qualify the people you're working with.  There are lots of great software packages out there, we just happen to really like SAP.  Success comes down to your implementation team just as much as the actual software you're buying.  Also, most firms that sell software, like ours, are given specific talking points to beat our competition.  If I was trying to do a comparison I'd ask for that information from everyone I was evaluating and try to get the real story of who's better able to meet my needs.  Regardless, buying software isn't as easy as going to Best Buy and picking it up off the shelf.  A process is required that fully evaluates the fit of the software, the effectiveness of the firm implementing and supporting it, and the willingness of your firm to commit to the purchase and implementation of it.

Disclosure: Orchestra is an SAP Channel Partner and sells SAP Business One. We think if you find us while comparing ERP applications, you'll agree it's the best software for SMEs available today.

More Stories By Brad Windecker

As the President and CEO of Orchestra Software, I lead a talented team of bright people with the unified mission of helping growing industries run better. Orchestra builds industry vertical ERP software that is highly specific to the needs of the industries we serve. This strategy has enabled Orchestra to double or triple in size and revenue every year.