This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best ERP software—that’s the best enterprise resource management tools and some other ERP technology that I think you’ll find helpful.
The appeal of enterprise resource planning systems (ERP systems or ERP software) is easy to fathom. After all, who wouldn’t embrace the idea of business processes being compiled and maintained in a neat, easy-to-scale package? That’s probably why 50% of companies are planning to implement (or update their existing) ERP system according to a 2019 report.
The enterprise resource software market is growing exponentially as more companies get on board. In fact, it’s estimated that the ERP software market will be worth a whopping $71.63 billion by 2026; this is at a CAGR of 8.66% over the forecast period according to MarketWatch.
In this post, I’ll explain what enterprise resource planning systems (ERP systems) are and how ERP software companies set out to make assessments or time, money, and more, much easier for you to manage.
Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 10 Best ERP Software Options
Curious as to what types of ERP software are out there and which one you should use? Check out this summation of our top 10 list below.
Enterprise Resource Planning System Comparison Criteria
What are we looking for when we select enterprise resource planning software for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive?
Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training?
Features & Functionality:
Accounting Functionality – How well does it integrate or include accounting software and tools?
Inventory & Warehouse Uses – How well does it integrate or include inventory processing tools?
Marketing Tools – How well does it integrate or include marketing features and functions?
Reporting and Analytics – Does it offer customizable, robust reporting, and analytics options to track business performance? Are reports easy to export, design, and share?
Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible?
On-Premise vs Cloud ERP: These are the two common deployment options. Is the ERP software cloud-based or delivered as a SaaS? Would you need to work with the software vendors to undergo an ERP implementation and install it on site?
Real time updates: Does the system allow for real time updates on items like inventory, new purchase orders, or invoice payments? Keeping your software as up-to-the-minute as your business is will allow you to gain efficiency and reduce miscommunication.
When reviewing ERP software for the criteria above, it is critical to consider the specific needs of your business.
Manufacturing companies will need to keep track of the manufacturing process and their supply chain.
Distributors will need to track purchase orders as well as ensure proper order management, order processing, and warehouse management.
Large enterprises might need everything from sales to marketing to manufacturing to distribution. Either way, businesses of all size need some type of ERP software system that fits their business needs.
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Overviews of the Best ERP Solutions
Here’s a detailed description of each of the ERPs that are featured on this list, with information about features, pricing, use cases, and integrations.
NetSuite’s dashboard can be customized to fit the unique needs of your business.
NetSuite is a SaaS cloud ERP for financials, customer relationship management, and ecommerce with built-in business analytics to plan and analyze all mission-critical processes. NetSuite is used by over 24,000 teams around the globe and was named one of the top ERP and business management services of 2020 and 2021.
NetSuite is a hugely customizable ERP solution, more so than many of its competitors. Expect to dedicate some extra time and effort to sorting out what exactly you need and ensuring it is implemented. Customization options include transaction screens, advanced custom data collection, order processing, inventory management, accounting, and even some marketing.
Customization and implementation of NetSuite will be a large project, often taking 4-6 months to be fully up and running. Netsuite Solutions Consultants can be hired for an additional fee and it may be wise to do so if you anticipate needing additional assistance throughout the onboarding process. This may add an extra expense for your business but is worth it in the long run.
NetSuite connects with a range of first-party tools to expand the functionality of your ERP solution. Additionally, the NetSuite SOAP API allows for integrations with third-party apps.
NetSuite costs from $499/month for a license and then $99/user/month on top of that. NetSuite has a 14-day free trial and offers a free demo.
Odoo is an open source ERP with workforce resource support like recruiting and appraisals.
Odoo is an open source ERP and CRM with a suite of apps—for an extra cost—to cover everything from point-of-sales, helpdesks, timesheets, website builders, inventory, email marketing, and more. Odoo offers Android and iOS smartphone apps, as well.
Being open source, Odoo handles customization and integration incredibly well. You’ll want a dedicated software development team to take full advantage of all the features (code available on GitHub) but it will be well worth your time. Odoo’s ERP can open wide up to incorporate everything from lead management, supply chain management, quotation system, accounting system, CRM system, and inventory.
Odoo offers a “support pack” whereby you can buy hours of customer support and cash them in for assistance, communication, and troubleshooting. However, these hours expire and a single email response may eat into your purchased time for between 6-10 minutes apiece. Odoo does a lot well but be prepared to take problem-solving into your own hands.
Odoo integrates with plenty of third-party apps alongside its first-party offerings, such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Dashboard Ninja, Amazon, ChitChats Shipping, eShipper Shipping, eBay, Magento, Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive, Quickbooks, and more.
Odoo costs from $24/user/month and offers a 15-day free trial. Odoo also has a free community edition available.
Use ERPNext to view visualizations for payment methods and sales over time—for free.
ERPNext is a free open source ERP software that is an awesome option for small to midsize businesses with limited resources who are looking to take advantage of some free ERP software solutions. ERPNext has been translated to more than 70 languages; offers smart device apps for iOS and Android; and comes with personalized training for any paid plan.
SMBs will be able to track leads and customers, set up subscription plans for services, establish loyalty and rewards programs, and schedule appointments and meetings with your team for a low (or no) cost so long as you don’t mind self-hosting and DIY troubleshooting after your initial consultation call. Mind you, their YouTube channel has over 300 videos to help you find your groove.
For people who are familiar with Odoo, this tool is comparable as an open source solution with a few caveats. ERPNext doesn’t have nearly as robust or thorough documentation, particularly when it comes to the JS side of things (client end). However, the free modules are easy to implement and understand so it makes total sense as a freeware ERP solution.
ERPNext integrates natively with Amazon MWS, Paypal, Razorpay, Dropbox, LDAP, Braintree, Paytm, Stripe, Shopify, WooCommerce, Google Drive and Calendar, FairLogin, Plaid, GoCardless, and Exotel.
ERPNext is free to use for the self-hosted plan. Paid plans with managed hosting and additional features cost from $10/site/month and offer a 14-day free trial.
Wholesale and distribution teams can track complex orders with a variety of prebuilt field types in Compiere.
Don’t let the dated website UX fool you, Compiere is a comprehensive, open-source ERP platform that is used by enterprise distributors, retail, manufacturing, publishing, healthcare, government, and beyond. They have a snappier website but it’s more salesy and less to the point, plus doesn’t make any mention of their open source offerings.
Compiere’s out-of-the-box functionality is perfect for wholesale and distribution companies, who will have immediate access to modules for purchasing, accounts receivable, invoicing, warehouse management, and order management. With a bit of finagling, Compiere can also connect right to your legacy warehouse inventory management systems.
Compiere really doesn’t want you to leave their platform for third-party add-ons, boasting instead that they have a suite of modules that can do all you need. While this is true, you can also integrate with some third-party SQL-based tools with some tough wrangling. External integration does not seem to be a priority for them, though.
Compiere integrates with some third-party SQL-based tools and can export to a variety of file types, including Excel, HTML, Word, XML, text, PDF, and postscript. They do not list specific third-party integrations on their website.
Compiere costs from $50/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial.
Dolibarr comes with lots of useful ERP functionality with connectors for project planning, accounting, and CMS.
That’s right—Dolibarr is another open source ERP-meets-CRM solution with a free version available for all computers and OSs. Dolibarr offers modules for CRM, sales, human relationship management (HRM), CMS, websites, ecommerce, point-of-sale, product and stock, finance and billing, productivity, and integration/development.
Dolibarr is easy to use, easy to customize with add-ons, and easy to learn on the go. You can immediately tell that usability and customer-friendliness is top priority in the development teams’ minds. Below I’ll go into all the third-party integration options but it should also be noted here that they are much easier to implement than those associated with other tools on this list.
Dolibarr doesn’t offer a mobile app, which is one of the few downsides of the software. Seeing as Dolibarr is free to use, it is a picky criticism to add that the UI isn’t as modern and clean as some of its contemporaries. What Dolibarr lacks in modernity, they make up for in convenience and flexibility.
Dolibarr integrates with LDAP, Paypal, Stripe, Paybox, Google services like Google Maps/Contacts/Calendar, Prestashop, Magento, WooCommerce, and many more paid and unpaid tools in their app marketplace. You can also build and submit your own modules for integration.
Dolibarr is free to use. Paid plans cost from $11/user/month and offer a 14-day free trial.
Use customer profiles to track accounting debits and credits in webERP’s simple overview.
WebERP is another free, open source cloud ERP with a particular focus on enterprise resource planning for manufacturing and multi-branch retail management. Enterprise retail teams can leverage modules for business functions like accounts receivable, inventory management, purchasing, banking and taxes (for Canada, US, South Africa, UK, Australia, NZ), and customer profiles/wikis.
WebERP focuses on design simplicity, lightning-fast service, and PHP code written in a way that any developer can add their own features as needed. Retail teams will appreciate comprehensive real-time daily sales reports, ad hoc sales graphs, automatic product backordering, and simple inventory planning reports.
As it stands, webERP doesn’t do payroll management, meaning that you’ll have to integrate with a third-party system like OrangeHRM to account for that feature set. This isn’t a huge deal, seeing as webERP does so much else, but it’s important to note for anyone who might want to employ this software as a holistic retail management solution.
WebERP can be integrated with third-party software using their open source code. You will need a dedicated software developer to do so, however, as there are no apps marketplace or out of the box plug-ins available.
DELMIAworks visualization options display items like labor costs and sales by customer.
DELMIAworks (used to be IQMS Manufacturing Software) is award-winning manufacturing ERP software. This solution combines manufacturing software, MES software, and ERP software. Delmiaworks has always tailored their business operations to a factory ecosystem with modules that conform to ISO and TS standards as well as FDA requirements.
DELMIAworks has the capability for product lifecycle management, bill-of-manufacturing document building, and quality assurance bolstered by document libraries, ECO, FMEA, CA/PA, and inspection requirement standardization. They have small business solutions and apps for mobile devices, making them a versatile option for companies of all sizes.
DELMIAworks performed great as a general manufacturing ERP but is lacking in other resource planning tools for accounting, payroll, and HR. Anything human resources-related will require additional software or a third-party integration of some sort. However, for a manufacturing-focused ERP system, DELIMAworks really can’t be beat.
DELMIAworks integrates with Microsoft 365, cloudDISPATCH, Spreadsheet Service, Oracle Eloqua, Fulcrum, and others.
DELMIAworks costs from $25,000/user as a one-time licensing fee.
MS software users will be familiar with UI context clues and popular cross-platform features in Microsoft Dynamic 365.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the obvious choice for enterprise resource planning if you are already in the Microsoft software ecosystem (MS Teams, MS Project, MS Office). MS Dynamics 365 is used by the likes of Coca-Cola, Crate&Barrel, BMW, and Lowe’s. Mix and match modules for sales, marketing, CMS, field service, finance and operations, and connected commerce.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 will have a familiar feel and interface for anyone used to dealing with MS platforms, making for easy adoption for Microsoft-savvy workplaces. On top of that, you can pick and choose which of their applications you want to implement to better customize your experience (and your pricing!). MSD365 is suitable for companies of all sizes.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be a bit of a memory/CPU hog, which may not be ideal for older office computers or entry-level laptops. The built-in reporting suite could also use more customization options, so it would be wise to employ a third-party integration for most complex analytics. Luckily, plenty of options are available.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates with all other Microsoft software solutions as well as third-party apps like Power BI, Yammer, ESB, HubSpot Sales, Zoom, Salesforce, Cisco Webex Scheduler, Mendeley Cite, IMPACT, FindTime, MIPA Personal Assistant, and more. You can also build your own integrations using their REST API.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 costs from $65/user/month for your first module and then $20/user/month for every subsequent module. MSD 365 comes with a 30-day free trial.
Track procurement spend, employee expenses, and other KPIS with Oracle ERP Cloud analytics.
Used by Air Asia, DropBox, FedEx, Lyft, Maxda, and UCLA, Oracle ERP Cloud offers flexible, mix-and-match solutions for financials, project management, procurement, risk management and compliance, enterprise performance management, supply chain and manufacturing, and in-depth ERP analytics that both SMBs and large enterprises will find helpful.
Oracle ERP Cloud does analytics and reporting unlike many others on this list of ERP platforms. Their ERP analytics solution boasts KPI management, a best practices metrics library, prebuilt analytical models, self-service data hubs, and mobile compatibility. Some analytics are embedded right into ERP Cloud; additional features can be unlocked with the ERP Analytics package.
Like many Oracle products, Oracle ERP Cloud comes with a steep learning curve that may require implementation cheerleaders both within your organization and from Oracle customer service themselves. Be sure to allot some extra time for onboarding, training, and even ongoing learning/development for your team.
Oracle ERP Cloud integrates with other Oracle services as well as third-party solutions like SAP, Quickbooks, Marketo, Paypal, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Shopify, IBM DB2, Apache Kafka, Workday, UiPath, Box, DocuSign, Eventbrite, Microsoft platforms, Google platforms, and more.
Oracle ERP Cloud costs from $175/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial.
SMBs will find everything they need for ERP and support in SAP ERP.
In 1972, five former IBM employees founded the company they call SAP Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung (“System Analysis and Program Development”). Since then, SAP ERP has excelled in enterprise resource planning and financial management solutions. SAP currently supports over 200M subscribers in their cloud user base and has been named a top contending software company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 14 years.
SAP ERP can easily integrate with other SAP first-party software. You can tap into SAP’s reliable treasury and cash management features; financial closing assistance; agile international trade compliance; and customer and employee insights. SAP has a host of business software modules so you can expand or contract as your need and budget require. This makes it a flexible and scalable ERP solution.
SAP ERP is one of those “easy to learn, hard to master tools” that can only support your resource planning strategy according to how much time and effort you are willing to put into learning the complexities of the system. This goes doubly so if you upgrade your account to include the expanded SAP universe of apps.
SAP ERP integrates with other SAP solutions, like SAP Business One, SAP Commerce Cloud, and SAP HANA. Third-party integration opportunities require the SAP Integration Suite, which comes at an additional cost. SAP does their best to keep you within their first-party ecosystem.
SAP ERP costs from $3200/user for a perpetual license and offers a 90-day free trial.
Before we jump into the reviews, it’s important to know the basics of ERP systems. What is it? How is it used? What does it do? Read on to learn the founding principles of enterprise resource planning.
What is ERP?
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a business process management system that compiles, organizes, aligns, and automates various aspects of a company’s workflow. The idea is to have all business functions in one place to increase efficiency and make sure all bases are covered. ERP software is often enlisted by companies to help with the management of a wide variety of back-office functions.
What is an ERP system, and what do they do?
An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, or ERP software, integrates, manages, and controls different business processes and functionalities through a series of interconnected and complementary modules that might do everything from accounting, manufacturing, production, sales, ERP CRM, timesheets, and more.
What are the parts of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are often broken down into modules designed to address key areas of business processes. The following parts – or modules – are often the core of any ERP system:
Procurement – maintain a standard procurement process and ensure the process is followed throughout your organization.
Product planning and development – keep track of products in the early stages of their lifecycle, from conception to the beginning of the manufacturing process.
Product manufacturing process – ensure products are manufactured according to timelines, comply with regulatory requirements, and pass QA tests and inspections.
Sales – keep track of sales to ensure sales targets and other quotas are being met, as well as manage ecommerce capabilities and functionalities.
Marketing – plan and execute marketing projects and campaigns, as well as allow for marketing project management.
Human resources – integrate human resources priorities such as recruitment, onboarding, and payroll.
Customer relationship management – maintain relationships with current and prospective customers, as well as increase customer retention with CRM functionalities.
Supply chain management – manage your supply chain from materials sourcing to storage to raw material inventory.
Inventory management – track inventory levels and forecast demand.
Order management and order processing – keep track of purchase orders, order fulfillment, and order status.
Warehouse management – optimize and manage warehouse operations for streamlined inventory management and storage.
Corporate governance – keep track of governance policies and procedures, and ensure employees across the company are familiar with them.
Financial management – manage invoices, purchase orders, and accounting all in one place.
Business intelligence – collect and analyze data, as well as integrate it with your other business functions.
Enterprise asset management – keep track of your tangible assets and ensure maintenance is completed on schedule.
As you can see, there is some overlap between the different functionalities offered by ERP software, but not all businesses will require all the functionalities listed above.
For example, mid-market manufacturing companies may need an ERP that can integrate and assimilate the product planning, development, and manufacturing processes. If they have a distributor network that handles warehouse management and inventory management, those functions wouldn’t be necessary. The idea is to interconnect all of the aspects that cater to a business’s specific needs within a single enterprise interface.
What’s the difference between ERP and MRP?
ERP vs MRP—what’s the difference? Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and material requirements planning (MRP) differ in a few important ways: (1) MRP is more about manufacturing only, whereas ERP covers a vast array of integrated business processes; (2) MRP tends to be stand-alone software, whereas ERP has apps, integrations, and add-ons so that it can cover a whole suite of business needs. MRP ERP systems, a mix of the two, can do all of the above.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools can be used by small, mid-sized, or large enterprises alike. Anyone who is interested in integrating and connecting many business processes all at once can benefit from using ERPs.
What’s the most common ERP software?
Common ERP software doesn’t necessarily mean “the best”, instead it is usually promoted by big-name tech businesses that are reliable in their field. Some popular ERP tools that you may have heard of are Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle ERP Cloud, Sage X3, and/or Epicor ERP.
Free ERP Software Options
Free or low-cost tools might be the best ERP for small business, while others might require a paid plan. Here are some free/freemium ERP tools:
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