2012 Readers' Choice: Enterprise Resource Planning

As stated last year, there is no real change in the basics of an ERP system, therefore there is no real change year over year on this list. ERP systems have become somewhat of a commodity for manufacturers in regards to back-office operations — leaving little room for new players to emerge or for movement in the existing ratings, says Bob Parker, group vice president, IDC Manufacturing Insights. Still, there are some new needs and trends worth watching.


We haven’t seen a lot of large-scale ERP suite purchases of late. Do you expect this to change?

Parker: I don’t expect this to change radically — unless the ERP vendors change. The ERP market as it stands today is basically at maturity, with the majority of manufacturers having already invested in an ERP suite. For those manufacturers that still have some disparate applications in the back-end, it makes sense to invest in an upgrade to get everything on the same page. An angle that is emerging, particularly for global manufacturers, is the need for an “operational ERP” system to complement the existing “financial ERP” system. This would help to bring together those best of breed applications that manufacturers need today — supply chain management, manufacturing execution systems (MES), business intelligence (BI) — with the existing back-end ERP system, creating increased visibility across the entire organization. This would change the ERP landscape significantly, but vendors need to get up to speed on offering this first.


How are ERP companies helping suppliers leverage their existing ERP investments?

Parker: As stated above, one area that the ERP vendors are helping with is upgrades. Making sure suppliers are on the latest versions of the ERP system can help with back-office efficiencies. It also makes it easier to take advantage of newer technologies — such as industry-specific advanced analytics and the cloud — that many manufacturers are vying for today. ERP vendors are making sure these options are available to manufacturers to take advantage of the cost-savings of the cloud or improved visibility of financial data with real-time business intelligence.

Breakout Favorites



Customer Experience Leader: Oracle

"Working with Oracle and Deloitte, we have been able to create one standardized solution that has helped this business run as a whole. This project has enabled us to simplify our portfolio, strengthen our core set of organizational competencies and lower support costs."

— Mark Thome, Vice President, Business Transportation and Enterprise Resource Planning, Land O’Lakes, Inc.


SMB Market Leader: SAP

"SAP Business ByDesign has become the central nervous system of the company; all the tools we need to operate efficiently are integrated within one piece of software."

— Rick Alden, Founder, Skullcandy







Microsoft Corpotation