2013 Readers' Choice: Enterprise Resource Planning

CGT’s readers rank the top five technology companies that provide a complete suite of enterprise-wide ERP software, including finance, HR, CRM, supply chain, PLM, asset management, etc.

Movement in this market continues to be difficult as consumer goods manufacturers are seldom making rip-and-replace decisions around ERP. Still, there are some trends worth watching. QAD, for example, has reemerged on this list in the fifth slot. Could the cloud-based version of its full product suite be helping the company gain momentum? Bob Parker, group vice president, IDC Manufacturing Insights, analyzes today’s ERP market.

How would you characterize ERP investment and implementation activity?

While we are seeing fewer green-field implementations of ERP in the consumer goods manufacturing segment, there is still considerable activity in the market. Upgrades continue to be a point of activity because making sure suppliers are on the latest versions of the ERP system can help with back-office efficiencies.

How can manufacturers stretch the functionality of the ERP system?

ERP vendors are making significant investments in what IDC refers to as the “Four Pillars”: cloud, mobile, social and Big Data. CG manufacturers are quickly taking advantage such as through mobile access to real-time inventory from field sales; incorporating social networks that span functional areas within the back office; leveraging cloud for partner access to components of their ERP systems; and using analytics tools offered by ERP vendors to mine their troves of data.

What sets apart leaders in this area? How are they leveraging ERP differently?

Leading consumer goods companies appear to understand the benefits of using the ERP systems as the “brains” of their operation, moving beyond financial management into operational management that effectively creates a “central nervous system” for the company. In this role, companies can use newer technologies such as real-time analytics to move the needle in real time.

Also, with the use of mobility and cloud technologies, consumer goods companies are pushing access to core operational ERP functions out to the farthest reaches of the organization, enabling increased efficiency and stripping away time and geographical barriers. The key to this is shifting the mindset of ERP from cost-center to business catalyst.


Customer Experience Leader: QAD

“QAD Enterprise Applications empowers Sugar Foods to operate at peak performance while controlling costs... Our implementation of QAD, with its ease of use and support for very efficient operational processes, prepared us well for rapid growth.”
— Phil Wetherington, CIO, Sugar Foods Corporation

SMB Market Leader: Microsoft Corporation

“What brings people to us is our quality product and service.To that end, our Microsoft infrastructure helps us ensure we’re able to continually deliver quality and meet our customer expectations. And, as our business has re-launched, the technology has helped us to ensure we have done everything right from the beginning.”
— Paul Mooty, CFO, The Faribault Woolen Mills







Microsoft Corporation