In looking at the ERP value proposition from a market research perspective, functionality, market penetration, industry orientation, and partnership strategy are the keys. IT managers and staffs look at these same characteristics from their perspective, sometimes after first making an architectural or platform decision, but most often "Functionality rules!" By "ERP Value Proposition," IT Investment Research refers to the advantages of a single database for all business information being updated in real time from consistent user interfaces such that it is theoretically the only piece of business software the enterprise needs. End users such as plant managers and budget planners assume all software offers this value and become very frustrated when they find that standalone application software does not.
The characteristics are important to IT staffs for a variety of reasons. For example, a higher market penetration translates to an increasing likelihood that you will find references in your specific industry and size of company classification. The supplier's partnership strategy also helps in terms of industry centricity (and the partner may also be closely tied to a preferred platform such as AS/400 or .NET).
The ERP Supplier Comparison, 2009 table illustrates in detail these characteristics in terms of the leading suppliers of ERP software: Infor, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Delivery methods such as software-as-a-service or availability in a hosting arrangement are important also, but all the leading suppliers offer all the leading methods, so the differences are less relevant.
The suppliers' visions for the future are equally important but since enterprises still tend to turn over their ERP applications only once per decade, you can be pretty sure your supplier will be where you need it by the time you are ready to move.
Of the characteristics considered in ERP product research and the value proposition IT is looking for, IT Investment Research thinks industry centricity is the most important to users in 2009. And of course, as in previous years, functionality rules.