Is It the 'Top 10 ERP' List? Or Just a Dozen Random ERP Names?


If you've read this blog regularly, you know I like lists (see here or here). I think everyone likes lists of all types, not just software lists, simply to see if something you favor or use makes the list. Or worse, to see if something you disapprove of or have decided not to use makes the list (which somehow makes you out of step with the rest of humanity).


So I recently downloaded a something called the 2009 "Top 10 ERP Software Vendors" report from a Web site called business-software.com. I am not going to provide the hyperlink because this document is misleading research.


I can't fault its author for only taking a product-supply-chain-centric view of ERP suites (although that is not expressed as one of the criteria). That's a common mistake that analysts make despite the fact that there is actually more ERP in the services supply chain than product supply chain. That is, there is much more ERP enterprise software in hospitals, banks, professional services firms, etc. than in manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. That is not a comment on manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers; it's just that there are twice as many of the other guys -- at least in the U.S.


But-without even saying what its criteria is (or who wrote it or who produced it or why this document even exists)-the report leaves out the top three ERP software suppliers: SAP, Oracle and Infor.


I am guessing the producer of the "Top 10" report is trying to make some midsized vs. large enterprise distinction (although that is also never said, that I can see). If so, and if you are on the IT staff of a midsized company, do not be fooled by this list. The three ERP leaders achieve their leadership largely because of the "midmarket," no matter how you define midmarket (meaning small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises). Other ERP suite suppliers closely linked to IBM that are not mentioned, such as Lawson, also are a major force in the midmarket, but I can understand Lawson being left off if the intent was to be product-supply-chain-centric. Lawson is strong in health care delivery and other services industries.


Large enterprises tend to use point-product enterprse software. Even when they deploy ERP suites, they are used as point products. The large enterprise does not totally take advantage of all the integration in the chosen ERP suite. Often, it uses a piece of Infor with a piece of Oracle and a piece of SAP.


And, oh by the way, when you download the "Top 10" report, it's titled "Top 12 ERP Software Vendors-2009." What's that about?