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Epicor tops Panorama Consulting ERP rankings, SAP in third place

A new Panorama Consulting report ranks the top 10 ERP vendors based on market share, cost, functionality and implementation time, with Epicor on top, followed by Infor and SAP.

Epicor Software Corp. leads the way in ERP systems, according to a new report from Panorama Consulting. Infor landed in second place, followed by SAP in third, despite ranking first in market share and payback time on ERP investment.

The "2017 Top 10 ERP Systems Ranking Report" by Panorama Consulting, a Denver-based ERP consulting and research firm, identified the top ERP systems based on market share, cost as a percentage of revenue, average implementation time, average functional scores from Panorama Consulting clients and average payback period.

To conduct the report's research, Panorama Consulting gathered data from its annual benchmark surveys between September 2012 and February 2016. A total of 1,660 respondents completed the surveys that made up the data, and Panorama gathered functionality from vendor demo scores from its clients.

The 10 vendors were ranked first by determining market share, which was based on how many respondents selected and purchased each of the systems. Although this was the determining factor in the vendors that made the list, it was the lowest influence in terms of comparing the systems, according to the report.

The cost as percent of revenue assessed the total cost of ownership for each system and normalized these costs to account for the fact that larger organizations tend to implement certain systems. The average time to implement asked how long the average organization takes to implement each system, with the scores weighted to normalize for organization size.

The average Panorama client functional scores were based on ERP software evaluations from Panorama Consulting clients throughout the world. Finally, the average payback period quantified the average time it takes organizations to realize 100% of expected business benefits from the system.

Report broadens look at ERP vendors

The results have Epicor as the top-ranked ERP vendor, followed in order by Infor, SAP, IFS, Oracle, NetSuite, Microsoft, Sage, Syspro and IQMS.

"This is the first year that we've put this ranking out -- every year we do the ERP report 'Clash of the Titans,' which looks at SAP, Oracle and Microsoft -- but this is the first time that we've broadened that to look at not just the top three, but the entire top 10 and rank them side by side," said Eric Kimberling, Panorama Consulting founder and managing partner. "I was a little surprised that Epicor was first, mainly because I tend to view them as a very specialized player in terms of manufacturing and distribution types of organizations."

Kimberling suggested this high ranking may indicate Epicor is diversifying outside of its customary base, or they are intensifying their efforts in attracting customers that aren't in their usual sweet spot. Conversely, he noted, traditional heavyweights like SAP and Microsoft may have fallen a little because they are trying to be too much of everything to everybody, resulting in lower functional scores.

Epicor top performer in midmarket

Epicor, with applications that include Epicor ERP, Epicor Cloud ERP and Epicor Eclipse, did not lead any individual categories, but scored second in payback period (8.6 months) and third in functional score (3.2 out of 5). However, it ranked ninth in implementation cost as a percentage of revenue (5.4%). The report identified Epicor as the top performer in the midmarket range and noted its strength in having multiple deployment options that best suit clients' needs.

Second-ranked Infor was noted for its mobile functionality for remote offices and workers, as well as strong functions for business intelligence. Infor was ranked fourth in market share (7.4%) and had its highest score in implementation time -- 30 months, which was good for second.

SAP was ranked third overall, despite leading the rankings in two areas -- market share (20.3%) and payback period (8.5 months). However, SAP lagged with an eighth place in functional score (2.9 out of 5) and seventh place in implementation cost (5.2%). Overall, the report noted SAP's strengths in its four decades in the ERP space and support for large multinational companies.

"When you look at SAP, [its] payback period is actually No. 1, and [it's] first in market share as well -- although, that didn't affect their ranking," Kimberling said. "Their implementation time -- surprisingly to a lot of people, including myself -- was actually ranked third. So, even though they do have larger customers, this number shows that they are moving downstream and they're getting midmarket customers ... which is usually a three- to four-month period versus a Fortune 500 company that may take four or five years to implement."

In addition to SAP's leading scores in market share and payback period, the category leaders were IFS for functional score (3.6 out of 5); NetSuite for implementation cost (2.8%); and Oracle for implementation time (25.3 months).

Implementation time self-reported

Implementation time was self-reported by the clients who participated in the survey, and it was the category where the numbers surprised Kimberling the most -- although, this may be the result of many large organizations doing the reporting, he said.

"We typically start marking implementation time when the evaluation of a software system begins, and then you take up whatever it takes to implement the software from there," Kimberling said. "Certain companies will do a phased approach, where there's multiple phases and phase 1, which was the core ERP, is done in 18 months. But then they go to a slower burn and take another year or two to get to those other phases, so it doesn't always take into account scope and how the software was phased in over time."

Kimberling said he was also somewhat surprised to see IFS ranked highly at No. 4.

"I think the main reason why they finished there was that they had the No. 1 functional score," he said. "Some people may argue that that's the most important thing, having a good functional fit for most companies out there. And they had a very high score, so that was a bit of a surprise. But if you look lower on the list and you see Sage, Syspro and IQMS, those are ones that I'd keep an eye on, because they're up-and-coming vendors, and you'll notice with Syspro and IQMS that we didn't have a big enough sample size to give them a fair ranking. So, there's a chance they could move up as we gather more data on those two vendors over time."

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