Top 5 ERP systems that will help your enterprise digitally transform

If your ERP system can't handle HCM and CRM, you aren't effectively planning for your enterprise, according to a Third Stage Consulting report.

How AI is enhancing ERP for businesses of all sizes Ivo Totev, chief marketing officer of SAP Cloud ERP, discusses how AI-powered ERP is accessible to businesses and can automate up to 5-% of business processes where it is applied.

One of the obvious consequences of surviving in an information economy is classifying the talent employed by your organization as-at least in part-a resource. Just as production facilities have a finite limit of transforming raw materials to finished products, creative talent has a limited time budget to develop and implement ideas, whether that is closing sales, creating content, or any other quantifiable milestone in a process. Because of this, the practical borders between Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are becoming more frayed, though the tools used in the enterprise to manage those three areas are not adapting to this as quickly as they should.

This relative lack of agility is setting the stage for a shakeup in ERP systems, according to the 2019 Digital Transformation, HCM, and ERP report published by Third Stage Consulting on Wednesday. Professionals want to manage their business, not their ERP platform, prompting a relative shakeup in the most-used ERP software. The most approachable tool to get a job done is the most likely to be used, leading to systems like Salesforce and Workday-traditionally thought of as CRM platforms-to be used for ERP.

SEE: Feature comparison: CRM software and services (Tech Pro Research)

Likewise, ERP vendors are investing heavily in cloud-based solutions to match the flexibility and competition from cloud-native CRM systems, with the report predicting 2019 will be the "tipping point" for these platforms.

Traditional ERP implementations will fall by the wayside as a result. "Instead of viewing ERP and HCM implementations as a way to automate back-office functions or to automate already inefficient business processes, more technologically innovative organizations will find success by breaking with the status quo," according to the report. Traditional ERP deployments are facing obsolescence, it noted, as "implementing ERP like it's 1999 didn't work then-and it's definitely not working now."

Digital transformation projects are increasingly relying on a multi-platform, two-tier approach, according to report, as "the parent company may be rolling out a standardized back-office system such as SAP S/4HANA or Oracle Cloud ERP, while the divisions may roll out more customer-facing systems that are more aligned with their culture and needs."

The report also takes a look at nearly the entire ERP landscape in terms of product market share, ease of implementation, as well as product maturity, flexibility, scalability and third-party integrations, and ranks them for top ERP systems.

Here are the Top 5 ERP systems the report recommends for the enterprise:

1. Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft has worked to make the Dynamics product lineup cohesive, though the report notes that "large companies looking to standardize operations or move to a centralized shared services model may not find the product to be a good fit."

2. SAP S/4HANA

S/4HANA is the incumbent choice of the Fortune 1000, though it is "relatively immature as the company continues to migrate functionality from ECC and other legacy SAP products."

3. NetSuite

According to the report, "A decade ago, NetSuite was a good option primarily for small and some mid-size companies. While this is still the case, we are seeing more demonstrated scale of the product at upper-mid market and larger organizations."

4. Workday

Workday has expanded from being an HCM system to a full ERP solution, with the report noting that "Workday has made tremendous strides in functionality and market share in recent years... Its flexible product, ease of integration, and expanding ecosystem gives the product momentum headed into a new year."

5. Salesforce

Similarly, Salesforce is transforming from CRM to becoming a full ERP solution, with the report citing third-party product integrations and ease of implementation as strong points.

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By James Sanders

James Sanders is a staff technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI/ML, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on ...