All the comparisons are apt, considering the core functionality that an ERP system can comprise — accounting and finance, human resources, sales management, supply chain management, customer relationship management, and more. Choosing and implementing an ERP system is therefore a significant, even risky undertaking; according to a survey by Panorama Consulting Solutions, the average ERP project in 2013 cost $2.8m and lasted 16 months, with 54 percent of projects exceeding budget.
No wonder, then, that many finance chiefs get involved with the selection of ERP software. “I see more CFOs on sales call than CIOs now,” says Grant Fraser, president of Navigator Business Solutions, a value-added reseller of SAP ByDesign, a mid-market ERP solution.
The CFOs of mid-sized companies have plenty of systems to choose from. Veteran mid-market providers like Epicor, Sage and Syspro boast large installed bases of mid-market customers (generally considered companies with between $10m and $1bn in revenue). ERP giants like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, finding the Fortune 1000 market increasingly saturated, now compete in the mid-market with promises of massive R&D budgets and functional breadth. Cloud-based vendors like NetSuite offer freedom from the constraints associated with the traditional on-premise software model, while all the major mid-market ERP vendors provide cloud functionality to a degree.
Given the range of choices, how can CFOs make sure their companies select the right system?