ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, is a very specialized set of software used to manage multiple business functions within a given company. ERP Software organizes the communication of business activities between departments, handles order processing, handles production scheduling, delivers orders accurately and on time, pays employees correctly, and invoices properly. Originally intended for the manufacturing industry, ERP software can now be found for practically any existing industry –from healthcare to food and beverage to law firms. In the same way, there are now ERP Software Companies selling ERP Software packages for all industries and every size of a company. In addition, there are some Software Companies that do specialize in software solutions for a distinct industry.
SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft are three of the better and best known ERP Software Companies. Each company controls more than fifteen percent of the market. Market share for ERP software is divided into small, medium, and large business as well as by industry. The SAP and Oracle software companies are prominent among large enterprises while Microsoft is known as the best for small and medium sized businesses. SAP sells ERP software for the following industries: aerospace and defense, agricultural, apparel, building products, chemical products, construction, contract manufacturing, engineering, financial services, food and beverage, government, electronic, industrial machinery, medical devices, medical supplies, non-profits, pharmaceuticals, paper, plastics, professional services, real estate, retail, telecommunications, utilities and energy, distribution of durable goods, and distribution of non-durable goods. Oracle and Microsoft sell to almost as many of these industries. For a large enterprise, implementation of an ERP Software solution from one of these vendors would range in cost from three to fifteen million dollars.
Right now, there is no data demonstrating which software companies own the largest shares of the market when the ERP software is divided by industry. In 2010, however, research showed that Microsoft had over eighty thousand customers using their ERP software for small and medium sized businesses. Epicor and Infor are two ERP software companies that market their software solutions to businesses in the mid-sized range. Combined, these two companies come close to Microsoft’s number of customers. For large enterprises, SAP controls thirty-one percent of the market and Oracle controls about twenty-five percent.
Interestingly, reports from 2010 also showed that customers who bought ERP software from smaller, lesser known companies were just as satisfied as those who bought their software systems from the top vendors.
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