SaaS ERP: A guide to major vendors

SaaS ERP is a developing market within technology that offers users lots of options. This guide sorts out the complicated landscape.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is an industry term for the broad set of activities that helps an organization manage the important parts of its business.

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SaaS ERP is essentially a hosting model for enterprise resource planning software, involving a firm's ERP software applications on a vendor's servers. The goal of SaaS ERP hosting is to reduce costs, software, hardware and support.

There’s a variety of vendors that currently deal with SaaS ERP systems. Here’s the latest on some of those SaaS ERP vendors today and the differences among them to consider when buying SaaS ERP:

Plex Systems is a company that offers ERP functions for many departments within a manufacturer. Plex will help the accounting department by linking the entire enterprise to help the staff focus on analysis and follow-up. The company also aids in costing by tracking all physical events to track real-time cost data. Additionally, Plex will help the human resources department by integrating the HR management system.

Plex currently manufactures ERP software for a variety of fields including aerospace and dynamics, automotive, food and beverage, and industrial.

NetSuite is one of the leading providers of cloud-based business management software designed to help companies manage core business processes with a fully integrated system covering a variety of fields. Its ERP is the most deployed cloud ERP solution, providing financial management and ERP that integrates with a company’s broader sales and service providers.

It also strengthens procurement with approvals and vendor management, improves employee management, accountability and compliance and elevates productivity.

SAP Business ByDesign is a complete, integrated suite that helps run an entire enterprise, dealing with financial, human resource, sales, procurement, customer service and supply chain duties. The suite helps increase efficiency across an organization, gain timely insights through integrated analytics and reporting and accesses business functionality and analytics.

It supports a number of industries including professional services, wholesale distribution, and manufacturing. When dealing with professional services, SAP Business ByDesign allows clients to get complete automation from client management, financials and project managements. Wholesale distribution clients will gain visibility, adapt quickly and execute efficiently with SAP Business ByDesign. Those in the manufacturing business can use the suite to gain a competitive edge and improve profitability.

Microsoft Dynamics is a software suite that helps clients get control of their businesses, manage supply and demand channels, and build strong relationships with customers. More specifically, their ERP software, Microsoft Dynamics ERP, empowers employees and enables the systems to adapt as the business grows. Microsoft Dynamics has solutions for organizations ranging from larger enterprises to smaller businesses.

The suite also offers industry-specific capabilities for a selection of industries including distribution, public sector and retail. Microsoft Dynamics ERP can improve operations and financial processes for public organizations, help manage aspects of a distribution business and provide solutions for retail management.

Infor is the third largest provider of enterprise application and services, helping customers improve operations, drive growth and quickly adapt to changes in business demands. It also offers industry-specific applications and suites using groundbreaking technology that delivers a rich user experience and flexible deployment options.

The company has a variety of systems in their SaaS ERP suite, all geared for specific businesses. Some of their systems include Infor10 ERP Enterprise, their most powerful and comprehensive system available for managing the demands of complex industries; Lawson M3 ERP Enterprise, designed to specifically support organizations that are in the distribution, fashion or food and beverage industries; and Infor10 ERP Express, which is designed for order-driven manufactures in various industries.

Epicor helps organizations take advantage of the changing economic tide with its ERP suite. Their ERP software provides robust capabilities focused on reducing costs, streamlining processes and improving customer responsiveness across the enterprise.

They are dedicated to providing integrated ERP software with solutions for customer relationship management, supply chain management and human capital management, among others. It can also be deployed to fit an organization’s operational needs, resources and budget.

Workday is a vendor focusing on enterprise-class SaaS solutions for managing global businesses, combining a lower cost of ownership with an innovative approach to business applications. The company delivers unified human capital management, management, payroll and financial management solutions.

As a SaaS ERP provider, Workday is responsible for providing the hardware and middleware, installing it and maintaining it, ensuring uptime. The company also enables businesses to leverage technology for competitive advantage by lowering the barrier for its consumption.

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