Though enterprise resource planning (ERP) software was once reserved only for large enterprises, it’s now commonplace—in some form—across businesses of all sizes.
“The deepest and fastest growing market for business software makers is the small and midsize business market,” says David Thikoll, director of business development at Silverware, an ERP consulting firm.
By revenue, SAP and Oracle are the biggest players in the ERP software market. Their broad visibility in the market, unsurprisingly, makes them the “go-to” ERP options for many prospective buyers. Despite their popularity, however, SAP and Oracle aren’t for everyone.
The market does have other options to choose from, and some could be more aligned to your business needs than SAP and Oracle.
This guide highlights the mid-tier and niche players that make up ERP for small businesses. A mid-tier player targets midsize companies—having average annual revenue in of $10 million to $1 billion—however some large corporations may also opt for these solutions. On the other hand, a niche player targets a specific industry, mostly in the arena of small and midsize businesses.
The alternatives listed below are highly recommended by real users in reviews on Software Advice. For information about how we selected these tools, read our detailed methodology at the bottom of the page.
The mid-tier players
“Midsize ERP platforms are generally more flexible and user-friendly than enterprise products from SAP and Oracle,” explains Thikoll.
Though mid-tier products are more flexible and easier to use, tier one products (such as SAP and Oracle) have the advantage in the area of heavy regulatory compliance requirements. So, if you operate in multiple jurisdictions and have to adhere to strict local regulations, you should consider tier one or enterprise products.
ePROMIS is a software suite that combines ERP and other business management functionalities such as human capital management (HCM) and customer relationship management (CRM). In addition, it offers modules for financial management, inventory management, distribution, supply chain, analytics, business intelligence (BI) reporting, and customer relations.
The software is suitable for a wide range of industries such as construction, retail, transportation and logistics, industrial manufacturing, real estate, and petrochemicals.
Odoo is a comprehensive ERP solution with integrated modules for CRM, inventory management, e-commerce, accounting, billing, project management, financial management, warehouse management, manufacturing, and purchasing.
The software is designed to meet the needs of industries such as automobile, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, construction, oil and gas, energy, etc.
Epicor is a comprehensive ERP software platform designed for businesses involved in specializations such as distribution, manufacturing, retail, and professional services.
It offers modules such as accounting, project management, CRM, HCM, supply chain management (SCM), and product lifecycle management (PLM).
All the three mid-tier ERP solutions listed above are suitable for small, midsize, and large businesses. They are cloud-based solutions, but on-premise variants are also available; all three offer mobile apps for Android and iOS users.
The niche players
The next category of ERP vendors are those that target (mostly) small to midsize businesses in specific industry niches.
First, let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of niche vendors:
- Can cover functional gaps unaddressed by mid-tier and enterprise level vendors. As niche vendors have relatively fewer customers, you’ll have more influence when it comes to requesting customization or new features.
- May cost significantly less than their bigger competitors.
- Tend to be more agile in reacting to market trends, as innovation is often led by small and niche vendors.
- Niche software vendors are regularly acquired by big market players. When that happens, the best-case scenario is the product being left alone or rebranded. The worst-case scenario is the product getting sunsetted, meaning the vendor will no longer support it.
- Niche vendors can live fast and die young, just like any other fledgling startup or small business. So when considering a niche tool, don’t just ask the vendor about features; inquire about its business strategy and customer base.
- Support can be much more variable with smaller vendors, unlike enterprise and mid-tier vendors who offer 24/7 phone/email support, along with vast knowledge databases and other resources.
Clearview InFocus is ERP software for businesses involved in architecture and engineering. It offers functionalities related to accounting, billing, project management, BI dashboards, project reporting, project forecasting and planning, resource allocation, and marketing and sales.
Clearview InFocus works well for small, midsize, and large businesses. It can be deployed both on-premise and in the cloud, and it offers a mobile app that works on both Android and iOS devices.
Sage Intacct offers a core financial management module along with inventory and order management. It focuses on accounting applications such as cash management, general ledger, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. It also offers built-in reporting and dashboards, revenue management, project accounting, and time and expense management. The software is best suited for senior financial roles in mid-sized organizations.
Sage Intacct is mainly suitable for small and midsize businesses. It can be deployed only in the cloud, and its mobile app works on both Android and iOS devices.
xTuple is an open-source ERP solution. It supports accounting, CRM, sales management, supplier management, inventory management, and distribution applications. It is best suited for manufacturing businesses.
xTuple is most suitable for small and midsize businesses. The software can be deployed both on-premise and in the cloud, and its mobile app works on both Android and iOS devices.
Need more help choosing the right ERP software?
Hopefully, we demystified the ERP landscape a bit more for you. If you have any questions, be sure to check out our buyer’s guide for ERP software, or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
To identify these mid-tier and niche tools, we first identified the top ERP software products with the highest average recommendation ratings in our database with at least 20 published reviews. We reviewed their product profiles and websites to identify their target industry and business size to categorize them as mid-tier or niche players. Products in both categories have been listed in descending order by number of recommendations received as of April 10, 2019.