Facing A Selection? Try A Knowledge-Based Matchmaker Part 3: Comparing Three ERP Vendors




Executive Summary

Selecting a piece of enterprise application software has never been an exact science. Vendors' hype, consultants' conflict of interest, users' doubts, tediously long selection processes, and unclear decisions rationale are some of the unfortunate watchwords for most selection practices.

It is daunting for corporate IT buyers to discern the true capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of a given enterprise application suite, given the propaganda that pervades vendors' endeavors to differentiate themselves (see Beware of Vendors Bearing Solutions). When making strategic IT acquisitions Buyer's project teams, inundated with an abundance of available products and technologies, have a difficult time translating the content of glitzy marketing slides and grandstanding presentations into the deliverable products.

Still, as a 'one-size-fits-all' product is still not quite a viable possibility, almost every product can win provided certain set of requirements. The Catch 22 for both buyers and vendors/VARs is to pinpoint the right opportunity in this ongoing 'dating game'.
 
In Part 1 of this article it was suggested that an effective RFI/RFP process can streamline the selection process avoid the pitfalls of past selection processes.
 
Part 2 proposed a solution, and this part applies the solution to three mid-tier ERP vendors, Epicor, QAD, and Ramco Systems.
 
Part 1 - Overview of the Problem
Part 2 - Presents a Solution
Part 3 - Presents examples of applying the Solution
Part 4 - Makes User Recommendations

Epicor

An appropriate client for Epicor would have the following priorities:

Figure 1:

The rank and weighted average of the vendors given these priorities is as follows:

Figure 2:

Rank Vendor Weighted average
1 Epicor   79.70
2 Ramco Systems   77.92
3 QAD  67.46

Note the differences the priorities between Figure 5 in Part 2 and Figure 1 (above) and the impact that has on the results in Figure 6 in Part 2 and Figure 2 (above). Epicor's weighted average increases as Product Technology and Human Resources become more important, and Quality and Sales Management become less important. This indicates that those mid-market clients whose business requirements tend to be strong in Technology and Human Resources, yet not as strong in Quality and Sales will want to be sure to include Epicor in their technology selection. For more information on Epicor, see Epicor Software Corp.: Completing Painstaking "e"Volution.

The graph below indicates the contribution to the weighted average for each vendor across the high level categories with Epicor's priorities.

Figure 3:

The Contribution Analysis graph indicates that given the priorities for an appropriate Epicor client, Product Technology and Human Resources contribute the most to Epicor's weighted average. Note that the gap between the vendors' contributions to weighted average will change as a result of changing the priorities. The gap between Ramco Systems' contribution and Epicor is still small in those areas of the Knowledge Base that have been prioritized highly.

QAD

An appropriate client for QAD would have the following priorities:

Figure 4:

The rank and weighted average of the vendors given these priorities is as follows:

Figure 5:

Rank Vendor Weighted average
1 QAD  79.70
2 Ramco Systems   77.92
3 Epicor   67.46

Note the differences the priorities between Figures 5 in Part 2 and Figure 4 (above) and the impact that has on the results in Figures 6 in Part 2 and Figure 5 (above). QAD's weighted average increases significantly when Human Resources is given no priority. This indicates that those mid-market clients whose ERP requirements do not include Human Resources, but do include rigorous requirements in the remaining subcategories should certainly consider QAD. For more information on QAD, see Will QAD Finally Get The Break (-Even)? and QAD Inc.: The Art of Vertical Focus.

The graph below indicates the contribution to the weighted average for each vendor across the high level categories with QAD's priorities.

Figure 6:

The Contribution Analysis graph indicates that given the priorities for an appropriate QAD client, every subcategory in the Knowledge Base contributes strongly to QAD's weighted average except for Human Resources. Note that the gap between the vendors' contributions to weighted average will change as a result of changing the priorities. The gap between QAD's contribution and either of the other two vendors remains small in all areas of the Knowledge Base, indicating that QAD has consistently strong functionality (except in Human Resources, but in this case the priority for Human Resources is 0). QAD should be included in many mid-market technology selections that do not involve Human Resources.

Ramco Systems

An appropriate client for Ramco Systems would have the following priorities:

Figure 7:

The rank and weighted average of the vendors given these priorities is as follows:

Figure 8:

Rank Vendor Weighted average
1 Ramco Systems  83.71
2 QAD 76.82
3 Epicor   75.01

Note the differences the priorities between Figures 5 in Part 2 and Figure 7 (above) and the impact that has on the results in Figures 6 in Part 2 and Figure 8 (above). Ramco Systems' weighted average increases when the priority is significantly reduced on Product Technology (as Ramco is focused solely on the Microsoft technology) and marginally reduced on Human Resources. This indicates that those mid-market clients whose ERP requirements focus mainly on Manufacturing, Inventory and Purchasing, but do not emphasize Product Technology outside the realm of Microsoft standard solutions, should certainly consider Ramco. For more information on Ramco, see Ramco Systems - Diversity Marshaled Through Flexibility.

The graph below indicates the contribution to the weighted average for each vendor across the high level categories with Ramco Systems' priorities.

Figure 9:

The Contribution Analysis graph indicates that given the priorities for an appropriate Ramco Systems client, Financials and Sales contribute strongly to Ramco Systems' weighted average. Product Technology contributes very little to the weighted average. Note that the gap between the vendors' contributions to weighted average will change as a result of changing the priorities. The gap between QAD's contribution and either of the other two vendors remains relatively small in such areas of the Knowledge Base as Manufacturing, Inventory, Purchasing indicating that Ramco Systems has strong functionality in all areas except Product Technology. Ramco Systems should be included in many mid-market technology selection that does not emphasize cross-platform Product Technology.

Accessing TEC's ERP Knowledge Base

The list of vendors currently present in TEC's Discrete Manufacturing ERP Knowledge Base (see it in action) includes:

Vendor Application Suite
Adonix X3
Baan iBaan
Epicor Vantage
Frontstep SyteLine
Glovia Glovia.com
IFS IFS Applications
InterBiz PRMS
J.D. Edwards OneWorld
Lilly Software Associates VISUAL
Made2Manage M2M Enterprise Business System
Microsoft Great Plains eEnterprise
Microsoft Great Plains Solomon IV
Navision Attain
Navision Axapta
(Formerly Damgaard Axapta)
Oracle Oracle Applications
QAD MFG/PRO
Ramco e.Applications
Relevant Business Systems INFIMACS II
ROI Systems MANAGE 2000
SAP mySAP.com
Syspro IMPACT Encore

To accommodate different needs and/or budgets, TEC offers different options for accessing the TEC KB's content at http://webtess2.technologyevaluation.com :

  • To access one selected vendor's data for a week: $250
  • To access three selected vendors' data for a week: $600
  • To access the entire KB's content for a month: $5,000

This concludes Part 3 of a four-part tutorial on how to effectively streamline the ERP selection process.
 
Part 4 illustrates how, by changing the selection criteria, the vendor's scores will change.

 
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