Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) made its debut in the 1960s as an enterprise-scale manufacturing methodology narrowly focused on inventory and quality control. It’s come a long way since then. Things have changed dramatically over the years, embracing small and medium businesses (SMBs,) and spreading out to cover the integration of substantially divergent departments. Indeed, it’s the technological and entrepreneurial drive behind ERP functionality that defines emerging software capable of meeting modern-day project and process challenges.

What is ERP?

Essentially, ERP is an application that leverages all the digital and computer technologies at its disposal to automate business processes. It works in a multifaceted manner, extracting data from a resource pool fed by every corporate department, including accounting, manufacturing, supply chain, sales, marketing, and human resources (HR). From there, it delivers unique insights and establishes intricate internal controls.

Cloud ERP is an enterprise resource planning system that runs on a selected vendor’s cloud platform versus on-premises network dependency. It’s a seamless way for organizations to access it digitally over the internet.

As we stand in 2021, there’s evidence that ERP has changed the face of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Capital Management (HCM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM). It also integrates seamlessly with almost any internet-enabled application.

The business value of cloud ERP

As ERP methodologies absorb processes and data from every department, substantial ROI-centric benefits emerge:

  1. Workflows are faster, more accurate, and rely on fewer people.
  2. Cloud security amplifies as superfluous software leaves the stage, reducing installation costs along with the probability of viruses contaminating the data.
  3. It raises the accuracy and speed of inventory/quality control to another level, thus lifting confidence in management decisions.
  4. By carving out unnecessary users, bypassing third-party facilitators, and setting structured protocols for data access, the time saving is massive.
  5. A central data source geared to provide non-evasive, practical solutions connects closely to:
  • Enhanced customer retention (the lifeblood of profitability) as support personnel deal competently with queries and questions.
  • Smooth vendor relationships as the company’s feedback and responses represent an efficiently run organization that knows its stuff.
  • Inter-departmental collaboration and cooperation – a natural consequence of everyone being on the same page.
  • More reliable, non-repetitive company reports responding to complex data requests without obstruction.
  • High standards of predictability in forecasts and management/stakeholder expectations.

Six Giant Cloud ERP Vendors

1. Oracle:

In 2016, Oracle obtained a cloud application called NetSuite. It propelled the company to the forefront of creating SMB affordability for ERP software solutions across a broad industry spectrum. Oracle is the poster-child for providing core and industry-specific applications that lend themselves to basic and advanced support. Powered by cutting-edge AI and machine-learning technologies, the featured Oracle systems include Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle NetSuite. Both meet the needs of SMB and enterprise clients.

Oracle Market Performance:

Going by the install base, Oracle ERP Cloud’s market share (as one category option) is ~6.09%. According to Enlyft, the system’s sweet spot is 1000-5000 employee companies generating $10-50 million in revenue. Gartner’s Market Share Analysis: ERP Software, Worldwide 2018 report puts the annual revenue aligned with Oracle’s market share at close to $3.9 billion. Fusion ERP and NetSuite customers have exceeded 29,100, up 8% from 27,000 in its 3QFY20.

2. SAP

The company’s 40 years of experience in the ERP arena, like Oracle, covers all-sized entities over a range of industries. Management proudly promotes the software’s most compelling feature: It merges all core operational processes into a single user-friendly system. More specifically, business entities can confidently access a comprehensive set of cross-functional and integrated processes synchronized to provide continuous inter-departmental communication.

SAP Market Performance

SAP Business One’s market share alone is ~2.37%, predominantly applied by businesses with 10-50 employees and annual revenue from $1 to $10 million. In 1Q20 customer count of S/4HANA has grown from 14,100 to 14,600. Gartner’s analysis estimates that SAP ERP activities bring in $7.7 billion in gross sales annually.

3. Microsoft

This iconic organization requires little introduction as a software and technology pioneer. The company’s ERP activities involve frequently developing new data centers to support its cloud capabilities. Most notable has been its Dynamics 365 suite. Microsoft’s D365 ERP and CRM SaaS meet the needs at the upper echelons of mid-to-large-sized enterprises with worldwide operations. Conversely, the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC) aims exclusively at the SMB sector, with a complete suite of ERP features.

Microsoft Market Performance 

Microsoft Dynamics has captured 9.82% of the ERP market, competing with around seventy-six competitors. Its revenue in 2020 broke through $3 billion, according to the investment relations VP Mike spencer. Estimates of industry capture reflect 4500 customers for Dynamics Finance, 24000 customers for Microsoft Dynamics AX, and 124,000 customers for Microsoft Dynamics NAV.  Microsoft Dynamics SL (13000 customers) and Microsoft Dynamics GP (51000 customers) round off an excellent market penetration.

4. Sage

The company has a suite of ERP options – Sage 100 ERP, 300 ERP, and ERP X3 for mid-sized and larger companies.  It seamlessly integrates financial operations, accounting processes, business intelligence, human resources, CRM, eBusiness, manufacturing, and distribution into a single solution. Sage has a firm foothold in its carefully selected markets.

Sage Market Performance

Sage ERP has a 7.31% share of the entire ERP market (i.e., around $2.8 billion in gross revenue). The organization employs 12,000,  serving more than two million customers in over 20 countries across Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Latin America.

5. Infor

A robust suite of ERP applications designed to help manufacturing businesses run their core processes. Infor relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to securely host its ERP in the cloud. They credit this decision as key support to the company’s rapid distribution scaling. It has enabled the team to spend less time on technical ERP issues in the manufacturing arena,  allowing more time to follow up on diversification.

Infor’s Market Performance 

With owner Koch Industries (i.e., $110 billion annual revenue) fully behind Infor, its transformation continues unabated. Research firm IDC registers Infor’s ERP market share at about 6% with expansion outside its core manufacturing segment. The latter has penetrated government, health care, and retail, resulting in Cloud applications by 13,500 customers and 71 million users. Infor’s total revenue (mainly from ERP activities) is around $3.1 billion.

6. Workday

This company offers a cloud-based unified SaaS software system. Applications cover finance, HCM, planning, professional services automation, project management, analytics, and business intelligence. Mid- and large-sized businesses favor Workday ERP solutions across three primary verticals:

  • For-profit
  • Nonprofit
  • Government

Workday’s Market Performance

The company’s total revenue in 2020 was $4.3 billion, of which 37% ($1.6 billion) emerged from a 4.2% slice of the comprehensive ERP market. It boasts around 6000 customers (and growing).

Four Emerging Cloud ERP Vendors

1. Deltek

Deltek provides several ERP products that are available in cloud-based and on-premise deployment modes. The company aims to help its SMB and enterprise customers manage efficiently and grow profitably. Deltek’s ERP solutions are available as cloud-based and on-premise deployment modes. Some of the specific ERP labels on offer are Costpoint, Maconomy, Deltek for Professional Services, Ajera, and Vision.

Deltek’s Market Performance

Around twenty thousand customers have delivered 0.23% of the total ERP market – a respectable $90 million in revenue.

2. IFS

The IFS ERP product is custom-made for the aerospace & defense, utilities & resources, construction & infrastructure, manufacturing, and service industries. It allows customers in these categories to build almost endlessly on selected core services as needed within the realm of CRM and Finance.

IFS’s Market Performance

According to Wikipedia,  IFS’s over 4000 employees serve 10,000 customers (PLUS) worldwide from numerous local offices and an expanding ecosystem partnership. Analysts estimate the company’s share of the ERP market to be in the range of 0.09%. This may appear tiny, but considering the aggregate ERP revenue for all companies is $39.3 billion, the annual revenue is close to $35 million.

4. Epicor

This company (owned by Apex Partners since 2011) offers ERP, CRM, HCM, and SCM in SaaS on-premises and in-the-cloud deployment modes. It specializes in providing solutions to manufacturers with unique capabilities in job costing, inventory control, and the supply chain.

Epicor’s Market Performance 

A 0.57% market share translates into annual revenue of $22.4 million revenue. Around 753 companies deploy the Epicor software.

5. Acumatica

Acumatica offers a cloud ERP solution for small and medium-sized businesses that appreciate the value of ERP and CRM working together for reliable company-wide automation and data. The Acumatica ERP system includes accounting & financial management, CRM, distribution & manufacturing planning management, retail, eCommerce, and field service functionality. The bottom line theme is that users save substantial costs with a high degree of accuracy.

Acumatica’s Market Performance 

Although it promotes itself as the fastest growing ERP entity in the market, it officially shows a 0.11% market share. It’s difficult to separate the dollar contribution from the company’s other activities. Total revenues are $37.7 million generated from 6500 installed base customers.


There are dozens of more players in the ERP arena. However, the best route is committing to certified service partners of 6 ERP giants. They have a stellar record of implementing or upgrading cloud ERP, and they add immense value to the activities of SMBs and organizations. It is expected that they will continue to impact the business landscape as we go through the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

CherryRoad is a long-standing services partner with Oracle and Infor. For any kind of cloud ERP consulting needs, please mail us at info@cherryroad.com.