Forrester recently published two Forrester Wave™ evaluations on enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions — The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions For Product-Centric Industries, Q2 2024 and The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions For Service-Centric Industries, Q2 2024 — reflecting the differing capabilities and criteria for ERP when used for product-centric versus service-centric industries. Despite these differences, our evaluations revealed several trends that are universal across ERP:

  • ERP is steadily shifting to the cloud. While many companies still run hosted or on-premises ERP, customers are seeking to modernize these older solutions that are difficult to keep up to date and often lack intuitive user experience. Cloud solutions are more modern, flexible, and able to meet the evolving needs of ERP users. ERP vendors are wholly on board with the shift to the cloud, focusing on their cloud offerings and incentivizing their clients to do the same and move to the cloud. This transition to the cloud is especially timely in the midst of the AI revolution. Cloud enables seamless and automatic upgrades to AI features and marketplaces for AI add-ons.
  • Functional fit matters. Since ERP deals with numerous standards and regulations related to finance, it’s vital that your solution can support your specific industry and geographic needs, as well as the right level of complexity and scale. ERP solutions are built to target different industries and geographies. That’s why we did two ERP Wave evaluations, one for product and one for service firms. Even within your industry or geography, there might be specialized features that your organization requires that differ from your peers. Pay attention to what you need, and ensure that your ERP solution can deliver.
  • Beware of smoke and mirrors. All ERP vendors are touting the cloud and AI, but not all are created equal. Dig deeper. Is the cloud truly flexible? How long has the cloud solution been around, and how mature is the functionality? In terms of AI, it’s still early days. Vendors are quick to boast about their AI features and use cases. Take the extra step and inquire about case studies and references. Understand their general AI strategy and consider which vendors align with your organization’s AI vision. For example, some vendors have partnerships with hyperscalers or AI specialists, while others are working on finance-centric large language models. Don’t let hype distract you.

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Use the respective product-centric and service-centric Wave evaluations to get up to speed on the current market and the 15 providers that matter most. If you are assessing ERP solutions for your organization, schedule a guidance session with me so we can explore the right ERP solutions for your specific needs.