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Our ERP software picks for 2024

By: DAN KENITZ | Fact Checked By: JAMIE OSTROE | Updated: December 19, 2023

As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, plans are worthless—but planning is essential. He meant that while a plan might not work out, the act of planning is probably the most important thing you can do to set yourself up for success. That’s especially true at an organizational level, where you need to consider issues like inventory, employees, product demand, and the marketplace environment. To put it succinctly, planning at the enterprise level is complex. Fortunately, there are software solutions that aim to make it simple. Enter ERP software, or Enterprise Resource Planning Software.

Our Top Picks

  1. Odoo – Best ERP for Medium Business
  2. SAP Business ByDesign – Best ERP for Small Business
  3. Oracle NetSuite – Best ERP Software for Manufacturing
  4. Sage Business Cloud X3 – Best for Established Businesses
  5. NetSuite OneWorld – Best for International Businesses

ERP Software Reviews

ERP takes the act of planning and turns it into a regular habit. Key features like expense tracking and inventory management can synchronize disparate departments, giving you a single dashboard from which you manage everything. If your business were a building, ERP would be the blueprints.

But what ERP solution is best for you? See our picks below for the best ERP for small businesses, the best ERP software for manufacturing, and more—based on our exhaustive process of evaluating based on features, pricing, customer support, and brand reputation. See our methodology for how we made our picks.

odoo logo

Odoo – Best ERP for Medium Business

Don’t let the name fool you. While it might sound like a creature from Star Wars, Odoo is an easy-to-navigate, easy-to-use option with flexible pricing options for small businesses. We also found that its features were robust enough to handle medium businesses that plan on scaling and becoming larger enterprises.

  • Per-user pricing is great for small businesses
  • Among the higher scorers on our features list
  • Free trial option if ERP is new to you
  • Can be difficult to onboard
  • Open-sourced; may require expertise

Odoo features

  • Expense Tracking/Management
  • Quotes/Estimates
  • Demand Forecasting
  • Payroll Management
  • Inventory Management

What markets does Odoo serve?

In searching for the best ERP for medium business organizations, don’t be surprised if you see Odoo’s name coming up time and again. That’s partially due to the pricing ($24/user/month and features based is reasonable to us), which is flexible enough to handle a growing company. Or it can handle a smaller company. The main complaint here? Some found it hard to implement with limited resources.

sap business bydesign logo

SAP Business ByDesign – Best ERP for Small Business

SAP Business ByDesign—say that three times fast—edges out Odoo for our rank of the best ERP for small businesses thanks to its even-more budget-friendly pricing structure. Although both solutions could work for medium-sized businesses, the pricing here makes more sense for someone trying out ERP for the very first time.

  • Pricing-per-user among the lowest on our list
  • Effective demand forecasting
  • Plenty of features for small businesses
  • Not as robust as big-business solutions
  • CRM module not user-friendly

SAP Business ByDesign features

  • Expense Tracking/Management
  • Quotes/Estimates
  • Demand Forecasting
  • Inventory Management

What markets does SAP Business ByDesign serve?

With features designed for medium-and-small businesses, companies of both sizes will likely find plenty to do with SAP BusinessByDesign. Ultimately, what gave it our top billing here was its small business-friendly pricing, which was slightly better for a smaller budget than what Odoo could offer. The per-user pricing is affordable, but you may occasionally pay for it in the time it may take getting SAP Business ByDesign to play with other programs.

oracle netsuite logo

Oracle NetSuite – Best ERP Software for Manufacturing

You may have heard of NetSuite. It’s software designed to get businesses moving, including everything from payroll to enterprise planning—and it does it well. So why did it end up on our list as the best ERP software for manufacturing? Because the specific ERP-friendly features are enough to help you handle and oversee a large operation and work with the shifting demands of complicated supply chains.

  • Most comprehensive features on our list
  • Oustanding customer support
  • Heavily used, making online troubleshooting easy
  • More expensive than other options
  • Not exclusively for manufacturers

NetSuite features

  • Expense Tracking/Management
  • Quotes/Estimates
  • Demand Forecasting
  • Payroll Management
  • Inventory Management

What markets does NetSuite serve?

NetSuite is generally for medium-to-large businesses or small businesses who need to get a handle on their growth. It’s certainly ideal for large, complicated businesses that need ERP to handle everything that comes with large manufacturing challenges. But as the #1 ERP cloud solution provider around, it’s hard to argue with the results: NetSuite can do it all and is one of those rare solutions capable of handling complicated manufacturing operations.

sage business cloud x3 logo

Sage Business Cloud X3 – Best for Established Businesses

Have a company that’s already off the ground? A resource like Sage Business Cloud X3 can be a vital way to get ERP firing on all cylinders without disrupting your day-to-day flow. We particularly liked the fact that Sage Business Cloud has unique offerings for specific types of businesses. Although we preferred NetSuite to Sage for manufacturers, you can consider this your primary backup for manufacturing as well.

  • Industry-specific offerings help if your company matches
  • Effective supply chain management
  • Powerful budget and accounting tools
  • May not be for every type of business
  • Some issues getting multiple people onboarded

Sage Business Cloud X3 features

  • Expense Tracking/Management
  • Quotes/Estimates
  • Demand Forecasting
  • Inventory Management

What markets does Sage Business Cloud X3 serve?

Sage Business Cloud X3 is great for established businesses, typically meaning businesses both medium and large, as well as a number of industries in manufacturing. And though we awarded our top manufacturing recommendation to NetSuite, you’ll find that Sage Business Cloud X3 also works for service-based businesses with more to do than simply manage inventory.

netsuite oneworld logo

NetSuite OneWorld – Best for International Businesses

You may think it odd that NetSuite appears twice on this list, but OneWorld is worth mentioning for companies who occasionally have to trade across borders. NetSuite OneWorld’s target isn’t just to get your entire business streamlined but to help you handle subsidiary management and watch your business with global insight.

  • Subsidiary and legal entity management
  • Housed within the NetSuite umbrella
  • Easily handle multiple currency issues
  • More expensive than most options
  • No free trial available

NetSuite OneWorld features

  • Expense Tracking/Management
  • Quotes/Estimates
  • Demand Forecasting
  • Payroll Management
  • Inventory Management

What markets does NetSuite OneWorld serve?

Make no mistake: this is a solution for large businesses with international concerns. If you have subsidiaries to manage—or even a few legal entities set up in different countries—you’re going to need software that doesn’t lose much to translation. Generally, you won’t need ERP software like this if you’re a small or local business that is still starting out.

Compare the best ERP software side-by-side

Software Name Why we picked it Starting price for cheapest plan Highlights
Odoo Best ERP for Medium Business $24/user/month, features based Free trial option with plenty of accounting/invoicing control for growing businesses
SAP Business ByDesign Best ERP for Small Business $19/user/month Features like demand forecasting robust for the price
Oracle NetSuite Best ERP Software for Manufacturing $499/month Comprehensive business suite—worth the money
Sage Business Cloud X3 Best for Established Businesses After multiple contact attempts, we still couldn’t find an answer Makes a complex business easy to navigate
NetSuite OneWorld Best for International Businesses $499/month “Translating” between currencies and subsidiary management

What is ERP software?

ERP software, short for Enterprise Resource Planning Software, is what’s on a business’s computer to make day-to-day operations run smoothly. Think of Conan O’Brien teasing his associate producer, Jordan Schlansky, for not being able to describe what he does every day, instead leaning on phrases like “various tasks.”

That’s a bit what ERP software does—except in this case, there are definitive answers to what “various tasks” might mean. ERP can include accounting, payroll management, project management, risk management, supply chain operations, and much more. In short, this is the software that could act like a “console” for running a large and complicated business operation.

Who uses ERP software?

  • Small businesses. Even small businesses need ERP software. This is especially true as the company grows more complex—meaning more employees, more invoices, and more customers to manage.
  • Medium and large businesses. Medium-sized businesses with dozens and even hundreds of employees are difficult to manage without effective resource planning. That’s even more true for large businesses that are focused less on growing and more on managing the complexity they already have.
  • Manufacturing. With lots of supplies to check on, complex inventory to manage, plenty of employees, and supply chain issues that pop up daily, there may no other sector that needs ERP software quite like manufacturers.

What does ERP software do?

As one college defines it: “Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) streamlines business processes — human resources, accounting, order management, etc. — into one unified system so the various aspects of a business can be analyzed as a whole.” For small businesses, the best features of ERP tend to be handling the ins and outs of accounting that come with early hires in the business. Payroll management is key for any business with employees as well.

If your business is already off and running, a number of features might kick into effect. Chances are, you have more complicated payroll management needs. You probably also have to oversee larger inventories to keep your business moving. ERP can handle the accounting and resource management needs of growing businesses.

One of the key elements of ERP is in demand planning—anticipating the changing conditions in the market. For manufacturers, issues like inventory management or shifting to meet market demands are bottom-line features that absolutely must be present to make the most of ERP software.

Benefits of using ERP software

Why bother using ERP software in the first place? If you’re asking that question, you may not be making the decisions at your business. But if you run a business of any size, you know how complex it can get. Yes, it saves time, and yes, it streamlines operations. But ERP software can also help you manage payroll, invoices, supply chain management, customer relationships, or just about anything else involved in the day-to-day running of your company.

You will have to be careful about which ERP software you choose, of course. Some charge “by feature,” meaning you’ll only be signing up for what you plan on using. Others might be better for manufacturers—when what you really need is a solution designed to handle payroll at a service-based business. But if you find the right match, you might find yourself asking how you ever got through the workweek without ERP software in place.

How much does ERP software cost?

When it comes to ERP software, the typical price structure is per-user, per-month, and typically, the lowest price range we found was about $20 in the top offerings. However, keep in mind that ERP software can look very different from vendor to vendor. That includes the way they price their services.

We found a few options, like Odoo, that have a features-based pricing system. If you want certain features unlocked, in other words, you’ll have to pay more. Make sure you thoroughly review the pricing before you move forward with your ERP—or, at the very least, give the free trial a chance before you dive in head-first.

Who should use ERP software, and what are the different types?

Do you run a business and find the complications to be headache-inducing? Then there’s a chance you need ERP software. But since ERP software has a big umbrella—it has features meant to run a whole business—you’ll also find that the software options available can vary a lot.

Here are a few key differentiators we noticed when weighing the features from offering to offering:

Supply management. Inventory management and demand forecasting are huge features if you run a manufacturing business. But what if you run an accounting firm and simply need a good solution to make payroll? Then you’re not going to have to be so intricate about the supplies of ink and paper you keep at your office.

Human resources. Enterprise Resource Planning can include human resources offerings, but you’ll also find that some software is exclusively designed for that. This means you’ll have to make a decision: do you want one simple ERP taking care of everything, or do you need something more intricate?

Business size. Not every ERP offering is going to be appropriate to the size of your business. Run a one-person LLC? Then you probably aren’t going to use something the size of Netsuite, for example. And you certainly aren’t going to use an ERP that’s designed for people overseeing large supply chains. Instead, look for the options for small businesses that can grow with your business.

ERP software FAQ

What is an ERP example?
NetSuite or Odoo are two examples of Enterprise Resource Planning Software that reflect two ends of the spectrum. We like Odoo as an example of ERP software that can grow with you, while NetSuite might suit you better if you already have a thriving business that’s ready to take the next step. We also included Sage Business Cloud X3 as our “Best for Established Businesses” option.

What is a popular ERP software offering?
NetSuite, Sage, and Odoo are all examples of popular ERP software platforms that suit different needs. Of these, NetSuite ranks the highest as the most popular offering in terms of business done—it’s one of the key offerings of Oracle, the large software company that produces NetSuite. But this isn’t to say you should ignore other offerings. Before you think about trying an ERP software download of your own, browse our features list, weigh the pros and cons, and make sure that the solution you’re choosing matches what your business needs.

Is Excel an ERP?
A lot of people like to ask Google if Excel is an ERP that is capable of offering everything these software solutions offer. The quick answer? No. Excel is robust for crunching numbers, sure, but unless you’re an expert Excel user, you’re going to want to let your software do the thinking for you.

What is CRM vs ERP?
Because ERP can do just about anything your business needs, it sometimes overlaps with other types of business software solutions, like CRM, or customer relationship management software. Where do they differ? CRM is all about managing your customers’ information, while ERP is more about the day-to-day operations of running a business in all aspects.

How we chose the best ERP software

Here’s the thing. There’s no objective, scientific way to gauge a specific list like “top 10 ERP software in world.” Not in any quantifiable way, anyway.

But we think we have the next closest thing.

We started with dozens and dozens of semi-finalists, gathering a comprehensive list of anything and anything that remotely resembles ERP software. From there, we whittled it down to a top 15. This top 15 was where we spent most of our attention and time. We chose vendors that stood out for the features they offered, for example, the markets they served, the quality of their brand reputation, and more.

How did we tabulate it? Here are a few ways:

  • Feature variety. Did the software offer the kind of features that would appeal for people searching for ERP? How many of these features could we count?
  • Pricing. Pricing is just as important as showing your price—getting clear with what people will pay if they’re opting for your ERP.
  • Customer support. From live chat to onboarding, how easy was it to turn to customer support if you can’t figure out the software?
  • Brand reputation. Finally, we tabulated what people online seemed to think about the software, taking into account their ratings—as well as the sample size of the ratings.