In making his assessment, Singleton uses several different metrics;
- Business size product is suitable for
- Manufacturing modes supported (made to order, process-batch, repetitive etc)
- Industry types served
- Breadth of functionality (ERP, HR, AM, IM, CRM, BI etc)
Maturity of Offering vs Agility of Vendor
Two of the vendors assessed here, Infor and Epicor have very mature offerings. This maturity gives them (or should give them) a theoretical edge in terms of functionality. However maturity can also be a drag and historically more mature organizations, and the mature products from hose companies, tend to have a less agile approach towards functionality than younger players. Both NetSuite and SAP are relatively new entrants [update – a friend pointed out to me that NetSuite is in fact 12 years old – while younger than other players, it’s by no means a babe] to the SaaS space and hence it would be expected that their functionality would be lower than that of Infor and Epicor but that their rate of development would be significantly faster.
Pureplay vs Modular
Plex is focused entirely on the manufacturing organization. Again this should give them a theoretical edge for pure manufacturing companies, after all if you have a single focus, your offering within that single focus should be stronger than for organizations that try and serve several different marketplaces. However one flip side of this focus is that todays organizations are becoming much more diverse and potentially a pure manufacturing vendor may lack some breadth and flexibility when it comes to providing for non-manufacturing parts of businesses.
True SaaS vs ?
I don’t want to get into an argument about single vs multi tenancy or ASP vs true SaaS. What I will say however is that there are some economies of scale to be gained through multi tenancy which cannot be achieved via single tenancy and that simply putting traditional on-premise software online is a poor alternative to a true cloud based solution.
Overall Singleton should be commended for the work he has done, but his assessment should be seen as a very low-level approach and organizations need to have a thorough look at their requirements before relying on his metrics.