Are ERP solutions regionalised?

When the major analyst groups discuss ERP the only vendor names they seem to use are SAP and Oracle. I think that shows their blind spot to the regional differences that manifests in ERP in the small-medium business (SMB) space.

I used to work for a company that re-sold Microsoft’s Dynamics NAV. With Microsoft’s reputation I thought that building a business in the SMB space with NAV would be fairly easy, after all, everyone knows Microsoft. It took me a while to learn that the growth of NAV was not as spectacular as I expected.

At first I thought that Microsoft South Africa was just not very experienced in the ERP world, and that was emphasised after hearing from Nav partners overseas that their business was growing fast.

Then I joined my current company which has a strong business in the SYSPRO ERP. There I found that SYSPRO’s 25-year track record in SA has given it a strength and market presence that makes it a formidable player in the SMB market.

The Dynamics product that does well in SA is GP (the old Great Plains) because it has had a presence here for well over 10 years, similar to that in the UK I understand. In the UK, I read that Sage is a major SMB player, but you would struggle to find a Sage customer in SA. A US comparison would be Lawson, which seems to have a strong presence in the mid-market there, but is a small player elsewhere.

So my hypothesis is that in different countries the ERP gorilla in the SMB market is different due to local history and conditions. What is needed next are numbers to either prove or disprove my hypothesis. I expect that the local analyst groups in each country are the ones with the information, rather than the international groups.


2 thoughts on “Are ERP solutions regionalised?

  1. You are quite right with your assumption. Nowadays decision makers in the IT/ERP sector should all be aware of the big boys in the market (SAP, Oracle etc) due to their omnipresence on all channels (web, magazines, ads, fairs, you name it). These big boys have a tremendous impact on the ERP market as well as on the minds of the decision makers because of their massive marketing budget which are used to place global marketing campaign and to make “everybody” aware of them. They also define (to a certain extend) the standards of business software technology-wise.

    This approach however does not always take into account regional aspects of the business which can be quite significant for an SMB company searching for an ERP product. These regional aspects can be legislative rules (vat, valuation, reporting etc), general business practises, language, available man power (local knowledge) or local support resources to name a few.

    The regional aspects can therefore easily outnumber the global presence and features of a product which is developed and sold for a global market – as long as the company’s business is not too globally focused.

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