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ERP Experts Survey | TEC 2019
Part One: Emerging ERP Technology and Trends

Are Tier 2 ERP Vendors Able to Support Large Enterprise?

We asked how strongly respondents agree with the statement that Tier 2 enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can support large enterprises.

Historically, only a very small set of ERP software vendors was classified as Tier 1, their solutions and service teams capable of supporting large enterprises. Just a few years ago, this list consisted of only SAP and Oracle. Large, multinational companies were hesitant to go with anything else when looking for an ERP system.

The much longer list of Tier 2 ERP vendors, which then included Microsoft, Infor, and IFS, would often be brought to an ERP selection project only to satisfy a requirement that at least three vendors be evaluated. (The TEC article ERP System Examples provides more background on ERP vendor tiers.)

Strongly agree 17.95%
Agree 58.97%
Neither agree nor disagree 12.82%
Disagree 10.26%
Strongly disagree 0.00%

There’s a common saying that “Nobody ever got fired for selecting SAP.” Those days are over. Not only have various vendors moved up into “higher” tiers, but the huge amount of time and money required to roll out a Tier 1 solution is more often being questioned. The experts largely agree that Tier 2 vendors are increasingly able to support larger organizations: 77% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that this is the case.

Andrew McCarthy, VP of Communications and Brand at Workfront, summed it up saying, “The myth that the Tier 1s are the only providers capable of supporting an enterprise is fading, as those implementations could last 5+ years or become essentially infinite. The world is moving too fast for that, so organizations are opting for faster/simpler implementations (enterprise-wide) with subsequent rapid adoption of new features or connection of new apps over time.”

A few of our experts qualified their responses, like Julie Hunt, President of Julie Hunt Consulting, who wrote, “Tier 2s technology and functionality probably can [support the needs of large enterprise], but not all of them have the C-level sales capabilities to go head-to-head with Tier 1s.”

These results, taken with responses to whether the age of monolithic ERP systems is ending, show a new order to the ERP landscape. Tier 2 vendors, including Infor, IFS, the NetSuite arm of Oracle, and others, are seen as able to handle the core ERP needs of large, international organizations. Couple this with the growth of other line-of-business applications, such as Salesforce for customer relationship management (CRM) and Workday for human resources (HR), and it’s evident that the boundaries around Tier 1s formerly exclusive territory are beginning to dissolve.

“Organizations are opting for faster/simpler implementations (enterprise-wide) with subsequent rapid adoption of new features or connection of new apps over time.”

—Andrew McCarthy, VP of Communications and Brand, Workfront

Are Tier 2 vendors able to support large enterprise?