There is a limiting factor, and this brings us full circle. Small suppliers do need to integrate with their larger suppliers’ ERP systems, but their internal processes and requirements will often be very different. Many will buy the ERP application that most suits their internal use and seek to integrate it with whatever applications are used by organisations they trade with. In other words, tier-two fragmentation of ERP is not just something that exists in large organisations, it is also a fact of life across broader business communities. The interests of ERP users are so diverse that the market will continue to support a wide range of products, including those for enterprise-wide needs and those for specialist niches, and the various products will always need to talk to each other at some level.
While SAP has the largest marketshare for ERP applications, there still leaves a lot of share for other suppliers, the names of which may not trip off the tongue. It can be hard to find out where the applications of some of the smaller players are being used.
Tying down ERP market share is tricky. Large enterprises also buy mid-market products. That is not to say they ignore the big players, but they select certain products to fit niches that SAP and Oracle do not serve well. SearchManufacturingERP.com gives the example of French company Areva using Infor SiteLine for site operations alongside SAP for its financials. It felt the Infor product was more cost-effective and easier for its employees to learn to use for that particular purpose or group of users.