The All-Time Best Enterprise Resource Planning Software (ERP)

Lucija Bakić

March 27, 2024

Screenshot showing an enterprise resource planning software interface with task assignments and schedules for team members in a project timeline view.

Looking for the best enterprise resource planning software?

These tools can help you optimize your core business processes with a range of useful capabilities. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best options currently available, with key features, benefits, and downsides based on user reviews.

To learn about the ERP process, read our complete Guide to Resource Planning.

How to Find the Best Enterprise Resource Planning Software

According to research by Software Connect, some of the top motivations for purchasing new ERP software include improving functionality (43%), replacing dated systems (29%), and improving usability (17%).

This is why we’ve focused on this criteria in creating our comparisons:

  • Functionalities: Businesses have different needs depending on their industry, but some key capabilities for successful operations include agency capacity planning, financial management, and project and task management.
  • Scalability: How active is the software provider? A future-oriented tool is focused on improvements and competitive features. This ensures it can grow alongside your business and support you in the long run.
  • User interface: No matter how complex and comprehensive your tools are, they should provide an intuitive user experience and design. This is a critical factor in promoting adoption across all teams.
  • Customer support: Responsive customer service is connected to successful implementation and usability. It helps businesses tailor tools to their agency workflows and get the most out of their chosen software.

Features of Top Enterprise Resource Planning Systems

ERP systems can support various features for business processes. These can vary between industries, but some of the most important core functionalities include:

  • Financial Management: Provides real-time data on key financial metrics, such as profit margins and revenue, and streamlines expense and payments management. Enables financial forecasting for informed decision-making.
  • Human Resources Management: Supports the management of resources within the agency by supporting effective resource planning, employee allocation, and time off management, and enhancing overall employee management.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Helps businesses manage the sales process by monitoring communication with potential clients, analyzing sales rep performance, automating quote creation and project kickoff for won deals.

Other features may include billable hours tracking, project and task management, various collaboration and communication features, and additional industry-specific capabilities such as inventory and supply chain management.

Top 8 Enterprise Resource Planning Tools Comparison

1. Productive – One of the Best Enterprise Resource Planning Systems for Agencies

Productive provides a comprehensive platform tailored to professional services workflows. You can use it to monitor your financial health, support your agency’s customer relationship management, ensure projects stay on budget and timeline, and much more.

One of the biggest benefits of using Productive is getting a central database for all your agency activities. Instead of using one tool for resource scheduling, another for time tracking, and a separate one for your financial management and invoicing, you get all this in one.

The main challenge for us was consolidating everything we needed into one tool, we were using six different tools at the time, and Productive really delivered on that note.

Alex Streltsov,
General Manager at Prolex Media

Let’s explore some of Productive’s key features in more detail.

Financial Management

Productive supports various aspects of your business financial management. This includes:

  • Project budgeting: Build budgets for various types of client engagements, including one-time (hourly-priced or fixed), retainer, or complex budgets with multiple phases. Track and manage them from your platform.
  • Financial forecasting: Based on your resource allocation, you can visualize and forecast key agency metrics to make informed decisions. This includes your budget burn, revenue, and profit margins.
A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software dashboard displaying a rebranding campaign, with graphs for time tracking, budget allocations, and invoicing over weeks 23 to 27.

Manage project risks like scope creep with real-time data

  • Billing: Pull your budgeting information to easily create your invoices, whether it’s billable hours data or uninvoiced budget amounts. If you’re already using Xero or QuickBooks for invoicing, you can copy invoices from Productive and take them from there with Integrations.
  • Purchase Orders: Send purchase orders to suppliers directly from Productive. Track payments and include expenses in your reporting.
A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software's purchase order form, showing order number 12 dated 2 May 2023, for LinkedIn paid ads service, totaling $500.00.

Streamline administrative tasks and manage financial data

Resource Planning

 Get the most out of your agency’s resources with Productive’s responsive resource plan, allocation, utilization insights, and more.

A screenshot of a project scheduling feature within an enterprise resource planning software, detailing tasks for individuals with timelines and hours allocated for projects like rebranding and landing page development in June and July 2023.

Change up your layouts to focus on your projects, people, or time off

Allocate your employees according to their working hours. Productive lets you import holiday calendars from various countries and manage time off categories and requests to get the full picture of your availability.

Additional features include placeholders for scheduling time for external and future staff and tentative bookings for unconfirmed projects.

A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software displaying a work report with billable and worked hours for different departments such as Development, Project Management, Leadership, and Design.

Guide your strategic business decisions by visualizing and forecasting utilization

Based on your billable hours data and scheduling, you can gain in-depth insights into your workforce. How are workloads balanced, which teams are overutilized, and which employees are available to support them? Productive provides you with the answer to these questions across all projects.

See more: Best Practices for Multi-Project Resource Planning


To drive alignment between your sales, marketing, and project development teams, Productive offers a lightweight agency CRM. You can customize the stages in your sales pipeline and track deals down the funnel. The sales feed helps you track updates and communicate more easily with other team members to minimize the risk of information gaps or miscommunication.

A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software showing a 'Deals' dashboard with various projects categorized under Lead, Prospect, and Proposal stages, including details on project value and completion percentage.

Simplify the sales process and get reliable data

You can also:

  • Define common reasons for lost deals, then analyze them to improve your sales performance.
  • Forecast your sales revenue, check performance per sales rep, and get other useful insights.
  • Build estimates in Productive and export quotes in PDF format.
  • Turn won leads into projects and kick off your project planning.

See more: The 13 Best Agency CRMs

Project Management

Productive offers all the features you would expect from the top project management tools. This includes visibility into project progress with various layouts, including Gantt, Kanban, List, and more.

You can streamline phases with simple dependences and hierarchies, from milestones, to subtasks and to-dos.

A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software task management panel titled 'Blog posts', focusing on 'Motion graphics' with to-dos, status set to 'Working', assigned to Carmen Williamson, due on 5 May, 2024.

Manage everything related to your tasks from a single screen

Use custom fields for tasks to define their progress or importance. Estimate task completion and track time, attach files, chat in the comments, and get automatic notifications for status updates.

Productive also offers client access to help improve transparency and the feedback/approval process.


With Productive, you can get streamlined reporting by using one of the 50+ agency-focused templates or by building your own report from scratch.

You can add specific parameters to customize your data with custom fields, group data according to different metrics, and turn it into a range of visualizations with one click. Then, you can arrange your reports on a dashboard or schedule them to be automatically sent to email and Slack.

We can pull up data really quickly now, tailor it to our needs, and create all kinds of reports in a fraction of time compared to before.

Ivana Honomihl Crnogorac,
Business Process Manager at Degordian

Additional features include: Docs, Automations, Permission Builder

Integrations include: Xero, QuickBooks, HubSpot, BambooHR, Zapier, Slack, Jira, Google Calendar, and more.


  • Plans start with the Essential plan at $9 per user per month, which includes essential features such as budgeting, project & task management, docs, time tracking, expense management, reporting, and time off management.
  • The Professional plan includes custom fields, recurring budgets, advanced reports, billable time approvals, and many more for $24 per user per month.
  • The Ultimate plan has everything that the Essential plan and Professional plan offer, along with the HubSpot integration, advanced forecasting, advanced custom fields, overhead calculations, and more for a custom price.
  • You can also check out the Enterprise Plan with custom pricing for companies that would include more than 50 active users per month.

Productive offers a 14-day free trial, so you can check what the software can do for your business.

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2. Microsoft Dynamics 365 – A Comprehensive Platform for Business Management

The Dynamics 365 suite from Microsoft offers applications for finance, resource management tools, supply chains, project operations, and more.

Key features:

  • Capabilities for a variety of business functions
  • Customizable modules and software systems
  • Support across professional services and other industries
A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software displaying the 'Summary' tab with sections for contact management, account details, purchase information, and timeline of recent activities and interactions.

SOurce: Microsoft Dynamics 365

The biggest draw of the Microsoft Dynamics suite is that it contains various modules to improve operational performance, including ERP, CRM, and Accounting. Businesses can choose which software solutions they need and customize their tech stack accordingly. However, a review states that these modules “don’t necessarily talk to each other the way you would expect” (Capterra). Other reviews mention issues with the user interface, system performance, and complex pricing tiers.

3. SAP – A Good ERP Software Solution & Best ERP for Customization

SAP is a leading provider of software solutions with a cloud-based ERP tool called SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Key features:

  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Accounts payable management
  • Sales planning and performance
  • Project setup and resource management
A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software featuring capacity plan simulation for a manufacturing process, showing graphs of demand versus remaining capacity, delivery performance metrics, and detailed production timelines.

Source: sap

Regarding the benefits of SAP, users on Capterra report state it offers powerful business apps with a lot of room for customization. However, there are some notable downsides. Many reviews mention that the tool is not as user-friendly or visually appealing as they might prefer:

The platform and overall user experience is not very intuitive. If you’re in a complex business with users of all levels of expertise when it comes to understanding software, expect some growing pains when it comes to the rollout of this platform.

Source: Capterra

If you’re looking for a more straightforward but comprehensive agency software, you might want to consider other alternatives from this list.

4. Oracle Netsuite – A Better Financial Tracking Option for Complex Workflows

Oracle Netsuite ERP is a business management platform with a wide variety of modules for complex processes.

Key features:

A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software asset management module displaying various asset transactions including additions, adjustments, transfers, and retirements, with a focus on depreciation for March 2020.

source: oracle netsuite

While it’s a great option for financial reporting and oversight, agency professionals might want to consider an alternative to Netsuite with more extensive collaboration and communication features. Otherwise, users usually enjoy the range of modules Netsuite offers but find that the costs might be too steep for small and medium-sized businesses.

5. Epicor – The Best Solution for Industry-Specific Management

Epicor is a leading ERP company that offers customizable modules for customer relationship management, business intelligence, and more.

Key features:

  • Financial analysis and forecasting
  • Business planning
  • Real-time business analytics
  • Customer experience
A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software's Report Studio interface, showing user role configuration and permissions management sections, with navigation tabs for data source and checklist settings.

source: epicor

Similarly to SAP and Oracle, Epicor is an extensive software solution that can be especially good for manufacturing and production companies. It offers various supply chain and inventory management modules and other suitable features. However, due to its complexity and industry-specific features, it might not be the optimal choice as a professional services business tool.

6. SYSPRO – A Fine ERP Software Solution for Inventory Management

SYSPRO is an ERP solution tailored to businesses in the manufacturing and distribution sectors.

Key features:

  • Business performance management
  • Real-time business intelligence
  • Accounting and cost control
  • Inventory & supply chain optimization
A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software displaying financial management dashboards with analytics on accounts receivable, accounts payable, cash book balance, and inventory valuation, including graphical representations of revenue, gross profit, and net profit margins.

source: syspro

Compared to other ERP solutions, users frequently praise SYSPRO for being more user-friendly and affordable. Although reviews are generally positive, some mention issues with the reporting feature, including limited reports, issues with customization and adding parameters, and problems with downloading data.

7. Sage Group – ERP Software From One of the Top Enterprise Resource Planning Companies

Sage Group is a leading provider of solutions for business management, with products for accounting software and finance management tools such as Sage Intacct and ERP with Sage X3.

Key features:

  • Financial management and reporting
  • Task management and project visibility
  • Employee time management
  • Integrations with proprietary and third-party apps
A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software displaying the 'Project Management' module with an overview of project statuses and a timeline chart for tasks including project launch, scheduling, research, and design phases set in May through July 2019.

source: sage group

Sage X3 has a 3.9 star rating on Capterra. User experiences are mixed, with some calling it a good cost-to-benefit choice with a visually appealing UI. Other, more negative reviews mention that the CRM module is limited and that customization can be lengthy and expensive and usually requires third-party help.

8. Infor – A Cloud-Based Option for a Variety of Industries

Infor offers cloud-based ERP systems for distribution, manufacturing, and service industries.

Key features:

  • Financial tracking and accounting
  • Project management
  • Resource scheduling
  • Supply chain management
A screenshot of an enterprise resource planning software interface displaying a purchase order summary with columns for line items, receiving numbers, costs, and currency in USD, with an emphasis on unmatched receipt lines.

Source: infor

Users on Capterra comment that Infor M3 is extremely customizable, which can make it quite complex to configure and implement. Some reviews also comment that it might require a lot of workarounds and iteration to tailor it to your business needs.

Excellent system but can be difficult to learn. Very many steps to accomplish tasks. Once learned system works great.

Source: Capterra

Benefits of Software by Top Enterprise Resource Planning Companies

According to research by Panorama Consulting, organizations that quantify expected benefits from ERP software experienced:

  • Increased productivity and efficiency (74%)
  • Reduced operating and labor costs (57%)
  • Real-time insights (49%)
  • Standardization (46%)
  • Removing silos (14%)

How exactly do ERP systems make this possible?

Like most types of software, such as agency project management software, ERP helps automate manual workflows. This can include financial automation, such as collating reports and streamlining the accounting process. It can also include project and collaboration features like notifications, documentation, and task updates.

Comprehensive tools can serve as a centralized database for agency data, workflows, and project updates. This helps eliminate silos and improve customer relationships by providing all project stakeholders with a single source of truth for their business operations. These tools empower human resource planning by providing detailed analytics and insights, enabling tailored strategies that enhance employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.

The main benefit we get from Productive is planning, clarity, everyone working towards one system. It facilitates reporting, hugely. It’s very easy to use. Also, I think one of the biggest things for me is the fact that it’s constantly improving.

Andrew Harb,
Program Director at Saffron

Takeaway: Finding the Best Enterprise Resource Planning Providers

The ERP solutions reviewed in this article have useful financial management tools for business insights. Most are sold in modules and offer a range of features for various businesses and industries. While these tools can be powerful, they can also require a lot of time investment and be pricey for SMEs.

As an alternative ERP for agencies, consider an integrated platform such as Productive. With its suite of tools for agency workflows, Productive enables simpler implementation and adoption for teams with varying tech experiences and preferences.

If you want to support your daily and strategic business operations with streamlined software, consider booking a demo with Productive today.


What is the number 1 ERP system?

The number 1 ERP system usually depends on your specific business needs and context. For agencies, one of the top ERP software is Productive, as it offers support with various agency operations and day-to-day workflows. For the manufacturing industry, you might want to consider other options, such as Sage or Epicor.

Which software is used for ERP?

The type of software that is usually utilized for ERP is a suite of applications or a comprehensive platform that can integrate your business processes. Some popular ERP examples include Productive for agencies, Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP, Sage, Netsuite, and others for businesses across all industries.

Which ERP system is best for me?

The best ERP system depends on your industry, resources, and goals. For professional services, Productive is an intuitive and comprehensive solution for agencies of all sizes. Businesses interested in robust financial management might want to consider Netsuite while manufacturing companies can consider SYSPRO or Infor as their top picks.

What are the 3 common types of ERP?

The three common types of ERP systems are on-premise, cloud-based, and hybrid. On-premise systems provide increased security as they’re managed locally but usually incur higher license costs. Cloud-based ERP tools are usually more affordable and easier to implement but are more prone to security concerns since data is stored off-site. Hybrid software combines features of both.

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Lucija Bakić

Content Specialist

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