ERPs are valuable to companies from many different industries, but they are more popular in some genres of operation than others. Companies that produce and/or distribute things, for example, have a high adoption rate of the technology. This connection between software and industry makes manufacturers an appropriate cataclysm for the broader spectrum of users, and as such, as watershed of usable information.

A recent study conducted by Aberdeen Group, and published by, asked manufacturers what they want most from their ERP system. Each participant was asked to indicate their top four criteria from a list. Here are the results:

erp study chart

Though the difference between ease of use and functionality is small, the order is intriguing. More than anything else, manufacturers want their ERP to be easy to use. Then they want it to work well. It’s a bit surprising, but it allows us to draw a pair of important conclusions: Manufacturers want their system to work, and they want to know how to use it (if not necessarily in that order).

These two statistics being near the top of the list is not especially surprising, nor is shocking that cost is among the most common concerns. ERPs can be expensive endeavours, sometimes prohibitively so. Together, usability, functionality and cost represent the three top priorities of manufacturers.

Though the data withdrawn from the survey is industry specific, it is not difficult to imagine it represents a wider trend. No one wants to pay high prices, everyone wants their system to work well and everyone needs to be able to understand how to use it.

The remaining priorities are muddled together within a few percent of one another, displaying a diversity of needs beyond the big three, which again, is something plausibly translated to ERPs users of any industry.