Business Application Software Vendors You Need To Know

Eyes Peeled For Business Application Software Vendors

A business can install millions of dollars of IT infrastructure hardware and software, but servers with middleware and database software are just boat anchors without the high-level business applications that provide the real value. So it’s no surprise that worldwide spending for enterprise application software will reach $114.4 billion this year, according to research firm Gartner, up 10.2 percent from 2010.

Picking the top 25 business application software vendors isn’t easy. We’ve focused on suppliers of financial management and accounting, ERP, CRM, HR and supply chain management applications. Not surprisingly, vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP dominate the list.

While it’s impossible for solution providers to partner with all the companies on our list, here are the vendors they need to be aware of.


Adobe offers software for digital media creation and editing, multimedia authoring and Web content development. It recently previewed its Muse Web design app and reorganized operations around content authoring and digital marketing.


Ariba’s apps help manage supply chains, procurement, contracts, spending, working capital. Its Ariba Discovery service links with IBM’s LotusLive collaboration services, helping buyers connect with 325,000 sellers in 400 business categories.


Epicor provides business apps to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries. In May equity firm Apax Partners acquired Epicor and combined it with Activant Solutions, a developer of wholesale distribution applications.


Exact supplies a broad range of ERP, CRM, HRM, e-business, financial accounting and distribution apps and specializes in international companies and SMBs that do business globally. Its managed services monitor customers’ IT systems.


FrontRange offers CRM, contact and customer service management apps, and IT service management, help desk and IT asset apps for midsize businesses. In May it debuted a SaaS-based IT service management app.


Best known for its online search engine, Google offers a number of free Web apps including the Google Docs office suite, Google Groups for online discussions, Sites for wiki and Web page creation, Talk for Internet telephony, Gmail and Google Calendar.


IBM has been buying a number of business application companies including those in financial governance and risk management, marketing planning, e-commerce, and facilities and real estate management. Its Lotus Division is also key in this space.


Infor sells an expansive line of ERP, CRM, financial, supply chain, workforce and enterprise asset management software. The company has grown through numerous acquisitions, including GEAC, SSA Global and, in June, Lawson Software.


Intacct (a combination of ’Internet’ and ’accounting’) provides cloud-based financial management and accounting software targeted at SMBs. The Intacct system includes apps for accounting, contract management, revenue recognition and more.


Intuit develops financial management, accounting and tax prep software for small firms, accountants and individuals. It has expanded into cloud-based apps with QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Online Payroll and Intuit Payments Solutions.

JDA Software Group

JDA Software Group develops supply chain management, merchandising and pricing apps for discrete and process manufacturing, wholesale distribution, transportation, retail and service industries. JDA has grown through a number of acquisitions.


Kronos offers workforce management apps and services for time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR management, payroll, hiring, and labor analytics. In May Kronos acquired Principal Decisions Systems International.

Manhattan Associates

The company develops supply chain, warehouse, distribution and transportation management apps for global firms. Among its apps: Manhattan Supply Chain Optimization software, Planningthrough Execution.


Microsoft sells its Dynamics AX, GP, NAV and SL; and Dynamics CRM. It offers an on-demand version of Dynamics CRM and is developing cloud versions of ERP Suites. Also key: Office suite of desktop productivity, Office 365 cloud apps.


NetSuite has SaaS apps for SMBs and divisions of large companies. Its lineup includes ERP, CRM, professional service and e-commerce apps that compete with SAP, Microsoft and It also offers OneWorld cloud software.


Openbravo develops open-source, Web-based ERP apps for SMBs. The software is released under the Openbravo Public License, based on the Mozilla Public License. The company also sells the Web-based Openbravo POS app.


Well known for database and middleware, Oracle also is a formidable competitor in the app market, offering everything from ERP and CRM software to industry-specific applications. Oracle E-Business Suite is its flagship product.


RightNow develops CRM software, offered as a hosted service, with an emphasis on apps for customer support and customer contact centers. It also has software for sales and marketing, voice automation, customer feedback management and analytics.


Sage markets a large line of ERP and CRM apps including accounting and financial management, payment processing, payroll, financial forecasting, job costing, HR management and e-commerce. Many of its products came via acquisitions. is best known for its on-demand CRM apps and for CEO Marc Benioff’s role as chief evangelist for the cloud. The company has expanded into cloud software development with its platform and Chatter social networking app.


SAP vies with Oracle for market leadership with its ERP, supply chain and CRM software. While SAP’s Business Suite primarily targets large corporations, SAP targets SMBs with Business One and Business All-in- One suites. It recently launched the on-demand Business ByDesign.


SugarCRM offers commercial and open-source versions of its namesake CRM system, which includes sales-force automation, marketing campaign management, customer support, collaboration, social CRM and reporting apps. Recently it has been expanding its mobile CRM app offerings.


Workday offers SaaS financial management, payroll and HR management apps, putting it in head-to-head competition with Oracle and SAP. The company was co-founded by PeopleSoft founder and former CEO Dave Duffield and former PeopleSoft chief strategist Aneel Bhusri.


Xactly develops sales incentive/compensation and sales performance management apps. Execs use the Web-based software to design, implement and manage sales commissions and analyze effectiveness. The apps use data aggregated from other sales and financial management systems.


Zoho offers its namesake online office suite of apps, including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, note-taking, wikis, CRM and other SaaS apps. The company competes with other cloud apps such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google Docs.