Oracle vs Plex Systems
At Datix we spend a large amount of time and effort researching and evaluating today’s best enterprise software for modern business. We’ve previously completed a series of reviews that compared Epicor ERP to six different ERP systems and have begun doing the same with Plex ERP (and several others).
Recently we looked at Plex vs. Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics AX and SAP. In our review, we found that Plex Systems and NetSuite compete as cloud-based ERP platforms, but are generally in different markets and industries. Likewise, Plex Systems and Microsoft Dynamics AX more notably go head to head in the process manufacturing industry; however there are company process dynamics that certainly make one a better fit than the other. And in our comparison of SAP and Plex Systems, we found both are choice ERP solutions for economies of scale and businesses with a global supply network.
This week we pin Oracle vs Plex ERP its fiercest competitor yet. Oracle boasts an ERP system branded by one of the most acclimated technology conglomerates in the world thus receiving reputable marks with its JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP suite.
Distinguished Business Solutions
We might first start off by saying these two systems service some industries much better than others. Most buyers of software today have grown favorable of best of breed solutions, or systems tailored specifically to the type of jobs and tasks that make up their business processes.
As we’ve mentioned in our previous comparisons, Plex Systems makes no bones about the segment best suited for their ERP solution. Plex Systems is largely installed in a manufacturing environment, with unique configurations suitable in an automotive, food and beverage and process production capacity. Plex Systems boasts strong MRP functionality beneficial in tracking data on the shop floor, such as batch and lot numbers, serial numbers and input materials. In fact, Plex Systems was established to sharpen the visibility of processes at a finite level of production process to mitigate the risk of process variation and nonconforming products. Highly regulated industrial businesses (food, automotive, aerospace) are becoming more prone to acquire a system that supports this type of strategy as regulatory bodies tighten the gap for production variation. You may be hard pressed to discover an approach to ERP development as production and materials focused as Plex Systems. It is this type of tailored configuration that is so effective for even the largest of manufacturing supply chains.
Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP suite is a well-established solution for these types of businesses as well, having performed installations for over 150 medium to large supply chain enterprises; yet, have come up with a very different means for using its solution as a platform for a supplier-customer environment. JD Edwards Enterprise One provides a well-rounded sales-order management module, complete with a configurator – an automated selection and configuration tool complete with complex products that provide a fully integrated front-end sales and quote entry with back-end fulfillment ops and manufacturing systems. This type of functionality is exceptional for a business operating in a fast-pasted selling capacity dealing in volume and global procurement (retail, distribution, travel and transportation) but may not be a choice solution for a medium or large manufacturer.
There is limited capabilities in the JD Edwards Enterprise One supply chain and production management modules, and even less its financial-oriented sister ERP. JD Edwards Enterprise One is remarkable at tracking quotes, but not a bill of materials forwards and backwards in production. In a case of tracking materials from quote to cash – and thereafter—the product configuration enrichment (a staple of Oracle) of JD Edwards Enterprise One may not be beneficial to a business seeking to harbor a initiative that drives quality over quantity for compliance purposes.
Before contacting either vendor, a buyer should research these companies to understand their products, organizational culture and sales approach. They should familiarize themselves with the type of leadership they follow, who’s in charge and what their values are. This should give the buyer a better idea of what to expect in the selling processes, the integrity of the sales people and the experience they’ll have during an implementation – or lack thereof.
You may already be familiar with Oracle’s legendary sales force, led by former CEO and respected leader Larry Ellison. During his reign, Oracle successfully completed nearly 100 acquisitions of tech companies increasing capacities and viability of its products. And with that, product prices rose as Oracle become the dominate provider of legacy business technology for a portfolio of global companies. Nearly every technology, code or database we’ve come to know today is pegged to Oracle. And while increasing the breadth of the portfolio benefited Oracle, it has decreased the choices for consumers, especially those whom may be looking to migrate to a solution outside the Oracle ecosystem. What was once viewed as a brilliant model has recently come under fire under the new administration. The company has chosen to enter the technology hardware space and develop solutions built upon SaaS architecture. While this has given Oracle the opportunity to be a primary source for all the components of IT infrastructure – either on-premises or in the cloud – it has caused issues internally Oracle can’t seem to regulate.
This could be the result of Oracles new approach to provide both forms of enterprise architecture and a change in their go-to market strategy. Over the last several years, the predecessor of Larry Ellison has reorganized Oracle’s sales department to run leaner, phasing out hundreds of the once legendary sales force. He has placed lofty quotas on the sale of hardware from sales teams, whom have amped up their efforts to sell a top to bottom infrastructure. Yet only a handful of the largest of companies can afford to procure and implement an Oracle solution and its hardware. As a result, the majority of sales territories have become smaller and many analysts are questioning if that has contributed to a high employee attrition rate and turnover with hundreds leaving each quarter. Those that stay remain urgent to close deals, since Oracle has also trimmed down territories. Sales teams therefore focus their efforts on convincing a buyer to purchase not only software, but hardware as well given a reformatted compensation scheme. And because Oracle has heavily invested in the hardware provision space, we can expect this to be an ongoing issue that inevitable leaves clients campaigning for new resources, new financing and elongated time to launch a solution.
By comparison, Plex Systems was named one of 2014’s Best Places to Work by the Detroit Free Press, which can only mean one thing; low employee turnover. This is especially important to consider when purchasing an instance of business software. What this means is employees are being compensated for their development of an intelligent machine for the market in which they serve — that is, manufacturing. Plex Systems hires seasoned manufacturing experts whom understand the ins and outs of shop floor and design a framework to match specific manufacturing needs. From a sales perspective, Plex’s single cloud platform makes the sales team focus on business process models and drive value from a single system, compared to Oracle with its many products, services and legacy hardware. From a project management standpoint, Plex employees find value in seeing a client’s project through, reducing the chance of project change over and derailment.
Companies want a solution that optimize process and foster new values in the organization that drive ROI on the purchase. So which out of the two is making it happen for modern business?
JD Edwards Enterprise One is an open platform priced between $15 – $400K depending on the size and scope of your business model; compare that to Plex’s Manufacturing Cloud with a yearly subscription based model costing businesses $5K per month on average.
One of the unique features of Plex is its subscription-based delivery model. Plex uses this as incentive to continuously win customer business by creating advocacy for its brand. The continual renewals are paid year after year, and rather than have the customer amass charges for every new user license, Plex encourages system usage by offering logins for both employees and partners at no additional charge.
Instead of incurring hefty costs every time a business goes to upgrade, Plex has eliminated versioning and instead rolls out upgrades on a continual basis. Essentially, this solution continuously moves customers to a whole new state without disruption. That is simply the benefit of cloud. Plex’s historical up time is in excess of 99.99% historically – equaling less than an hour of downtime per year. In all, businesses realize the cost of ownership is much less than with a large ERP rollout from a typical vendor. Likewise, companies have the ability to retain business customizations whilst live on the latest system; encouraging user adoption and lessening disruption of upgrading.
Likewise, Oracle does offer its JD Edwards Enterprise One solution on a cloud platform as a subscription model, yet leverages the Oracle brand, pricing high with lesser capabilities for the industrial businesses and a high turnover of seasoned implementation personnel.
Yet, included in that cost is the well-established Oracle Database that can be hosted on a variety of operating systems and hardware platforms; from Microsoft Windows to HP-UX to Linux x86-64, OpenVMS and more. A solution having the ability to play well with an already established platform can make installation costs lower and less change of the procuring latest hardware (if you are trying to stay on-premises).
Oracle vs Plex Systems is an arduous battle. Both systems provide a strong offering to different kinds of process manufacturing and data oversight for today’s global enterprise.
Ultimately, it always comes down to selecting the right tool for the right job. What you’ll probably find is that most growing manufacturing businesses, with some level of complexity, will be happier with a Plex solution (if they are directly interested in moving to the cloud); while those in transportation and travel, communications, or professional service organizations with multiple subsidiaries across multiple industries and a hiring scope for those with business acumen and sales-oriented backgrounds will likely be happier with something like Oracle (although these are not definitive statements).
There are always other factors at play; however it’s important that businesses perform proper selection, and implementation practices in the beginning to mitigate project risks. To learn more about ERP implementation, or help in selecting between these two powerful pieces of software, experts at Datix, or download our E-book below.