Which Enterprise Software Do You Use To Handle CRM, Supply Chain, Service, Install? What Works/Not?

There are several softwares which claim to be all encompassing but so many miss the mark. For a company which does customer relations, supply chain/inventory, service/install...what is your software of choice? Any horror stories?


This is all anecdotal so your experience may vary.

I have seen implementations of ES-2000, UDA Construction Suite (which I liked), a custom SQL backed portal, and Microsoft Dynamics all fail to varying degrees at previous employers. It is important to point out that the failures of all of the above solutions pertained to not identifying the requirements of all stakeholders and failure to assign a project manager, not necessarily failures of the software or developer to deliver. It might seem obvious, but if the ERP software is going to involve interfaces for the warehouse, customer relations, estimation, and installation it may not hurt to speak to those departments and understand their needs. The biggest failure I have seen with all of these is tailoring it to one specific purpose (sales, contact management, or estimation) then bolting on the other portions later. This results in a fantastic tool for that sole purpose but a horrible tool for the add on portions later.

I have seen a successful implementation of Intuit Quickbase to remedy defects of one of the above solutions. Quickbase worked for the company I was at because it is essentially a user friendly SQL interface allowing a non-SQL DBA to custom brew anything they want. Essentially, it is like Microsoft Access but more robust and cloud based. This is not a recommendation, simply what worked for the highly fluid employer I worked at. It does take some significant work to create any database and even with templates available this requires a hefty investment of time and monthly fees.

One recommendation I have made to everyone who is looking at software to tie their company together: try to stick with industry best practices and change your organization to meet the software instead of trying to force the software to meet the same practices the company used when it was ran out of a 800 Excel spreadsheets. If the company does not adapt, it will cost substantially in time and capital to customize the software. Every company has a default approach of "we do things differently... we're special". In my opinion, that is absolutely the wrong approach to take unless that company is willing to pay the price, have the software take 1-2 years to develop, and likely fall way short of expectations. Ongoing support of the custom software, database, and future changes will also have hidden costs.

The integrator I worked for last used a custom implementation of Microsoft Dynamics/Great Plains for ERP and ACT by Sage for CRM.

At best, it sucked. At worst, we spent tens of thousands trying to make it better together and never got there.

The company also was a manufacturer, and the entire system was set up with managing manufacturing in mind. Not very flexible for the service company enterprise, for sure.

It appears there is no clear platform that most are happy with. This general question has been asked several times over the years, and no one seems 100% happy with what they use. Internally, John has mentioned a doing a survey on the topic, and I think that would be fairly useful.

BTW, Undisclosed A's comment:

...try to stick with industry best practices and change your organization to meet the software instead of trying to force the software to meet the same practices the company used when it was ran out of a 800 Excel spreadsheets.

This is very good advice, IMO. It is hard to do, but critical to pull off.

A survey would be great!

We have UDA Constructionsuite but are considering dumping it and are now looking at D-Tools and hopefully a few others. Can someone recommend an enterpreise all in one software solution that manages a project from estimating to billing and automates a proposal and other reports?

Any feedback on D-Tools?