SAP vs. Oracle is a comparison that many complex businesses make when considering their digital transformation options. The question of which brand can provide the better ERP system has always depended on the unique characteristics of different companies. Both are among the top ERP systems, but both have very different strengths, weaknesses, and overall product roadmaps.
With this in mind, it is never a bad idea to compare what exactly makes these two systems different and what you should be expecting when you go with one option over the other. By doing this you can better assess what your specific business needs in order to achieve a smooth digital transformation.
A brief overview of SAP vs. Oracle
Starting off with SAP, it was an ERP system developed in Germany and is designed to integrate and support almost every are of the business process including finance, accounting, HR, logistics, etc. SAP as a whole requires a costlier and longer period to implement. The vendor itself usually markets itself to businesses with at least $1 billion in annual revenue. Its most recent flagship product for larger enterprises is S/4HANA ERP.
Oracle RDBMS (relational database management system) on the other hand is used mostly for data warehousing and running online transactions. Oracle leads the database technology industry and prides itself in featuring many options on its software like development, management, etc. Its most recent flagship product is Oracle Cloud ERP.
SAP strengths and weaknesses
While both Oracle and SAP offer advantages, SAP generally offers a smoother experience with enterprise level functions. Global interactions are made easier and diverse culture gaps are easily bridged. With its HANA database, SAP ERP also allows for real-time information, so it helps reduce the number of redundancy errors that can occur.
Breadth of functionality. SAP S/4HANA offers functionality for sales teams to be able to manage accounts, build invoices, and manage contracts from the interface of ERP. SAP has recently included a scaled down version of their software that is powered by AI, so you may have to purchase things like marketing automation or helpdesk software on the side. A full customer experience suite comes with every SAP S/4HANA product. As for financials, SAP has recently introduced machine learning into its products, which reduces time spent manually collaborating between other departments to figure out things like invoices and financial statements.
Other SAP ERP software options. In addition to S/4HANA, SAP also offers Business One for small- to mid-size organizations. It has also augmented its flagship S/4HANA product with SAP SuccessFactors HCM software (link to Workday vs. SuccessFactors blog). Ariba supply chain management and procurement software. Although many organizations are still running SAP ECC or R/3, these products will not be supported by SAP beyond 2025.
Oracle strengths and weaknesses
Oracle software is also a reliable product that can deal with huge database sizes and massive amounts of application workloads. Even though working with a complex piece of software like this is a hard task, Oracle makes itself portable as well as easily attainable on different platforms using the same code base and documentation for ultimate accessibility. Although it hasn’t been established for long, Oracle Cloud ERP is Oracle’s flagship offering for larger enterprises.
Oracle database. Oracle’s roots are as a database company, so it is generally a strength of its ERP software as well. In terms of speed, Oracle has demonstrated that it is the leader for RDBMS performance on many platforms. Technology like Oracle RAC helps dealing with databases by offering to scale them depending on what the consumer wants. Even with just the standard product, Oracle provides many tools and abilities that come along with the server.
Oracle financials. A big difference between Oracle’s ERP and SAP’s ERP is that Oracle focuses more on financial data movement within an enterprise company. The offerings of the software let companies integrate data and analyze and manipulate it depending on their needs. Unlike SAP, you can purchase all of these functionalities in one single package, or separately so it really lets the user get a sense of freedom when acquiring their product.
Artificial Intelligence. AI is also something that has been recently introduced to Oracle. The AI itself concentrates on the accounts payable and the goal of this is to minimize the manual processes that go into checking invoices across the enterprise. Much like SAP’s machine learning it speeds up the overall process of finding out what your company needs, in terms of financial issues, quickly and efficiently.
Other Oracle ERP software products. In addition to Cloud ERP, Oracle offers Oracle NetSuite for small- to mid-size organizations. Some of Oracle’s other legacy products include Oracle E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, and Siebel – though many of these legacy products are either no longer supported by Oracle or are in the process of being sunset.
Risks of implementing SAP vs. Oracle
Implementing either solution comes with its risks. On one hand, there have been high-profile transformation failures such as the SAP failure at Lidl. On the Oracle side, its flagship Oracle Cloud ERP software was not listed among the top ERP systems of 2019.
Both systems entail complex transformations that affect the entire organization in some way (also see related articles about how to plan for a successful Oracle Cloud ERP implementation or how to plan for a successful SAP S/4HANA implementation). Both can be implemented by one of the larger system integrators – such as Accenture, Deloitte, or Capgemini, among others – which presents additional risks. These and other risks can be mitigated through the use of independent SAP and Oracle ERP consultants such as Third Stage Consulting.
Like all the ERP software comparisons featured in our other articles, it truly comes down to what your company needs in order to make the final decision between SAP vs. Oracle. Both of these software products offer a wind variety of functions that may or may not apply to what your enterprise needs or wants.
To understand fully about what each product offers, it requires you to look at the details like software functionality, deployment options, and even basic things like how much these systems will cost you. Only by understanding all of these pieces can a company make a decision for themselves about whether SAP vs. Oracle is right for them.
You may also be interested in our article comparing SAP S/4HANA to Oracle Cloud ERP. Feel free to contact us to brainstorm ideas on how your organization might embark on its comparison of SAP vs. Oracle! We are always happy to help.