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Which ERP system is better: Oracle vs. SAP vs. Dynamics 365?

The advantages of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software have been well established. By utilizing such a system, an organization has a well-integrated and continually updated picture of all core business processes, through a common database. Data can thus be easily shared among all departments, as information flows back and forth, making coordination far more efficient.

Typically, ERP systems run on a myriad of hardware and network configurations, via a database and repository. Consider this. All of these processes can be integrated in one place:

  • Procurement: Supplier relationship management (SRM), when coordinated with production management, can result in greater efficiency and cost savings.
  • Production: ERP can help in planning the manufacturing process, having the right resources at the right time, and ensuring that the distribution process meets its goals.
  • Distribution: Controlling warehouse processes and the movement of goods to customers as efficiently as possible.
  • Accounting: Automating financial operations with other departments will allow real-time updates and insights, as well as ensuring regulatory compliance.
  • HR: Keeping a complete database of all employees, and coordinating departmental needs to best utilize current work force and determine where new needs may be. And all of this is coordinated with accounting as well.
  • CRM: A good ERP system will maintain all customer information and monitor relationships.
  • Sales: Coordinating all functions related to receiving orders, scheduling order fulfillment with production and distribution, as well as invoicing in coordination with accounting.

Obviously, there are other processes that are often placed within an ERP system, based upon unique organizational needs. For example, a healthcare enterprise will have a component that relates to regulations and HIPAA requirements. A bank will have far different components, based upon its regulatory environment. Among the top three Tier I ERP providers, though there is room for that customization.

The Big Three: Oracle, SAP and Microsoft Dynamics

Relative to ERP software, the three “big boys” are Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. All now offer SaaS, which is certainly more attractive to the smaller and mid-size enterprises that all three are attempting to “woo.”

Many large enterprises continue to maintain an in-house system, though that percentage is falling. In fact, the most recent report released by ERP consulting firm Panorama, shows that 64% of businesses and enterprises that have moved into ERP service solutions, are using a SaaS model, 21% are using cloud solutions, and only 15% remain with an in-house system. The benefits for small and mid-sized companies are obvious – cost and agility.

Costs are not the only factor to consider though when choosing the right ERP system for your business. Our team benchmarked the top three providers based on the popular assessment criteria for software.

Functionality and Ease of Use

A survey of users reported by Ax Dynamics showed that 86% of Oracle users are more than 50% satisfied with its functionality; 80% of Dynamics 365 users are; and only 44% of SAP users are. Clearly, SAP has a way to go if it is to achieve a customer satisfaction rate that the others now enjoy.

On the other hand, there are many factors that contribute to satisfaction rates, so any company looking for an ERP solution should consider the pros and cons of each.

Oracle ERP – Pros & Cons

Microsoft Dynamics ERP – Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

Probably the biggest plus is that the Microsoft infrastructure allows easy syncing with any other Windows applications. Information and data can be easily transferred to other Microsoft systems.

Some complain that Dynamics cloud solution is underperforming in comparison with the other two.

Dynamics is also multi-lingual and can support multiple currencies. Large businesses with an international presence will appreciate this.

Dynamics was originally hailed as being friendlier to small businesses. It has since moved into the larger enterprise environment, and small businesses are feeling ignored and not served as well as they should be.

SAP ERP – Pros & Cons

As early as 2012, SAP moved out ahead of the competition with about 25% of market share. It still holds that position today, with 33%, compared to 27% for Dynamics and Oracle.

Cost of Ownership

Respondents to Panorama’s most recent survey stated that they expected the cost of ERP solutions to be less than 2% of the company’s annual revenue. 64% of respondents did admit that they had cost overruns during implementation. The good news is that companies can be selective in which modules they choose, and that can help keep costs in check. While individual circumstances must vary, general cost comparisons are as follows:

SAP

SAP, at first glance, seems to be in the middle of the road as far as initial cost. What brings the costs up are the customizations that are usually unavoidable. In the end, SAP can be pricey.

Oracle

Oracle has grown its solutions by acquiring some high-end providers – NetSuite, MICROS, and PeopleSoft, just to name a few. While this has resulted in premier ERP software, it has also made it the most expensive solution.

Dynamics

Dynamics costs the least of the three, primarily because it did not build its solution from the ground up. For this reason, small businesses tend to choose this system. Also, it “looks” and “feels” like Windows, which means less training and faster adoption.

Integration and Ease of Implementation

There is definitely a need for good planning to integrate and implement an ERP system. According to the Panorama study, 79% of respondents stated that the implementation went beyond their initial timeline projections. And, when considering the difference in integration and implementation, it is important to remember that specific comparisons are not possible. Because companies have options within each one of these solutions, ease of implementation will vary. In general, however, the following can be said:

SAP

Companies report that SAP implementations have gone smoothly. One of the biggest reasons for this is that SAP built its own system and added its own features and upgrades in-house. While the product is packed with great functionality, if your company wants to incorporate any custom third-party applications or customize the standard setup, you will have to proactively reach out to the company and pay extra for those.

SAP is a huge system, and implementation can be lengthy. To ease this, companies need to carefully assess their needs for every module and perhaps eliminate those they do not need.

Oracle

Another huge system, Oracle will take a long time to implement. But there is lots of flexibility in that implementation, as companies can choose which systems to take and leave.

Dynamics

Interestingly, Dynamics products require a longer install time and longer training with a steeper learning curve. And there are issues with integrating non-Microsoft products as well.

In all three circumstances, however, there is support as implementations and integrations occur.

Final Thoughts

Choosing an ERP system is a lot like buying a car. Every buyer has unique needs and wants. Some want all of the available bells and whistles; at the other extreme are those who want just the basics; some need large vans or station wagons because of their family sizes. Still others have no need for a car at all, because they can use public transportation. Business needs vary just as much.

Begin your journey by identifying exactly what you want your ERP software to do. Conduct some research, read the reviews, and have discussions with those who have made your short list. Like every other change in an organization, it must be carefully planned and everyone needs to be prepared for the transition. It will take time, money, and patience, but in the end, you may have just the system that is going to save you money and time and allow your business to operate in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Infopulse is a certified technology partner of such leading ERP solution providers as Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle.

About the Author

Dmitry Kotelva is a consulting expert with 20 years of experience in management, business process optimization, and IT solution implementation. More than 15 years, he dedicated to SAP business solutions, being involved in implementation, solution architect, sales, presales, delivery management. Currently holds the position of the Head of Enterprise Applications Practice at Infopulse. Dmitry has supervised more than 50 successfully delivered SAP projects in a variety of industries, including Metals&Mining, CPG, Retail, Construction, Banking, Telco.

Dmitry Kotelva

EVP, Enterprise Applications & BI

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