As an ORACLE EBS consultant, we should aware of its counterpart –SAP and a few range of prospects that differentiate these two giants in today’s ERP market. Both SAP and Oracle eBusiness Suite (EBS) have strengths, weaknesses, and tradeoffs. Different clients have different needs, ranging from functional requirements, technical maturity, tolerance for risk, budget, and a host of other factors. 
So what are the differences between these two solutions? Although there are numerous variances in the detailed workflows and functionality of the solutions, there are five key high-level variables that we should aware of.
  1. Best of breed functionality vs. more tightly integrated modules. The software strategy of the two vendors could not be much different. While SAP has built a solution primarily from the ground up, Oracle has grown primarily through acquisition of best-of-breed point solutions. For example, Oracle has acquired Demantra for advanced sales and operations planning, Hyperion for financial reporting, and Siebel for CRM, while SAP has built much of this functionality into its core ECC and All in One ERP solutions.
  2. Product roadmap. SAP continues to build upon and enhance its core product offering, while Oracle is moving toward Fusion. While some may suggest that Oracle is more innovative or visionary in its technology direction, it also means that there may be more uncertainty with Oracle’s product lines. This is especially true for clients considering Oracle’s JD Edwards and Peoplesoft solutions.
  3. Flexibility. Although very powerful, SAP can be more difficult to change as a business evolves. This is both a strength and a weakness: it is tightly integrated and helps enforce standardized business processes across an enterprise, but it can be more difficult to modify the software to adjust to evolutions to core processes and requirements. Oracle’s best of breed approach, on the other hand, can allow for more flexibility to accommodate changing business needs, but this strength can become a weakness when it becomes harder to enforce standardized processes across a larger organization.
  4. Implementation cost, duration, and risk. Although both solutions typically cost more and take longer to implement than most Tier II ERP software, there are distinct differences between the two. Oracle has a slight advantage in average implementation duration and an even larger advantage in average implementation cost, at 20% less than SAP. SAP, on the other hand, has the lowest business risk of the two, measured via the probability of a material operational disruption at the time of go-live.
  5. Business benefits and satisfaction. This is perhaps SAP’s greatest strength. Although Oracle has the highest executive satisfaction level of all ERP vendors across the globe, SAP leads the pack in actual business benefits realized. Assuming the #1 reason most companies implement ERP software is to achieve tangible business benefits, this can be enough to justify SAP as a solid solution for many companies.
The key takeaway here is that, as with any ERP solution, SAP and Oracle both have their strengths and weaknesses. One solution may be the best fit for one organization, while not a good fit for others, even within the same industry. The only way to make sense of the pros and cons in a way that is meaningful to your organization is to engage in a robust ERP software selection process that considers your requirements, priorities, and competitive advantages to find the right fit.
What is ERP?
Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP is an industry term for integrated, multi-module application software packages that are designed to serve and support multiple business functions.
ERP provides the backbone for an enterprise-wide information system.
Evolving out of the manufacturing industry, ERP implies the use of packaged software rather than proprietary software written by or for one customer.
At the core of this enterprise software is a central database which draws data from and feeds data into modular applications that operate on a common computing platform, thus standardizing business processes and data definitions into a unified environment.
Brief History of ERP
The focus of manufacturing systems in the 1960′s was on Inventory control. Most of the software packages then (usually customized) were designed to handle inventory based on traditional inventory concepts. In the 1970′s the focus shifted to MRP (Material Requirement Planning) systems that translated the Master Schedule built for the end items into time-phased net requirements for the sub-assemblies, components and raw materials planning and procurement.
In the 1980′s the concept of MRP-II (Manufacturing Resources Planning) evolved which was an extension of MRP to shop floor and Distribution management activities. In the early 1990′s, MRP-II was further extended to cover areas like Engineering, Finance, Human Resources, Projects Management etc i.e. the complete gamut of activities within any business enterprise. Hence, the term ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) was coined.
Why is it Necessary?
By becoming the integrated information solution across the entire organization, ERP systems allow companies to better understand their business.
With ERP software, companies can standardize business processes and more easily enact best practices.
By creating more efficient processes, companies can concentrate their efforts on serving their customers and maximizing profit.
Market Leaders
The top five ERP vendors, SAP, Oracle Corporation, Peoplesoft, Inc. (now Oracle Corp.), JD Edwards & Company, and Baan International, account for 64 percent of total ERP market revenue. These vendors continue to play a major role in shaping the landscape of new target markets, with expanded product functionality, and higher penetration rates. SAP dominates the $6.7 billion ERP applications market in Europe with 39% market share. Oracle and PeopleSoft come second and third respectively, followed by SAGE Group and Microsoft Business Solutions.

Overview of popular ERP Products
Oracle E- Business Suite
Oracle E-Business Suite is the industry’s only complete and integrated set of enterprise applications, working together seamlessly to streamline every area of your business—from sales, service, and marketing, through financials and human resources, to supply chain and manufacturing.
Oracle E-Business Suite is your fastest path to high-quality enterprise intelligence, bringing your company a true 360-degree view of your finances, your customers, and your supply chains, so you can make faster, better decisions and grow profitability in a competitive marketplace.
Oracle E- Business Suite – Industry Applications
Oracle E-Business Suite 11i.10 offers over 2,100 new capabilities, half of which meet specific industry needs, including:
Financial Services: SOP documentation and auditing for compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations
Healthcare: Medication administration, patient encounter-specific financial information, integrated patient care and operational intelligence
Manufacturing/High Technology: Option-dependent sourcing, automated spare parts return and repair processing, international drop shipments, distribution planning
What is SAP?
SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing) is the leading ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software package.
SAP was the first to integrate a corporation’s worldwide functions tightly into one application.
SAP R/2 was released as the first version of their software in 1979. Its domination of the market occurred during the 1980s, expanding first throughout Europe (early 1980s) and then North America (1988).
SAP R/3, an advanced, client-server based version of the popular R/2 product, was released in 1992 and sparked a stunning takeover of America’s largest businesses — 44% of US companies were using it within five years of its expansion.
In 1999, SAP introduced its newest major product upgrade. Named to emphasize its shift to an e- business focus, builds on the strengths of the SAP R/3 product in a fully Internet enabled architecture
SAP R/3 Overview
SAP R/3 is SAP’s integrated software solution for client/server and distributed open systems. SAP’s R/3 is the world’s most-used standard business software for client/server computing. The software is highly customizable using SAP’s proprietary programming language, ABAP/4.
R/3 is scalable and highly suited for many types and sizes of organizations. SAP R/3 is based on various hardware and software architectures, running on most types of UNIX, on Windows NT and OS/400. SAP R/3 runs on several databases Oracle, Adabas D, Informix, DB2 for UNIX, DB2/400, and Microsoft’s SQL Server 6.0.
mySAP ERP combines the world’s most complete, scalable, and effective software for enterprise resource planning (ERP) with a flexible, open technology platform that can leverage and integrate SAP and non-SAP systems. It provides end-to-end software functionality for enterprise management and support — plus support for systems management — all powered by the SAP NetWeaver platform.
mySAP ERP comes with four individual solutions that support key business processes:
mySAP ERP Financials
mySAP ERP Human Capital Management
mySAP ERP Operations
mySAP ERP Corporate Services
PeopleSoft Enterprise is a suite of best-in-class applications built on our Pure Internet Architecture and designed for the most complex business requirements. Ideally suited for large, company-wide functions across all industries, it provides industry-leading web services integration with multi-vendor and homegrown applications. PeopleSoft Enterprise can be easily configured and adapted to meet the most unique customer requirements. In addition, it supports the broadest choice of technology infrastructure in the industry.
Campus Solutions
Customer Relationship Management
Financial Management
Human Capital Management
Service Automation
Supply Chain Management
Enterprise Tools and Technology
What Is Siebel?
Siebel Systems is an eBusiness solutions company and a market-leading provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
Tom Siebel (CEO) and Pat House (Executive Vice President) founded Siebel Systems in July 1993. Headquartered in San Mateo, California.
Siebel’s initial product set out to organize and automate the sales force with calendars and contact management systems. It has since added numerous other Customer Service, Marketing and e-Commerce applications to its product line.
Siebel Product Overview
Siebel’s applications allow companies to access information about their customers whenever they need it. Siebel’s main product line includes its Call Center, Field Services and Sales, and Marketing applications, which allow employees located in different parts of a company to have access to the information they need to assist, service and make additional sales to customers.
Advantages of Oracle E-Business Suite
Oracle ERP Suite is based on Oracle Apps framework. What that essentially means to the customers is that no matter which component of the suite you buy, you get the same look and feel.
Oracle Database
The biggest USP of Oracle ERP is that it is based on Oracle Database, which in itself is a market leader. So the Oracle ERP is best placed to take advantage of the advances in the database technology. The buzzword is “If it is in the database, you will get it and get it fast!!”
As far as the components of the suite itself are concerned Oracle Financials is a market leader, Oracle HRMS and Payroll they are catching up pretty fast. So the market indications are pretty positive and you have enough consultants in the market to cash in.
Oracle Apps UI comes in two flavours – The Oracle Forms and the Oracle Self Service Application (HTML). The former is meant for the power user and provides incredibly quick learning curves for people from the finance and other domains who are used to Fox pro and dBase forms.
The Oracle Self Service Application is an HTML based solution and specifically caters to the global organization where Internet plays a major role.
Role Based Security
Oracle has been a pioneer in Database Security systems and the buzz word of Oracle Database is “Unbreakable”. Oracle Apps seem to gain from this legacy of secure systems. The role based security system offered by Oracle Apps is one of the better security models available currently.
Advantage over Best of Breed Software
Best of breed software cater to specific areas like HRMS, Financials etc. If your business is looking for software in only one specific area and you don’t think s/w for the other areas are required, you might be tempted to go for these offering… But one word of caution, in case you go for s/w for other areas where you select another best of breed s/w, you might end up paying exceptional amount of money in integrating the two softwares.
This is where Oracle Apps and other Suite vendors like SAP score over the best of the breed software. Implementing different parts of the suite would be much less costly than best of breed software and getting them to talk to each other.
Fast adoption of standards
By past record Oracle has a good record of adoption of new legal and technological standards which keep arising from time to time. So standards like Rosettanet, uccnet would be adopted as they solidify.
Ease of customization and installation
Oracle has a good record on supporting products. Oracle Apps are quite easy to install and customize according to your business needs.