Real life experiences: Oracle vs SAP

I used SAP extensively and remember a couple of points.

Navigating is challenging at first –up, up, across, across, across, down, down, down, following the menu. You quickly learn an important tip – type in the screen identification and instantly move from wherever you are to where you want to be. This is a great feature. There are more controls than you can imagine too – Like a Formula One racecar, everything possible can be tweaked to yield the exact result desired.

My Oracle experience is less but I found it easy to use and quite user-friendly for such a comprehensive ERP.

I started work and found a large warehouse with a few partially assembled pallet racks and hundreds of pallets everywhere on the floor. Those pallets needed to be quickly broken down to the parts on each and stored so the parts could be used for planned production.  

Use this free online comparison tool to compare Oracle and SAP with other ERP systems

Once we found someone to start Oracle and provide it to us on terminals, we got useful information quickly. There were only a few of us called in to restart this business. None of had worked there when it was running and none of us had Oracle experience.  

Oracle was quite easy to learn well enough to track inventory by lot numbers and revision levels. Forecast and order demand we found in the ERP was old as the company had been dormant. However, we could use that along with “Where used” data to categorize the inventory quickly.

Oracle vs SAP: comparison points

There are several ways of comparing the two. For example:

  • SAP market share is about 26% and Oracle is around 17%
  • SAP implementation time is faster at 4 months average vs. Oracle at 22 months
  • SAP generally is more expensive to purchase than Oracle

SAP has always provided ERP systems and continually improves its offering. SAP is known primarily as ERP for very large multinational businesses, though also provides cloud ERP designed for small and mid-size businesses as well.

Oracle began as a database provider. Some SAP implementations use the Oracle database within SAP.  Oracle has purchased other ERP systems such as JD Edwards and NetSuite over the years and provides ERP systems using those purchased products as their base.

Both ERP providers have well-reported failures. Both, however, have far more successes that are not as well reported.

SAP can be highly customized simply be setting parameters within the system.  These semi-customizations allow almost any business with a wide variety of needs to use SAP successfully.

I probably never did get used to the screen application codes as they seem to be based on the German language. It might be the same German origin but most common APICS terms do not exist in SAP, but the functionality is there with some other name once you find it.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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