- This is the Brightwork Research & Analysis software rating series.
- We rate both the software and estimate the risk of implementing each application.
MUFI Rating & Risk for SAP ECC
MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability
Vendor: SAP (Select For Vendor Profile)
SAP ERP is the largest in scope and best selling ERP system in the world. SAP as a company became the largest enterprise software vendor in the world by its early success as an ERP software vendor, and they continue to have 25% of the market for ERP software. Considered a leader in the ERP space, however as with Oracle, at this point, they only make minor changes to their ERP systems. They primarily use it as a cash cow to grow the company in a different direction. SAP ECC has had the lowest user satisfaction for quite some time. However, this has not negatively affected their ability to be the tier 1 ERP leader, which should give some inkling as to how much users factor into ERP software selection decisions.
Application Detail – ECC/R/3 (aka SAP Business Suite)
SAP is well known for being complex to implement and difficult to configure. Configuring any area within SAP will take longer than in any other ERP system that we have ever tested. SAP also ranks as the most challenging application to troubleshoot. SAP ERP has the broadest amount of functionality of any ERP suite. Still, the system is inflexible, and customization is expensive – on reason being that ABAP, which is the SAP development language, is far less efficient to code in than more modern programming languages. To minimize customization – SAP follows a marketing construct that is repeatedly used throughout the company called “best practices.” This proposes that all the best ways of doing things have already been set up in SAP, so there is no reason to diverge from SAP’s approach. This means the changes are requested to be made to the business process. There is never any evidence to support best practices, and in fact, many of the ways that SAP does things are anything but best practices. Academic research provides very little support for the concept of best practices, finding them almost exclusively lacking in evidence. As used by SAP, the philosophy of best practices is empty hyperbole used to entice customers and to make excuses for its lagging functionality and frequent inability to meet business requirements.
On average, between 87% and 96% of customers will moderately or heavily customize SAP ERP. This extensive customization combined with the many changes that are required on the part of the business makes SAP ERP implementations long-term endeavors – and increases their failure rate. Many attempts have been made to speed up the implementation of SAP ERP. SAP developed the ASAP methodology in the late 1990s, and various consulting companies have proposed their SAP methodology improves implementation speed – but SAP ERP implementations have stayed about the same both in length and in failure rate.
All scores out of a possible 10.
- Ma. = Maintainability
- Us. = Usability
- Fu. = Functionality
- Im. = Implementability
|Average Score for Big ERP||5.1||4.8||5.2||5.4||Big ERP|
|Average Score for CRM||6.2||6.2||5.1||5.9||CRM|
|Average Score for Small and Medium ERP||8.3||8||6.7||8.5||Small and Medium ERP|
|Average Score for Finance||8.8||8.8||8||8.8||Finance|
|Average Score for Demand Planning||7.6||7.2||7||7.1||Demand Planning|
|Average Score for Supply Planning||6.7||6.9||7||6.8||Supply Planning|
|Average Score for Production Planning||6.8||6.9||7||6.9||Production Planning|
|Average Score for BI Heavy||5.5||5.3||6.9||5.3||BI Heavy|
|Average Score for PLM||7||7.2||6.8||7.3||PLM|
|Average Score for BI Light||7.7||8.7||9||8.3||BI Light|
|Arena Solutions Arena PLM||10||10||10||10||PLM|
|AspenTech AspenOne||4||8||10||7||Production Planning|
|ERPNext||10||10||7.5||10||Small and Medium ERP|
|Delfoi Planner||8||6||6.5||7||Production Planning|
|Demand Works Smoothie SP||9||10||7||10||Supply Planning|
|Hamilton Grant RM||10||9||8.5||9||PLM|
|IBM Cognos||2.7||3||1.5||3||BI Heavy|
|Infor Lawson||8||7||6||7||Big ERP|
|Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions||9||9||5||9||Finance|
|JDA DM||9||7.5||8||8||Demand Planning|
|Microsoft Dynamics CRM||2||3||2||2||CRM|
|Netsuite OneWorld||7||7||8||8||Big ERP|
|Oracle BI||4||4||3||6||BI Heavy|
|Oracle CRM On Demand||4||5||3||5||CRM|
|Oracle Demantra||5||3||3.5||4.5||Demand Planning|
|Oracle JD Edwards World||4||1||3||6||Big ERP|
|PlanetTogether Galaxy APS||10||10||10||10||Production Planning|
|QlikTech QlikView||9||9||10||9||BI Light|
|Rootstock||9||8||9||9||Small and Medium ERP|
|Sage X3||8||8||7||8||Big ERP|
|SAP APO DP||3||4||3||2||Demand Planning|
|SAP APO PP/DS||2||2||4||3||Production Planning|
|SAP APO SNP||3||4||8||4||Supply Planning|
|SAP BI/BW||1.5||2||4||2||BI Heavy|
|SAP Business Objects||3||2.5||7||3||BI Heavy|
|SAP ECC||3||3||6.5||3||Big ERP|
|SAP SmartOps||4||4||7||5.5||Supply Planning|
|SAS BI||6.5||7||9||6||BI Heavy|
|SAS Demand Driven Forecasting||7||8||9||7||Demand Planning|
|Tableau (BI)||9||10||10||10||BI Light|
|Tableau (Forecasting)||10||8||5||9||Demand Planning|
|ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)||7||8||9||7||Demand Planning|
|ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)||5||6||10||7||Supply Planning|
Vendor and Application Risk
Software Decisions Risk Defined: (See This Link for Our Categorization of Risk)
SAP ECC is, on average, the longest to implement all the ERP systems. It is the most complex ERP system with the most functionality. However, after decades, it is clear that companies that implement SAP ECC do not improve their condition by implementing the software. However, an original proposal for using SAP ECC has been that it would substantially improve operations.
Another flawed proposal is that a company should implement SAP ECC first and then it will be in a better position to implement other applications. There is also no evidence for this, and our research indicates that companies that use SAP ECC are in a worse situation to implement different applications. The final argument that SAP ECC has financial functionality that is highly differentiated is also false, with best of breed applications like Intacct exceeding SAP ECC’s financial module. A full explanation and evidence for these statements are far beyond the scope of this rating of ECC. However, it is explained and supported in detail in the book The Real Story Behind ERP: Separating Fiction from Reality.
Likelihood of Implementation Success
This accounts for both the application and the vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.
Likelihood of Application Implementation Success and Failure
Search for the application in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table.
|Application||Prob of Implementation Success||Prob of Implementation Failure|
|SAP Crystal Reports||0.46||0.54|
|Microsoft Dynamics CRM||0.26||0.74|
|Oracle RightNow CRM||0.41||0.59|
|Oracle CRM On Demand||0.36||0.64|
|SAP Business Objects||0.32||0.68|
|Hamilton Grant RM||0.89||0.11|
|PlanetTogether Galaxy APS||0.96||0.04|
|SAP APO PP/DS||0.27||0.73|
|Demand Works Smoothie SP||0.93||0.07|
|ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)||0.82||0.18|
|Demand Works Smoothie||0.96||0.04|
|SAS Demand Driven Forecasting||0.82||0.18|
|ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)||0.86||0.14|
|SAP APO DP||0.28||0.72|
|Intuit QB Enterprise||0.8||0.2|
|Microsoft Dynamics AX||0.4||0.6|
|SAP Business One||0.49||0.51|
|Oracle JD Edwards World||0.31||0.69|
|Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne||0.36||0.64|
|SAP ERP ECC/R/3||0.32||0.68|
Risk Management Approach
SAP ECC are some of the riskiest IT implementations that exist. They are so problematic because SAP’s functionality is difficult to configure and to use, and because the applications tend to have so much breadth. Another major problem is that the major consulting companies primarily implement SAP ECC – and they treat their tier 1 ERP projects as cash cows – actively extending the projects to maximize their billable hours. The tier 1 software vendors have done very little to make their software more implementable and more usable.
The main objective should be to keep SAP ECC from “taking over the company,” and this is a challenge. SAP, like Oracle and several other ERP vendors, uses ECC as a wedge to sell in what are often inappropriate applications to ERP customers using the faulty logic of integration costs savings (how flawed this logic is, is explained in our Solution Architecture Packages). This is a strategy based on leveraging previous investments to influence future investments and is about harnessing the buyer into bad decisions. The best way to get value from SAP ECC is by controlling its scope and by controlling SAP to prevent them from taking over the company’s IT spend.