Executive Summary

  • 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.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

MUFI Scores

Search for the vendor in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table. Shortening Key: 
  • Ma. = Maintainability
  • Us. = Usability
  • Fu. = Functionality
  • Im. = Implementability
Average Score for Big ERP5. ERP
Average Score for CRM6.
Average Score for Small and Medium ERP8.386.78.5Small and Medium ERP
Average Score for Finance8.88.888.8Finance
Average Score for Demand Planning7.67.277.1Demand Planning
Average Score for Supply Planning6.76.976.8Supply Planning
Average Score for Production Planning6.86.976.9Production Planning
Average Score for BI Heavy5. Heavy
Average Score for PLM77.26.87.3PLM
Average Score for BI Light7.78.798.3BI Light
Arena Solutions Arena PLM 10101010PLM
AspenTech AspenOne48107Production Planning
Birst 88.5108BI Light
ERPNext10107.510Small and Medium ERP
Delfoi Planner866.57Production Planning
Demand Works Smoothie SP910710Supply Planning
Hamilton Grant RM1098.59PLM
IBM Cognos2.731.53BI Heavy
Infor Epiphany7865CRM
Infor Lawson8767Big ERP
Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions9959Finance
JDA DM97.588Demand Planning
Microsoft Dynamics CRM2322CRM
NetSuite CRM6433CRM
Netsuite OneWorld7788Big ERP
Oracle BI4436BI Heavy
Oracle CRM On Demand4535CRM
Oracle Demantra533.54.5Demand Planning
Oracle JD Edwards World4136Big ERP
Oracle RightNow6745CRM
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS10101010Production Planning
Preactor8737Production Planning
QlikTech QlikView99109BI Light
Rootstock9899Small and Medium ERP
Sage X38878Big ERP
Salesforce Enterprise88.597.5CRM
SAP APO DP3432Demand Planning
SAP APO PP/DS2243Production Planning
SAP APO SNP3484Supply Planning
SAP BI/BW1.5242BI Heavy
SAP Business Objects32.573BI Heavy
SAP ECC336.53Big ERP
SAP SmartOps4475.5Supply Planning
SAS BI6.5796BI Heavy
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting7897Demand Planning
Tableau (BI)9101010BI Light
Tableau (Forecasting)10859Demand Planning
Teradata86.39.76BI Heavy
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)7897Demand Planning
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)56107Supply Planning

Vendor and Application Risk

Brightwork Research & Analysis 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

Estimates are for a typical project. A specific implementation requires details from the project to make a project-specific estimate.

Search for the application in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table.
ApplicationProb of Implementation SuccessProb of Implementation Failure
SAP Smartops0.390.61
NetSuite CRM0.460.54
Sugar CRM0.620.48
Base CRM0.910.09
SAP CRM0.350.65
Salesforce Enterprise0.720.28
QlikTech QlikView0.820.18
Tableau (BI)0.980.02
SAP Crystal Reports0.460.54
SAS BI0.760.24
Oracle BI0.350.65
IBM Cognos0.230.77
Infor Epiphany0.580.42
Microsoft Dynamics CRM0.260.74
Oracle RightNow CRM0.410.59
Oracle CRM On Demand0.360.64
SAP Business Objects0.320.68
SAP BI/BW0.250.75
SAP PLM0.290.71
Hamilton Grant RM0.890.11
Arena Solutions0.960.04
Delfoi Planner0.70.3
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS0.960.04
AspenTech AspenOne0.550.45
SAP APO PP/DS0.270.73
Demand Works Smoothie SP0.930.07
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)0.820.18
Demand Works Smoothie0.960.04
Tableau (Forecasting)0.90.1
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting0.820.18
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)0.860.14
JDA DM0.570.43
Oracle Demantra0.330.67
SAP APO DP0.280.72
Intuit QB Enterprise0.80.2
Microsoft Dynamics AX0.40.6
SAP Business One0.490.51
Sage X30.620.38
Infor Lawson0.580.42
Epicor ERP0.40.6
Oracle JD Edwards World0.310.69
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne0.360.64
SAP ERP ECC/R/30.320.68
NetSuite OneWorld0.650.35

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

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.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the Big ERP software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for SAP ERP ECC/R/3.