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5 scenarios to migrate from SAP to Oracle

In the digital era, business architectures need to be designed for uncertainty and continuous change. Transitioning to cloud-based IT enables organizations to be more agile to respond to change faster and more effectively.

Oracle’s approach to cloud migration allows us to immediately partner with any customer, regardless of their starting point. Migrate to Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to simplify finance and operations, help reduce business risk, and benefit from ongoing innovation—all with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).1

Why SAP customers are migrating from SAP to Oracle?

In the past, SAP was popular because of its integration with SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) and Business Suite, the ability to customize SAP, and the ability to work with SAP in real time. So what has changed for SAP customers to consider alternatives?2

Oracle ERP vs SAP infographic thumbnail illustration More SAP customers battle the same ERP barriers in year-over-year survey

SAP ERP customers are facing disconnected finance systems and a lack of collaboration. Oracle Cloud ERP can help you reduce costs and improve forecasts and planning.

Integration issues New reports have revealed that SAP customers have been complaining that SAP actually lacks proper integration . It’s not a new thing. But in spite of promises, SAP hasn’t solved this issue.3
Customizations Customized applications form a significant barrier to upgrades; many companies only upgrade once every four to five years, because customizations make upgrades too complex, too costly, and too risky.4
Compatibility If you are considering running applications on a hyperscaler, such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, or Oracle, you’ll need to be aware that some customized applications will not be compatible with cloud-based infrastructure.
The Great Resignation You’ve probably heard the term used to describe the vast numbers of workers who decided to give their employers notice and leave.5 Maintaining older SAP solutions or running new ones on a proprietary platform isn’t going to make it any easier to find the right people, let alone do that cost-effectively.6

Is migrating from older SAP versions to SAP S/4HANA easy?

Is migrating from SAP to Oracle easier or harder compared to moving from SAP ECC or Business Suite to S/4HANA? Migrating from older versions of SAP to S/4HANA is complex and costly. Here’s why:

Restructured financials Bear in mind that SAP has made some dramatic changes in S/4HANA. For example, the introduction of the SAP Universal Journal, which in essence creates a “thick GL,” making it harder to process a period close.7
Reorganized tables SAP explains that it has reorganized all the database tables.8 That doesn’t just result in a significant implementation effort; it also means that you most likely need to rewrite most—if not all—reports and rebuild your analytics panels.
A hefty reimplementation guide Consider the fact that SAP publishes a whopping 1,178-page document called the “simplification guide”.9 Its purpose is to guide you through the migration from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA. With that many pages, we reckon it won’t be an easy task.
Increased costs We believe that migrating from SAP to Oracle will be more cost effective than migrating from SAP ECC/Business Suite to SAP S/4HANA. Need proof? Take a look at the UK Birmingham City Council. In publicly available documentation10, this government organization reckons it will be 46% more cost effective to run on Oracle Fusion Applications.
Potential issues with hyperscalers Running SAP on hyperscalers, such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud will come with additional costs.11
Lengthy implementation A recent survey from ISG shows that the vast majority of SAP customers—91%—are still using SAP ECC, in spite of 30% having licensed SAP S/4HANA.12 If companies license a product, but don’t use it, that could be an indication that it’s taking a long time to implement.
Conversion limitation Migrating from an older SAP release to S/4HANA doesn’t mean all previous limitations are suddenly gone. For example, you cannot change your system from a parallel accounts model to a parallel ledger model or change certain currency settings in parallel to the system conversion.13
Desupported software With SAP, your older SAP versions will be desupported, but even the current S/4HANA solutions are not supported indefinitely.14 Case in point: the recent S/4HANA releases from 2018 are no longer supported.15

Moving from older SAP releases to SAP S/4HANA is a reimplementation,13 and so is moving from older SAP versions to Oracle Fusion Applications Cloud. There’s no denying that a move to Oracle will involve the expense, retraining of staff, and end-user acceptance of a reimplementation. The difference is that we’re ready to help you with that challenge. Oracle has partners, such as Datalynx, Inspirage, Mastek, and Peloton Consulting Group that have trained, experienced consultants and proven implementation methodologies. In addition, they can move historical SAP data over to the new applications for query and reporting purposes.

When it comes to user experience, business users will be happy to learn that Oracle Fusion is based on artificial intelligence that guides the user. Unlike SAP,16 17 Oracle Fusion has a single user interface—Redwood—that’s optimized for any device.

Most important—the migration from SAP to Oracle will be your final migration. With Oracle Fusion, you will be running on a modern suite of cloud applications that come with quarterly updates. Gone are the days of migrations and reimplementations.

Learn how Oracle Cloud ERP enables your business to be a future-ready digital platform (PDF).

Five proven scenarios to migrate from SAP to Oracle

1. Modular

Start with any Oracle Fusion Application module. Oracle’s integrated, yet modular architecture allows you to deploy what you need when you need it. You control the pace and define which areas of your business are addressed first—modernizing your financials, supporting company-wide planning, or improving your logistics. Once each area goes live, that’s it. You’ll never have to take them through an upgrade project again.

Read how TechnipFMC consolidates its HR systems, processes on Oracle Cloud

2. Use Oracle Fusion Accounting Hub

Connect many systems, including SAP, via a hub. Standardize accounting into a central system without having to rip and replace SAP immediately and disrupt current business processes. Provide deep insight into operational results by analyzing financial information from many sources, including ledgers, subledgers, and supporting references.

Read how SMCP unified and harmonized its finances with Project International Cloud ERP

3. Start with Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) or Transportation Management (OTM)

Unlike SAP’s incomplete EPM offerings, which are comprised of multiple products and partner tools, Oracle Cloud EPM delivers complete, purpose-built capabilities for connected enterprise planning across finance, operations, and lines of business, including HR, supply chain, IT, and sales. With Oracle Cloud EPM, you can manage all transportation activities throughout your global supply chain. Combining ease of use with industry-leading capabilities, Oracle Transportation Management enables you to run your logistics operations more efficiently, reducing freight costs and optimizing service levels.

Read how Kraft Heinz uses Oracle Cloud EPM to guide faster decision-making to stay on top of a changing market

4. Complete replace

Start with a clean sheet and replace SAP with Oracle Fusion Applications. The advantage is that all your applications now use a unified data model (which SAP doesn’t have.19 20)

Read how real-time finance data drives innovation at Western Digital

5. Hosting

Run SAP on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure so that you will not have to license and implement the SAP HANA database.

Read how Deutsche Bank runs 10,000 databases with 50% less energy

Ready to learn how you can replace SAP with Oracle?


1 Alaine Portnoy, “Cloud vs. On-Premises Software: Know Your Total Cost of Ownership,” Arena Solutions, February 9, 2021, https://www.arenasolutions.com/blog/saas-vs-on-premise-lowering-total-cost-ownership/

2 Jonathan Corbett and Martyn Hope, “Look Before you SAP: Why SAP customers are moving to Oracle Cloud Applications,” BrightTalk, August 3 2021, https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/18819/500945

3 Marissa Gilbert and Geoff Scott, “Pulse of the SAP Customers 2022: What’s on the Minds of SAP Customers,” American SAP User Group (ASUG), February 17, 2022, https://s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/asugv5-assets/archive/events/2022-POSAPC-Webcast-Deck.pdf

4 Bill Baumann, “Disadvantages of Customizing an ERP System,” Panorama Consulting Group, March 28, 2022, https://www.panorama-consulting.com/disadvantages-of-customizing-an-erp-system/

5 Jeff Wilson, “How to combat the Great Resignation through better employee experience,” Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management Blog, February 8, 2022, https://blogs.oracle.com/oraclehcm/post/how-to-combat-the-great-resignation-through-better-employee-experience

6 Atos, “Realize the Value of SAP S/4 HANA,” 2022, https://atos.net/en/lp/sap_implement

7 Charles Homs, “Why Oracle closes its books twice as fast as SAP and Workday,” Oracle: The Modern Finance Leader blog, June 21, 2022 https://blogs.oracle.com/modernfinance/post/why-oracle-closes-its-books-more-than-twice-as-fast-as-sap-and-workday

8 erpqna.com, “SAP S/4HANA: Inventory Management Tables New Simplified Data Model (NSDM),” August 15, 2021 https://www.erpqna.com/sap-s-4hana-inventory-management-tables-new-simplified-data-model-nsdm/

9 SAP “Simplification List for SAP S/4HANA 2021,” May 25 2022, https://help.sap.com/doc/f2591a6901344c97a5e2029cc8f3703e/2021/en-US/SIMPL_OP2021.pdf

10 Birmingham City Council, “Birmingham City Council Report to Cabinet,” July 30, 2019, http://birmingham.cmis.uk.com/Birmingham/Document.ashx

11 Amazon Web Services, “SAP on AWS Pricing Examples,” 2022, https://docs.aws.amazon.com/sap/latest/general/sap-on-aws-pricing-examples.html

12 ISG, “Trends and Outlook: Cloud adoption for SAP S/4HANA,” August 2021, https://www.lntinfotech.com/isg-trends-and-outlook-cloud-adoption-for-sap-s-4hana/

13 Heinrich Stroetmann, “Options for Your SAP S/4HANA Transition,” SAP, November 16, 2020, https://blogs.sap.com/2020/11/16/options-for-your-sap-s-4hana-transition/

14 SAP “Innovation Commitment for SAP S/4HANA until 2040,” February 7, 2020, https://support.sap.com/en/release-upgrade-maintenance/maintenance-information/maintenance-strategy/s4hana-business-suite7.html

15 SAP, “Integrations and Data Management,” 2022, https://help.sap.com/docs/SAP_COMMERCE/50c996852b32456c96d3161a95544cdb/8c49d43b866910148161ffb8d631bc42.html?version=1808

16 David Essex, “A look inside the new Redwood Oracle UI design,” TechTarget, December 11, 2019, https://www.techtarget.com/searcherp/feature/A-look-inside-the-new-Redwood-Oracle-UI-design

17 Eursap, “Why some users hate their SAP user interface/user experience and how to fix it,” May 19, 2020, https://eursap.eu/2020/05/19/blog-why-some-users-hate-their-sap-user-interface-and-how-to-fix-it/

18 Oracle, “Compare Oracle EPM to SAP,” https://www.oracle.com/performance-management/oracle-vs-sap/

19 Katrin von Ahsen, “API, Prepacked Integration Content, and More,” SAP, December 4, 2019, 16, https://assets.dm.ux.sap.com/webinars/sap-user-groups-k4u/pdfs/191204_apis_prepackaged_content.pdf

20 SAP “Prepackaged Integration with SAP ERP,” June 10, 2022, https://help.sap.com/doc/278d9aa12f914fe9a005cbe3d08db61e/CLOUD/en-US/C4C-ERPviaHCI-E2E-Guide.pdf