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SAP ERP Alternatives: Which Should You Choose? (And Which Is Most Secure?)

Jul 14, '21 by Joerg Schneider-Simon

Your ERP (enterprise resource planning) system collects, stores and distributes your most sensitive employee, customer, supplier and financial data.

That’s why ERP systems are popular targets for criminal hackers, malevolent nation states and hacktivists.

If you’re in the process of deciding which ERP is right for your organization, it’s important to put “robust security” at the top of your checklist. That’s why we’ve created this helpful guide to the top ERP solutions created by SAP, Microsoft and Oracle – all with an eye to how capable they are at protecting your mission-critical data and systems from threats.

First, a primer on each one:

SAP

SAP S/4HANA Cloud is a complete ERP system with built-in intelligent technologies, including AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics. This platform helps organizations adopt new business models, manage business change at speed, orchestrate internal and external resources and use the predictive power of AI.

According to the SAP website, 91% of the Forbes Global 2,000 are SAP customers. SAP was recognized as a leader in The Forrester Wave: Digital Operations Platforms for Manufacturing Businesses.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud helps organizations benefit from tight, native integration between processes, industry depth, and a consistent in-memory data model.

The platform enables employees to make smarter decisions faster with capabilities that utilize AI and next-generation best practices and is a complete platform that manages multiple areas of an enterprise, including:

  • Asset management
  • Finance
  • Manufacturing
  • R&D and engineering
  • Sales
  • Service
  • Sourcing and procurement and supply chain

Oracle

Oracle’s ERP platform is called Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP, a solution that helps organizations gain resilience and agility while positioning themselves for growth, according to Oracle. Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP gives organizations the power to adapt business models and processes quickly so that they reduce costs, sharpen forecasts, and innovate more.

Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP also features a number of integrated modules for managing today’s complex enterprises, including:

  • Financials
  • Project management
  • Procurement
  • Risk management and compliance
  • Enterprise Performance Management
  • Supply chain and manufacturing
  • ERP analytics

Microsoft

Microsoft’s ERP solution is called Microsoft Dynamics 365. The platform helps companies adapt and innovate with what Microsoft claims is the only portfolio of business applications that empowers organizations to deliver operational excellence and delight every customer.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 also offers multiple modules that helps organizations manage just about every facet of their operations, including:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Service
  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Commerce
  • Human Resources

Microsoft Dynamics 365 uses modular, pre-built applications that easily connect the platform modules with the systems and tools that enterprises already use to add and extend capabilities for their existing solutions.

SAP vs. Oracle vs. Microsoft

When assessing SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, we see that each platform offers similar functionality, but differs in its cost, ease of implementation, user friendliness, technical support and more.

Here are a few pros and cons of each platform.

Platform Pros Cons
SAP S/4HANA

Ideal for large enterprises and medium-sized organizations with complex business processes

Business Intelligence features, including intuitive dashboards, data storage, and report writing

High cost

Long implementation times

Lengthy learning curve

Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP

Ideal for niche industries and markets

Ideal for enterprises that require high flexibility and functionality to support their unique business processes

Automates many manual processes

Highly customizable

Not suitable for SMBs

Least user friendly of the three platforms

Long learning curve

Some modules are generic, forcing organizations to develop their own

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Ideal for SMBs

Native integration with other Windows applications

Intuitive point-and-click user interfaces

Least expensive of the three platforms

Multi-language

Multi-currency

Underperforms compared with the other two platforms

Requires considerable customization for complex enterprises

Security Considerations When Choosing an ERP

If security is at the top of your list for choosing an ERP, you should know that SAP has the most robust cybersecurity of the three platforms.

SAP operates on the assumption that external data, such as office documents, images, and binaries, are insecure unless they are scanned for malicious and suspicious code. As such, SAP believes files should be scanned for viruses every time potentially polluted data is imported into their ERP.

The SAP Virus Scan Interface allows third-party anti-virus and content security solutions (such as our industry-leading Anti-Virus for SAP Solutions software, which is designed exclusively for SAP) to integrate with SAP Applications Servers. These third-party solutions access the SAP Virus Scan Interface directly with the scan engine, or indirectly using a separate virus scan adapter. The SAP Virus Scan Interface contains the functions required to configure and to initialize the scan engine while providing the parameters and data for every virus scan.

The Best ERP? The One That Protects Your Data

Security is a vital consideration when you are looking for SAP ERP alternatives. All three products offer similar functionality, and all three have different levels of affordability and ease of implementation and use. But only SAP offers an interface that allows you to add third-party anti-virus and content security solutions to your network, knowing that they will work to protect your SAP systems and data.

At bowbridge, we believe SAP offers the best cybersecurity of the top three ERP vendors. Our Anti-Virus for SAP Solutions helps you bridge your cybersecurity gaps with the only SAP security software designed specifically and exclusively for SAP’s anti-virus interface.

With today’s increasingly mobile workforce and fast-moving processes, more and more businesses are relying on SAP FIORI, with its simple and intuitive user interface that allows users to perform common, everyday functions quickly and with minimal effort. Learn about the cybersecurity risks inherent to SAP FIORI with our guide.

Visit the SAP FIORI Cybersecurity Page