Light Weights
Entellium vs. SugarCRM
Middle Weights vs. Aplicor

Heavy Weights
Oracle OnDemand vs. SAP On-Demand

Oracle OnDemand versus SAP On-Demand

The No Holds Barred CRM Software Evaluation
Heavy Weight Bout

This is the smackdown that the software-as-a-service fans have been waiting for. A match of two titans who previously ridiculed the SaaS delivery model, but today, claim to have been saved and found SaaS religion. The fans are skeptical and unsure whether their SaaS preaching is more rhetoric or software substance.

Weighing in as the largest business software company in the world with a German accent and more than 35,000 company customers in over 120 countries is the undisputed on-premise application software champion SAP. This gladiator has spent the last two years working out at both the SAP Aktiengesellschaft Walldorf Germany training camp and the lesser known SAP America Newton Square Pennsylvania training facility. The real challenge for this young on-demand solution fighter is to emerge from the shadows of on-premise software and demonstrate credibility in the new software-as-a-service arena. The crowd knows that while SAP is a titan in the client/server software world, the fighter is the newest entrant and has yet to make any measurable impact in the web-based SaaS space.

The Challenger, an application software fighter of enormous proportion himself, arrives off the heals of knockouts to Siebel Systems, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and a slew of other has-been fighters that have all succumbed to this heavyweight. While initially opposed to the software subscription and hosted delivery model, this veteran fighter eventually entered the ring after conquering Siebel Systems and whipping the prior Siebel OnDemand step child into shape. It's unclear if this software-as-a-service fighter was permitted to train at the Redwood City camp as big time promoter Larry Ellison seeks to keep his underdogs away from the prize fighters at Corporate.


Round 1 – Vendor Strength

Perhaps bolstered by Oracle's allegations of east German steroid use, SAP begins this first round with an intensity that can only be backed up by the largest application software company in the world. While SAP arrived late to the SaaS industry fight, this fighter was successful in delivering sales force automation, marketing and customer service by the end of 2006.

Oracle shrugs off SAP's advances and counters with an industry consolidation at a level never before witnessed. The crowd cheers but seems unsure how such a consolidation can come together - culturally and technically. Assistant coach Charles Phillips yells from behind the ropes - FUSION, FUSION is the answer! Jab him with fusion!

The fans celebrate the end of round one, however, several in the crowd are unsure whether Fusion is a middle-ware integration architecture or the rubbing compound used on Larry Ellison's yachts. Ultimately, the steadfast application powerhouse is too much for Oracle. Round one decision goes to SAP.

Round 2 – Implementation

Both fighters enter this implementation round looking a little sluggish. The fight is momentarily suspended while the referee removes the change order template forms brought into the ring by both warriors. SAP takes a hard blow when Oracle points out implementation fees which rival on-premise CRM engagements. However, SAP fights back and shows that Oracle often times takes the same approach. Oracle bounces back with allegations of corporate theft and spying. The referee separates the fighters and informs Oracle that the intellectual property theft claims are a different fight. Both fighters take a bruising. At the close of the round, SAP retreats back to the corner repeatedly mumbling "that request is out of scope" while Oracle returns to the corner and asks assistant coach Phillips if time spent watching Larry Ellison race boats on television can be billed to clients.

Neither fighter showed much advantage in this round. Round 2 is declared a draw.

Round 3 – Integration

Round three integration kicks off in dramatic fashion by the Oracle fighter. The Oracle heavy weight yells at the top of his lungs, "Adrian - it's all about Fusion" while coach Phillips circles the ring with a Fusion flag held high and Larry Ellison buzzes the arena in an Italian Marchetti jet with Fusion banner in tow.

Not to be outdone, SAP counters with NetWeaver. With almost no delay, Oracle makes claim that NetWeaver is proprietary and lacks a true SOA architecture. Instantaneously, SAP rifles back "well so is Fusion!" Oracle smugs at the childish exchange believing that it has clearly given SAP a punishing round.

The crowd acknowledges that Oracle made an impressive showing in this round. Unfortunately, one of the judges is also a Los Gatos air traffic controller and was not amused by Ellison's fly-by. Nonetheless, the round goes to Oracle.

The crowd is silenced; however, the judges who also moonlight as system administrators show their bias toward the Aplicor integration simplicity. Round three decision goes to Aplicor.

Round 4 – Customization

Both fighters enter the ring looking a bit tired. Oracle then hits SAP with a suite of software configuration and customization tools. Initially, the rapid fire rabbit punches seem to score with the judges. However, later in the round it becomes evident that a major hit with a single toolkit would would pack more punch that a slew of seemingly unrelated tools.

SAP packs another NetWeaver blow and scores a cut to Oracle's eye. While the crowd likes the simplicity of a single powerhouse tool, some hecklers in the front row chastise the SAP fighter for using yet another proprietary language with awkward syntax and programming requirements. SAP lips back to the hecklers mumbling something in German. An ESPN translator later reports that the German fighter alleged that the hecklers were little more than Microsoft dumpster divers.

The crowd is unimpressed. Unfortunately, the judges desire a CRM system which can be modified to track promoter kick-backs and under-ground Las Vegas boxing licenses - of which neither can be accommodated well. Round four is a draw.

Round 5 – User Adoption

The Oracle fighter picks up the pace. Hitting with a dashboard that includes a combination of key performance indicators, graphs and drill-down to sale opportunities, Oracle makes a convincing case for ease of use, simple navigation and user adoption. In a knock out attempt, Oracle then body slams SAP with a data warehouse and OLAP (online analytical processing) information analysis tool.

SAP shows some signs of panic. SAP is unable to counter with any strength using a comparably similar work process navigation, customizable dashboard, ad-hoc report writer or data warehousing/OLAP solution. Round five goes to Oracle OnDemand.

Round 6 – User Productivity

Oracle continues its aggression by hammering SAP with the Sales Coach productivity tool. While the judges recognize this tool is far from a flexible workflow development platform, they do recognize its application in a sales force automation context.

SAP ties to bounce of the ropes and hit back with desktop and groupware integration. The hits are effective, however, immediately returned by the Oracle fighter who packs those same punches.

The judges confer after the round. While they are disappointed that neither fighter delivers more meaningful business process automation tools, they side with Oracle's sales coach. Round six goes to Oracle OnDemand.

Round 7 – Software Breath

Oracle comes out looking like a possessed fighter and hits with a broad CRM suite which includes sales force automation, marketing and customer support. In an almost relentless attack, Oracle then hits again with data warehousing, business intelligence and ERP integration to Oracle Financials.

SAP responds with a lighter CRM suite, however, with additional integration to Microsoft tools and technologies. The reference to Microsoft infuriates Larry Ellison who then alleges that the arena scoreboard uses a flawed Windows operating system and that Bill Gates is the anti-Christ.

Although it's unclear if the Linux penguin tattoos on the judges' arms indicate discontent for Microsoft, they side with Oracle in this round. Round seven goes to Oracle OnDemand. Between rounds, Ellison instructs several juvenile introverts to hack into the scoreboard.

Round 8 – Software Depth

With a new bust of energy, SAP changes tactics and pounds Oracle with a blitzkrieg attack. Hitting with flexible configuration, NetWeaver integration and integration to SAP's R3 flagship product, SAP leaves Oracle dazed.

Oracle regains enough of its senses to hit back with a more flexible security configuration and then waits out the rest of the round.

The cheers from the crowd begin to amplify. Suddenly, the fight becomes more competitive. This round goes to SAP.

Round 9 – Hosted Delivery

The fighters take very different approaches in this round. Oracle enters this round with a very cautious fighting stance and a traditional multi-tenant hosting model. Although Oracle's hosting delivery is not without service interruption, the fighter has changed data center coaches. Yet for all its fancy footwork, data center redundancy lacks that of several other pure play hosting providers.

SAP continues its more aggressive fighting style. In a well placed hit that nearly puts Oracle on the canvas, SAP delivers a single-tenant hosting platform for its customers. While SAP also lacks global data center delivery and redundancy, it's hosted delivery appears uninterrupted - although as Oracle yells to the judges, SAP has only been providing hosting services for barely a year.

At the end of the round the judges confer. While they appreciate SAP single-tenant hosting delivery, they note that neither fighter matches the hosting delivery of the light weight and middle weight contenders. Further, the judges come close to deducting points from both fighters for lack of concrete service level agreements. Round nine goes to SAP.

Round 10 – Customer Satisfaction

It's now clear that this fight will go the distance. Both fighters pick up the pace to end the fight with the momentum in their favor.

Oracle attempts to capitalize on customer satisfaction by noting the completion of several client-promised integration milestones and continued support for acquired products.

SAP responds by making good on the promise to finally deliver a CRM software-as-a-service product (that is, after initially belittling the concept). SAP goes a step further and hints of upping the aunty by introducing a hosted ERP application. The crowd is skeptical but lauds SAP for such thinking.

At the close of this round, the judges confer in complete privacy. Believing this fight is too close for comfort, Larry Ellison promises each of the judges $1 million for their unbiased round 10 decision. SAP cries fowl and yells - "The promise is bogus, he didn't pay Harvard the promised money and he won't pay you!" The judges finally declare that due to SAP's extraordinary short term in the on-demand market, they have yet to demonstrate any meaningful customer satisfaction. SAP promises 100,000 customers by 2010, however, the judges know those customers will be fighting in the client/sever ring, not the software as as service ring. This round goes to Oracle.

Decision – Oracle OnDemand

Scoreboard Summary

Fight Tactic
Vendor Strength
User Adoption
Software Breadth
Software Depth
Hosted Delivery
Customer Satisfaction

The Rematch

Due to the infancy of these two products, their next releases are likely to have a material impact on their capabilities. If you are extremely knowledgeable with either Oracle or SAP's software as a service offerings and are willing to perform an online CRM review, please send your contact information to Please be advised that this exercise generally requires approximately 60 to 80 hours of effort and is guaranteed to get you flamed.

See Oracle Software Review | See SAP Software Review

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