ERP Forum

Christof Thys
IT Manager & Business Controller with 51-200 employees
What are the most critical functional differences between S4 HANA & M3?
Manisha Patilfirst, you need to distinguish different deployment options: S/4HANA on-permise is different from S/4HANA public or manage cloud. Cloud solutions are much more restricted. Secondly, you need to take the release planning into consideration: currently S/4HANA includes only Simple Finance but time flies and soon more and more "Simple" components become available. All this is described in the roadmap and needs to be mapped to the customer's project timeline. Third, taking "Simple Finance" as an example, the installation is not a classic add-on but a so called "Exchange Innovation" which changes and/or removed SAP code and database tables! You also get Fiori apps... So functionaly these are not the same.
Gene Hammons, MBAI can only base this on selections done a couple of years ago and I may be off by a version or two. SAP tends to have more functionality and lends itself to modification and customization for large companies. M3 is really good technology and where it works, offers a price usually 1/4 that of SAP - EU consulting teams are really good with M3 given it's Swedish heritage and EU acceptance. It's really hard to find US teams who are at the same implementation volume as their EU cousins. The rational choice between the two generally comes down to 'we can customize a process that saves time for 1,400 worldwide sales reps' with SAP. Notice I said 'rational'. The actual choice is more like 'SAP is better known and represents less percieved risk to deploy' also - the career building aspects - an IT team with SAP experience has better future career choices - and I suspect that drives SAP selection as well. M3 is a lower cost option - and with the right implementation and support team, performs very well - However, they are both Tier One solutions and will require sufficient budgets, support staff internally, and a good partner. I'd suggest a fully formed selection process and if M3 suits your requirements, it's a great choice. SAP projects are what they are, long (M3 won't be shorter by a large factor) and upgrades and audits are historically pricey. It really comes down to your cost justification and if you have the internal team to achieve the project goals (which happen well after go-live). You'll be much better off with a clearly defined cost/revenue model prior to selecting either and a numerical goal to achieve with either software package. (And Alex's comments regarding Netsuite are valid, we do see more overall clients selecting Netsuite than any other platform - however - Netsuite cannot do process manufacturing - especially in FDA validated environs where M3 and SAP play, so in those cases, SAP and M3 are solid choices - though I might include DynamicsAX in the mix - but that was not the original question.)
NicholasMazisIn general, if you are looking for a strong HRIS, Quality Management, then SAP has the upper hand. In areas such as Finance, Manufacturing, Inventory etc. both packages offer similar functionality. SAP excels in Product Technology as well.

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