Oracle HCM Cloud vs SAP HCM: an objective comparison


Oracle and SAP are leading vendors of HR systems. Both have decades of experience in the business software and platform market and service thousands of customers. The two vendors both take an enterprise approach, offering a full suite of modules in addition to HR so you can have a single provider for many business functions. Out of the two, which HR platform is the best one to pick? Here are the key highlights and differentiating factors in our Oracle vs SAP comparison.

Company size and industry

SAP was one of the first ERP vendors, they started operations in 1972. Oracle was only a few years behind with its formation in 1977. Both companies moved into the cloud a few years ago and both were named ‘leaders’ for Cloud HCM suites. As SAP is a German company (it’s the largest non-American software company in the world) it may appeal to organizations that have European locations and territorial requirements. That said, Oracle has accommodated customers in different market segments and industries so it too is an option for customers who are concerned with diverse regional requirements.


Oracle describes its Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management platform as, “a complete solution connecting every human resource process from hire to retire.” What this translates to in terms of products and services is core HR database management, talent management, recruitment, learning & development, workforce management, payroll and smart predictive HCM analytics.

With a professed focus on the employee experience, it's no surprise that Oracle has invested in its employee self-service functionality, offering a mobile-responsive and voice-enabled digital assistant interface for easy and flexible access to over 35 HR services. Oracle’s HCM suite also offers seamless integration with other Oracle business systems, including finance, customer experience, and supply chain management.

SAP’s describes its SuccessFactors HXM suite as shifting, “the focus from supporting transactional HR processes to delivering experiences that serve employees first.” Hence the use of ‘HXM’ (human experience management) as opposed to the more usual ‘HCM’.

In product/service terms this means core HR and payroll functionality (including standardized processes, live data insights, and automated self-service support), talent management (automated hiring, customizable learning, and bespoke career paths), employee engagement and feedback, people analytics (including strategic use of Big Data for better decision-making), and time and attendance management (again, using automated features aimed at increasing efficiency).

A big selling point is SAP’s use in a wide variety of fields and industry sectors, including retail, professional services, public sector, health care, consumer goods, utilities, and higher education.

Essentially speaking, both systems offer the full range of HR-related services and support. If we look to highlight particular strengths, SAP delivers global payroll in 41 countries so that’s a good match for multinational concerns operating globally. 

Oracle, on the other hand, is reputedly strong in the talent and development areas, which, given the pandemic-driven disruption of the recruitment market, is attractive to any large-scale business faced with the challenge of attracting and retaining talent. When it comes to numbers and reports, both platforms offer strong analytics capabilities to meet the needs of client companies who ‘read the numbers’ daily.

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Oracle is the most expensive HRMS to implement but it is successful in its implementations. SAP is the second costliest HRMS to install but it has a faster implementation duration and payback so it may appeal to customers who have restricted budgets.

Oracle’s cloud solution was developed as a standalone system while SAP has purchased and integrated its HCM functionality into their wider product offering. Deployment can be a little more difficult in SAP’s setting due to the backend code differences as the product wasn’t part of the original build.


As ever, for both options, pricing is variable, depending on both the exact package and functionality you opt for and the size and nature of your organization and business. As a rough guide, Oracle’s pricing editions run between $4 and $15 per user per month. SAP quotes a starting price of $6.3 per user per month for its core HR and workforce management package.


Both vendors offer online and phone support with forums for customer interaction. Oracle’s headquarters is in California so it is ideally suited for American time zones as well as Asia. SAP is based out of Germany so companies that have support teams in Europe or the east coast of the US will benefit from this location. Both products are seen as intuitive and easy to use.

SAP’s customer portal, SAP for Me, offers an always-on, single point of access to support services for your whole SAP suite of business solutions (including HCM). Similarly, Oracle Support offers coverage for on-premises, cloud and hybrid cloud Oracle solutions; a paid Premier Support option that covers the range of Oracle products, including other business software acquisitions from PeopleSoft, Siebel, Hyperion and JD Edwards.

As they are cloud solutions training manuals and documentation are often highlighted as areas for improvement for both companies due to the frequency of software updates and changes. As with any HRMS option, much of the initial support experience can depend on your choice of implementation partner.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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