B2B eCommerce Platform Comparison: SAP Commerce Cloud vs Four51 OrderCloud

September 17, 2020

Category: Headless eCommerce

In today’s landscape, business leaders have a wide variety of options to choose from when implementing a B2B eCommerce solution. There are many great vendors available that suit the needs of different businesses. Last month, we compared Magento Commerce to Four51 OrderCloud, and there are many others: SAP Commerce Cloud, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, commercetools, and more..

This month’s installment of our B2B eCommerce Platform comparison series will cover the differences between SAP Commerce Cloud vs. Four51 OrderCloud. 

SAP Commerce Cloud: From Hybris to the Suite

SAP acquired Hybris, a german eCommerce company, in 2013 and branded its new eCommerce product as SAP Hybris. Over the years, SAP Hybris underwent many updates which allowed SAP to deliver eCommerce solutions to enterprise customers across the B2B, B2C, and B2B2C space.

More recently, SAP saw a need to move away from Hybris architecture and build SAP Commerce Cloud on top of SAP Hybris. This suite comes with eCommerce capabilities tightly-integrated with CRM, Marketing Automation, and other data integrations within SAP’s software services mix. 

This was great news for the SAP organization as well as new SAP customers, who now had access to more modern eCommerce technology prepackaged with other business technology services. 

However, as SAP ended support for the Hybris platform, its legacy customers were forced to migrate to the new platform or replatform with a new provider, passing new expenses onto their customers.

For those who stuck with SAP, SAP Commerce Cloud offers a robust set of features that help it remain a relevant option for many customers today:

  • Software Suite: Pre-built integrations with almost any SAP software service you might need
  • Headless Options: Omnichannel customer experience independent of backend configuration, as well as open-source frontend development that allows you to create multiple customer experiences
  • Comprehensive Feature Set: Robust eCommerce features for any device and channel
  • Extensive Customer Base: Experience working with multinational corporations across different types of compliance

SAP Commerce Cloud vs. Four51 OrderCloud

Both SAP Commerce Cloud and Four51 OrderCloud offer a variety of customer types with complex, comprehensive commerce experiences today. 

A few key differences frequently come up as we’ve worked with enterprises vetting SAP Commerce Cloud vs. Four51 OrderCloud:

1. Suite-Based Software vs. MACH Architecture

SAP offers its customers a “suite” experience where their commerce platform is integrated with  other SAP software services like SAP S/4HANA®, the SAP ERP application, and SAP C/4HANA suite (SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Service Cloud, and SAP Sales Cloud portfolios). This often benefits large organizations who want to have an extensive relationship with one large technology provider.

Benefits of a suite-based approach to software adoption and implementation include the ability to minimize the time required to find suitable backend services. It also often makes the job of procurement easier, as additional services are added to existing agreements. 

But, what if the SAP ERP doesn’t have the right features for your business? Or, what if you use it for a couple of years and want to upgrade to a different ERP that fits your new business strategy better?

The downside of tight-knit, suite-based software like SAP Commerce Cloud is that it’s often a laborious, resource-intensive process to swap integrations for alternative, best-of-breed back-office systems. So, bringing in your own ERP, especially later down the line, can be a costly and time-consuming process.

Four51 OrderCloud is built with very different architecture that supports integrations much differently. The OrderCloud platform is built with MACH architecture, meaning its built microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless. MACH architecture supports a composable enterprise meaning every component is pluggable, scalable, replaceable, and can be continuously improved. MACH architecture gives businesses the freedom to choose from the best tools on the market, and maintain a structure that makes it easy to add, replace, or remove those tools in the future.

We build custom integrations, with the help of our integration management layer, for each one of our customers. Though we’ve integrated with the same software across different customers– SAP ERP for example– the integration is never the same because each business has unique workflows and therefore requires different types of integrations.

Whether you’re using an SAP ERP for your accounting needs or have a homegrown ERP, PIM, etc you want to integrate with your commerce experience, the OrderCloud’s API-first platform and webhook capabilities make supporting your best-of-breed technology changes and integrations easier. 

2. Cloud-Hosting Options vs. Cloud-Native

As we discussed before, SAP Hybris began as an on-premise Commerce platform. Today, it offers cloud hosting capabilities, but many SAP customers still choose to host their solution on-premise because that used to be SAP’s most common practice.

With cloud-native computing becoming more ubiquitous many software providers, like SAP, promote their products as “cloud-enabled” or “cloud-hosted”. While possible to package existing software for deployment to a cloud platform the outcome isn’t capable of leveraging the true benefits of cloud computing that come with a true, cloud-native platform like OrderCloud. 

Cloud-hosting “options” reduces your ability to scale horizontally and control costs. Flexibility is limited to the deployed environment. All of which essentially creates a dedicated hosting environment for a single software tenant. 

Qualified cloud-native software vendors, like OrderCloud, leverage resource pooling, rapid elasticity, on-demand services and many other tools to create the best product for the end customer. The end customer reaps these benefits through eliminating the concerns of managing complex software systems (that’s on the software provider) and devoting all of that attention and resources to their core business.

3. Monolithic Architecture vs. Composable Architecture and a Best-of-Breed Approach

Rapidly changing business landscapes and more urgency and priority placed on customers’ demands puts a lot of pressure on technology platforms to be all things for businesses.

Monolithic, suite-based eCommerce platforms have historically been the only option available to enterprises. These vendors have continuously tried to evolve by creating pre-built suites and offering their opinion of the best-in-class technology stack that responds to the times (often a few years too late). But monolithic platforms generally make it hard to innovate and evolve – capabilities that are top priority for enterprises now more than ever.

SAP Commerce Cloud is one of these monolithic, full-stack applications, offering one single instance of code. There are some headless options and bolt-on APIs available for specific features and functionality, but the platform is not built with APIs from the ground-up.

MACH architecture, on the other hand, supports a composable approach to architecting your commerce application and allows you to take a best-of-breed strategy to software selection overtime. 

For example, OrderCloud’s API-first platform gives enterprises the ability to access the exact features that you need for your business operations, and only those features. This allows you to approach development and implementation differently than with monolithic, full-stack technology. Taking a phased approach to both development and your roll-out plan instead of a big-bang, rip-and-replace approach is common. MACH architecture offers more flexibility to swap in and out other technologies as your needs (and your customers’ preferences) evolve – be it your ERP, CRM, loyalty program, or shipping carrier, to name a few.

B2B eCommerce Platform Comparison: SAP Commerce Cloud vs. Four51 OrderCloud

B2B eCommerce Platform Comparison: SAP Commerce Cloud vs. Four51 OrderCloud
Download the chart here!

Overall, SAP Commerce Cloud is a good option if you are an enterprise business that wants to make use of other SAP Suite software as part of your eCommerce operations. Investing in SAP Commerce Cloud will be beneficial if you plan on having a long-term relationship with SAP on an organizational level.

If your organization prefers to make use of modern MACH architecture to enjoy more flexibility with your backend systems as well as frontend systems, Four51 OrderCloud is a better option. Our customers adopt a best-of-breed strategy when it comes to their tech stach and need an eCommerce solution that can adapt and change with their organization. 

Check out the OrderCloud Feature Guide to learn more about how the OrderCloud platform offers full customization and integration capabilities with unlimited scale– OrderCloud can be the last eCommerce implementation project you’ll ever need.

Explore the Four51 OrderCloud platform and architecture in the Feature Guide.

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