Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) is one of the largest networks in the United States and one of the four remaining transcontinental railroads. And when the company decided to replace its old legacy systems, the buzz instantly spread dragging with it two names. As can be expected, it dragged giant names too with the familiar question: SAP or Oracle?
According to Jeff Campbell, BNSF's vice president of technology services and chief information officer, "Both have good products, and it was a very extensive search. But for BNSF, there were some specific drivers for SAP."
With China as a rising economy comes Chinese manufacturing creating a bigger demand for transporting of goods from some ports in the US west coast going to other areas and this further translated into strong growth for the rail industry. Added to this reality are situations such as skyrocketing gas prices, aging roads and congesting highways. This growth as been affirmed by many external studies showing a potential 67 percent increase in transportation volume over the next 20 years and this is what has driven BNSF to invest in band end ERP systems whose financial and HR systems were mainframe-based almost 20 years old. .
Accordingly, the reason for choosing SAP over Oracle has ranges from total cost of ownership (TCO) and systems compatibility to other minimally measurable factors.
BNS has more than $15 billion, about 45,000 employees and has operations in 28 states and two Canadian provinces making it the second biggest railroad company in the Unite States. Every year, it transports enough coal to power one in 1 out of 10 homes in the United States.
Many have speculated that the reason for going SAP is that many other companies in the railroad industry as being serviced by SAP. According to Rod Strata, transportation and logistics industry principal for SAP, five of the seven Class 1 railroads in the U.S. are SAP customers. If one closely examines, would find out that in the railroad industry, there are very few companies one can count and with most these companies going with SAP, this is a big thing.
Campbell further said: "When we looked at the long-range roadmap for future functionality and the ability to levy demands on SAP for functionality we wanted, we felt like being with SAP would align us with the majority of the industry and therefore we'd be in better stead. BNSF also felt that SAP would operate better with its existing technology products, especially IBM. SAP will play with anybody."
Oracle has been on tight competition with SAP. And now that SAP is in "Duet" with Microsoft, Oracle will have to work harder. This current deal with BNSF and SAP shows the flexibility and power of SAP and how it has solutions for virtually all kinds of industries.