Due to so many solutions in the market, it is easy for someone to feel puzzled when it comes to SAP related terminologies. This article aims at providing some help in guiding the audience about difference between SAP ECC and Business One. It is meant for anyone who is evaluating SAP, working on the platform or looking to integrate SAP with other applications. In this article we will be explaining the difference between these two versions of SAP, architectural insight, difference in integration protocol, and a visual example to help understand the audience.

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Architectural difference between SAP B1 and SAP ECC

SAP B1 generally offers for small and medium companies whereas R/3 suits for large a company which is because of the architectural difference which leads to the difference in their functionality complexity as well.

Client Server Architecture

Both SAP B1 and ECC are built based on client-server architecture. Firstly, let’s understand the concept of client-server architecture. In the client-server architecture, when a client sends a request for the data to the server, then the server accepts the request, process it and delivers the requested data back to the client. So, let us understand how do they differ in architecture?


SAP Business One’s two tier versus ECC’s 3 tier architecture

SAP Business One is strictly based on” two-tier” which is made up of two functionality layers. They are user interface (SAP Business One client) and database (MS SQL Server or HANA database).  As it follows client-server architecture, SAP Business One client which is a windows based product provides a user interface to perform all the business operations. Each user can install SAP Business One  client locally. SAP Business One  client is generally called as “fat client” because most of the business logic and all processing are carried out on the client and mostly it is independent on the server.

SAP B1 HANA has higher processing power and speed compared to SAP B1 SQL. SAP user license for both the version are same but SQL license at enterprise level is expensive than HANA database. It is a .NET based application which caters to Operation and Financial needs of the company. It has built-in functionality for reporting and compliance.

On the other hand, SAP R/3 follows “three-tier” architecture which consists of three distinct functionality layers i.e. Presentation, Application and Database. Presentation layer is a user interface which allows the user to enter and display the processed data.  It is commonly known as SAP GUI. Application layer will communicate with both presentation layer and database layer. It will take the input data from presentation layer and process the data by reading or writing into database. And database layer is used to store the data and also provides the data while processing the data in application layer.

Differences in integration protocol

SAP is a tremendous application consists of highly integrated modules which support various aspects of business management. However, it still cannot do everything. SAP integration with other systems is often needed. This is so because SAP forms the core of the enterprise and has data which other applications would need to work. Also, apart from organization’s core master and transaction data it also has various checks and business rules defined. There is no point re-building the same in other application. Instead integrating third party applications with SAP keeps the functionality in a single place so that if the rules are updated, it will reflect in the entire landscape.

It is important to understand that SAP has predefined ways in which it can exchange information. However, careful assessment must be done on which of the method would work the best.

To integrate SAP B1 with third party applications, DI services are required which expose the Business One objects. In case SAP Business one installation is on HANA, then HANA service layer is needed. Having this layer makes the underlying objects in SAP B1 accessible for integration.

And various other SAP versions such as SAP ECC/SAP HANA can be integrated using IDOC or RFC. IDOC or intermediate Document is a standard interface to transfer data which is similar to XML in purpose. It is useful when we need to communicate with a business partner who accepts / sends information as per industry standards.  And whenever you are looking at a real time SAP system integration scenario or whenever immediate response from SAP is required, RFC is probably the best way to go. In this case, certain functions are enabled for remote call. One such function could be for example sales order creation.

Third party applications can integrate with SAP using these RFCs for a real time communication and business process validation (example price computation, minimum order check etc.

Example via screenshot

To have an idea on SAP Business One and SAP ECC, we will be showing sales order creation in both versions.

    • To create an order in SAP Business One, login to client and Navigate to Modules => Sales – A/R => Sales Order as shown in diagram below.

Screenshot of navigating to modules of Sales Order


Screenshot of Sales Order customer details

  • To create an order in SAP ECC login to SAP ECC GUI and enter the transaction code VA01 in SD Master Data Screen.

Screenshot of entering transaction code VA01 in SD Master Data Screen.


Screenshot of sales order items details

Summarized difference between SAP Business One and ECC

The table below summarizes the information in the article in a concise manner. We hope that this table can represent the crux.

SAP Business OneSAP ECC
It is for small and medium size enterprises and suits for those who are looking for cost-effective solution.It is for large-scale enterprises and where budget is not much of a concern.
It is based on two tier client/server architecture.It is based on three tier client/server architecture.
It is made up of two functionality distinct layers i.e. user interface and database.It is made up of three functionality distinct layers i.e. user interface, business logic and database.
It needs one small serverIt needs one to many large servers.
.NET is mainly used for Business One.ABAP is used for developing business solutions in ECC
DI / SAP HANA API services is used as integration protocol.IDOC or RFC is used for integration with third-party applications.

This article explains various version, architectural difference, integration protocol of SAP B1 and SA ECC. We hope it may be helpful to choose the SAP version according to the business requirement. And we sincerely hope that this was useful and any comment of feedback will be very helpful.

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