The Importance of Lying in Enterprise Software

Executive Summary

  • The implications of constant lying in the enterprise software market.
  • Why is lying in the enterprise software space such an advantage?
  • Whey are people so easily fooled by false marketing hyperbole?

Pre Reading

This article describes product which SAP introduced a while ago, which is nothing but a marketing creations.

Background on Lying in the Enterprise Software Market

What the article describes is how so few SAP customers or analyst have picked up on the fact that SAP provides so much false information in the marketplace. This puts all the onus on people like me to explain what are nonsense SAP marketing constructs to the decision makers. Many people seem to assume that SAP must be providing accurate information because they are a big successful company.

However, SAP lies all the time, and extremely brazenly. This extends from anywhere from telling clients about functionality that does not work, to providing false references about how their software has been deployed. I work with and interact many vendors, and I estimate that SAP, IBM Oracle are the least honest vendors in the enterprise software space, and not coincidentally, the three largest vendors.

This indicates that lying is a significant advantage in the enterprise software space.

The Lying Advantage

A company that lies, and gets away with it, has an advantage in the marketplace. Under the on-premises software model, companies implement their software, and they are stuck with it because they have sunk so much money into the implementation. This is why lying is an extremely important component of some, and often the most successful enterprise software vendors. It is similarly important for consulting companies, as misleading clients about what software products is the best for their needs (that is recommending software that has a high billing rate and for which they have resources training in the application) is similarly profit maximizing.

SAP Platinum Consultant

This brings up the topic of an SAP Platinum Consultant. Clients sometimes ask for an “SAP Platinum Consultant” when they can’t get the software to work as advertised. The consultant typically can’t get it to work either, and there are so many parts of SAP don’t work as advertised, because SAP is continually lying about its functionality. However, they are fast with an excuse as to why the functionality should not be able to work because of some reason specific to the client environment. The excuses they come up with are often quite ludicrous, as is described in this article.

A Continually Strong Market for Lying

If you can’t lie to clients, you have very little use to SAP, or to any of the major consulting companies for that matter.  I am sometimes approached by recruiters to work as a sub-contractor to a major consulting firm. I reject these options because I know full well that it will mean lying to clients about functionality. I recently received a call about working for Accenture on SAP SPP for Boeing. SPP has a number of problems, and I knew instantly that Accenture was looking for someone with experience in the application, who will tell Boeing that is a good product it is. Accenture could not care less as to whether the product can be implemented. They want to start billing SAP resources as quickly as possible. Therefore Boeing will be plied with lies, and with enormous consulting puffery in the RFP regarding how committed Accenture is the product and how uniquely qualified they are and how their resources have such deep subject matter expertise. (read the article below on standard puffery in RFPs, and how legally unenforceable they are)

Interestingly, I told the recruiter that Accenture would pressure me into lying (to get the business), and he asked if maybe I could just take the project for two weeks during orals. That is could I just lie for 2 weeks to help Accenture get the business. Having a conversation about elementary morality with a recruiter is a bit like having a discussion on the same topic with an alligator. It’s a bit over their head.

Conclusion

The biggest and most successful companies in the enterprise software and consulting space (lying in vendors and consulting companies is cross reinforcing), and the most dishonest organizations in enterprise software are the following:

  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • IBM
  • Accenture
  • Deloitte
  • KPMG
  • Cap Gemini

There is no regulation of lying in the marketplace, vendors can publish and say whatever they like. The one control against lying is lawsuits, which is an expensive way to regulate any marketplace. This is after the fact “regulation” rather than pro-active regulation. This topic is also generally undiscussed and unpublished. The only time the topic of lying seems to come up is when a client sues a consulting company or a software vendor, and then the accusations are part of the public record.

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References

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/3:2011cv00381/236529/123