Are SAP System Integrators Simply Body Shops?

Executive Summary

  • Consulting firms or system integrators present themselves as high value add deep thinking firms.
  • Experience working with these consulting firms calls into question whether this is true.

Video Introduction: Are SAP System Integrators Simply Body Shops?

Text Introduction (Skip if You Watched the Video)

System integrators, also known as IT consulting firms, spend a great deal of money on marketing to make it appear they do something special. They go on endlessly about their methodology and their innovation. However, once one analyzes the structure of these companies, a very different perspective comes into view. You will see how IT consulting firms pretend to be innovative and then function as body shops by investing as little as possible in their workers while putting most of their effort into sales and marketing over implementation capabilities.

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Notice of Lack of Financial Bias: We have no financial ties to SAP or any other entity mentioned in this article.

  • This is published by a research entity, not some lowbrow entity that is part of the SAP ecosystem. 
  • Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department. As you are reading this article, consider how rare this is. The vast majority of information on the Internet on SAP is provided by SAP, which is filled with false claims and sleazy consulting companies and SAP consultants who will tell any lie for personal benefit. Furthermore, SAP pays off all IT analysts -- who have the same concern for accuracy as SAP. Not one of these entities will disclose their pro-SAP financial bias to their readers. 

SIs as Body Shops

This is explained in the following quotation.

“Here is where sometimes customers can be their own worst enemy as well. Most ERP software irrespective of vendor is not accepted “out of the box”. Customers tend to insist they want to modernize or streamline but refuse to change their business practices instead opting for “code customization” when changing their practices makes much more sense. Enter the entourage of coders, many fresh out of school, many offshore, many unqualified with no mentors or any real-life experience. The SI’s just fish candidates off the internet. The effect of all of this is implementation time and cost increase exponentially at the initial implementation and becomes a lot worse for ERP software upgrades. ERP software is not all bad however the fact most of the SI’s are nothing other than “body shops” plain and simple, they cannot and in all probability would not provide the compelling reasons for changing business practices over code customization. These “so-called code improvements” are often the source of performance problems and business logic errors. Without ERP software there would be little uniformity in financial and other important systems creating a plethora of unicorns likely resulting in even more issues for customers.” – Terence Somers

I analyzed the methodologies of all the major SIs.

The result?

They have less to do with implementing software projects than selling software projects, as we covered the Real Story on IT Implementation Methodologies. For example, Deloitte’s methodology is the inclusion of whatever they have to sell. So if Deloitte offers, say, Cake Decorating, then the partner for Cake Decorating will be sure to include a Cake Decorating entry into the methodology. This does not mean what any of the SIs think it does, as we covered in the article Why Methodology Does Not Mean What You Think it Does. The SIs are instrumental in helping to gaslight the accounts when the software fails to meet sales expectations. The playbook for how SAP does it (and they are the best at doing it) is explained in the article How SAP Will Gaslight You When Their Software Does Not Work as Promised.

How the Marketing of SIs or SAP Consulting Firms Differs from the Reality

If you look at the marketing of the SIs, it sounds like each one is unique. But when you work with them or for them, they don’t at all follow the marketing. First, the individual consultant has very little power. The partners in these firms basically lord over the workers, making them feel that they can be replaced at any time and that the real value is the upper level, which I refer to as the BS layer.

Selling What is Hot

The SIs look for what is hot in the market and then hires that person and puts very little into them. I don’t understand why companies (from a logical perspective) use any of these SIs at all. They can simply hire people as contractors, pay them better, and get their honest views rather than the view of some corrupt partner. I have only ever worked with a very few who cared what is true. They are political operatives, essentially. When I have worked as a subcontractor to a consulting firm, my work is manipulated, and then I am manipulated by this partner type. They pretend that my work is the work of the “firm” (even my previous work). All the SIs lie about having done things and then will go back and adjust a current employee’s resume or hire someone like another contractor or me, and then make us pretend we are permanent employees.

The People That Don’t Do the Work, Taking Such a Large Cut of the Compensation

This is a fundamental problem in the economy that these middlemen keep taking so much of the money and have so much control over the process. I want to point out and these observations have nothing to do with the client’s actions. These are things done by the SIs. And small consulting companies do this as do large.


We have people reaching out every week from projects, and the same tricks are performed as a matter of routine. Sometimes the story is from South Africa; other times, it is from Norway. They function similarly everywhere. And in every case, there is an abusive relationship with a major vendor. I use the example of watching a slow-motion car accident because I have visibility to it, but I can’t stop it. It is like the brand names hypnotize the customers.

This topic extends to technology choices as well. If technology becomes “hot,” it gets implemented without evidence being reviewed as to whether it is true. I find these things just very bizarre. To a social scientist or psychologist, it would appear that even the most senior decision-makers are being repeatedly tricked.

The SIs are just a sales channel for SAP/Oracle. So the more money they make off of the software, the more they recommend that software. It is straightforward, and there aren’t other considerations. This is why you can’t listen to an SI.