Age Discrimination As Yet Another Way to Reduce IT Labor Costs

Executive Summary

  • SAP has essentially announced they practice age discrimination.
  • How a significant media outlet incorrectly covered SAP and served to support their spin.


This article covers how a cover story created by SAP (and other tech companies) is being used to engage in age discrimination. The article will provide evidence that the reason for this discrimination is like other employment initiatives in tech companies, too reduce labor costs.

Age Discrimination 2.0: Hiring Those Millenials and Younger

It has become quite common to emphasize hiring Millenials and younger. SAP has a program called SAP Young Professionals Program targeted towards hiring youth.

The SAP Young Professionals program was launched by the SAP Training and Development Institute in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA), a region with a high level of youth unemployment, where it can be very difficult for young people to find suitable work despite having excellent educational credentials. The program now runs in 22 countries across the globe, with 2,132 graduates to date. The SAP certifications that the graduates attain are suited to the demand in the local markets for SAP-related skills. Graduates of the program almost always stay within the SAP ecosystem, where they have a competitive edge with their certifications and training on the latest SAP innovations. – SAP

Something that SAP does not mention is that you can bet that SAP got this employee cheap! And this is a big part of the youth movements (and corresponding age discrimination) in tech companies.

Interestingly, I could not find a single program focused on hiring older employees.

In an article published by Bloomberg that reads like it was paid for by SAP, SAP again makes their interest in hiring younger employees apparent.

Instead, Plattner, 75, wants to shake up SAP once more and make it the employer of choice for the young and hungry. And with just a few years until he hits self-imposed retirement, Plattner is showing no sign of slow-walking the rejuvenation in his quest to protect a legacy of disruptive software mogul.

Surprisingly, there is some pushback quoted in the article.

The Union Voice on SAP from Germany

Labor representatives are complaining that SAP is trying to squeeze out expensive, older employees who helped drive SAP’s early success. “Hiring more young people is good and right,” said Eberhard Schick, a member of SAP‘s workers’ council, who joined the company in 1997. “But you shouldn’t forget about the seasoned employees — they deserve a career perspective and training opportunities.”

Interestingly, there is a labor representative in Germany. If this were the US, this quote would not exist, because there is no labor representative for SAP in the US. Most Americans that work in IT don’t have any idea what the history of labor and labor versus corporations actually is. Unions, not corporations fought for a 40-hour work week (corporations opposed it). Unions, not corporations fought against child factory labor (again corporation supported child labor). Child labor is still a considerable problem internationally. It is only not much less of a problem in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia/NZ because corporations were fought against to make the practice illegal.

*While researching this article I was shocked to find that child labor has crept back into the US through migrant farm labor. 

But child labor doesn’t happen only abroad. In the United States, labor laws allow children to work in agriculture at much younger ages, for longer hours, and under more hazardous conditions than children in other industries. This means that a 12-year old can work 50 or 60 hours a week in fields, exposed to toxic pesticides and extreme heat, and it’s legal. – Human Rights Watch

The US prefers if employees have no voice, with only 12% of the population belonging to a union.

There is a direct relationship between the unionization in society and the income equality in that society. In the US, executives have taken the money that would have gone to workers if the unionization were higher, and have paid much of it out in executive compensation. For those that think unions lead to communism, the US was a capitalist society back in 1960, at the heights of unions. And it was a far more equal and more sustainable society. Furthermore, nearly every national health statistics (health care outcomes, % of people in prison, infant mortality rates, etc.. was better in 1960 than it is today. Wealthy executives prefer that people focus on education rather than on unions.

Why is this?

Because unions are effective in raising wages overall, while education is not.

Need evidence?

In the US, wages stopped growing in roughly 1970, even though productivity continued a rapid increase. Why? Each year the population became more educated. However, education could not counteract the effect of the decline in unionization, greatly reducing the bargaining power of workers. If the US had the same education level as in 1970 (far lower) but had maintained its unions, it appears that as wages were tracking productivity up until 1970, US wages could be twice what they are now. Instead, all of that productivity was placed into the pockets of the wealthy. Major financial interests do not want this graphic seen or understood — which is why they focus on ancillary issues as we cover in the article Why the Gender Pay Gap is Discussed But Not Overall Pay.

Returning to the quote from the labor representative from Germany, Bloomberg had no comment and simply moved on to the next topic.
Plattner’s alma mater, IBM, demonstrates that change is arguably less painful than failure to act. IBM faces several lawsuits accusing it of firing older workers, with one former vice president putting the number of employees let go in the last few years at 100,000, a figure that IBM disputes.

What is this confused paragraph supposed to imply? IBM, as we covered in How IBM Became a Hollowed Out Company, is not a company that anyone should be emulating.

It is a company that is continuously shedding its domestic employees to hire in India and has a horrible internal culture. The message boards around IBM illustrate great anger from former employees and disgust at what IBM has become. IBM, once one a genuinely innovative company is now just a fleecing operation that pretends it can do things it can’t do. IBM has been shedding experience employees for at least two decades, but how has this improved IBM? If anything, this is at least partial evidence not to do this, rather than proof that it should be done. The entire paragraph quote from Bloomberg above is illogical. The only evidence presented by the Bloomberg author that IBM has benefited from shedding more experienced workers is that they have received lawsuits for age discrimination. Is that a good thing? Is that a reason to do something, because you get sued for doing it?

Secondly, how many employees has IBM let go in the past few years? If IBM disputes the 100,000 figure, then they should provide the figure they have let go. Years ago, IBM stopped reporting its number of employees per country for the precise reason that they could hide how much they are now increasingly a company based in India.

SAP’s Moving to the Cloud and Needs Different (Read: Younger) Employees?

The hard choices facing SAP are emblematic of the industry’s shift toward selling products in the cloud, which allows companies to implement new software faster and cheaper than products that need to be installed at a customer’s own data center. It’s a move that will require fewer people, and with different skill sets than many of those now at SAP.

The idea that SAP is moving to the cloud is simply false. SAP is moving to mark up the cloud services of other cloud providers as we covered in the article How to Understand SAP’s Upcharge as a Service Cloud, and massively up charging the customer for “going through SAP.” Therefore, the rest of the paragraph is also false. SAP is not moving to younger employees because their delivery mechanism is changing. SAP has an 85% margin on its support. Most of the margins are in support as covered in the article The Giant Margins for SAP and Oracle Support, and SAP has outsourced most of its support staff to India, precisely to obtain these margins. The fact is that SAP’s margins have virtually nothing to do with the cloud discussions; it is the overseas workers that allow SAP to have the margins that it does.

Notice that there is none of this analysis in the article. The Bloomberg author repeats whatever SAP tells him. This perpetuates several falsehoods:

  • a.) that SAP gets significant revenue from the cloud it operates (untrue as it marks up other cloud service providers) and…
  • b.) that it is warranted in shedding older workers because it needs to improve its margin to what it was in the 2011 time period.
“Transitions like these cause disruption and take time,’’ said Anurag Rana, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “But SAP has a portfolio of good products that should help the company stay relevant in the long term.”

Has Anurag every used an SAP product? If so, he would know this statement is not true. SAP has a very well known ERP system, but the system is quite aged at this point, and SAP’s new S/4HANA application follow on to ECC is a regression in many ways. Secondly, companies that purchased ECC faced enormous costs and often ended up purchasing other SAP products like APO, BW, PLM, SRM, that is, truly horrible products. But again, Anurag works for Bloomberg, and so he has a specific script he needs to read if he intends to keep working there. Most IT analysts have never touched an SAP application in their lives, but this does not stop them from making highly confident statements about these topics.

Age Discrimination as Necessary Because of German Eating Non-Innovative Pretzel Eaters?

Hasso makes a curious observation about German culture.

German complacency has long been one of Plattner’s pet peeves. As far back as 2006, Plattner vented his anger by lamenting how Germans lack the drive to be successful and risk being eclipsed by more innovative countries including the U.S., India and China. “We’re happy sitting in front of a television, munching on pretzels,” Plattner said at the time. “Some things in this country are beyond fossil.”
Eating pretzels and watching televisions has not seemed to limit Germany’s ability to be innovative and historically innovative in areas ranging from chemicals to automobiles to speciality manufacturing. I wonder if Hasso thinks innovation only occurs in software. If we measure Germany’s innovation in software, it is weak — but this is primarily because of SAP’s lack of innovation, as outside of SAP Germany’s software industry is small, so SAP is the cause of the innovation problem in the German software industry.
This is also expressed by Ahmed Azmi.
Just because SAP is lacking innovation does not mean Germany is the same. Germany has been leading the world in so many fields for so long. The fact is that Germany is trailing in software BECAUSE of SAP.

The Logical and Profit Basis in Age Discrimination

Ageism has an entirely logical basis. Companies are looking for passive employees who will go along with whatever the company wants. Older employees are less likely to go with the program. As companies in the US have become more hierarchical, and the compensation paid by US companies to executives has dramatically exceeded the compensation paid to workers, there is less of interest on the part of companies to accept any critical thinking on the part of employees.

Looking past what amounts to a bunch of false information, it is quite apparent where the money that is wrung out of employees goes. This money is shifted upwards. 

In past days I thought that ageism, at least in technology, was primarily based upon skills. That is generally the presentation by companies, and this presentation influenced me. However, I have since learned to question anything proposed by billionaires as it typically is entirely backward engineered for what makes them the most money.

Seeing how companies function, it is clearly about finding people who will toe the line. It’s disturbing how much work is done by the under 30 set in companies. They are super motivated, but it is also inefficient because younger people make a lot of errors, and it is difficult to know what is true at that age. It took me a lot of time to develop specific skills, and I did not have them when I was 30. I was a lot easier to trick at 30 — I have been a sceptic most my life, I keep figuring out new things all the time (as I quickly approach 50 this September). There are pathways I would have followed just five years ago, that I would never follow now.

There is another bias in that more senior positions are often really just sales positions. SAP has a ton of VPs, and most of these VPs are just making sales or engaging in some Game of Thrones political intrigue. And if you don’t want to make sales, most of the senior positions are not available. You can work based on your skills when you are younger, but as a person ages, it becomes more about being a political animal. You can’t be simply a technical problem solver — that is there are a few positions for this, but most have a political component.

Unsurprisingly, companies do not discuss the logic for hiring passive and humble workers, even though this is at least part of the motivation for hiring not only younger workers, but also workers that lack citizenship, such as the enormously abused H1-B program. Again, there is not a single company that will discuss their motivation for hiring H1-B workers are based upon lowering wages, even though it is firmly established that H1-B workers not only work for lower wages, but they also reduce the wages of the US domestic IT workers. Here again, the media is complicit in expressing every single H1-B visa holder as “highly skilled” even though most H1-B visa holders do not meet the description. Most are moderately skilled, not highly skilled. The Indian media, much like the US media, is continually referring to H1-B visa holders as highly skilled without any thinking or debate on the topic.

The Bait and Switch in Later Career Employment

There is a highly dishonest aspect to shedding older or more seasoned workers. A primary reason that younger workers make an effort to get ahead and to get skills is that they believe they will be able to have a long career from doing so. However, by shedding them as they become more expensive and less compliant, this creates a bait and switch on the young employees. That is companies that shed these workers once they reach their “used by date” don’t deserve the motivation of the younger workers they are hiring the first place. For this reason, it should be better publicized that these firms view their employees as disposable parts, to be discarded long before their effectiveness begins to wane. And as unionization has declined so much in the US, companies can get away with just borrowing workers, and discarding them. They can count on media entities — owned by other billionaires to talk up how this supports “real innovation.”

And for younger workers who are hired because of age discrimination, they should remember something. People tend to age.

H1-Bs and Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is being enabled with the H1-B program, which encourages companies to displace US workers.

Another dirty little secret in all this is that the H-1B program is an enabler of rampant age discrimination in the tech industry. Age is actually one of the core issues in H-1B. Mind you, we are talking about age 35 as being “old” here, not 55. Almost all the H-1Bs are young, and younger is cheaper. And young H-1Bs are even cheaper than young Americans. – Huffington Post


Age discrimination is prevalent in IT because IT companies believe that it is profit-maximizing.

Age discrimination replaces workers who will be far more likely to question authority and how have the experience to contradict the false information provided to them by the company with those that lack the expertise to do so. The graphics presented in this article demonstrate that companies have little interest in increasing the standards of living for workers and are on a constant quest to bring in non-citizen workers, shed older workers, and shed workers in the developed world. And then exchange them for workers the undeveloped world (while still having access to the same customers in the developed world). For this to be effective, companies need complicit media entities, which nearly all major media outlets are. This prevents these questions from being asked and allows their propaganda to be repeated through their coverage. IT media not only does not discuss what is occurring the serve as a megaphone for the specific programs that help reduce wages for workers.

The significant media entities don’t even have to be convinced by large companies like SAP to repeat false information to their readers. Those that own major media outlets are themselves elite entities. Bloomberg is owned by Michael Bloomberg, who has a net worth of $55 billion, making him the 6th most wealthy person in the US. Hasso Plattner is worth $14 billion. They already agree on hiding the information about how companies manipulate labor even if they have never met in person. By the time Trump leaves office, the US will have unprecedented levels of media consolidation as his FCC is repealing the restrictions on vertical integration in media.  

The 2016 US Democratic Primary which pitted Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders was rigged by both the DNC and by the opinion-shaping media. This is happening again as the 2020 race heats up. Why? The media is owned by billionaires who will lose if Bernie Sanders is elected. Therefore, they use their control over media in the political sphere the same way they use their control over media in the business sphere — to present only what they want to be accurate, and what they want to be discussed. The options they want to be selected. This topic was barely covered in the DNC friendly networks (CNN, MSNBC) and could primarily be found on the opposition network (Fox News) and RT (funded by Russia). This video is by Tulsi Gabbart, who stepped down from the DNC in opposition to this rigging.

This is the outcome of media consolidation.

There is no difference between the US media that covers politics and the US media that includes IT and business; it is controlled by the same entities and reflects the same elite opinion.

The Overal Trend

This article has focused on SAP, but this is only because Brightwork focuses on SAP, and we quickly happened to find sources and articles for SAP. In reality, Oracle, Deloitte and many other companies in IT are doing the same thing as SAP. This is an industry-wide movement to help these companies decrease their cost of labor, and to produce a cover story to distract from what they are doing and the reasons they are doing it.

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When assessing media ownership and consolidation in both the United Kingdom and United States, it becomes clear that while there are hundreds of different publications and broadcasters, there is only an illusion of choice, and that freedom from government control and the competitive nature of the free market have failed to truly allow diverse media content and regulate media conglomerates, who now possess an extraordinary amount of power and influence. In the United Kingdom, 70% of national newspaper circulation is controlled by three different companies, leading the Media Reform Coalition (2014: 1) to claim that concentration has “reached endemic levels and is undermining the quality and diversity of output on which citizens rely.” Meanwhile, in the United States, just six companies control 90% of the media: a stark difference from 1983, when fifty companies controlled 90% of the media (Lutz 2012).

The Curran et al. (2009) study found that Americans were less informed about hard news than countries such as Denmark and Finland, where public sector broadcasters had a larger share of the audience.

Moreover, it found that public service models “minimize the knowledge gap between the advantage and disadvantaged” in comparison with an American-style private ownership model, and therefore “contributes to a more egalitarian pattern of citizenship”

While one cannot establish causation, it is possible that one of the factors that has contributed to low voter turnout in the United States and high voter turnout in Denmark is the differing media coverage of hard news in the private and public led media spheres. This insinuates that private media ownership has a negative impact on media content overall, as the content is increasingly failing to fulfil its function of promoting informed citizenship and democratising information to the public at large.

A further criticism of the privately owned media models is that they are often beholden to big business, due to their reliance on advertising to maintain a profitable venture (Herman and Chomsky 1998). The implications this has for media content stems from the “corresponding influence of advertising values on the news production processes” (Mullen and Klaehn 2010: 218), namely, a conflict of interest could easily arise due to potential discrepancies committed by advertisers. It is entirely plausible that the private media’s reliance on advertising could mean that negative content about the advertisers are omitted from public debate, and that “the probability of an event/issue becoming news is: inversely proportional to harm the information might cause investors or sponsors” (McManus 1995, cited in Rolland 2006: 942). This theory is supported by a scandal that rocked The Telegraph newspaper after it was alleged by a former employee (who resigned over the issue) that The Telegraph contrived to omit damaging reports about HSBC’s banking practices out of fear of losing out on lucrative advertising deals. According to Peter Oborne (2015), “you needed a microscope to find the Telegraph coverage” of reports that HSBC had been participants in a global tax evasion scheme — an issue that was perceived by most other national broadcasters and newspapers as hugely important. Therefore, this illustrates that the reliance of private media outlets on advertising revenue can have a damaging impact on media content through omission of stories that are clearly in the public interest.

Intimidating SAP Trainers With Fake Threats to Fair Use Law

Executive Summary

  • After the BusinessObjects acquisition, SAP used an inaccurate proposal around fair use to intimidate BusinessObjects trainers.
  • We cover the ridiculousness of SAP’s proposal.


This article describes that SAP has been using legal letters which misrepresent what is called fair use laws to intimidate people into paying them to show SAP Business Objects screenshots.

What is Fair Use Law

Before we go into the details of what SAP does, let us take a brief detour into Fair Use.

“Fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.” – Wikipedia

Fair Use has several factors which make up how work is determined to be covered by the doctrine. However, generally, the new work cannot merely reproduce old work. Therefore, an author could not copy 1/2 of a copyrighted work in an original publication and declare protection under Fair Use. Fair User is strongly protected by US law because of several logical reasons. First, to properly comment upon and critique other original work, it is necessary to use samples of the work. Quotations are of course essential to be able to use, but depending upon the subject matter, graphics or video or recordings are also quite important. For instance, Fox News is routinely ridiculed by a variety of media outlets. News Corp, the parent company to Fox News, would not, if it had its druthers, allow any of its video to be used without approving the commentary beforehand. If Fair Use were not in effect, it would enable Fox News, and any other media outlet to effectively silence criticism. Secondly, Fair Use is strongly inherited from the free speech portion of the 1st Amendment, which reads..

“The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.” – Wikipedia

Most all institutions seek to restrict speech to the speech that they agree with, which is not really a speech at all but what was openly referred to before being associated with the Nazis as propaganda (propaganda is alive and well, but the word isn’t). Companies would prefer if US law were changed so that all commentary or independent writing on the product of private companies, or companies themselves had to be cleared through that company’s PR department.

What SAP Expects to Gain from Writing Legally Unsupported Letters That Contradict Fair Use

The US legal systems allow lawyers to threaten pretty much whatever they like in letters. It’s an extraordinary aspect of our legal system, but it is pervasive. Anyone familiar with legal letters knows that they are designed to break the morale of the letter recipient. Each side continues to posture moving back and forth between outrageous threats until a settlement is reached or the case goes to trial. The extended the charade goes on, the more the costs spiral upwards, if a case goes to trial, then the expense level goes up another few notches.

It is straightforward to get lawyers to write letters with impossible legal threats in them because there is no enforcement of fake legal statements. Therefore, while SAP’s attorneys, while knowing that they have no legal claim, hope that they will reach some people with the letters who do not understand that the legal claim is false. This can have a chilling effect on the use of SAP material, which is worth the price of sending the letters. Lawsuits are exorbitantly expensive, a fact which gives attorneys, even more, power and ability to push their weight around. Only the wealthy can afford a legal dispute (unless they are suing and the attorney picks up the fees on contingency). Some attorneys make their living merely sending extortionist letters which have not a legal basis to businesses. They can send 100s of letters on a topic, by solely using a mail merge program, and even if a low number of people payout, it is still a worthwhile endeavour. The people who do pay do not know that the attorney in question never planned to follow through on the letter.

SAP’s Long View

SAP has two objectives when making false claims about US Fair Use law. First, they want to restrict the ability of others to provide training without paying SAP. Second, they would deny the right to show SAP screenshots to anyone critical of the software. Under SAP’s interpretation of copyright law, the display could only be allowed if the software company felt that the writing and coverage were sufficiently definite. Indeed, they would then be able to ask for written material to be changed or rewritten by SAP until it was sufficient to their liking. Therefore, SAP desires to publish not only false information through its marketing and influence with publishers but also any independent author.

SAP’s One Way View on This Topic

Interestingly I was contacted by SAP before my book, “Inventory Optimization and Multi-Echelon Planning Software,” being published and was asked by them if they could receive an advanced copy. I denied the request, and SAP proceeded to tell me that since they were partners with another software vendor that did have access to the book, they would go around my will and contact that vendor.

SAP claims the right to access to material that is not even published yet, and yet they claim that people should pay for the right to display screenshots that of SAP that is in the public domain.

I think the word hypocritical comes to mind.


I will be waiting for SAP to send me a fake legal letter. If and when I receive it, I will immediately publish it, along with the law firm on this blog. I will then critique the letter so that others can see the faux arguments that SAP uses. I am quite interested in getting my hands on this letter.

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How to Best Understand the Control of SAP on IT Media

Executive Summary

  • SAP controls the IT media system with a combination of advertising and paid placements.
  • IT media entities do not declare their income source from SAP.


I recently wrote an article that is a critique of our IT media system in the article The IT Media and the Fake News Debate.

Increasingly what I notice is the major media entities control a system that has no independent thought, a system not based upon what is true, and a system there what we think is true. The major media entities, all in some way that takes money from SAP, declare what the right thing to do is, that thing is done, and the significant media entities then reinforced what was done. As in self-reported benefits to say ABC Orange Juice Co was a 25% increase in sales order processing time from implementing SAP XYZ so you should also think about SAP XYZ.

As in self-reported benefits to say ABC Orange Juice Co was a 25% increase in sales order processing time from implementing SAP XYZ so you should also think about SAP XYZ.

I read the books SAP Nation 1 and SAP Nation 2 and follow any analyst who writes the truth about SAP, which is easy because it’s so few. But what I have recently begun to realize is Brightwork Research & Analysis is the only source taking the particular approach or thinking pattern to the material. It seems every other writer or media entity even from that small set is somehow respectful to some powerful entity, be it Gartner or SAP or even generally accepted, but often false principles.

The SAP Media Model

After years of analyzing how SAP releases information to the market, and how other entities write about SAP, a model developed that explains how the system works. The concept is to build an echo chamber so that SAP says seems likely to be true. The SAP media model or more generally, the IT media model applies to other large software vendors, Microsoft and Oracle being good examples, but no software vendor uses the IT media system as effectively as SAP. And an important reason for this is that while SAP is only the 4rth largest worldwide software vendor (after Microsoft, Oracle and IBM). SAP’s overall economic activity is more substantial. This is because SAP outsources almost all of its consulting (where most of the money on SAP is spent) so that it has hundreds of thousands of SAP consultants that work for other companies. These consulting companies, like Deloitte, Accenture and IBM among a host of others, serve as message repeaters for SAP. These entities repeat SAP’s messaging not because it is true (none of those entities has historically cared what was true), but because it is the profit-maximizing for them to do so.

The SAP/IT media model is all about influencing action. It has four main components:

  • The Message Promoters
  • The Media Entities
  • The Messaging
  • The Message Consumers

Once you trace the money through the entities that release information about SAP to the market, SAP’s control over the media system can be viewed as very close to complete. 

*We have estimated that Gartner receives roughly $150 million per year from SAP, 1/8 of Gartner’s total revenue from vendors. This payment is obvious when reading Gartner output. Other significant vendors that end up with elevated positions in MQs they don’t deserve are Microsoft and Oracle. 

This is the MQ for analytics. SAP is nowhere close to SAS in analytics but is placed very close to them. Microsoft is way out in the leader position, but its PowerBI analytics applications are nowhere close to where it should be. We cover the positioning of vendors in the MQs in the article A Machine Learning Study of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Bias

The Focus of the Model

The SAP/IT media model is unconcerned with what is true. What is true does not factor in any part of the media model. If the objective were to communicate what is true, there would be no reason to have the media model in the first place. The media model is primarily opposed to truthful information and in favor of inaccurate information that can be used to meet the objectives of the message promoters. It is also the foundational element to the SAP/IT Corporate Media Model that message consumers don’t have any right to accurate information on SAP. In this way, it is identical to advertising. There is never a point where an advertiser asks whether their advertisement is providing accurate information. But while SAP advertises also, the point of SAP’s media model is to produce messaging and have that messaging repeated that is advertising “accurate” in nature but is not interpreted as advertising by the message consumer.

The Undeclared Financial Relationships to SAP

In journalism and research, one is supposed to declare if they receive money from the entities which they cover. However, companies like Forrester and Gartner never declare their financial relationships.

    • When Gartner releases its Magic Quadrant, which is the most influential software selection tool used for enterprise software, they never declare who they received money from that they have included in the quadrant. However, SAP is a significant contributor to Gartner. Forrester is the same.
    • ComputerWeekly essentially republishes SAP press releases.
    • ASUG, the SAP user group, publishes whatever SAP wants to be published. ASUG pretends to represent users, but its media output is undifferentiated from that of SAP’s.

The following media output from Forrester is a good example of this. This is Forrester’s Wave for the Big Data software category.

Reviewing Pro SAP Media Output

So let us look at the ranking. SAP is rated as close to AWS, Hortonworks and Oracle. AWS is well known for its open-source Big Data hosting offering the standard open-source DBs, tools, etc. Hortonworks is a well-known Hadoop vendor. It had $185 million in revenue, and Big Data is all that it does. SAP has HANA to offer in the Big Data space, but HANA can’t possibly be a good use for Big Data because it is not for unstructured data and it is quite expensive, and it is priced per GB or TB. SAP recently acquired Altiscale, but Altiscale was more of a Big Data software startup, and SAP would not have had time to incorporate them in time for this Forrester Wave. 

Overall, there is simply no possible way that SAP would have been listed in this comparison without the money that it gave Forrester. And this is the type of thing that software vendors that compete with SAP must always contend with. SAP can make it appear that it is a leader in various media output because of its enormous financial resources. Forrester has a long history of taking money from SAP and writing unsupportable studies, one we cover is in the article How Accurate Was The Forrester HANA TCO Study?

And this is only one example of how SAP controls the conversation.

The Real Estate Media Model

This media model is applied to powerful entities outside of SAP and outside of IT. For example, the same media model exists in real estate to promote home purchases.

Here the intent is to promote house buying by underestimating the costs of owning a house and overestimate the benefits. Therefore, house appreciation and mortgage deductions of interest are emphasized, but the long-term cost of maintaining a home is undiscussed. Realtor fees, housing taxes, homeowner association fees, loss of geographic flexibility are not discussed.

The promoters of buying homes are promoted by the message promoters that make money from house purchases. For these entities, home purchases are universally positive as they drive fees and purchases. If the message promoters can influence renters to become purchasers of houses, then their revenues increase. Therefore it is in their financial interests to promote a one-sided view of the benefits of homeownership.

The Investment Media Model

The investment industry applies the same model. Here, entities that make fees for promoting people to invest in various instruments, influence the media apparatus to accept their assumptions uncritically.

Media entities are significant factors in promoting bubbles. Important issues regarding the investment instruments are left out. For example, the gains that are mentioned are pre-tax gains. Secondly, in the stock market, while insider trading allows those with the most assets to take returns from lower asset investors, the average return is quoted as if that return is available to everyone. Because of yield disparity, where the insiders make most the gains, this is inaccurate. 

Previous Research into Media Control

In effect, this can be seen as merely an extension of the research performed by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman and encapsulated in the book Manufacturing Consent.


These videos discuss manufacturing consent in pseudo-democracies (that is counties where the population thinks they are democratic, but in fact, they are anything but. This video is very good at explaining how advertising works to control media coverage. 

When media outlets offer you content, the question should arise, how is this coverage being paid for? Even if you buy a magazine off of the newsstand, it still only covers a fraction of the revenue obtained by that media outlet. Even in that case, at least 1/2 of the media outlet’s funding comes from advertisers.

In the case of many online publications, the reader contributes no money to the media outlet. Advertisers entirely fund the media outlet. Some of the articles are themselves advertisements (without being declared as such).

What type of media output can one expect when 100% of the revenues come from the vendors? And what kind of disclosure requirements do media outlets face who rent out the website for vendors to get their message out?

The answer to that question, in the US at least is straightforward. There are no disclosure requirements. This is an entirely unregulated part of the economy.


In IT, the agenda-setting media is not the New York Time or Washington Post (as they don’t cover IT for the large part). Instead, they can be replaced by Gartner, Forbes, ComputerWorld, IDG, etc.. 

On the IDG website, for example, they are evident that they can delivery buyers, and that they inherently know how to manipulate buyers on behalf of advertisers. See this quotation. 

“Our customers know they can rely on IDG to deliver the right buyers at scale exactly when they are most receptive to a marketer’s message….”

Notice that IDG has no concern here about accuracy. The orientation is to deliver an audience that is receptive to purchasing.

Let us ask a question. How do articles that cover IT realistically fit into “delivering buyers….when they are most receptive to a marketer’s message”?

Does this orientation, to maximize advertising revenues, impact IDG’s media output? Interestingly, in reviewing many IDG publications, including ComputerWorld, Brightwork has found that IDG publishes entirely inaccurate articles for SAP. Furthermore that these articles are in fact, paid placements from SAP.

This brings up the question of what is IDG. Is IDG an advertising platform, or is IDG interesting in publishing truthful inf0rmation?

Studies in Pharmaceutical Payment

Companies and individuals frequently make the case that while an entity pays them, it does not affect their recommendations. Once a corrupt business model has been unearthed, the only real position is to make this claim. However, every time this claim has been tested, it is turned ou that payments directly influence the outcome.

A study by ProPublica into prescription writing patterns illustrates what most doctors deny, that payments from drug companies influence prescriptions written.

Doctors have long disputed that the payments they receive from pharmaceutical companies have any relationship to how they prescribe drugs.

There’s been little evidence to settle the matter — until now.

A ProPublica analysis has found for the first time that doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed tend to prescribe drugs differently than their colleagues who don’t. And the more money they receive, on average, the more brand-name medications they prescribe.

We matched records on payments from pharmaceutical and medical device makers in 2014 with corresponding data on doctors’ medication choices in Medicare’s prescription drug program. (You can read our methodology here.)

Doctors who got money from drug and device makers—even just a meal– prescribed a higher percentage of brand-name drugs overall than doctors who didn’t, our analysis showed. Indeed, doctors who received industry payments were two to three times as likely to prescribe brand-name drugs at exceptionally high rates as others in their specialty.

Doctors who received more than $5,000 from companies in 2014 typically had the highest brand-name prescribing percentages. Among internists who received no payments, for example, the average brand-name prescribing rate was about 20 percent, compared to about 30 percent for those who received more than $5,000.

ProPublica’s analysis doesn’t prove industry payments sway doctors to prescribe particular drugs, or even a particular company’s drugs. Rather, it shows that payments are associated with an approach to prescribing that, writ large, benefits drug companies’ bottom line.

But overall, payments are widespread. Nationwide, nearly nine in 10 cardiologists who wrote at least 1,000 prescriptions for Medicare patients received payments from a drug or device company in 2014, while seven in 10 internists and family practitioners did.

As with drug prescribing, payments to media entities control their output. The article in ProPublica, like with IT media firms, is filled with ridiculous claims by the recipients of payments that the payments do not impact their prescription writing.


  • SAP uses a media model that is used by other industries.
  • The media model intends to control behaviour and to use the release of selective information and in many cases, false information to influence behavior. There are very few independent sources of information on SAP or IT generally, and therefore it is a simple matter to influence media entities.
  • In the case of SAP, it has enormous multinationals called consulting companies that serve as reliable message repeaters.

The combination of SAP’s control over IT media, combined with the multinational consulting companies that are little more than consulting arms of SAP (for the percentage of their practices that focus on SAP) allows SAP can create an echo chamber at will.

This media control by SAP is more significant than that displayed by any other software vendor and is a primary foundation of their success.

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