SAP HANA in the Cloud

Why G2Crowd Has False Information on S4HANA

Executive Summary

  • G2Crowd pretends to be an objective rating website, but it is entirely funded by vendors which they do not disclose to readers. 
  • G2Crowd is filled with false information about S/4HANA, which we uncover in this article. 

Introduction

Many of our analyses into IT media entities begin with reading their output, and figuring out something does not add up. In this article, we will review another such example, this time with G2Crowd.

G2Crowd and S/4HANA

Recently we were reviewing the rating for S/4HANA, finding it had 4.5 stars. As we read the reviews, we found the following false information.

We have listed and analyzed this information below, and it tells us something interesting about both G2Crowd and how information is promoted about SAP products. 

S/4HANA as Development Platform?

“S/4 HANA is not only a platform for development, but it is also a place where we can bring integrated designs with various other features of latest SAP platforms.”

Why is S/4HANA a development platform? It is an ERP system that will require customization, but that is a far cry from calling it a development platform.

Keeping SuccessFactors as Base?

The following quote is nonsensical and is listed under what business problems are solved by the product, and what benefits have been realized.

“Custom designs by keeping success factors as base.”

It is hard to even tell what this means.

SuccessFactors is not part of S/4HANA. This is the problem when there is no compensation for reviewers. Interestingly, the amount of detail and accuracy in the G2Crowd reviews is substantially below that of Amazon, which also does not pay for reviews.

System Performance Increased with S/4HANA?

“Implementing SAP S/4HANA 1605 enabled us to make our business processes better while increasing the system performance at the same time. It now provides us with faster insights and foresights.”

How did implementing a product that has less functionality than ECC enable “to make business processes better?”

Also, how is it that system performance increased?

The evidence from many data points at this point shows that the performance of S/4HANA using HANA is slower for all functions performed by the ERP system. This is covered in the article HANA as a Mismatch for S/4HANA and ERP.

S/4HANA Provides a Faster Year End Process?

“Benefits include faster month-end, year-end processes, higher performance throughput, Instant financial results and Better reporting capabilities.”

This is straight out of SAP’s marketing literature. Almost word for word. However, at Brightwork, we analyzed this claim in detail in the article An Analysis of S/4HANA 1608 Information.

We know this did not happen because it is not something that S/4HANA provides. The article explains in detail why.

HANA or S/4HANA is Great?

“HANA is great with all the different deployment options…all the customer’s information is in one single pane making it so easy to have all the information I need at my fingertips”

That is interesting, but the page is designed to show the reviews for S/4HANA. One might think that this reviewed simply wrote HANA as a typo, but the overall review is clearly about HANA, not S/4HANA.

So G2Crowd does not have the resources to ensure that the reviews are placed in the right category?

That is interesting, as G2Crowd raises millions from software vendors. And they don’t write any of the reviews. Now it appears that G2Crowd can’t be bothered to check if the reviews are assigned to the correct product. Why? Well, hiring people at G2Crowd is not profit maximizing. Profits are highest if G2Crowd can get all of the content created by people that it does not have to pay.

Analytical and Transaction Processing

“The ability to run both analytical and transactional workloads in the same instance at the same time.”

This sentence does not make much sense. This was always possible. If it weren’t, then the entire system would have to have the transactions paused while reports were run, which is never how SAP ERP worked.

The reviewer might mean that the S/4HANA allows both transactions and analytics to be run on the system efficiently or faster. If that is what the reviewer meant, that is also false. S/4HANA is slower in running transactions than its predecessor, which ran exclusively on a row-oriented database from Oracle, IBM, or Microsoft.

This is covered in the article HANA as a Mismatch for S/4HANA and ERP.

Jump in Sooner to Realize the Value?

Interestingly, the same reviewer who stated.

“Some of the performance bugs that bog SAP products; hopefully they get resolved with subsequent patches/releases..”

Is telling prospective customers to..

“Jump in sooner to realize the value”

But if the application has these issues, why would there be a motivation to “jump in sooner?” This is not me stating that SAP has performance bugs (although we know it does) this is the reviewer. This is an example of the reviewer contradicting themselves. This would be like saying that a particular computer has performance bugs, but other people should jump in to realize the value now. It seems like putting off that purchase a bit might be a better move.

Up to Minute Inventory Availability?

“We are able to get up-to-the minute data on inventory availability and have a better SLA for inventory turnaround.”

ERP systems have not calculated inventory position in a non-immediate way (called non-perpetual inventory systems) for decades. This is covered in the following article Whatever Happened to the Perpetual Inventory System?

This is a common issue, with SAP and SAP proponents stating that S/4HANA does things that the first version of R/3 already did. Some SAP literature points out that a benefit of S/4HANA is that it completely integrates supply chain with finance. Right….that is called an ERP system.

Fiori Application Integration?

This review stated.

“Fiori application integration, ease of use and simple user interfaces”

Fiori is the UI; it is not involved in application integration. However, the second part of the sentence states there is enhanced ease of use.

However, for how many workflows? Fiori only works for a narrow set of business processes. This is covered in the article, The Strange Changes with the Count of Fiori Apps.

This means that most of the time, users will be in SAPGUI, not Fiori. The review also reinforced this by stating.

“backend SAPGUI tcodes are hard to remember.”

Reduced Cost of Maintenance?

“..ease of use and simple application, reduce cost of maintenance.”

Really?

S/4HANA, which uses the very high overhead HANA database. Which is still not a completed product. Which is lacking many of the capabilities of ECC, such as IDOCs in several modules, which has to support two UIs rather than one, and that breaks every single adapter and customization that was written for ECC has a reduced cost of maintenance versus ECC?

Very interesting.

S/4HANA to Put You Ahead of the Competition

“S/4HANA has the features to put your company steps ahead the competition… The fast adoption of customers and the flexibility of the product gives the confidence of choosing a product that is a game changer.”

As one can tell, this review was written by a consultant.

First, S/4HANA has had extremely low adoption for a product that is now several years old. This is covered in detail in our A Study into S/4HANA Implementations.

This consultant thinks it is accurate because it is stated by Bill McDermott and others at SAP. However, it also brings up the question, why is this included in a review of the product?

The review is supposed to be the first-hand experiences of the reviewer with the application. That is not what this is.

S/4HANA Has Machine Learning and Other Strange Things?

“Innovation, real-time analytics, machine learning and IoT. We are deep diving into the Digital Transforamtion” (not mispelled by me, how this is spelled in the quote)

S/4HANA has innovation? Where is that innovation?

It’s not the database it uses, and according to independent studies into its code, it is 95% identical to ECC. And where is the machine learning in S/4HANA? IoT has nothing to do with ERP systems, which we cover in the article Why Leonardo Seems So Fake, and companies are not implementing IoT with S/4HANA.

Finally, Digital Transformation does not have any meaning, as is covered in the article The Problem with Using Digital Transformation to Describe Modern IT Projects.

What is clear is that this reviewer is placing SAP marketing literature into a review of the product.

S/4HANA at 4.5 Stars?

This reviewer gave S/4HANA 4.5 stars but then stated.

“SAP S4HANA is great evolving tool. it has great potential.”

So is the 4.5 stars for a future version of S/4HANA or the current version? He goes on to say it has.

“frequent delivered patches. poor customer support”

Would that qualify a product to receive 4.5 stars? If so, how do you get less than 4.5 stars?

The Ability to Tap Into Benefits of HANA

“The ability to tap into the benefits provided by SAP HANA utilizing the latest technology built in S4.”

HANA does not provide benefits to ERP systems. At least not at this present state of HANA’s development. Once again, this is a projection of what SAP says HANA can do, rather than an authentic experience of the reviewer.

Again, this reviewer is a consultant.

This is similar to another reviewer (in this case, not a consultant) who gave S/4HANA 4 stars. He states the following:

“Its not simple! There is insufficient documentation.”

and.

“Not yet fully implemented”

If these things are what the reviewer thinks, what do you have to do as an application to rate a 2 or 3 stars? Lets review. Four stars should be an excellent application. Four and a half stars should be excellent, and five stars should be flawless.

The Ease of Implementing Fiori

“The way the code has been rewritten and the ease of implementing Fiori.”

This is very obviously false. Fiori is both difficult to implement, and only a small number of Fiori apps install reasonably quickly. Again, another review from a consultant.

The Speed of Processing?

“Speed of processing and the fact that it is real inmemory computing.”

All computing is in memory!

That is what the memory of a computer is used for. Information is loaded into it.

HANA differs from Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft in that the entire database is loaded into memory. However, that is wasteful and unnecessary because it means that data that is not involved in the processing are loaded into memory.

Standardize our Business Processes Globally

“standardize our business processes globally.”

That would be odd, as this is not only what was promised by ECC but by R/3 and, in fact, R/2. SAP ERP has long been run by global companies that have used it in multiple countries.

There is nothing that differentiates S/4HANA from ECC regarding the ability to standardize business processes globally.

Consultant Bias

The most inaccurate statements in the G2Crowd S/4HANA reviews came from consultants. And there was a preponderance of consultants who left reviews. We read through 26 reviews on the G2Crowd site for S/4HANA, and 11 of the 26 reviews were listed by those that self-identified as consultants. The way G2Crowd allows people to register means that many of the other reviewers may also be consultants, but aren’t explicitly listed this way. If the person lists their name, rather than enters an anonymous name, then their profession is not declared. The patterns I recognized in the reviews tell me that there are probably quite a few more out of the 26 reviewers that are consultants.

If G2Crowd has no way of mitigating the effect of consultants, who have a financial motivation to promote their application specialty, then G2Crowd has a problem with the method they are using. Of course, this bias is precisely what G2Crowd’s funders like to see, so if few people notice, then why would G2Crowd change it?

What is G2Crowd Really About?

G2Crowd seems more like a lead generator that a site concerned with the quality or accuracy of reviews. G2Crowd has virtually no content overhead and allows a large amount of low-quality reviews on their website. All of the reviews are unpaid and written by people not employed by G2Crowd. G2Crowd puts very little back into its overall reviews and editing. It must have an enormous margin as they do close to nothing but maintain the technical aspects of the site, and of course, their valuable relationships with the software vendors from where they receive their funding. 

While this may work for Amazon, in enterprise software, there is a considerable bias introduced using this type of system.

The owner of G2Crowd receives undeclared income from software vendors. Yet, there is not a single place on the site where the funding is declared. We were able to find out through a PR announcement where IBM declared they would increase their funding of G2Crowd as it is an excellent marketing channel for them. This demonstrates the low ethical standards of G2Crowd.

G2Crowd’s entire business model is to pretend to be a buyer-oriented site while being funded by vendors.

And this is supposed to be the anti-Gartner model!

G2Crowd as a Puppet for Software Vendors

G2Crowd was always designed to be nothing more than a puppet for software vendors. All of their funding comes from software vendors, and G2Crowd discloses none of this to readers. G2Crowd’s only objective is to make money. People think that is just great. But is it great? And great for whom?

A comment was made that G2Crowd’s application reviews have been “gamed” as the following quotations attest.

“Any unmoderated peer review site, from TripAdvisor upwards, will inevitably be gamed by those who gain by doing so.”

But this implies that G2Crowd does not want to publish low quality and false reviews. That would mean that the G2Crowd reviews are “gamed.” But G2Crowd does want low-quality reviews if they are positive. G2Crowd could quickly eliminate fake reviews, but they choose not to.

So their ratings are not very difficult to game if they don’t moderate the comments. Therefore this would be like saying that one “gamed” a car wash by driving their car through the car wash and ending up with a clean vehicle. That is not gaming a car wash, that is the design of a car wash. G2Crowd wants the highest possible ratings without seeming fake, as this is what their funders (the software vendors) want.

Conclusion

This is not to say that all of the reviews contain inaccurate information. But many of the reviews have information that indicates the reviewer has not used the system. Unsurprisingly a number of these wrong reviews are written by reviews who self-identify as consultants. And we know quite a bit about the incentives that SAP consultants have to promote SAP.

G2Crowd is just another in a long line of examples of an IT media system that is corrupt and does not follow well-established standards.

References

https://www.g2crowd.com/products/sap-s-4hana/

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