Is Bärbel Winkler Correct the Brightwork SAP Layoff Article Was Fake News?

Executive Summary

  • Barbel Winkler of Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG stated that Brightwork created fake news with its layoff and HANA coverage.
  • We analyze this article for logic and information provided.


Several months ago, we wrote the article SAP’s Layoffs and a Brightwork Warning on HANA, which went viral and brought down our website several times. In the article, we discussed how the layoffs fit with areas of weakness with SAP we had been writing for years. Surprisingly a rebuttal appeared on the SAP’s blog. This article is our analysis of this rebuttal.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.

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. 

Connecting the Brightwork Article with Fake News?

Barbel Winkler begins by discussing the topic of fake news.

“In this age of ‘fake news’, which so easily spreads thanks to social media and other outlets, I thought it might be worthwhile to share some resources and pointers of how to avoid accidentally contributing to this epidemic.

What prompted this blog post?

A couple of days ago, I happened upon a new comment posted on Paul Hardy‘s Reasons not to Move to S/4 HANA blog post. The comment links to an article written by Shaun Snapp about SAP’s Layoffs and a Brightwork warning on HANA which I then read. While doing so, I had some ‘warning flags’ go off in my mind as it contained rather emotive language and at least some of the paragraphs read a lot like conspiracy theories.”

Let us review the definition of the term conspiracy.

“A conspiracy is a secret plan or agreement between persons (called conspirers or conspirators) for an unlawful or harmful purpose, such as murder or treason, especially with political motivation,[1] while keeping their agreement secret from the public or from other people affected by it.”

Brightwork’s Article on Layoffs Implied an Unlawful Purpose?

Well, I don’t recall accusing SAP of conspiring to engage in murder or treason. But they do keep these agreements secret from the public.

Now let us look at the definition of a conspiracy theory.

“A “conspiracy theory” is a belief that a conspiracy has actually been decisive in producing a political event of which the theorists strongly disapprove. Another common feature is that conspiracy theories evolve to incorporate whatever evidence exists against them, so that they become, as Barkun writes, a closed system that is unfalsifiable, and therefore “a matter of faith rather than proof””

When has anything I have ever written fall into this category? I will wait for a quote where I stated anything like this.

Is Hasso Plattner’s and SAP’s Marketing of Hasso Plattner’s Fake Ph.D. a Conspiracy Theory?

SAP, for example, I have pointed out, has a large number of consulting firms that will repeat what they say. But does hits produce a “political event?” Also, as opposed to the definition, I provide proof in my claims, so that can’t be an accurate explanation of the research the article which Bärbel Winkler read, or any other article at Brightwork. The story of how Hasso falsified the origins of HANA to put himself in a more elevated position would in no way qualify as a conspiracy theory. Something that is not discussed by Bärbel Winkler, which is a statement made in the article, is that Hasso Plattner has a fake Ph.D. He has for at least a decade and a half been claiming to have a real Ph.D. when he has two honorary PhDs, as we covered in the article Does SAP’s Hasso Plattner Have a Ph.D.? Does that claim also read like a conspiracy theory? Because it is easily verified by looking into Hasso Plattner’s Wikipedia page? Did the fact that SAP and Hasso Plattner agreed to mispresent his honorary Ph.D. as a legitimate Ph.D. qualify as a conspiracy theory? Well, not according to the definition listed above, but it is dishonest.

SAP routinely makes exaggerated claims in a variety of dimensions, and they do so because of financial motivations. Not every contradiction of these claims qualifies as a conspiracy theory. Bärbel Winkler seems to have comingled the terms “conspiracy theory” with the term fact checking.

In Bärbel Winkler’s mind, anything that disagrees with the official story presented by SAP is a conspiracy theory.

Is SAP’s Contradiction of Oracle’s Claims Around the Autonomous Database a Conspiracy Theory?

Let us look at the article by SAP in Forbes in Forbes Allows SAP to Vent Against the Oracle Autonomous Database for Money. In this article, SAP disputes Oracle’s claims about the Autonomous database (which we happen to agree with SAP as we covered in the article How Real is Oracle’s Autonomous Database?). However, is SAP states that Oracle’s claims about the autonomous database a conspiracy theory? If not, why not? Doesn’t it contradict the official declaration by Oracle, could we not say that SAP is peddling conspiracy theories — at least if we apply the definition of a conspiracy theory as proposed by Bärbel Winkler.

Given this reasoning line, couldn’t one say that any position that disagrees with our position is also a conspiracy theory, with the term conspiracy theory being nothing more than an ad hominem rather than a legitimate claim against a contention? How can SAP say that Oracle has exaggerated what Oracle’s autonomous database is capable of, doesn’t this imply a conspiracy on Oracle? Isn’t any contradiction of an official claim require the creation of a conspiracy theory?

More Emotive Language than Say…..Bill McDermott?

Bärbel Winkler spends much more time associating the article with fake news and talking about a mystery bias (which she can’t prove or even guess to the source) rather than addressing the facts presented in the article. I found the Bärbel Winkler writing style very dull. And it could probably be improved by the use of some emotion. However, I did not let this factor into my analysis of the content. I don’t care much about the writing style because my focus is the content. And this is not a debate around writing styles. But furthermore, does Bärbel Winkler have a problem with emotion in language?

Let us take a look at the following quote from an article on Bill McDermott.

“But at this point in his story, many readers will be watching for the thunderbolt — his journey had to this point been so straight and direct, so perfectly well-groomed and lucky, so driven by hard work, one becomes uneasy.

And BOOM!  The thunderbolt strikes. His wife Julie, struck by cancer. Suddenly McDermott’s world had limits, exhausting days followed by bad nights. “Alone on that dark hill up in Connecticut, with two little kids depending on me, it was grim, pretty grim.”

Relief came in the form of a call to sunny California from Siebel Systems. His wife’s cancer caught in time, at this point McDermott had feet firmly planted in the tech world, and again, momentum and drive were in his favor.”

Here is Bill McDermott on SAP’s values.

“Throughout our history SAP has been committed to leading with purpose. Our enduring vision is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Together, as citizens, companies and countries, we need to be committed to working together to drive greater progress. There is no time to wait. That’s why we are proud to have signed the Compact for Responsive and Responsible Leadership. With shared commitment and resolve, the best days are ahead for the economy, the environment and society as a whole.”

Have I ever told a story or written any analysis with this type of emotion anywhere in any Brightwork article?

Are these quotes from Bill McDermott something that Bärbel Winkler would critique, or is this a heartwarming story or unachieved goals ethical goals emotive, according to Bärbel Winkler?

Bill McDermott’s book is filled with emotive language, far exceeding anything ever written at Brightwork Research & Analysis. Hint, we are researchers with technical expertise, while Bill McDermott is 100% sales and uses emotion to manipulate other people. But the problem with too much emotion is with a research entity and not Bill McDermott.

Based on this, can we expect an extensive critique of Bärbel Winkler’s book, or is Bärbel Winkler afraid of critiquing Bill McDermott? We ask because nearly all SAP resources seem to be petrified of saying anything against Bill, which allows him the freedom to say false things and never is called out for it. I have yet to have gotten any SAP resource to agree or critique McDermott’s comment about HANA being 100,000x faster than any competing technology. SAP resources are petrified of going on record as calling out McDermott’s lies.

Bärbel Winkler’s claim around emotive writing appears to be someone looking to claim the article’s authority based upon a superficial impression. All of Bärbel Winkler can be classified as superficial dislikes. Furthermore, the article states that SAP has been lying for years about its newer products that are supposed to be the future of SAP. SAP is aggressively lying to customers about SAP Cloud, about Leonardo. Is one supposed to stay utterly unemotional about this?

Go With Your Gut?

Bärbel Winkler continues how she relied on her gut to tell her the Brightwork article was fake news.

“Before I could put my gut feeling into words, Paul Hardy had already responded mentioning some of the items I had noticed as well:”

Is Bärbel Winkler having an emotional reaction to the article or analyzing the content it presents?

First, does Bärbel Winkler have the background to be critiquing the article? Has Bärbel Winkler put the hundreds of hours over more than three years to determine if what the article states are true?

In debates with SAP resources on the article, some of the most aggressive detractors of the material have said…

“I don’t know enough about the topic to contradict the article, but I know it must not be true.”

This seems to be where Bärbel Winkler is coming from as well. To a researcher like myself, this is an extremely bizarre statement and correlates to “the articles contradicts my beliefs,” rather than being a statement of any substance.

Interestingly, we analyzed the statements of one of the major proponents of HANA, John Appleby, and found he had an accuracy of less than 6.5%. The Appleby Accuracy Checker: A Study into John Appleby’s Accuracy on HANA. Just that research took more than a week. And it required many hundreds of hours to support that research. There is no other research entity that has put anywhere near this effort into fact-checking the claims made about HANA.

Comment from Paul

“If the articles that Shaun writes were true then everyone who works with SAP should be very worried. However, not everything on the internet is true, as we know.

As it is, the articles read rather like a conspiracy theory i.e. “I am the only one in the world telling the truth, every single other person on the planet are conspiring together to hide the truth”.”

Let us address the issue of the level of concern SAP resources should have.

SAP’s growth stage is over. So in that sense, they should be concerned, but SAP will continue to make a lot of money for many years. But the growth is over because SAP’s products outside of ERP are simply inferior in quality. This is covered in the article How SAP is Now Strip Mining its Customers.

SAP’s Future Growth Prospects

Some of SAP’s non-ERP applications are commercially successful, like SAP BW, but SAP BW is one of our lowest rated BI products. SAP’s acquisitions are mostly not related to SAP’s core. Eight years after the SuccessFactors acquisition, SAP still has not fully integrated SuccessFactors into ECC. SAP has not shown capabilities out of ERP, and this can only be covered up with consulting partnerships for so long. SAP’s implementation of type 2 indirect access is primarily due to desperation for license revenues because SAP cannot meet its revenue targets following the rules.

If there were genuinely competitive market forces, SAP would have shrunk a great deal already. But they are highly protected by a system of consulting or “ecosystem.” (consulting companies that don’t care about what is right for customers) and media and analyst entities (that sell their opinions to SAP). This ecosystem will repeat anything SAP says, no matter how false. Just see the Run Simple program for evidence in the article Is SAP’s “Running Simple” Real?

Only Brightwork Speaks the Truth on SAP?

I previously addressed the conspiracy topic. But the quality of information on SAP is terrible. We can trace back the financial bias of nearly every entity that provides information on SAP. And both Paul and Bärbel Winkler have this financial bias as well. Even Nucleus Research, a firm that used to be critical of SAP, has been brought into the fold and now publishes inaccurate information in return for money.

SAP has a standard practice of paying off analyst firms to perform well in a study and then showcasing their good performance without disclosing they paid for the study. Nucleus Research’s conclusion is false; S/4HANA Cloud is not a leader, and in fact, is barely used. Did Bärbel Winkler call this study by Nucleus fake news? Of course, not because it is pro SAP. Bärbel Winkler does not care what is true or false, only what is pro-SAP or negative against SAP. 

But as SAP has Gartner and media entities on the payroll. And as there are so many SAP consulting firms that are repeating whatever SAP says, my argument is yes, very few people speak the truth on SAP. However, I don’t know why this is so shocking. Pharmaceutical companies do very little research; they parasitize the taxpayer-funded research at universities and keep most of the profits themselves. And this is also kept quiet. Financial advisors pretend to look out for their clients. But in the US, only around 10% of them are registered as fiduciaries, which means they are obligated to put their client’s interests ahead of their own. There is a large amount of corruption in economies overall.

Furthermore, as far as telling the truth on SAP, I read an article by Paul on S/4HANA, and he censored the material and used humor to keep from offending SAP.

Let us look at one of Paul’s quotes from his article Reasons Not to Move to S/4HANA to see how much he tells the truth on SAP.

“The PR people keep saying that S/4 HANA is being adopted faster than any other product in SAP’s history and that may be so, but the giant pink elephant in the room is that if (at TECHED for example) the presenter asks for a show of hands as to which organisation is on what release of SAP they are shocked and disappointed to find out just how many are still on older releases. Some are still on 4.6C.

If it is so good, why hasn’t everyone dropped every other project and moved to adopt S/4 HANA like they were buying a hot cake?”

Hmmmm….that seems like an interesting pause going on here, or an unwillingness the connect the dots. So SAP is or is not lying about the number of go-lives?

Is there something Paul would like to say? Because he moves off of the subject right after this. This is an example of Paul, like just about every other SAP resource or information provider, not telling the truth or at least the whole truth on SAP. And Paul’s quote here is about as honest as any SAP resource will get. That is, the quote is a complete outlier. Vinnie Mirchandani stated in his book SAP Nation 3.0 that S/4HANA…

“S/4 has not been a runaway success but SAP’s competition has not exactly gone for the jugular either.”

And that is truly an understatement. Also, how is SAP supposed to “go for the jugular?” SAP customers are locked into ECC, and they are not going to move away from ECC.

Let us take a step back to thoroughly analyze the ridiculousness of S/4HANA as the fastest growing product in SAP’s history. For S/4HANA to be the fastest adopted application in SAP’s history, it would have to outpace R/3 in the 1990s. This is the product that made SAP what it is today. S/4HANA has a tiny number of go-lives.

So isn’t SAP’s claim impossible?

That is a mighty big pink elephant Paul is referring to, but it is also known in the common parlance as a straight-up lie (by SAP, not Paul). Paul is not lying, but he is changing the subject. SAP has been exaggerating S/4HANA numbers since they introduced S/4HANA, as we covered in How Accurate Was SAP on S/4HANA’s Go Live Numbers?

You see, we don’t stop at calling a blatant lie a “pink elephant.” So while Paul did more than most who write about SAP, Paul is concerned about publishing material that is too critical of SAP. And this is most likely for career reasons. We don’t shy away from writing what the research says on SAP.

But the topic brought up here by Paul is not an argument against the article. This is merely the 2nd ad hominem or personal attack.

Let us be sure to keep count.

The first ad hominem was that the article was fake news. I want to address this issue. A trusted contact who reviewed this article pointed out that Bärbel Winkler never directly calls the Brightwork layoff article fake news. But the effect of continually associating the material with fake news is such guilt by association that I do not see the distinction. Bärbel Winkler, it seems, is trying to have it both ways by setting an overall framework where she creates the association but then gives herself a way out, but being able to say, “well, I never actually said it.” So there is no reason for me to accept this underhanded tactic. Bärbel Winkler is clearly of the mind that the article is fake news.

The second was that the article seemed to have emotional language. The third was that the article seems conspiratorial.

  1. Fake News
  2. Emotional language
  3. Conspiratorial

We are probably 1/4 of the way through the article, and we have three ad hominems and zero statements addressing the claims in the report.

Brightwork Has Been Incorrect in its Predictions?

“He has been predicting things for many years that keep not happening e.g. SAP ditching HANA, which is rather like the people who keep predicting the end of the world and when it doesn’t happen on the target day, they set a new date.”

We predicted that SAP would have to backtrack on HANA for S/4HANA. Why SAP Will Have to Backtrack on S/4HANA on HANA, which means that SAP will look at some point port S/4HANA to AnyDB. However, we never set a date or target date; this would occur, and therefore we never changed a date. How would we know when SAP would change this policy? Check the article, and if you find a date there, be sure to let us know because we can’t find it.

We made the prediction based upon the fact that HANA is limiting the market for S/4HANA. This is the first factual claim made in Bärbel Winkler’s article, and it is incorrect.

Secondly, the analogy to some end of days preacher is not correct. Why are our research infused predictions being compared to the predictions of a cult leader who bases their predictions on reading a religious text? This seems to be the fourth ad hominem: Brightwork is similar to a cult rather than a research entity. What is left out is how accurate we have been in our predictions. SAP would love to have our accuracy, which you can check for yourself at A Study into SAP’s Accuracy.

HANA has not seen anywhere near the success predicted by SAP. It is difficult for anyone to deny this is the case.

The article’s point on the layoffs was that layoffs hit HANA particularly hard and for an apparent reason. The primary point is entirely unaddressed by Bärbel Winkler.

In 2011 SAP claimed that they would be the number two database vendor by 2015

This is a listing from DB Engines that tracks database popularity. Where is HANA? At #20, with roughly 4% of the share of Oracle. Where is SAP Adaptive Server? At #16, with approximately 5% of the share or Oracle.

Does this look like SAP is the #2 database vendor? And this is now four years after 2015. Are Bärbel Winkler or Paul going to critique this prediction, or will this ridiculous prediction go unnoticed because neither of these individuals holds SAP accountable for false claims due to their financial bias? Both Bärbel Winkler and Paul have analyzed Brightwork’s predictions and the predictions made by SAP and have concluded that the accuracy problem resides with Brightwork?

SAP stopped reporting quarterly numbers of HANA back in 2015, as we covered in the article Why Did SAP Stop Reporting HANA Numbers After 2015?

SAP claimed they would become the John Appleby stated that SAP would be

“finished on Oracle,”

as we covered in the article How Accurate Was SAP on SAP Being Finished on Oracle? 

With roughly 7,370 customers, according to iDatalabs, and with 1.25% of the database market.

Who looks like they have done a better job predicting HANA, SAP, or Brightwork’s trajectory and growth?

Who is the insane “end of days” preacher in this scenario, Brightwork or SAP and Hasso Plattner?

Contradictory Claims?

Next, Paul accuses Brightwork of making contradictory claims.

“Some of the accusations are contradictory – for example he both accuses Hasso Plattner of designing a rubbish database and at the same time claims Hasso did not design it all, but acquired it from a mysterious un-named company.”

This is a manufactured contradiction.

Let us review the facts.

  1. Hasso Plattner did design a “rubbish database.” And by the way, Hasso Plattner lacks the qualifications to be a database designer. This should be no surprise that this would be the outcome.
  2. I never stated that Hasso did not design some parts of HANA. But the parts that Hasso proposed are the parts that don’t work. Hasso suggested that all tables be columnar (a significant error that was reversed in SPS08 as we covered in How Accurate Was John Appleby on HANA SPS08? He proposed that all data could be processed in memory, and it doesn’t. He recommended removing all aggregates. Is Hasso Plattner and SAP Correct About Database Aggregates? These items were terrible ideas and are the subject of frequent lampooning by people who understand databases. But that does not mean that HANA was not based upon pre-existing technology. If the author or Paul had read the link, which is the article Did Hasso Plattner and His Ph.D. Students Invent HANA?, they would have found that HANA was based partially on P*Time and TREX. These were two acquisitions made by SAP roughly a year before Hasso claims to have begun his work on HANA. Although Teradata is suing SAP claiming IP theft that ended up in HANA, as we covered in How True is SAP’s Motion to Dismiss the Teradata Suit. Is the Teradata lawsuit also fake news?

So let us review the 2nd to 3rd factual claims made by the Bärbel Winkler article.

  1. The fact that Hasso designed HANA poorly is contradicted by the fact that Brightwork stated that HANA was based upon acquisitions: (FALSE)
  2. The two acquisitions were mysterious and an unnamed company: (FALSE)

I don’t know Paul personally, but I have read several of his articles, and he is clearly a smart person. However, Paul has not put in the work to research HANA the way that I have. And he is continuously subjected to erroneous information about HANA because of the company he keeps.

Bärbel Winkler Cannot Verify The Article?

“On my own, I cannot really verify how much – if any – truth is actually contained in Shaun Snapp’s article, but just going by the language and emotiveness I would bet on “not really much” being the correct assessment.
How can ‘fake news’ or misinformation be identified?”

Is this not the definition of a stupid statement? Can an article’s accuracy be gauged by its language and emotiveness? And what “language” is Bärbel Winkler going by, because I have no idea how to respond to this as I don’t know what it means. In ordinary parlance, “language” would mean improper language or swear words. But that can’t be right as the article does not contain any profanity. And how many times is Bärbel Winkler going to discuss her interpretation of the article’s style of writing?

If Bärbel Winkler can’t verify any of the article’s information, how is she in an excellent position to claim the report is fake news? The last person to be fact-checking an article or categorizing it as anything is a person who lacks the domain expertise in the material’s subject. This is why I don’t call articles on quantum physics “fake news” because I don’t like the way the article is written.

And not only does Bärbel Winkler not have the domain expertise to verify the article, the other commenters (as we will see) also lack the domain expertise to check the article. However, all of them seem to know that the article is fake news. How convenient, in surveying a group of HANA know-nothings with a 100% SAP bias, Bärbel Winkler has found that an article that is highly critical of SAP and HANA must not be legitimate. Will the next article cover how scientists paid by Exxon disagree with global warming? Does no one know where Bärbel Winkler will take this crackerjack method of determining “fake news” to next?

Climate Science and Fake News?

“Through my involvement with climate science and the misinformation (aka ‘fake news’) spread in that particular topic area, I’m in touch with researchers who study this very topic. Underestimating the importance to not fall for and accidentally spread ‘fake news’ is not really possible, so here are some pointers of how to verify the credibility of sources and/or articles before sharing them. The information below is from the blog post Threading the Fact-Checking Needle on the Pro-Truth Pledge (PTP) website, using Shaun Snapp’s article as a case study.”

That is curious; I wonder why the conclusion as to who is providing misinformation in climate science is not declared. Because the answer is the misinformation contained in that area is from those on the petrochemical payroll.

Curiously, one can’t tell from the quote, however. Does the author’s position on this topic need to be hidden for some reason? Or is there self-censorship going on here that the author does not want to lose the audience that agrees with Donald Trump that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese? (no, not making that up, this is Trump’s explanation)

If you are an author who is afraid even to declare what you mean and who is responsible for false information in the climate area, which is entirely black and white, by the way, one has to wonder about the forthrightness of that author.

What follows is Bärbel Winkler following or attempting to follow rules of identifying fake news from the PTP-Blog.

Rule #1: Is the Brightwork Article Timely?

Is the article timely?

“For the article in question, this one can be answered “Yes” as it uses the recent layoffs from SAP as the hook.

From the PTP-blog:
“Many items may be interesting but if they’re more than a few months old, chances are most of those with whom you would share have moved on to other news. It’s generally best to give these a pass.””

It is difficult to see what currency has to do with whether something is true or false. What about Newton’s theory of gravity? Its origin can be traced back to 1686.

Should we give the theory of gravity a pass?

Rule #2: Does the Brightwork Site Have Credibility?

“Is it published on a site generally agreed to be accurate, precise and reputed for its integrity?

I wasn’t able to find any “credibility” analysis for Shaun Snapp’s Brightworkresearch website, so cannot really answer this with a “Yes”. Even though Shaun Snapp regularly refers to “we” in the article or the tweets shown in the sidebar, I’m not really sure that Brightworkresearch is actually more than a one-man-endeavor (anybody know for sure?).”

What is a credible website in the SAP space? G2Crowd, Gartner, or Forrester?

They may appear credible, but they all take money from SAP, which they do not declare, and the quality of their analysis is quite poor. Many of G2Crowd’s SAP reviews are written by SAP consultants looking to promote SAP products. And G2Crowd serves as lead generation for vendors who pay them. All of this is undisclosed to readers.

Forrester will publish anything that SAP pays them to publish. We cover why we are a far better source on SAP than Gartner or Forrester in the article Why is Brightwork Better than Gartner or Forrester?

Brightwork Research & Analysis is currently composed of Shaun Snapp and Ahmed Azmi, although we occasionally use subcontractors on projects. But we are undoubtedly tiny. But one cannot measure accuracy by size. If one could, then InfoSys or WiPro would be highly credible providers of information on SAP. Does anyone think that is true?

The lack of intellectual property development at the major consulting firms is staggering, given that some of these firms employ hundreds of thousands of people. None of these firms could produce any research because a senior partner would instantly gerrymander any research they did provide to maximize some sales goal.

The Term “We”

The term we could be used even if Brightwork were one person. This is called the use of the “royal we,” as explained by Wikipedia.

“In the public situations in which it is used, the monarch or other dignitary is typically speaking not only in his or her personal capacity but also in an official capacity as leader of a nation or institution.”

I am a researcher, while Ahmed is an advisor. But Brightwork Research & Analysis is a legal entity. “We” is essentially a shorthand to describe the entity of Brightwork Research & Analysis. I could write out the full name every time, but that would be tedious and would then bring accusations of grandstanding or writing overly promotional articles.

However, if Bärbel Winkler claims that Brightwork Research & Analysis is small, that is true. And no claim of otherwise has ever been made. However, it seems to be using smallness as criticism. Again, see WiPro for the relationship between size and accuracy on SAP.

One of Brightwork Research & Analysis’s essential features is entirely overlooked by Bärbel Winkler, which is that we take no money from any vendor. This is a feature not shared by all of the entities that are approved analysts for SAP. Curiously, nowhere does Bärbel Winkler notes that media output is highly correlated with vendors’ financial connections. This all-important point does not interest Bärbel Winkler.

Is the Brightwork Article Opinion?

“Does it appear to be an opinion piece or a factual narrative?

Due to the rather emotive language it reads more like an opinion piece to me. Something the author seems to want to hide by calling his website “Brightworkresearch“.”

And back to the emotive ad hominem once again. With all of the article’s information and all of the links to supporting information, is the article an opinion piece?

Opinions are nothing more than conclusions, each based upon data points or discrete facts. One cannot magically eliminate contrary views by calling them opinions. When a doctor or lawyer provides their analysis of a patient or a case, what do we call that? That is right, a medical or legal opinion. But we do not seek to undermine their conclusions by calling them “just opinions.” The credibility of opinions comes from the evidence presented and the domain expertise of the presenter. We have a great deal of HANA research. We have research that neither Bärbel Winkler nor anyone Bärbel Winkler has included in her article can even understand (at least if we measure the article’s responses). If Bärbel Winkler can barely understand anything about HANA, how is she in a good position to say the research is not substantial?

Does the Brightwork Article Make Outrageous Claims?

“From the PTP-blog:
“If it’s an op-ed and you choose to share, you probably want to add a comment to that effect when sharing, as well as clarifying what you believe about the op-ed: do you agree with it, disagree with it, or agree with some parts, and disagree with others.”

Does it make any absolute or outrageous claims?

I’d put the conspiracy minded claims of how HANA got created and referring to it as “fake innovation” into the “outrageous claims” category.”

Our critique of HANA is that SAP faked innovation. Unlike Bärbel Winkler, we investigated the claims of HANA. We determined that Hasso added little to what existed outside of this removal of aggregates and declaration that all tables should be column oriented (even to support transaction processing). Read the article How to Understand Fake Innovation in SAP HANA. Also, see the article on how SAP has backward engineered other databases for years. Did SAP Just Reinvent the Wheel with HANA? 

While admittedly not knowing anything about HANA, she categorized our claim around SAP innovation as outrageous. And how would Bärbel Winkler know one way or another?

Is the Brightwork Article Too Categorical?

“From the PTP-blog:
“Here, you’re looking for trigger words or phrases like “always”, “never”, “everyone”, “no one”, or “all the time.” These are red flags for claims that are likely to be, at least to some degree, wrong. Rarely is truth absolute enough to hold in every case or falsehood so absolute as to be false in every instance.

If your answer is yes, then it’s probably best to pass on sharing.”

Does the article please you?


From the PTP-blog:
“If so, it may be playing to your subconscious biases. Make extra efforts to check if it is true.”

Does it make you angry?

No. As mentioned at the beginning, it made me wonder how factual it actually is.”

That is curious because the original article called into question many of SAP’s products that were supposed to be the future of SAP. HANA, Leonardo, SAP Cloud. Layoffs were concentrated in areas that have failed to meet expectations. As an ABAPer, Bärbel Winkler was not angry? Was she concerned? Did she welcome the news with an open mind?

Is Brightwork Research Bringing an Uncomfortable Truth?

“From the PTP-blog:
“Try to determine why. It may simply be that your anger is being triggered by an “uncomfortable truth”.

In either case, any article that stirs strong emotions (positive or negative) needs checking – as the emotions themselves may lead you to share as a result of your own biases.

Note here that an article or site may be intentionally designed to incite anger, revulsion, or outrage. The aim isn’t clarity or edification but rather to get your goat, basically a form of trolling. If this appears to be the case then you can safely ignore it. It’s simply not worth your time.”

More questions to ask and answer (from the PTP-blog):

Does the text support the title?
Are there any actual facts cited within it?
Are they well-supported?
If so, how reliable are those sources and can you trace them back to original articles or studies?

Judging from Paul’s reaction, at least some of the claims made in the article can be easily falsified, making them not really “well-supported”:

“In addition, some of the “facts” can be checked against reality e.g. the claim that an in-memory HANA database runs just the same speed or slower than a traditional disk based one. There are many organisations out there that have moved to a HANA database and they have all seen improvements, albeit not the over-stated claims made by SAP marketing, but improvements nonetheless.”

First, what about the claims that they thought were supported? When we analyze an article, we review the entire article or at least the most salient points. Bärbel Winkler’s article stops at trying to fact check two of the article’s many contentions. Even if both were wrong, the article is based upon many contentions and supporting articles. Why does Bärbel Winkler not mention the points that both Bärbel Winkler and Paul and others think may be supported? If they are supported, it is deeply problematic and unethical to call the entire article fake news. Disagreeing with “some of the claims” is not going to cut the mustard. Bärbel Winkler could have said (A, B & C) that we agree with, and (X, Y & Z) seem authentic. But instead, she looks to invalidate the entire article by barely addressing any of the article’s points.

Now let us get to the two areas that Paul disputes.

Brightwork Stated that HANA Underperforms Disk Based Databases?

We have multiple reports of ECC on HANA underperforming ECC on Oracle. And this is specifically for transaction processing, which is most of what ECC does. We covered this in the article HANA as a Mismatch for S/4HANA and ERP. Paul is restating what SAP says, but he is not adding case studies or reality to the analysis. Even if some customers benefited from analytics improvements, that would not invalidate our claim regarding transaction processing performance.

Secondly, we never stated that performance for analytics goes down. It goes up. We covered this in the article SAP HANA Overview: How SAP HANA Is Such a Fast Database (For Analytics). But the story is much more involved than just that. Remember, both Oracle and IBM reached equivalence with HANA in 2014 and SQL Server in 2016 when they added in-memory and columnar capabilities. Paul’s not mentioned that much of the improvement in HANA performance has come from hardware increases, as we covered in the article How Much of Performance is HANA?

Is Paul Accusing SAP’s Marketing of Making False Claims

Paul also seems to be critiquing SAP marketing. He seems to be saying that SAP marketing made false claims. So is Paul saying that SAP lied when they made these claims?

The second time in recent memory that a pro-SAP resource has claimed SAP marketing provides inaccurate information. The first is Hasso Plattner, which we covered in the article John Appleby, Beaten by Chris Eaton in Debate and Required Saving by Hasso Plattner. When called out for inaccuracies on HANA, Hasso states.

“please don’t think that marketing or false statements will have any impact over time. there is nothing more transparent than application using an in memory data base in the cloud. nothing can be hidden away.”

Why is Hasso correlating claims made by HANA by SAP marketing with false statements? False statements have an enormous impact over time. They lock decision makers into lies told to them by the vendor, and as such, lock them into and make them invest in the fabrication and protect the lie.

Why is this ok?

Furthermore, Hasso Plattner cannot hold himself apart from SAP marketing. Hasso was the primary message shaper for HANA, to begin with, and has ceaselessly repeated false claims around HANA.

Our conclusion from reviewing multiple data inputs is that HANA has no advantage over the competing databases in dual mode processing. And of the databases in question, HANA is far more expensive than any of the competing offerings and far higher in maintenance. Even in 2019, it severely lags the competition instability and is continuously being patched. Furthermore, we have reports of HANA losing in performance to SQL Server! And this is on a far smaller hardware footprint. Do readers have any idea how large the price discrepancy is between HANA and SQL Server and the hardware cost difference between HANA and SQL Server? It is enormous. HANA was supposed to usher in a new day of transformative data processing and entirely in memory applications. According to Hasso Plattner, an entirely new way of developing applications with (according to Hasso Plattner) the amount of code being dropped in half. Why is HANA losing in performance to SQL Server? This would be like LeBron James losing a game of one on one to a dwarf.

One would have to say

“maybe LaBron has lost a step.”

If Lebron can’t beat a dwarf, the Lakers would have to begin asking themselves,

“Why are we paying LaBron all this money.”

This is how weak HANA’s value proposition is. HANA comes with indirect access liabilities that none of the other competing applications does, as we covered in the article The HANA Police.

Given HANA’s expense and truly scandalous promises. SAP owes many companies refunds for the discrepancy between the promises of HANA and reality.

Where are the Missing Benchmarks for HANA?

Secondly, if HANA’s superiority is so proven and such a settled issue, why has SAP refused to perform any benchmarks for the standard SD benchmarks on HANA as we covered in the article The Hidden Issue with the SD HANA Benchmark? Why does SAP disallow competitive parameters for analytics, as covered in The Four Hidden Issues with SAP’s BW-EML Benchmark?

What did John Appleby say as to why SAP had not performed a benchmark for HANA using SD?

“You know, you get no-nonsense from me Bill.

I’ve not run the benchmark but I believe it’s because:

1) SD doesn’t run well on HANA

2) SD doesn’t accurately represent how customers actually use systems in 2014

3) HANA does run well for how customers really use systems in 2014″

That is curious, so SD benchmarks have been suppressed for HANA because HANA does not perform transaction processing very well. That is, the results are embarrassing. Read the full analysis in the article How Accurate Was John Appleby on HANA Not Working Fast for OLTP?

Brightwork Stated that Code Pushdown Does Not Speed Performance?

Now we will go to Paul’s next statement.

“In regard to pushing code down to the database, once again, it is possible to verify this by doing an experiment where you write two versions of a query, one with code pushdown, and one without, and see which runs faster. Then it becomes a straight yes/no rather than a matter of guesswork and speculation.”

When did we say this is not true?

Again, the article by Bärbel Winkler is arguing against claims we did not make. Is this how to dispute “fake news” by contradicting things that were not said?

Let us review what we wrote. We wrote that the code pushdown is first not innovative, as Oracle has had this capability for many years How Accurate are SAP’s Arguments for Code Pushdown? SAP did not use the term stored procedure, instead opting for a new word it created called “code pushdown.” Rolf Paulson explains this.

“in fact, SAP did not use the term stored procedure”, you may add “or (complex/aggregate) view” because what can be easily done by database views SELECT… GROUP BY…” for decades in database views just couldn’t be used on the ABAP platform due to limitations of OpenSQL and classical ABAP views , therefore a lot of stupid aggregation had in ABAP code, nested loops, which are now “pushed down” into CDS views like it was possible on other platforms for years, just taking a database view as query-source”

This was explicitly done because it would make it sound like SAP was doing something new. SAP has been pushing the innovative narrative with HANA while backward engineering other databases, as we covered in the article, Did SAP Just Reinvent the Wheel with HANA?

The problem with code pushdown is that it locks the buying into the database, which is why it is difficult for companies to move away from the Oracle database and is one reason that Oracle has promoted the use of stored procedures. Likewise, SAP is promoting placing code in the database to block out competing database vendors and to have a reason to restrict database portability so that they can push out other database vendors from the market.

There may be a necessity to push code into the database in some very extreme situations, but the maintenance goes up, and portability also goes down. Therefore it should be done with full consideration of the implications.

Paul does not appear to have read what we said about HANA.

Bärbel Winkler lacks an understanding of the topic and does not know who to ask for input.

Sharing a Fake News Article?

Satisfied that the entire article has been falsified, Bärbel Winkler jumps to what she wants to do, which is brand the article ‘fake news’, and then spend time discussing the dangers of fake news.

“Why is it important to be able to judge the credibility of an article before sharing it?

This is where the Irish Times article Combating ‘fake news’: The 21st century civic duty which actually prompted me to write this blog post, comes in. As the authors of the article, Stephan Lewandowsky (link to an interview about fake news) and Joe Lynam, put it:

“But truth is under threat, thanks to the practitioners of disinformation and the four D’s of deception: distort, distract, dismay and dismiss.”

“This never-ending flow of distraction, distortion, dismissal and dismay creates the fifth and most consequential D: Doubt. Doubt in our newspapers, doubt in our governments, doubt in our experts and doubt in the truth itself.”

“The 21st century equivalent of clearing snow from the path of your elderly neighbour should be preventing your neighbour believing (and spreading or sharing) every outraged headline.”

“This new civic duty becomes more urgent every day. False information spreads faster on Twitter than the truth. But information does not spread by itself, it requires people to spread it. So before sharing anything on social media, do some fact-checking.””

Let us slow down Bärbel Winkler. Let look at the claims made in your article.

The Ad Hominem (Personal Attacks) Contained in the Bärbel Winkler Article

What personal attacks are used by Barbel Winkler versus independent sources on SAP.
Ad HominemReality
Article made an outrageous claim.The claim that HANA is fake innovation is hardly outrageous. And we have the research to support the claim. The author made not attempt and is not equipped to falsify our claim.
Article is an opinion piece.The author would not know, but claim is made based upon supposed "emotive" language rather than reading the content.
Brightwork is small.Also true, but also meaningless to knowledge or accuracy. See Infosys example.
Brightwork uses the term “we” in articles. True, but meaningless. And "we" is a standard English usage to describe an entity or overall work of an entity rather than one individual.
Brightwork is similar to a end of days preacher.Who is more accurate on SAP? SAP or Brightwork? Did Run Simple happen? Is HANA 100,000x faster, etc...
The Brightwork article deals in conspiracy theories.Nothing in the article even comes close to the definition of conspiracy theory. See the included definition of conspiracy theory.
The article contains emotional language which means it is fake news.This is a highly subjective determination. Other writing from SAP that is far more emotive (such as from Bill McDermott) is never fact checked by SAP resources. By this standard, any article could be declared fake news in part by its tone, use of grammar, etc..
The Brightwork article was fake newsNeither Bärbel Winkler nor anyone interviewed or quoted are in a position to contradict our claims.

The Ad Hominem (Personal Attacks) Contained in the Bärbel Winkler Article

Ad HominemReality
The Brightwork article was fake newsNeither Bärbel Winkler nor anyone interviewed or quoted are in a position to contradict our claims.
The article contains emotional language which means it is fake news.This is a highly subjective determination. Other writing from SAP that is far more emotive (such as from Bill McDermott) is never fact checked by SAP resources. By this standard, any article could be declared fake news in part by its tone, use of grammar, etc..
The Brightwork article deals in conspiracy theories.Nothing in the article even comes close to the definition of conspiracy theory. See the included definition of conspiracy theory.
Brightwork is similar to a end of days preacher.Who is more accurate on SAP? SAP or Brightwork? Did Run Simple happen? Is HANA 100,000x faster, etc...
Brightwork uses the term “we” in articles. True, but meaningless. And "we" is a standard English usage to describe an entity or overall work of an entity rather than one individual.
Brightwork is small.Also true, but also meaningless to knowledge or accuracy. See Infosys example.
Article is an opinion piece.The author would not know, but claim is made based upon supposed "emotive" language rather than reading the content.
Article made an outrageous claim.The claim that HANA is fake innovation is hardly outrageous. And we have the research to support the claim. The author made not attempt and is not equipped to falsify our claim.

This is an incompetent article on the part of Bärbel Winkler. Her claim about our article being fake news is warrantless. It is also incredibly lazy, proposing to have concluded without doing the most primary research to determine if her claim is true.

First, contradict what the article said, then the conversation about fake news can begin. Not before. It is quite apparent that Bärbel Winkler would like our material to be fake news. Working backward from this conclusion, Bärbel Winkler assembled a fragile combination of inaccurate factual challenges and ad hominems to try to prove the conclusion.


Bärbel Winkler has used a problematic term, fake news, to describe the article. The term fake news was first used (at least in recent times) by Trump to discredit fact checkers without providing counter-evidence. An MD has used it to dispute criticism of his work, as explained by the following quotation.

Omalu declined several requests for an interview and refused to answer any questions for this story. In an email, he dismissed questions raised by experts as coming from “a minority of doctors who are seeking very cheap and bogus popularity . . . who work directly or indirectly with these sports organizations.”

“Your paper engaging in such bogus controversies will bolster some people’s allegations of ‘Fake News,’ ” Omalu wrote.

Labeling something fake news is not an argument, it is a personal attack, and there seems to be a strong correlation between those that use the term and their lack of willingness to reply to criticism.

And this is the same approach employed by Bärbel Winkler in this article. SAP is similar to Trump in that both SAP, and their adherents believe that SAP has the right to tell any lie and never be fact-checked on their lies.

It took minimal mental effort for Bärbel Winkler. She had some type of “feeling” about the article, obtained quotes from resources with a pro-SAP bias, and then included people without the domain expertise to contradict or even faithfully restate the article’s claims.

Secondly, Bärbel Winkler entirely left out her financial bias from the equation, pretending (as nearly all SAP resources do when they write) that she is some independent entity who does not rely upon SAP for her livelihood. Overall, the article is filled with logical errors and extremely fuzzy thinking.

Because the level of thought behind the article is so weak, it took me a long time to write this rebuttal because I am being forced to think both Bärbel Winkler and the people quoted in the article who don’t appear capable of doing much more than working off of the basis of hearsay. The incorrect claims in Bärbel Winkler’s article that is which are counterclaims to claims I did not make means that a substantial section of people in the SAP space is not capable of understanding the content of Brightwork articles. And are having to work off of only the superficial elements of the article. Bärbel Winkler seems to spend about 50% of her mental energy observing the writing’s emotional nature.

Since HANA was first introduced, many more people repeated statements about HANA than ever understood the validity of the claims or ever put any time into understanding either HANA or even databases. Even SAP’s most prominent resources like John Appleby and Thomas Jung repeatedly make false claims about HANA. Even in 2019, the general knowledge of foundational database topics among SAP resources is feeble. See this article where John Appleby is beaten in a debate by someone who is an expert in DB2, which we covered in the article John Appleby, Beaten by Chris Eaton in Debate and Required Saving by Hasso Plattner. John Appleby fakes his HANA expertise and his DB2 expertise and is questioned on this topic by Chris Eaton.

SAP and SAP resources intend not to be fact-checked. And intend to call into question the fact-checkers, Brightwork, and UpperEdge being just about the only ones (email us another fact checkers of SAP, and we will add them to the list if we agree.) SAP is rarely fact-checked as most of those that provide information on SAP are connected to SAP financially. SAP and SAP resources do not want unpaid off entities providing analysis of SAP. Instead, they would prefer that readers gobble down entirely SAP controlled information, as we covered in the article Are SAP’s Layoffs Due to an Impressive Transformation?

The most important feature of the article, which the layoffs mean, is entirely unaddressed by Bärbel Winkler. Furthermore, Bärbel Winkler proposes a type of censorship where SAP or Bärbel Winkler determine what links can be shared. The SAP space is already highly censored, but it seems that Bärbel Winkler thinks it needs to be kept this way. We have critiqued many sources on SAP, but we have never said that some sources should never be read at all. One has to wonder what Bärbel Winkler is so concerned about limiting other readers’ exposure to non-conformist SAP information.