Is There a Requirement for Both Positive and Negative Coverage in Research?

Last Updated on March 13, 2021 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • Consultants with no research background often assume that they can accuse an entity of bias if they don’t provide a sufficient amount of positive coverage.
  • We analyze the validity of this claim.

Introduction

We sometimes have surreal interactions on LinkedIn, where various pro-vendor individuals make unsupported claims.

Our References for This Article

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

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

  • This is published by a research entity.
  • 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. 

Independence Means A Match Between Positive and Negative Coverage?

The following statement was provided by Mohamed Judi, who, at the time of this comment, worked for SAP.

“The problem with someone always on one side or the other can’t be considered independent and unbiased. I’m sure SAP like every other company done somethings right and some other not so right but to always be against one company in particular, I hope everyone agree with me, is a little bit suspicious.” – Mohamed Judi

Our Response

On the topic of the information on SAP being negative and therefore, not being impartial. What is your view of the nutrition quality of McDonald’s? How about labor treatment in sweatshops in China? If I wrote articles about the nutrition of McDonald’s or Chinese sweatshops, would you require that a certain number of the articles were positive? Should I occasionally write that the Big Mac is healthy and that the salads (that are awful) area a “healthy alternative?”

If you check the rules of research, there is never a requirement that a certain number of the article be positive. The construct of positive or negative does not exist in a research construct.

Secondly, do you hold Deloitte, Gartner, Wipro, Diginomic to a standard of writing both positive and negative articles about SAP?

Have you written articles that call into question Deloitte’s independence because Deloitte’s information on SAP, which is entirely promotional, coin-operated it too positive? Did you write this article? How about Infosys’s coverage — do you think Infosys should add some less promotional materials to their website or their sales decks? Do I need to list the laughably inaccurate quotes from Deloitte on S/4HANA to prove this point? What Was the Real Story with the Revlon S/4HANA Failure?

Is SAP’s Coverage Not Sufficiently Positive?

“I can’t speak on behalf of Barbel or even SAP but your views on everything SAP to be negative is not acceptable when you claim to be independent and impartial.” – Mohamed Judi

This is an example of not explaining why Barbel Winkler would not defend her article against Brightwork that we countered in the article Is Bärbel Winkler Correct the Brightwork SAP Layoff Article Was Fake News?

Our Response

“Given this, it seems that you only call into question entities that do not write positive material about SAP. Something around 98% of all information published about SAP is pro-SAP, and nearly all of it financially biased. I don’t see you having an issue with this. I assume that if we sold out to SAP and did exactly what everyone else does in the analyst/media/consulting space, you would quickly become a big fan of ours.”

Conclusion

All vendors demand positive coverage — and the right to declare how much of that coverage should be positive. Vendors usually do not point out entities that provide entirely positive coverage as not having “sufficient negative” coverage because vendors’ only intent is to obtain favorable coverage. Mohamed Judi’s comments are deceptive and imply an interest in impartiality when he works for SAP, which pays IT analysts to provide overly positive SAP coverage.

As with most vendor resources, they don’t respect any research that does not say the vendor they are currently working for is the best vendor with the best offering in the space.