Poll Results: Should Brightwork Sell Out to SAP?

Executive Summary

  • SAP resources are often displeased with Brightwork for not being sufficiently pro-SAP.
  • This poll was created to ask the question of how many readers would prefer if we sold out to SAP.

Introduction

In this poll, we asked several questions around not only selling out to SAP but also how readers fell about media and research entities being controlled by software vendors through things like paid placements and advertising. And the results were surprising.

Are the Answers Representative of the General IT Readership?

Unlike the publications of IDC Takes Money to Publish SAP Provided Sample on S/4HANA, How Accurate Was The Forrester TCO Study?, or How Accurate Was ASUG on its S/4HANA Poll?, who immediately present any sample they have as representative (or like ASUG, don’t even mention how many samples are included in the poll), we are not presenting this poll as representative of the general IT readership.

First, readers of the Brightwork Research & Analysis website come to the website to get the non-industry funded perspective on technology. At least, that is our impression. So the only thing that can be said is that this poll is representative of those that read our website. The only way to determine the applicability to the general readership is for the establishment IT media websites to run this poll on their sites, which of course the would never do as the questions are not things that they want any of their readers even contemplating. Media entities ranging from ComputerWeekly to TechTarget to Forrester hide their financial relationships with vendors.

This poll had 49 responses.

The Poll Questions and Results

Question #1

The first question sets the situation of the IT media system as it presently runs.

Just about every entity that providers information on SAP is financially connected to SAP.

Without subscribers, most entities must either sell paid placements, sell consulting for software or write sponsored research.

Is that a good thing?

Answer Analysis

Most of the respondents (76%) oppose all of the information about SAP being published by those with a financial bias. But a small percentage (6.5%) seem to think its a good idea.

Question #2

Question #2 specifically asks the question of the poll.

Should Brightwork Research & Analysis sell out to SAP?

That is should we serve as similar function as other consulting and media entities and repeat information from SAP?

Answer Analysis

This is an encouraging response. The vast majority (85.7%) would prefer that we do not sell out to SAP. I can only assume that the (14.3%) that think we should are connected to SAP financially.

Question #3

Question #3 deals with the ownership of media entities.

Both Forbes and IDC (read details here Can You Trust IDC and Their Now China Based Owners?) were recently purchased by Chinese media entities.

China is four spots higher in press freedom from the bottom out of 180 countries than North Korea. And more than ever Forbes and IDC publications simply rent out their websites to the highest bidder.

Should Brightwork Research & Analysis look for a buyer in China or North Korea and get in on this highly profitable business?

Answer Analysis

This is an encouraging response. The vast majority (81.6%) would prefer that we do not sell out to a company based in a country that scores on the absolute bottom of the press freedom rankings. What are the (18.4%) thinking that this would be a good thing? Seriously, do these respondents really want their information controlled by North Korea or China? What a strange response.

Question #4

Question #4 deals with how accessing funding can impact accuracy.

If we sell out to SAP or a China-based entity, our accuracy will have to decline…but we will be able to use the funding to grow. Would a decline in accuracy be a problem for you as a reader?

Answer Analysis

Who answered “No” on this question? The respondent is “No” whether this would impact out accuracy. So these readers would trust our content as much as if we had not sold out to an entity based in North Korea or China? Even if the resource is pro-SAP, it is difficult to see how they would trust the content the same as before selling out.

Question #5

Question #5 is multiple choice and is a tongue in cheek question as to where to spend these newfound riches.

If Brightwork Research & Analysis were to sell out to SAP or to a China-based media company, what should we spend the money on?

Answer Analysis

This is a humor-based question. But the real stuff here is the write-in comments, which we have included in the table below.

Write in Comments

 
Write in Comment
Our Comment
1Please don't get sold)
Encouraging
2Hire a good copywriter to clean up the poor gramma
Ohh that hurts. Actually we check our grammar with a grammar checker -- so many people out there think they know more about grammatical rules then they actually do. We would point out there is no period at the end of this sentence.
3Just don't
Encouraging
4Do not sell. You are doing a great work, pointing out the real problems. I just saw and article about discrimination in job. Well this exactly is happening and immigration through H1B is larger problem than Mexico or Trade deficit with China.
Encouraging
5Scientology membership.
Yes, Scientology memberships are a great use for excess cash.
6Buy SAP shares
Hmmm...that is one option.
7Invest the money to research and investigate technological phony claims.
This is a curious one, because we already do this. And we would not be allowed to do this if we took money from SAP -- unless we only investigated non-SAP false claims.
8Create Brightwork-2 and continue like you did before the sellout
So this is using the money to start a fresh research entity.
9On me. I then probably don't need accurate information any longer...
Very good -- this is the only response where the respondent places themselves into this scenario.
10Do you really think you are worth buying by anyone let alone by a company like SAP? OMG. Pull your head out of that hole right away..
We did not say sell the company, we said sell out. Forrester, Forbes, IDC and Diginomica and others sell out to SAP, without being owned by SAP. This means they allow paid placements or simply rig study results as part of sponsored research. Our media popularity indicates we could in fact sell our articles to SAP and other entities.
11Pls stick to independent research
Encouraging
12expand your coverage
Right, with money from SAP we could cover other areas honestly, but no longer SAP of course.
13continue to give accurate analysis on sap products. if sap doesn't like it, ask sap to pay more.
Encouraging
14continue to give accurate analysis on sap products. if sap doesn't like it, ask sap to pay more.
This is sort of a pressure strategy.
15I don't want you to be sold but if you do, then buy a yacht and sip pinacolada in Carribean.
Encouraging, and considerate.
16Oracle Cloud Credits
This wins the award for the funniest. Everyone knows Oracle Cloud credits are useless.

Question #6

Question #6 is a question related to the concern the readers have regarding media sources being controlled.

Should industry sources control all media? Is there a benefit to having information providers that are independent?

Answer Analysis

If this is most readers, this response is scary. For (40.8%) of the respondents, it shows no concern for independent information.

Conclusion

We hope the participants and readers enjoyed this poll as much as we did. It provides a non-representative, but still interesting and amusing observation into what some people who filled out the poll think.

One issue with the poll, which we realized after we designed it, was that some individuals, for instance, those that work for large vendors, may want biased research as the company they work for is in the best position to buy off media and analyst firms. This brings up the question — if the information is false, but it helps you achieve your personal objectives, are you in favor of its publication? We may need a future poll which divides the respondents by those that benefit from false information, and those that are harmed by false information.

Search Our Other Paid Off IT Media Content

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

References

The Limited Capacity to Process Negative Information

Executive Summary

  • There are two sides of the problem in reporting negative information.
  • We cover the lesser-known restrictive ability of humans to tolerate negative information.

Introduction

We often cover the financial bias that exists in the IT space. This places the emphasis on the supply side of the equation. However, there is also the demand side. And readers show a very strong preference for positive or uplifting information over negative or critical information. This topic is of great interest to Brightwork Research & Analysis because we cover stories that other information providers in the space will not cover.

The VW Dieselgate Scandal

The topic of the VW scandal is just one of many examples of how the interest in topics that are negative tends to wane. That is the appetite for such stories is limited in the minds of the public. If we think back to the VW scandal, the response can be considered muted. Not to say that the story was not covered, but it did not seem to be passed between people anything like some positive story about a “green future.”

Not only did the VW story expose the automotive industry, but it revealed the dereliction of duty on the part of regulators who created a measurement system that was so lazy that it was easy to trick. You don’t have to be a mechanical engineer to realize that running a car on a spinning cylinder is not a real-life test. The team that caught the issue was not even part of the regulatory apparatus and had something like $70,000 in funding. This tiny investment and research performed by the University of West Virginia is what led to the correct measurements — and VW and other companies like Audi being caught. They were eventually confronted by the California Air Control Board, but essentially VW almost got away with it. 

Fake Recycling

I noted the same thing about the realization that the recycling industry has simply been sending its material to China, which China recently stopped taking. This was not recycling, but just moving the waste between countries. This demonstrates an overall pattern. When it comes to something uplifting, a story of how technology is going to solve a problem, many people want to discuss this.

However, when the complexities surface and the blowback and broken promises are laid bare, the percentage of the same group that wants to discuss drops quickly. They apparently have better things to do than look at reality.

If one looks at LinkedIn, the inspirational stories and “feel good” explanations get many likes. But the articles on the reality — of how much the reality is different from the promise, these shares are much less popular. This is confirmation bias. People are deselecting disturbing or non-inspirational data points.

What is Unspeakable?

It seems as if the worse the information is, the less it will be observed. This reminds me of the term “unspeakable.” I am not sure how common this word is outside of English — but what a ridiculous word. There are certain things that are true but are unspeakable. They cannot be spoken. Why would that be true? I have decided to place pictures of kittens in my articles at specific places. This is so people can feel good as they are reading the expose. VW scandal — then a picture of a kitten — the fact that the cars were marketed as ecological — then a picture of a kitten.

Look at these kittens. Aren’t they cute? Is the insertion of videos like this into critical media pieces necessary to increase readership? 

Conclusion

IT readers, like other readers, want to read uplifting and optimistic stories. Media entities that provide this coverage benefit in several ways.

  1. Positive and non-critical stories make the media entity more friendly to advertisers.
  2. Positive and non-critical stories are preferred by most readers.
  3. Positive and non-critical stories are cheaper to produce. Companies have large investments in marketing and PR which is pushing out a constant stream of false but positively spun information. This information is customized to be picked up by media entities. Media entities can declare that they performed their function because they checked with the source.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

References

Why SAP Resources Do Not Critique False SAP Sponsored Research

Executive Summary

  • SAP sponsors firms like IDC or Forrester to produce false research.
  • SAP resources, who claim to be data-driven, do not critique this research in public.

Introduction

As stated in the article IDC Takes Money to Publish SAP Provided Sample on S/4HANA, this is the pattern of sponsored research from SAP. Notice that the sample was rigged for Forrester when they were paid by SAP to minimize S/4HANA implementation costs based upon a sample of three implementations. Described in this link How Accurate Was Forrester’s TCO Research on HANA? The same trick was applied to the ASUG poll where the ASUG numbers were entirely out of line with all other numbers was described in the article, How Accurate Was ASUG on their S/4HANA Poll? 

SAP’s History with Sponsored Research

SAP has a long term history of feeding sponsored entities with non-representative samples. The entire intention of the sponsorship of the IDC research into S/4HANA was to make S/4HANA uptake look better than it is. When SAP or an SAP-sponsored entity quotes some analysis, that analysis will be distorted. 

Notice this explanation of how Hasso Plattner referred to 200 “peer reviewed” research papers that proved HANA supported the claims in his SAPPHIRE slide. None of these studies exist as we cover in the article How Accurate Was Hasso Plattner on the HANA Peer-Reviewed Publications? 

SAP Resources are Silent on False Research

IDC can publish this research, and they can be sure that it will not be critiqued and that it will mostly be reshared and repeated. All of the SAP consulting firms will support it, and IT media entities do not critique research. Furthermore, these IT media entities count SAP as a customer for advertising and paid placements, so they know to keep their mouths shut. IDC also owns IDG, which owns 8 of the top 20 media IT brands (CIO, ComputerWorld, etc..) — so they would certainly not critique it. This is in the minds of many the perfect end state. All major IT media and analyst entities remotely controlled by the largest software vendors and consulting firms. This is referred to as “Synergy” as we covered in Can you Trust IDC and Their China Based Owners? 

The evidence for my proposal can be found both in looking for articles that critique this study and on the comments that come on this article’s share. There will not be a single individual from an SAP friendly entity that will agree that the IDC research is rigged or otherwise looks suspicious. The most they will say is that it “could be better.” Watch the comments and see if I am correct.

This is also covered in the following quotation.

This reminds me of my article about critical thinking and questioning the motive of sources. There is an entire industry around paid advertorial reports and awards that are nothing more than paid advertisements.  – Jen Underwood

Critical Thinking Skills Are Little Desired in the IT Employment Market

We talk about the importance of teaching critical thinking, but my observation of every vendor and consulting company I ever worked for or with is that companies aggressively oppose critical thinking. What they want is people who will do exactly as they are told. When I performed research into topics, if it did not turn out as the entity desired, I was threatened that if I did not hide the results I would be removed. If the official line is that the moon is made of cheese, then this narrative must be repeated, and to not repeat it is to put one’s career at risk. As you know, we frequently discuss “math and science” education, but like IDC employers in the IT space want people who will falsify the math when they so desire. So there is very little market for honest mathematics or honest statistics.

I completely concur regarding critical thinking being unwelcome. I’ve experienced my fair share of attacks by cult-like vendor advocates in varied attempts to destroy and silence my fair, valid evaluations. With the tech consolidating and big tech dominating digital communication channels, shadow banning, censoring, etc., honest voices get drowned out.– Jen Underwood

Conclusion

The strategy deployed by SAP resources is to ignore and never publicly comment on obviously false research that is funded by SAP, except sometimes to try to e up with an excuse for the research. This is a type of non-observance, and it is also related to confirmation bias. SAP resources minimize the incorporation of the data point of the fake research item from their observation.

Search Our Other Paid Off IT Media Content

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

References

Which IT Media Information Sources are Controlled by SAP?

Executive Summary

  • SAP tightly controls many more IT media information sources than is generally understood.
  • We cover which are controlled by SAP.

Introduction

The IT media space is dominated by entities that do not declare their funding. They do not have any disclosure statements because they simply never bring up the topic. Readers often think they are reading real articles, when in fact they are reading paid placements or advertising motivated articles, or articles designed to help promote lead generation. TechTarget and ComputerWeekly and G2Crowd all work for vendors to collect customer information.

Listing Some of the Popular IT Media Entities and Their Relationship to SAP

 
Company
Coverage that Reinforces SAP Marketing?
Financially Independent from SAP?
1ComputerWeekly
Yes
No
2Forrester
Yes
No
3Diginomica
Yes
No
4ASUG
Yes
No
5CIO
Yes
No
6Gartner
Yes
No
7TechTarget
Yes
No
8InfoWeek
Yes
No
9G2Crowd
Yes
No
10Forbes
Yes
No

Serving Readers or 100% Industry Funding Entities?

As can be seen, none of these popular IT media entities provide unbiased information on SAP.

The intent of the websites is to hide the relationship to the actual funders. Readers think they are reading an article by the media entity that seems authoritative, but they are normally blind to the relationships behind the scenes.

Conclusion

To see how these businesses work, just review our article on IDG titled The Problem With IDG’s Media Conflict of Interests.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

Search Our Other Paid Off IT Media Content

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrester_Research

https://www.similarweb.com

How Does Brightwork’s Web Influence Compare with Other Sites?

Executive Summary

  • We decided to compare the statistics for our website versus the other entities in the space.
  • Find out how much we stacked up.

Introduction

This article takes the best-known entities in the space that cover the same area as Brightwork Research & Analysis.

Developing the Method of Comparison Between the Websites

There are a number of statistics that could be used, but we normally use two basic statistics when evaluating a website’s performance with readers.

  1. Number of Visitors: This is the number of people that visited the website. We often use page views, but the statistics website we use counts number of visitors.
  2. Average Time on the Site: This is the number of minutes that on average a visitor spends on the site.

The way we rate Brightwork’s performance is the Number of Visitors * Average Time on Site. This gives us a Total Minutes on Site. These statistics are compiled monthly by the statistics website we use, so it makes sense as the measurement interval as it is the data that is available. One could, of course, do a three-month average, which would give a more accurate value, as website volume and time on site goes up and down per month. For this reason, we took an average of three months for each of the other entities, but we used just one month for the Brightwork value. This is because we want to track our performance per month to see if we are going up or down and how this compares to the other information providers.

The Total Minutes on Site Per Website Per Month

Below y0u can see how Brightwork compares against what we consider information providers that cover a similar space.

This means that of these websites, Brightwork Research & Analysis (for May) had more than all of these sites combined. There were several other entities with websites including Mint Juras and Josh Greenbaum, however, their web traffic is so low that it is in effect not measurable.

Comparing Forrester’s Monthly Website Minutes

The picture changes a bit when Forrester is added to the mix.

Forrester, which is one of the three big IT analyst names (the others being IDC and Gartner).

We did not include IDC as they don’t cover the same topics, and Gartner is so large that it would dwarf any other of the entities, including IDC and Forrester.

Forrester ends up being twice in web influence as large as Brightwork Research & Analysis. This is just web influence, Forrester’s offline influence is far larger than Brightwork’s. Forrester has constant meetings with customers, phone conversations, etc.. These are interactions that are not captured as online statistics. However, Forrester distributes their research through their website, as can be seen in the following screenshot.

Viewing research online would be captured by online statistics. While a PDF is downloaded will also be counted by online statistics, if a customer opens the PDF from their computer after downloading it, that would not be counted.

  • Another interesting point is that Forrester also covers more areas than does Brightwork.
  • This is very clear by reviewing their material.
  • They show 62,165 items that can be searched, and when one searches for just SAP, we get the following result.

5,272/62,165 (the total items that can be searched) is 8.4%. Of our coverage, while we have never run the statistics, at least 50% must be SAP. 

Therefore, for the areas we cover (and this was surprising to us) Brightwork more likely has more web influence than Forrester. (and of course, Brightwork is entirely absent from many areas that Forrester covers)

All of this is amazing by itself as Forrester has 1,345 employees according to Wikipedia.

The Status Quo Nature of Material Published on the Websites

Brightwork stands apart from most of the other information providers on the list in that we challenge the status quo. Probably the main thing that Brightwork is known for is for challenging the largest authorities in the enterprise software space.

This led us to analyze which of the information providers on the list do this.

Type of Media Coverage

 
Website
Coverage that Reinforces the Status Quo ?
Financially Independent from Vendors?
1Brightwork Research & Analysis
No
Yes
2Forrester
Yes
No
3Diginomica
Yes
No
4ASUG
Yes
No
5Vinnie Mirchandani
Yes
No
6E3Zine
No
Yes
7Constellation Reseach
Yes
No
8House of Brick
No
Yes
9UpperEdge
No
Yes
10Third Stage Consulting
No
No
11Palisade Compliance
No
Yes

Conclusion

This is, of course, both interesting and encouraging for us.

Brightwork has proven something that had not been proven previously (at least for the time we have been analyzing IT media and IT analyst output), which is that there is a market for non-status quo information around enterprise software. Notice that all of the other non-status quo websites are significantly smaller in web influence. And this is unrelated to content quality. In our view, UpperEdge produces the best content on IT (and often SAP and Oracle) contract negotiation. But UpperEdge’s coverage is narrow — and this limits their readership. UpperEdge is not a research entity like Brightwork but publishes to gain interest in their contract and IT legal services.

IT media entities, consulting companies and IT analysts operate under the assumption that their readers can be easily tricked, and therefore they can write articles that provide them with often misleading information, and or information that leaves out areas of analysis that those that are friendly to the entities would not want to be published. This is the outcome every time industry sources are courted as customers for advertising or to support content. This is true in IT media, but also in other categories of media. The IT media space is dominated by extremely poor information. For example, AI has been massively oversold by vendors, consulting, IT media and IT analyst entities. There is only a very small amount of information published that questions the status quo. IT media entities like ComputerWorld has 4.5 million visitors per month. ComputerWorld is paid by vendors and consulting firms to publish information that both get their stories out, and provides them with information about readers that is collected from visitors.

There is no doubt that providing status quo coverage is profit maximizing. It allows that entity to raise money from vendors. But of course, in most cases, the status quo information is incorrect, precisely because it is controlled or at least influenced by industry sources.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

Search Our Other Paid Off IT Media Content

References

https://diginomica.com/asos-profit-collapse-highlights-the-importance-of-animal-print-skirts-as-well-as-working-tech/

https://diginomica.com/asos-and-ocado-why-warehouses-matter-in-an-e-commerce-retail-world/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrester_Research

https://www.similarweb.com

The Problem With IDG’s Media Conflict of Interests

Executive Summary

  • Media entities in IT have a great problem with conflicts interest.
  • IDG demonstrates these conflicts right on their website.

Introduction

We are careful to not have any conflicts of interest in our research. This means accepting no income from vendors or any entity that would influence our research output. This gives us a great interest in IDG’s business model.

IDG Marketing Services?

Under Marketing Services, IDG shows the following offering.

This means that IDG produces content that helps promote prospects to buy — at the behest to those entities that pay IDG.

This means that IDG’s content cannot be trusted, because they write (at least partially) on the basis of entities that pay them to help get sales.

Advertise with IDG

Under IDG’s advertising page, they list the following information. Here IDG lists their major IT media brands like CIO, Computerworld, etc… These are brands through which IDG publishes. 

It is difficult to see how IDG can write unbiased articles, influence key aspects of buying decisions, and also partner with tech marketers.

IDG is not just writing compromised content that is written for vendors but read by sellers. 

IDG is also providing a marketing automation application that uses data that is taken from readers with other data from as they say “third-party applications.”

This makes us suspicious of the data that IDG collects with cookies. So we performed a test.

Brightwork Research Versus IDG’s ComputerWorld and CIO Tracking

We decided to test how many individual tracking items are used on our website versus IDG’s ComputerWorld and CIO.

The following is the number trackers that were blocked by our tracking blocking browser. One is Google, which is not related to what the site does.

The second is Pingdom, which is a service we use that tells us where the visitor is from, how long the website takes to load, and basic performance characteristics. We are unaware of what the other 4 trackers are. But we only use Pingdom and we use it internally and do not sell any information about visitors to customers.

In fact, we never thought of doing this.

This is the number of trackers involved when one goes to the ComputerWorld site. Twenty-eight trackers is quite a few trackers. 

CIO, another IDG publication, has even more trackers, at thirty-one separate trackers. 

These trackers are initiated every time a web page from CIO or ComputerWorld is loaded into a browser.

ESPN’s Tracking

As a point of comparison, we checked the number of trackers to the ESPN sports site.

Interesting. Even a sports site can have 13 separate trackers.

The Wall Street Journal’s Tracking

The Wall Street Journal had only 8 trackers, which is not much more than on our own website, where we only know of one active tracking (Pingdom). This seems to imply that the Wall Street Journal is not aggressively tracking its visitors. First, the Wall Street Journal relies on both subscriptions and on advertizing. 

The Scale of IDG’s Reader Tracking

ComputerWorld averages 4.3 million visitors per month. CIO averages two million visitors per month.

Furthermore, IDG owns 6 other publications in the enterprise software space with a monthly visitor number of roughly 12 million. And when IDG provides information to vendors, they are not going to provide it for just one publication. Instead, it is aggregated for all the publications that are related to one another. That is a lot of information that is being sold to vendors and consulting firms.

  • This means that IDG is tracking all website visitors and is making a great effort to do so.
  • A big part of its business model is selling this information to industry sources.
  • IDG has every incentive to be extremely invasive with its site visitors, and little incentive to not collect as much data as they can from visitors.

Conclusion

IDG is a corrupt entity that is essentially selling out the interests of visitors. They not only have partnerships and advertising that influences the media output, but they serve as a marketing front end for IDG’s customers that are invading the privacy of their visitors.

The Lack of Disclosure

There is nowhere on any of IDG’s websites that express how the websites actually function, or the massive conflicts of interest that control IDG. The place to find this information is IDG.com, which is a site focused on selling to companies and which very few individuals ever visit. They publish no articles at that URL so there is no reason for any reader of ComputerWorld or CIO or other to visit the site.

IDG only tells the truth of how they operate to those they are trying to sell their services to, and not to its readers.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

Search Our Other Paid Off IT Media Content

References

*https://privacy.net/stop-cookies-tracking/

Categories IDG

How Bob Evans Enables PR Placements as Real Looking Articles for SAP

Executive Summary

  • Bob Evans runs a PR firm that publishes fake articles for SAP, Oracle and IBM.
  • In this article, we describe how he seeds articles into various media sites to make them appear authentic.

Introduction

Bob Evans has published several articles in cloudwars.co that promoted the benefits of the Qualtrics acquisition. We review what Bob Evans does and how he makes money to distribute press releases.

Bob Evans and Evans Strategic Communication

Bob Evans runs a PR firm. PR means that you are open for business to influence media for money. PR firms don’t care what is true. They push any narrative they are paid to push. For instance, Harvey Weinstein had many of the biggest PR firms on the Weinstein Company payroll, and they are the dirtiest underbelly of the media system.

Qualtrics was a ridiculously overpriced acquisition, which we covered in this article Does SAP’s Qualtrics Acquisition Make Any Sense? However, since its acquisition, Bill McDermott has faced criticism because the price was so illogical. This seems like almost a directly Bill McDermott motivated placement.

The way it works is as follows.

  1. SAP told Bob Evans what they wanted the article to say. When you work with any marketing department, they tell either tell you what to write or they change your material until it is exactly what they want it to say.
  2. Bob Evans PR firm Evans Strategic Communications then paid to place the article in cloudwars.co. This would have cost very little as cloudwars.co has a small site volume. Bob Evans’ favorite distribution point for PR releases is Forbes, which will allow you to publish anything for money, particularly since they were purchased by a China-based company in 2017. We analyzed another paid placement by Bob Evans in this article http://bit.ly/2O6RVHv. This article was completely false from top to bottom. But again, you don’t hire a PR firm to say things that are true, PR firms are in the disinformation business. Apparently, the budget was not there for a Forbes placement this time.
  3. The media source, Forbes or Cloudwars then violates the trust of their readers by not declaring that they were paid to publish the placement.
  4. Then SAP can refer to this article as evidence that “the market is acknowledging SAP’s strategy with Qualtrics.” SAP has routinely referred to a Forrester study that lauded SAP’s translytical database” but again, without mentioning that SAP paid Forrester to write that study. http://bit.ly/2NR9Jr3 And SAP quoted that study in a quarterly call to Wall Street using it as evidence of their progress.

Notice the primary thrust of the article, that Qualtrics will eventually be considered a high-value acquisition. This is precisely what McDermott needs the marketplace to think because the general impression is that SAP completely overpaid.

What is Cloudwars?

I started reading Cloudwars, which I had never heard of. I noticed three sort of over the top pro-SAP/Qualtrics acquisition articles all written by Bob Evans. Then I noticed other articles clearly written for Microsoft. At the bottom of the site, it states “Evans Strategic Communications.” So this is just the website for the PR firm. There is no go-between. Vendors pay the PR firm and the PR firms publish the articles on this site called Cloudwars. Then need to get these same articles published on sites with reach, which is where Forbes or other high volume sites come into play.

Conclusion

The issue is that if you want to make money in media, you have almost no choice but to sell your media presence to industry sources. This is what in part allows the largest entities to rig the system in their favor drastically reducing the competitiveness of the overall market. Only a very few media sources in IT have been able to resist this model.

References

These are the articles at Cloudwars. They are all information written by SAP and released through Evans Strategic Communications that poses as independent articles.

*https://cloudwars.co/x4-summit-sap-qualtrics-enterprise-software/

*https://cloudwars.co/sap-ceo-qualtrics-growth-opportunity/

*https://cloudwars.co/sap-stunning-transformation-qualtrics/

What is Corruption in an IT Media Space Controlled by Vendors?

Executive Summary

  • IT media is now nearly entirely funded by industry sources.
  • What does this mean for the interests of readers and reporting accuracy?

Introduction

The history of media globally is quite established on this topic. The media output will reflect the interests of its income sources. In the era when cancer was still not broadly known to be caused by smoking, it was the publications that did not take tobacco advertising that reported the emerging research about the link. We found the following quote interesting.

“I do not believe that IT media is so corrupt you seem to think. I think it is more a matter of having very little resources, which makes them dependent on “news” that are provided by PR firms (which in turn are paid by IT vendors). As long as people expect journalism to be free they get journalism that someone else has paid for. If we want unbiased journalism we as readers have to pay for it. “

This quotation used the term corruption — which is interesting. Because any media entity can now make the argument that they can only stay in business by reflecting the interests of their funders — which is industry sources. One cannot find a significant IT media source that is not almost entirely funded by industry.. IDG publications, TechTarget, the model is the same at each of them. The application rating entities like G2Crowd and GetApps work the same way. They exist only because they can provide lead gen to vendors.

Getting Advertising and Paid Placements

Any article that makes any funding source look bad is bad for business and reduces the leverage of the entity during advertising and paid placement negotiations. So the media output increasingly takes on a fantasyland aspect, that is most appealing to marketing departments of vendors.

Conclusion

In this environment, the term corruption becomes almost a perplexing term. As soon as I read it, my brain froze up, because I am not even sure what it means in the context of a 100% industry funded environment. Any media entity that reflects the interests of the readers cannot stay in business. There are areas of coverage that pay, like new product announcements, and those that don’t like reporting on project realities.

Search Our Other Paid Off IT Media Content

References

How S/4HANA Cost Overruns and Failures are Suppressed

Executive Summary

  • SAP and the IT media have aggressively pushed S/4HANA.
  • Now that unflattering information is streaming in about S/4HANA, IT media is suppressing this information.

Introduction

S/4HANA has seen an aggressive promotion in the IT media, which have mostly just repeated what SAP said about the application. The IT media did really nothing to warn customers or to even explain very basic peculiar aspects of S/4HANA. One example of an issue that seems like it should have been covered, but what we did not see covered was that it made little sense to charge current ECC customers that were paying support for ECC, were we covered in the article Why S/4HANA Should be Free.

After asking almost no questions about S/4HANA and providing close to no insight to the market, the IT media has a second act.

Now we are seeing the second type of compliance on the part of IT media to SAP, which is how problems with S/4HANA are being reported.

Cost Overruns at Schweizer or Swiss Post with S/4HANA

S/4HANA is seeing high-cost overruns on projects all over the world. Notice the following quotation from the latest project overrun.

“HWF 2021 is about a large-scale centralization. The Board of Directors has spoken a total budget of 83 million francs, as ‘Inside Paradeplatz’ reported and the Post now confirms. “However, we are checking whether this should be increased because new insights and additional requirements have occurred in the course of the project – the decision has not been made yet”, writes Dérobert Fellay upon our request.”

Swiss Post received an original estimate of 6.7 million Swiss Francs (which is 1:1 to the USD), but this was just for the implementation. Something else to note, Inside IT of Switzerland did not even list the increase in the budget. The initial budget was listed in a 2017 article. Here is a quote from that article.

“SAP Switzerland has secured a four-year “estimated compensation” contract totaling just under 6.7 million Swiss francs to make the ERP systems fit for the post-2025 period.”

But now let us compare this to reporting in IT Zoom, a German publication.

First this quote from Deloitte in IT Zoom.

“The new software “in its simplicity represents a powerful and highly configurable suite of software solutions that can make business easier – thus creating clarity and generating the value that organizations desire.” So much for the promise of the consultants.”

This is not true. S/4HANA is more complex in its implementation than ECC and is not simpler.

Now this quote.

“CHF 2.8 million for data migration. This may sound expensive for a data migration, but the price seems plausible due to the high complexity and the technical and legal peculiarities: The migration of the current and historical data of the various R / 3 systems of Swiss Post into the central S / 4 Hana system must be carried out during the year (first planned system replacement as of July 2019) at the same time as the introduction of the new general ledger (“General Ledger”, “new GL”) in a single 48-hour step.”

This contradicts the earlier statement by Deloitte about the S/4HANA being simpler. The fact is that data migration for ECC to S/4AHANA will be a major complexity in S/4HANA migrations. This is one of the first estimates we have of the data migration for S/4HANA. However, the code remediation will be even higher.

“”However, we are checking whether this should be increased because new insights and additional requirements have occurred in the course of the project – the decision has not been made yet”, writes Dérobert Fellay upon our request.

“It’s about more than just a change of system or an IT project: it’s about harmonizing not only the systems but also the processes and SAP-related roles and thus working more efficiently over the long term.””

The fun has just begun for Swiss Post. If the previous implementation of S/4HANA is any measure, the Swiss taxpayer can expect a great increase over the 83 million Swiss franc number. Most likely the Swiss Post has no independent entity giving them guidance and is relying upon a large system implementer that is simply parroting whatever SAP says.  

83 Million is Just the Starting Point with Swiss Post, a Project Headed for Serious Cost Overruns

That is interesting, so the 83 million Swiss francs will not be the final number. We have S/4HANA projects (which include other applications aside from S/4HANA) with costs in the 500 million Euro level — that have failed, $937 Swiss franc with the Swiss Government (project Superb23), etc..

“The project is now to swallow 930 million francs (more than 815 million euros), which is estimated at about 40 percent more than nine months ago. There are no denials, only relativizations – the costs mentioned are merely “rough estimates”. Many politicians already see a bottomless pit in Superb23 ​​because the project planners have lost a lot of trust. In addition, Switzerland has had bad experiences with large IT projects: the Tax Administration (ESTV) swallowed around 120 million francs until it was stopped in 2012. And the successor project Fiscal-IT, which has meanwhile been successfully completed, also cost just under 120 million francs instead of the planned 85 million.” – IT Zoom

And yet Forrester published an SAP funded study where SAP provided the entire sample that showed an average implementation cost of $.87 million. We critiqued in the article How to Understand Forrester’s Fake S/4HANA TCO Study. Yet no SAP resources critiqued this study.

This is where the brain detached critical thinking level and financial bias is in the SAP community.

Why is there was no coverage of the Swiss Post implementation in any English speaking media? Does the fact that the implementation planning is occurring in a non-English speaking country mean that the project is not of interest to those that do not speak German — because I do not speak German, and I would like to know. In fact, you cannot find this article unless you type in specific German words into Google. After you the article, you can easily translate it with Google Translate, but you can’t translate it until you find it, and that means using German words.

Pedro Rodriques is not a member of the IT media. He is an independent Microsoft Dynamics consultant. Why is Pedro breaking stories that the US-based and China-based (the IDC publications are owned by a China company as is Forbes) IT media is not covering?

The issue appears to be not that there was a rise from 6.7 million to 83 million, but that the project 83 million Swiss franc was the cost earmarked for the implementation and the budget will have to be increased.

All the while Swiss Post is receiving false information from Deloitte as to what the implementation will cost. How do we know the information is false. Well, first its Deloitte, but then second, their quotations illustrate that they are simply repeating SAP marketing approved talking points to Swiss Post, as they always do. Why is anyone in Swiss Post listening to Deloitte? Deloitte will underestimate the cost, and change order Swiss Post after the project is deep into the project and Swiss Post is dependent upon Deloitte. Consulting companies love government clients as it is well known they are easy to rip off.

Here is a page from IT Inside.

Notice the advertisement from Cognizant — a major SAP implementer. Let us see the IT Inside ad page.

IT Inside is certainly looking for advertisers. Could the need to advertisers mean that unflattering information from SAP projects is de-emphasized?  

The Backdrop of Application and Database Implementation

The first questions we had when we were told of this was the reasons for HANA’s removal. First, it is very uncommon for a recently implemented system to be removed. HANA did not have much of any sales until 2013. Implementations follow sales, so the majority of HANA implementations are by our internal from 2.5 years ago until now. When companies decide to purchase software, many people are brought in and have every incentive to make the implementation seem as good as possible. As an SAP consultant, I have often gone into troubleshooting SAP systems. The one thing you can’t point out is that the decision makers made an error in their selection. The decision makers in the IT organization can never be held accountable for errors in judgment.

Users can be blamed, SAP can be blamed somewhat, but one has to be careful there because eventually, that comes back as an indictment of the IT organization.

Therefore, software being removed within just a few years after being implemented means something very wrong would have to have occurred.

The Reasons why HANA is Being Removed

In inquiring, these are the answers that we found. These quotes are from people with a front row seat to these HANA removals.

Cost Versus Performance & TCO

“HANA has proved to be very expensive; customers are having to constantly patch HANA.”

We covered this topic in the article by Forrester and the TCO of HANA.

Lacking Functionality

“Many of the core functions don’t work as advertised.”

We covered this in several articles such as How Enlarged are the HANA Implementation Numbers?

Indirect Access Liability

“Clients are being stung by indirect access when they mashup data from 3rd party sources, and then action the insights.
There is now a credible set of solutions other than SAP/Oracle, you have a powerful cocktail to move.

Other issues are concerns around SAP forcing customers to a proprietary Database under the guise of “HANA is best” They see through the BS.”

This has taken a while, but it is finally happening. Brightwork has been on the forefront of pointing out these issues for some time. We cover the implications to indirect access for HANA in the article The HANA Police.

Integration Problems with HANA

“The other big driver is integration, massively so. Clients are tired of paying 2 to 4 times the Capex cost for Ariba, on integration.(emphasis added) So they pay 500k on Ariba and end up paying 1-2 million trying to get the integration to work.”

This is the problem with the lack of integration. SAP seems to have problems all over the place concerning integrating anything that is new.

Lies About the Cloud

“Customers are upset that these products acquired are not running natively on HANA. SAP tries to tell them it does in the cloud, only to find out the software is sitting on a VM on a normal server somewhere.”

Right, and you can only get away with that for so long.

Conclusion

The IT media has been promoting S/4HANA like crazy since S/4HANA first came out, with paid placements and advertising driving IT media entities to cover S/4HANA with aplomb and little critical thinking. However, when the shortcomings stream in, all of a sudden the coverage becomes quite abbreviated. UnderArmour, the Swiss Government (with a massive increase in the initial budget for the implementation), Haribo and Lidl have had setbacks or failures. But only the Lidl implementation has much information come out about it, and even Lidl is highly censored. The false information streaming into Swiss Post is going to lead to considerable overruns. All of this, and the likelihood of the S/4HANA implementation even being successful is low.

We predicted the problems with S/4HANA since before our extensive study into S/4HANA implementations but were told repeatedly and aggressively debated by pro-SAP resources and SAP entities that ride the SAP money train that there was nothing to worry about. We were told that our many hundreds of pages of research into S/4HANA showing its immaturity did not matter. Now with every S/4HANA problematic implementation, one has to try to find details, because so few are presented in the IT media, which appears to be remotely controlled by, and is for all intents and purposes a marketing arm for SAP. This marketing arm not only controls the information on the front end, but also controls and suppresses information on the back end. This means the only way we will find the reality of a major S/4HANA failure is through the filing of a lawsuit, which is when it falls into the public domain.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

Search Our Other SAP S/4HANA Implementation Failure Content

References

https://www.inside-it.ch/articles/47313

https://www.inside-it.ch/articles/53729

https://www.it-zoom.de/dv-dialog/e/sap-hana-umstellung-teurer-als-geplant-22140/

https://www.it-zoom.de/dv-dialog/e/drohendes-sap-fiasko-in-der-schweiz-21959/

Can You Trust IDC and Their Now China Based Owners?

Executive Summary

  • IDC is the largest enterprise software market research firms.
  • This article explains a problematic and mostly hidden issue with IDC’s ownership.

Introduction

There are not many market research firms in enterprise software. IDC or International Data Corporation is one of these.

IDC has roughly five thousand of employees, and goes back to 1964.

The history of IDC is interesting as the following quote highlights.

By its third year, the company had an income of $154,996. A modest net profit of $2,961. McGovern was considering liquidating the company when he hit on the idea of launching Computerworld in 1967, which was a continuation of the monthly newsletter, published weekly instead of monthly, in a different format. With advertising, which became a cornerstone of IDG’s subsequent publishing arm– Wikipedia

This means that ComputerWorld is what allowed IDC to prosper and to eventually get into performing IT research.

Brightwork has routinely critiqued IDG, which is the sister firm to IDC for their articles published in the major IT media outlets, where IDG owns around 8 of the top 20 IT media outlets.

While I have not read many IDC reports, the ones I have read have been very corporate speak with any edges rounded off. However, something happened in 2017 which made the situation for IDC considerably worse and we think should give the customers of IDC concern.

The Acquisition of IDC by Oceanwide Holdings Group

In 2017, IDC was acquired by a China-based company named Oceanwide Holdings Group, a company that has no real media or research experience and is best known for being heavy into construction. The website for OHG is quite strange.

It is difficult to consider how ridiculous this company’s web page is and the text on this webpage.

“China Oceanwide Holdings Group was founded in 1985 by Mr. Lu Zhiqiang, the founder, legal representative, Communist Party secretary, and chairman of the group, as well as a member of the standing committee of the 12th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, vice president of the China Non-governmental Chamber of Commerce, deputy chairman of the Oceanwide Foundation,deputy chairman of the China Minsheng Banking, and a member of the board of trustees of Fudan University, etc.”

So let’s get this straight. A major IT research and publication firm based in the US is owned by a company connected to the Chinese Communist Party? Does that sound like an acquisition that should have been approved? And the fact that China Oceanwide Holdings Group is concentrated in Chinese construction is another problem as the industry is known as extremely corrupt. Chinese buildings fall over on the regular in China taking the inhabitants with them…..but due to the China government’s tight control over the Chinese media, these construction failures are censored. 

Let us see where China rates on press freedom.

China Press Freedom

So, according to Reporters Without Borders, China ranks as the fifth least press free country in the world.

Here is the detail.

“More than 50 journalists and bloggers are currently detained in conditions that pose a threat to their lives. Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel peace laureate and winner of the RSF Press Freedom Prize, and Yang Tongyan, a dissident blogger, both died in 2017 from cancers that were left untreated while they were detained. Under tougher Internet regulations, members of the public can now be jailed for the comments on a news item that they post on a social network or messaging service or even just for sharing content. ” – Reporters Without Borders

Does that sound like the type of place that I want controlling an entity that performs research or published articles?

China….A Whole 4 Spots Higher Than North Korea!

All of this brings up an interesting question. North Korea is widely derided for their state controlled media, and how Kim Jong Un’s regime has total media control. The following quote is instructive.

“All North Korean journalists are members of the Workers’ Party. Candidates for journalism school must not only prove themselves ideologically clean but also come from politically reliable families. Journalists who do not follow the strict laws face punishment in the form of hard labour or imprisonment, even for the smallest typing errors.

Approximately 90% of airtime on international news broadcasts in North Korea is propaganda spent describing the publication of works by Kim Jong-il and showing various study groups in foreign countries, in an effort to allegedly mislead the North Korean public as to the outside world’s perceptions of the country. When Kim Jong-il visited Russia in August 2001, official DPRK media reported Russians as being “awestruck” by the encounter, revering Kim Jong-il’s ability to “stop the rain and make the sun come out”.” – Wikipedia

So North Korea is a farce and their media can’t be trusted. However, China scores only 4 slots above them out of 180 countries.

A natural question arises. If a North Korean company had made a bid for IDC, would it have been accepted? Are we happy having media and research that influences US and European audiences based in China or North Korea? How can this not eventually have a negative consequence for the entities that are purchased by China-based companies? Doesn’t this undermine the press freedoms in the US and Europe? 

This is the website for China Oceanwide Holdings. What kind of ridiculous company is this? It looks like it was put together by a high school, and this is the company owns IDC? Why doesn’t IDC promote the fact that they are owned by a firm based in a country with zero freedom of speech laws or history? That might be a selling point for their research and for proud publications like ComputerWorld.  

Do We Have Precedents for China Based Companies Owning Media Entities?

Yes, we do have a precedent. A very good one in fact. 

Forbes was purchased by Integrated Whale Media Investments in 2014. And while Forbes is probably more popular than ever, the quality of Forbes has declined now pays far fewer writers and allows Oracle employees to write unedited puff pieces and allows PR firms to Bob Evans to place articles, in addition to more paid placements from SAP, etc.. In our review of Forbes articles on enterprise software (such as this one), they routinely receive scores of from 1 to 2.5 out of 10 for accuracy. SAP and Oracle can get anything they like placed in Forbes, and Forbes couldn’t care less about whether anything they publish is actually true.

So how is Forbes doing so well? By maximizing the charges to industry sources, dropping standards and selling out the interests of its readers.

And there is simply no possible way that a media entity or research entity being acquired by a company in a country that has no press freedom leads to a good outcome. This shows how asleep at the wheel the FCC is that they would even contemplate much less allow these acquisitions.

How About Some Corruption?

There is not China-based company of any size that is not corrupt. This is the Chinese economic system. And it is little surprise to find that China Oceanwide Holdings is corrupt. And they are currently embroiled in a corruption scandal in Los Angeles along with three other Chinese construction firms.

“The delay in construction for Oceanwide Plaza was reported less than two weeks after news accounts revealed that Oceanwide had been linked to a corruption scandal involving Chinese developers and Los Angeles city officials.

China Oceanwide Holdings, along with Shanghai’s Greenland Group, Shenzhen Hazens, and Shenzhen New World Group were all named in a search warrant filed by the FBI and approved in US federal court last November, seeking access to email accounts belonging to Ray Chan, the former head of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety under Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The warrant asks Google to give the FBI access to Chan’s personal Gmail account to look for evidence of violations of federal law with regard to bribery and kickbacks, deprivation of honest services, extortion and money laundering, among other potential crimes..(emphasis added).”

It looks like China Oceanwide Holdings will be very comfortable in the IT media and research space, where kickbacks and bribes (ummmm, excuse me….undeclared paid placements) are quite common. However, extortion, money laundering isn’t yet very common — but who knows, maybe it will be in the future as the very best of corruption from a Chinese construction company is brought to IDC.

Conclusion

We stopped paying attention to IDG publications a while ago, and frequently critique their accuracy. IDC is part of the same acquisition and the acquisition by a China-based company is a kill shot to any media or research entity. If IDC were honest they would advertise that they are now owned by a China-based company and will be following the media and research standards of China, not the US.

Search Our Other Paid Off IT Media Content

References

https://www.mingtiandi.com/real-estate/outbound-investment/china-oceanwide-halts-los-angeles-project/

https://rsf.org/en/ranking

https://www.mingtiandi.com/real-estate/outbound-investment/greenland-group-oceanwide-fbi/

https://laist.com/2019/01/14/fbi_city_hall_corruption_huizar.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_of_North_Korea

https://www.recode.net/2014/7/18/11628980/forbes-sells-to-hong-kong-investment-group

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbespr/2014/07/18/forbes-media-agrees-to-sell-majority-stake-to-a-group-of-international-investors-to-accelerate-the-companys-global-growth/#47ca27a6ce96

Categories IDC