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.

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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.

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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

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.

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References