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 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/

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.

The Necessity of Fact Checking

We ask a question that anyone working in enterprise software should ask.

Should decisions be made based on sales information from 100% financially biased parties like consulting firms, IT analysts, and vendors to companies that do not specialize in fact-checking?

If the answer is “No,” then perhaps there should be a change to the present approach to IT decision making.

In a market where inaccurate information is commonplace, our conclusion from our research is that software project problems and failures correlate to a lack of fact checking of the claims made by vendors and consulting firms. If you are worried that you don’t have the real story from your current sources, we offer the solution.

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/