SAP and Qualtrics CEOs Making Repeatedly False Statements

Executive Summary

  • SAP produced the following video where both the CEO of SAP and Qualtrics make numerous false statements.
  • We analyze this video for accuracy.


The inaccuracies come fast and furious in this video. Let us review each statement made for accuracy.

The Video

SAP Marketing Fact Check

Bill McDermott’s First Quote

This is an honor to team up with Ryan Smith, a great CEO, and an inspirational leader.

Qualtrics has been a hyper-aggressive sales organization that is strongly based upon a culture of fear, which is why Qualtrics normally oversells its product. I am not able to find references to Ryan Smith being inspirational.

Ryan Smith’s First Quote

This is a once in a generation opportunity. We will change the whole face of enterprise technology with this combination.

This seems to reflect the opportunity to combined Qualtrics and SAP. But there was no need to have SAP acquire Qualtrics to accomplish this. Qualtrics surveys are taken from the web — they don’t have anything to do with SAP. You can create a survey that will be on any topic.

Bill McDermott’s Second Quote

SAP is the fastest growing cloud company in the large scale business software industry. Qualtrics is the fastest growing business software company in the experience management space. If you combine those two forces you have a juggernaut of cloud growth.

SAP is not only not the fastest growing cloud company in the large scale business software industry, it has very little cloud growth — unless you cloud acquisitions, which tend to shrink after acquired by SAP. McDermott is clearly including acquisitions, but even still — it would be difficult to come anywhere near either AWS or Azure’s growth.

As for the second part of the quote — it is unclear why buying Qualtrics through SAP is better than just using Qualtrics, or in fact, using some other survey software totally unrelated to Qualtrics.

Ryan Smith’s Second Quote

There are two types of data. There is operational data, which is telling you what is going on and what just happened. These are your analytics, these are you CRM product, this is your HCM product. Then you have experience data which allows us to get human sentiment in the moment. To understand the why. How someone feels. SAP owns the operation systems from end to end. We own the experience systems from end to end. The ability to combine those and have one single view will transform the way we even think about CRM as we know it.

This is apparently the talking point of the overall video, however, it is unclear why this is true.

  1. There is not some well-known segmentation between survey data and “operational” data.
  2. Analytics are not simply performed on “operational data.” Qualtrics itself has an analytics dashboard on its surveys. Experience data (that is just survey data) is not any different than CRM or HCM data. It is simply the data recorded by that system. The “whys” are asked all the time in all of the different systems. Survey data does not have a monopoly on the question of why.
  3. SAP does not own operation systems end to end. SAP works along with legacy systems and third-party systems. There is no customer I have ever seen that only uses SAP. This is a complete myth that is a received opinion by Ryan Smith who has been spending too much time listening to SAP resources.
  4. Survey data and “operational” data does not need to be combined. It is, for instance, difficult to combine inventory records with a survey on what a customer thought about the item. This is one of several falsehoods all contained in a very small number of sentences.

Bill McDermott’s Third Quote

We want to be the jet fuel that propels them to 193 countries with the biggest business software sales go to market force in the world. In 25 industries, small, medium and large alike. Every customer should know that X data and O data is together now.

Yes, Bill McDermott would like to sell Qualtrics, as they just purchased Qualtrics. SAP has a large sales force, but it is not the biggest. Oracle’s is certainly bigger. And there might be others like Microsoft that are bigger still.

The second statement is pure nonsense. “Operational” data and survey data is not any more “together” than before the acquisition.

Ryan Smith’s Third Quote

We are fired up. Today is a new beginning and with all of the resources from SAP we are super excited for that.

Ryan Smith and his family pulled $3 billion out of the acquisition, so with such amazing wealth, they are no doubt incredibly excited. Anyone who had equity is super excited. But many Qualtrics employees that did not have equity and now have to deal with SAP management and increased bureaucracy probably would have preferred to stay independent.

Bill McDermott’s Fourth Quote

And the loyalty effect is what the experience management of Qualtrics and the operational data of SAP drive. So X data, experience, O data, what is going on in the operations. Put that together and you can inspire everyone in the company to take care of everyone outside of the company.

This seems to be a repeat of what Ryan Smith said previously. We are entirely unconvinced that this X data and O data dichotomy is anything at all.

Ryan Smith’s Fourth Quote

I could not be more excited to work with Bill McDermott and all of the SAP family. The Qualtrics family is exceptional and we are going to do something legendary.

We can guarantee that it won’t be legendary. None of SAP’s acquisitions are much more than disappointing. But it is unclear if Ryan Smith will even stick around. Billionaires tend to like to work for themselves. Again, there is really nothing going on with this acquisition. There is no strategic overlap between these two vendors, and Qualtrics is a small company that will have a negligible on the SAP monster.


This video receives a 0 out of 10 for accuracy.

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.

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