Does Hiring Large SAP Consulting as Work as Political Insurance?

Executive Summary

  • A primary reason for hiring the major SAP consulting firms is for political insurance.
  • This means that if the project does poorly, that the decision makers can say they went with a major brand.

Introduction

Large SAP consulting companies have a long history of ripping off their clients. However, they continue to be used. Why? Well, one hypothesis is that the large consulting companies provide political cover for decision makers. Even though Deloitte or Accenture or WiPro or Cognizant or another SAP consulting firm constantly take advantage of their clients, they are at the very least “major brands.” Looked at this way, they can be seen as political insurance.

Paying to Get Robbed?

I recall a project where IBM was not getting what it wanted and they declared

“We cannot guarantee the success of the project if XYZ happens.”

I remember thinking, how does IBM guarantee the success of anything? You pay IBM and they support a project. There is no guarantee.

The risk is with the client. All that IBM does is bill the customer, there is no “guarantee” provided by any consulting firm.

How SAP Consulting Firms Increase Project Risk

These firms greatly increase the risk of failure of projects. Here is why:

  • The Consistently Poor Quality of Product Information Emanating from SAP Consulting Firms: The information they provide is of such self-serving and inaccurate quality. If you cannot find out what is true from the SI, then you are destined to implement incorrectly.
  • The Inability to Contradict SAP: The SAP consulting firms compete with each other to gain the approval of SAP. They will agree with SAP on anything they say, creating a fake impression of an independent third party.
  • Intense Hierarchy: No one but the top people on a project have any ability to determine what information will be released to a customer. All of the technical resources are entirely subordinate to the senior members, who are in turn subordinate to the most senior members within the consulting firms where policy is made.

Therefore the waste is worse than just their billing rate, they push companies to implement the worst systems (the most immature, worst fit for the requirements — the ones that the consulting firm specializes in billing for) and often in the worst way for their clients.

It is similar to paying robbers to come into your house to rob you. Typically you can just get robbed for free.

Given Their Track Record, Why Do the Major SAP Consulting Firms Continue to Sell Work?

As observed by Ahmed Azmi.

“Customers really don’t have better options unless they’re willing and capable of doing the work themselves. Many don’t have that ability in house. It’s much easier to outsource everything to an SI and take what they can get. If the system under-delivers, they must downplay the problems because they are part of the project. Customers really don’t have better options unless they’re willing and capable of doing the work themselves. Many don’t have that ability in house. It’s much easier to outsource everything to an SI and take what they can get. If the system under-delivers, they must downplay the problems because they are part of the project.”

Where Does Competition Occur in SAP Consulting?

The description laid out in the previous comment essentially proposes the SAP consulting firms as being selected primarily for appearances (insurance, lack of personal responsibility in selecting a “brand” etc..).

This means that the various consulting firms “compete” but only within the context of agreeing with whatever SAP says. Therefore customers can choose from what amounts to the same rigged advice from any of the companies.

  • The consulting firms do not complete on which can implement in fact, because the implementation history of each is unknown.
  • SAP recommends companies that follow SAP’s directives, always placing client interests at the bottom of the trough.

Those that do what SAP says, get more business. In this sense the more you lie for SAP, the more business you get. In fact, in our research into the media output of SAP consulting firms, we find almost no variance between the information published by any of them. This would not be such a terrible thing, but the issue is that so much of the published information is false. That means that a wide variety of consulting entities are publishing the same false information……because it comes centrally from SAP.

Therefore, the competition is greatly based upon who can lie better for SAP.

Conclusion

The competition between the SAP consulting firms is within a very narrow context, and mostly not what is good for customers. If one chooses Deloitte or Accenture there is little practical difference in the quality of information that the customer will receive.

The political insurance that decision makers obtain from selecting one of the major SAP consulting firms comes at an enormous cost, and not only greatly increases the costs of implementation, but also increases the risk of failure. Therefore, while perhaps functional for the decision maker, it is dysfunctional for the companies that end up paying the consulting bill.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

SAP Contact Form

  • Questions About This Area?

    The software space is controlled by vendors, consulting firms and IT analysts who often provide self-serving and incorrect advice at the top rates.

    • We have a better track record of being correct than any of the well-known brands.
    • If this type of accuracy interests you, tell us your question below.

References

Enterprise Software Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Rethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Introducing Brightwork’s Deloitte Coupon for Terrible SAP Advice

Executive Summary

  • The SAP consulting companies charge top rates, but also offer the worst possible advice.
  • With the Brightwork coupon, SAP customers can now get 1/2 on the same horrible advice they have always gotten.

Introduction

At Brightwork, we provide analysis for companies evaluating SAP and Oracle. And in this role, we are exposed to the documentation and information that is provided to our clients by the major consulting firms. And how is the quality of this advice? Horrible! There are so many areas where the SAP consulting firms mislead their “clients” but here is a sample.

How SAP Consulting Firms Mislead Clients

  1. One of the first ways is that they do not declare their financial relationship with SAP. The firms make it seem like they represent their client’s interests when they represent their own and SAP’s interests over the client. SAP consulting firms will not help their clients negotiation against SAP, because that would harm their relationship with SAP.
  2. A second major way is the SAP consulting firm will mindlessly repeat whatever SAP says. No matter how inappropriate the application is for a client, the SAP consulting firms will agree with SAP’s presentation that the client should use the application in question.
  3. A third major way SAP consulting companies conspire against their accounts. The SAP consulting firms share information with SAP about the client, so that it may be leveraged by SAP. And they never tell their clients that they do this.
  4. A fourth major way is they communicate no realistic information about the success of SAP applications at other clients, in each case allowing SAP sales to exaggerate their success ratios. Literally, nothing is questioned,  SAP’s timeline estimates, SAP’s roadmap for products, SAP’s methodologies, SAP’s typical overrun on projects, nothing.

Deloitte and (fill in the blank) consulting companies are good little passive parrots for SAP. They provide heaps of false information to clients and lack any independence. 

Paying Top Rates for the Worst Advice

The advice from the SAP consulting companies creates a curious dynamic where clients pay top rates to get 100% biased information. The only goal of the consulting companies is to bill the maximum number of hours and to strengthen their relationship with SAP. And this is why we created the 50% off Coupon. Yes, with this coupon any SAP customer will get the standard garbage advice that benefits SAP and the consulting company over the client, but with the coupon the get 50%. And that is nothing to sneeze at!

Conclusions

The worst advice that benefits the consulting company versus the client is available in the open market of SAP consulting. There is a tremendous choice in the market. One can be lied to by Deloitte, Infosys, Accenture, IBM, and many other firms. So while the advice is horrible and entirely self-serving, at least SAP customers can choose who will lie to them. And with the Brightwork coupon, they can now get 1/2 off!

It’s a fantastic time to be an SAP customer!

References

SAP Contact Form

  • Questions About This Area?

    The software space is controlled by vendors, consulting firms and IT analysts who often provide self-serving and incorrect advice at the top rates.

    • We have a better track record of being correct than any of the well-known brands.
    • If this type of accuracy interests you, tell us your question below.

Enterprise Software Risk

See our free project risk estimators that are available per application. The provide a method of risk analysis that is not available from other sources.

Who Wants Honest SAP Advisement Business?

Executive Summary

  • There are plenty of firms that perform SAP advisement, but the advice ends up being rigged due to financial incentives.
  • Large companies use advisement to provide advice that leads to other business.

Introduction

A large number of consulting companies provide advice and perform anything from software selection assistance to supporting various analytical initiatives. However, none of the larger, and very few of the others actually see themselves in the decision support business as a business. In this article, we will describe why this is such a problem.

The Financial Incentives at SAP Consulting Firms

In order to attain and retain a leadership position at an SAP consulting firm one must bring in roughly $2 million in revenues per year. There is no way to attain this quote by performing smaller projects, of which software selection and analytical initiatives would be examples. To attain this yearly quota, one needs to sell implementations. Decision support projects tend to smaller, shorter, and offer less stable consulting revenue. For a company with a significant overhead (offices, support staff, large senior member compensation) smaller projects of this nature are not sustaining.

Secondly, one of the best ways to sell implementations is to position oneself as a “trusted advisor” and then sell out the client’s interests by directing them to implement the most possible software. This means acting to promote SAP software, regardless of the fit with the client requirements, the cost, the maturity of the application, and another other factor related to things that make software a good match for a particular client.

The Implication of How Incentives are Structured

This means that SAP consulting companies are unreliable for providing software selection support as they have a massive financial bias. SAP consulting companies will claim major domain expertise as a reason for using them in an advisement capacity, but even the deepest domain expertise cannot overcome financial bias, and in truth, the decisions are normally filtered through the senior management of the consulting company, with little freedom given to the more junior members of the organization who possess most of the domain expertise.

An SAP consulting company may take the advisement or selection project, but only as a means to gain more future work. When they report back to their other senior members, success is measured by how much further business is obtained (at KPMG the catchphrase is “penetrate and radiate.”) The concept of providing objective analysis, and then rolling off of the project is only measured as a failure.

Having discussed this topic with several experienced consultants, we were told that recommending solutions on the basis of financial bias is “the way that it is.” And that further, it is a good thing, because the benefits flow to the consulting firm with the strongest relationship. The trick is not to tell the client that you are doing it. And this is considered perfectly normal in the SAP consulting field.

Conclusion

There is no feasible way for senior members of SAP consulting firms to attain or maintain their positions without putting their financial incentives ahead of their clients. None of the major SAP consulting firms and very few of the smaller SAP consulting firms have a model that allows for anything but grabbing implementation business by any means possible. And one of the best means is to pretend to provide decision support.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

SAP Contact Form

  • Questions About This Area?

    The software space is controlled by vendors, consulting firms and IT analysts who often provide self-serving and incorrect advice at the top rates.

    • We have a better track record of being correct than any of the well-known brands.
    • If this type of accuracy interests you, tell us your question below.

References

Enterprise Software Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Rethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

SAP Nation 2.0 on the Overall SAP Ecosystem Annual Spend

Executive Summary

  • In the book SAP Nation 2.0 Vinnie Mirchandani estimated the total annual spend in the overall SAP ecosystem.
  • Who supported Vinnie in his quest to perform this estimation?

Introduction

In our TCO calculators which are available for free online, SAP routinely ranks as the highest TCO software. SAP also has the largest consulting partner network with roughly 12,500 consulting firms that focus on SAP. The reason? Because SAP consulting is the most lucrative type of consulting. None of these consulting firms select to focus on SAP for any other reason than it provides the highest profitability. This profitability is good for SAP consulting firms, but bad for customers. However, what is the overall global picture of spending on SAP?

In this article, we will review the global estimate of the SAP spend by SAP customers.

The Estimate from SAP Nation 2.0

In the book SAP Nation 2.0, Vinnie Mirchandani created the only estimate I am aware of as to the total yearly spend on SAP. I have reformatted the table from SAP Nation 2.0 with changes in formatting to make it more readable and added a percentage per cost category. The cost categories are the following.

The total comes to over $309 billion, and the book was published in 2016, which means as of this article’s publication (in 2018) the spend is of course higher. 

How High is this Global Spend?

Numbers this high are difficult to interpret without some frame of reference. In SAP Nation 2.0, Vinnie compares this GDP to that of Ireland. And we include several other countries in the following graphic with similar GDPs.

Ireland’s GDP supports around 5 million people. Norway’s 370 billion USD support around 5 million people.

SAP’s Small Percentage of the Overall Spend

What is illuminating is that SAP’s revenues are only roughly 8% of the total SAP spend. This is quite low, but it also highlights the fact that the cost of purchasing software licenses and support from the vendor is always a small fraction of the overall spend or TCO of any application. SAP’s overall spend it particularly exaggerated because SAP projects are nearly always implemented by SAP partners, and SAP projects are the most expensive in the industry.

Who Supported Vinnie in His Quest?

For his book, Vinnie reached out to the top analyst firms to get their views on the size of the spend. Curiously, these analysts did not seem very interested in supporting Vinnie’s efforts in estimation.

“Firms like Forrester, Gartner and IDC often 10-40 analysts who cover different aspects of a large technology vendor like SAP, but they do not often employ integrative models. I had to reach out to several analysts to help validate small segments of my model of the SAP economy. Other market analysts were more defensive. One question why I was even modeling the SAP economy when I am “not a full time analyst.” Another declined saying it is a “sensitive topic.” Customers should expect analysts to take more of the customer perspective as they cover SAP and the ERP marketplace and to better weaver the research their silos.”

All of these analyst firms receive large amounts of money from SAP. Therefore, as SAP is their client, any analysis which investigates the spend of their client, which may open up the ecosystem to criticism is declared a “sensitive topic.” That is sensitive to their bottom line! This is in line with what we covered in depth in the book Gartner and the Magic Quadrant, that Gartner is not a true research entity but rather a faux research entity that sells faux research to companies that don’t know what research is.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

SAP Contact Form

  • Questions About This Area?

    The software space is controlled by vendors, consulting firms and IT analysts who often provide self-serving and incorrect advice at the top rates.

    • We have a better track record of being correct than any of the well-known brands.
    • If this type of accuracy interests you, tell us your question below.

References

*https://www.amazon.com/SAP-Nation-2-0-empire-disarray-ebook/dp/B013F5BKJQ

TCO Book

TCO3

Enterprise Software TCO: Calculating and Using Total Cost of Ownership for Decision Making

Getting to the Detail of TCO

One aspect of making a software purchasing decision is to compare the Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO, of the applications under consideration: what will the software cost you over its lifespan? But most companies don’t understand what dollar amounts to include in the TCO analysis or where to source these figures, or, if using TCO studies produced by consulting and IT analyst firms, how the TCO amounts were calculated and how to compare TCO across applications.

The Mechanics of TCO

Not only will this book help you appreciate the mechanics of TCO, but you will also gain insight as to the importance of TCO and understand how to strip away the biases and outside influences to make a real TCO comparison between applications.
By reading this book you will:
  • Understand why you need to look at TCO and not just ROI when making your purchasing decision.
  • Discover how an application, which at first glance may seem inexpensive when compared to its competition, could end up being more costly in the long run.
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the cost, categories to include in an accurate and complete TCO analysis.
  • Learn why ERP systems are not a significant investment, based on their TCO.
  • Find out how to recognize and avoid superficial, incomplete or incorrect TCO analyses that could negatively impact your software purchase decision.
  • Appreciate the importance and cost-effectiveness of a TCO audit.
  • Learn how SCM Focus can provide you with unbiased and well-researched TCO analyses to assist you in your software selection.
Chapters
  • Chapter 1:  Introduction
  • Chapter 2:  The Basics of TCO
  • Chapter 3:  The State of Enterprise TCO
  • Chapter 4:  ERP: The Multi-Billion Dollar TCO Analysis Failure
  • Chapter 5:  The TCO Method Used by Software Decisions
  • Chapter 6:  Using TCO for Better Decision Making