Rating ASUG’s Inability to Challenge SAP’s Predictions

Executive Summary

  • ASUG is the world’s largest SAP user group.
  • We review the accuracy of ASUG’s presentation of SAP predictions.


In this article, we will cover yet another inaccuracy presented by SAP and repeated by ASUG. This has to do with estimating the number of live customers for S/4HANA by a certain date.

The following is from the ASUG S/4HANA Adoption Survey of 2016.

ASUG on the Obstacles to S/4HANA Adoption

“When it comes to the top obstacle to S/4HANA adoption, our survey drew no one clear answer. Of the 550 respondents to the question, 18 percent said it was unclear how S/4HANA benefits their specific organization. In joint second position, at 15 percent apiece, were lack of a clear general-purpose S/4HANA road map and lack of in-house S/4HANA skills. Not far behind, at 14 percent, was not enough live S/4HANA customers, which we’ve heard voiced regularly by ASUG members who would like to see S/4HANA live customer figures in the thousands rather than the hundreds before they commit their organization to moving to the suite. SAP tells us it expects to reach those levels of live S/4HANA customers by SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference, in May 2017.”

In the Brightwork article How to Best Understand ASUG’s S/4HANA Adoption Survey dated 03 30 2017

I stated the following:

“S/4HANA will not meet those number of live customers by May 2017.”

If one looked at the pattern of reported go lives for S/4HANA, there was nothing in August 2016 that would have supported SAP’s prediction that they would reach go lives in the thousands by May of 2017.

Let us compare that to what actually happened.

SAP’s Forecast Accuracy on S/4HANA Adoption

SAP’s forecast accuracy For May of 2017 was 2000 (SAP stated to ASUG they would have S/4HANA go-lives in the thousands by May 2017 — which I have translated to 2000. Although “in the thousands” could be 3000. But to give SAP the benefit of the doubt, I kept it to the lowest possible number that would still meet the definition of “in the thousands.”)

(2000 (SAP forecasted go lives) – 700 (SAP reported go lives) )/700(SAP reported go lives)

This equals…

+ 185% Forecast Error

The Inaccuracy of Claims Made by SAP Surrogates on SAP Forecast Accuracy

  • How would SAP customers learn that this prediction turned out to be untrue?
  • Will ASUG publish an article on this high level of error?
  • Will Deloitte inform its customers that SAP said this and what the results ended up being?
  • Who tells customers when SAP ends up being wrong?

In several Linked In comments as of late, individuals that make their career in SAP and are SAP biased frequently make the accusation that Brightwork is biased. The accusation of bias is easy to make. However, it is curious when the person making the accusation has an easily traceable income stream to SAP. A traceable income stream is the most predictive elements to forecast bias. For example, it is why the sales forecast is the least accurate input of all the inputs to the forecasting process. I cover this in detail in the book Sales and the Statistical Forecast Combined.

The accusation of bias is easy to make. However, it is something else to prove bias. Bias means that what a person or entity says and what they predict is consistently inaccurate in either a positive direction or a negative direction. Yet, SAP and ASUG are consistently positively biased.

Biased can be measured mathematically when predictions are made that are quantitative. In this case, SAP’s forecast had an error of 185%, and it was positively biased.

This is always the way SAP predictions work.

The Importance of Verifying SAP’s Predictions

A trend line off of the data points available to ASUG at the time the prediction was made would have easily shown that this forecast by SAP was extremely unlikely. The last published data point available to ASUG in their August 2016 adoption study was 350 go-lives. S/4HANA had already been available for a year and a half at that point. Why would ASUG think that SAP would increase its go lives by over 1650, which would have been a 470% increase in 8 to 9 months?

  • Option 1: If the ASUG authors of the study actually thought that, then they are the wrong people to be writing the survey.
  • Option 2: If they did not believe it, but simply repeated it because they are remotely controlled by SAP, then (once again) they are the wrong authors to write a survey covering S/4HANA adoption.

SAP is consistently positively biased. SAP stated that Oracle was finished on SAP, that HANA was the fastest database in the world, that it would take over the CRM market, that it would effectively compete against AWS in the PaaS market (see this article on the Multicloud).

All of these things were covered uncritically in the major media outlets.

None of these things came true.

If one could describe a perfect audience for SAP’s forecasts it would be a group of amnesiacs.

Yet it is interesting to observe that no one from Accenture, or Deloitte or other SAP surrogates seem to care if SAP is biased. What they collectively will not tolerate is if a person or entity observes this and makes a prediction which does not match with SAP’s positive bias. As soon as any entity questions the accuracy of SAP’s statements, then at that point the person making money from either selling SAP licenses or consulting services levels the claim of bias.

It is quite hypocritical for entities that have a 100% bias in favor of SAP, accusing entities (like Brightwork) of being biased when unlike SAP surrogates, we do not obtain revenue from vendors that compete with SAP. Naturally, the forecast accuracy of SAP surrogates is similarly inaccurate as they serve primarily as passive repeaters for messaging and prediction which is developed at SAP and released to the surrogates.

Redefining the Definition of Bias

The normal definition of bias is simply unacceptable to SAP surrogates. So it is back to the drawing board to create an entirely new definition. It is a definition where their strong financial incentive to promote SAP is not biased, it’s “looking out for client’s interests.”

For SAP surrogates, bias is information that is not explicitly promotional of SAP.

  • Promotional information is accurate.
  • Non-promotional information has an anti-SAP bias. This is true no matter how inaccurate SAP has been over no matter how large a span of time.

When asked directly to vouch for previous statements by Hasso Plattner, Bill McDermott, Vishal Sikka, Bill Enslin and others, statements that are now clearly inaccurate, the SAP surrogate swiftly pivots back to why Brightwork is biased.

Saying SAP “Said It”

According to how ASUG reports, SAP never lies or provides false information about their applications. How can ASUG credibly hold this view? What evidence is there, aside from ASUG declaring it to be true that ASUG looks out for their member’s interests?

Virtually all of the global SAP user groups are just like ASUG, with only DSAG for the German-speaking countries really challenging SAP when they do things that are bad for customers. Now ASUG did not start like this, but it is where they are at this point in their history.

This is not only ASUG’s approach. ComputerWeekly, Gartner, Forbes, Fortune, Deloitte, Accenture, all also do the same thing. They simply quote SAP. And very rarely question the information. And when the information ends being wrong, they don’t go back and explain that SAP previously mislead them. That is why none of them can forecast SAP because they are all on the take from SAP.

How SAP Misleads in Multiple Dimensions

Up to this point, I only pointed out that SAP widely missed its forecast of having thousands of live S/4HANA customers by May 2017, as per the officially reported figures.

However, the official numbers of 850 live S/4HANA customers reported by SAP is also false.

SAP has probably a very few number of customers live on S/4HANA due to the application’s immaturity. This is not to say S/4HANA implementations have not been attempted. It is not to say that tiny areas of S/4HANA are being used for “something” or that there aren’t demo environment setup at customers. But truly live customers for S/3HANA? That number is so small it is barely worth discussing.

But uncovering that fact would require getting into some detail, doing research and in the end, it would all be for nothing…… as it would hurt these media outlet’s ability to get money from SAP. In this way, these media outlets pretend that they represent the interests of their readership. When in fact, they represent the interests of those that pay them to publish.

How SAP Stands Out from Even Other Mega-vendors in IT Media Control

Strangely there is really no other vendor that receives such universally positive coverage as SAP. All the large vendors obtain a media advantage over smaller vendors. That is an unfair system, which shows the dangers of allowing concentration in sectors of the economy. Yet there is really no other vendor, not IBM, not Oracle, not Microsoft that can publish inaccurate information so consistently, and eventually not fact some blowback from it in the IT media. This is why we like to say at Brightwork that we almost have the market on providing the real story on SAP to ourselves. The other entities that call out SAP on inaccuracies being

  • Vinnie Mirchandani
  • Rimini Street
  • Nucleus Research

Yet if the combined web traffic of these three entities plus Brightwork on SAP topics (Nucleus Research publishes on many topics, not just SAP, and Rimini Street tends to focus on areas of SAP reality that relate to support) and compare it to the web traffic of the pro-SAP cheerleaders in IT media, the size of the reality-based output would pale by comparison.

There is something about SAP’s total IT media control and control over so many consulting companies (who are also major providers of information to the IT marketplace – although not in a public forum) that is contradictory to the foundations of the US system of speech and the press. When a single entity has so much control over what people are told and what they read on a subject, that is not a diversity of thought, it is totalitarian. The fact that so much of it is false, makes, of course, that much worse.

Advice on Enjoying the S/4HANA Quiz

To see the full screen just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.



ASUG is another puppet of SAP that cannot challenge anything that SAP says. ASUG is an interesting case study in how an entity that begins as a user group transforms into a marketing outlet for the vendor. What is curious is that ASUG members actually pay for the privilege of receiving information from an entity that does nothing more than serving as a passive repeater for SAP marketing.

SAP’s Inaccurate Messaging on S/4HANA as Communicated in SAP Videos

Fact-Checking SAP Information on S/4HANA

This video is filled with extensive falsehoods. We will address them in the sequence they are stated in this video.

SAP Video Accuracy Mesurement

Appleby's StatementAccuracy % of the CommentExplanationLink to Analysis Article
S/4HANA is what allows key processes to be digitized.
ECC was already fully digitized and digitized across key business functions.The Problem with Using the Term Digital Transformation on IT Projects
HANA is a Platform
HANA is not a platform, it is a database.How to Deflect You Were Wrong About HANA
Fiori is a major advantage for S/4HANA.
In S/4HANA implementations Fiori is infrequently used when S/4HANA. How Accurate Was SAP on the Number of Fiori Apps?
Fiori is far more efficient than what came before.
In testing Fiori and S/4HANA, Sven Deneken's statements did not hold up. There was a particular weakness in actually making changes after noticing something needed to be changed, and we found the efficiency below that of ECC with of course SAPGUI.
S/4HANA is innovative as it brings "real time inventory."
Sven Deneken brings up the topic of "real-time capabilities," however there is nothing particularly real-time or different in terms of a reaction than ECC. Whenever you make a change in ECC or any other ERP systems for that matter, the entry is real-time. Sven Deneken states that "the physical inventory is the same as the digital inventory." However, under what system would this not be true?What Happened to the Term Perpetual Inventory?
S/4HANA is innovative because it allows access to supplier information.
Sven Deneken states that information about the supplier is "just a fingertip away." Sven Deneken may be familiar with ECC, where supplier data is also a fingertip, or say mouse click away. It called the Vendor Master in ECC.
Sven Deneken says that the cycle could be changed to daily or sub-daily.
Why would that occur? This is a very strange scenario that is being laid out.
S/4HANA is innovative because it allows MRP to be rerun interactively for a product location.
Sven Deneken is extremely confused when he states that S/4HANA allows a fresh MRP run to be performed for a specific product location and that this is a differentiator for S/4HANA. For a single product location, there is no ERP system that cannot run MRP for a single location. Secondly re-running MRP does not remove uncertainties. MRP can be re-run when something changes. For example, when the forecast changes.Performance Problems with HANA and MRP
Sven Deneken states this demo shows SAP has reimagined inventory management.
However, all of this functionality, save for several of the graphics shown in the video have already been available in ECC for many years, in fact, decades.

The Problem: A Lack of Fact-Checking of S/4HANA

There are two fundamental problems around S/4HANA. The first is the exaggeration of S/4HANA, which means that companies that purchased S/4HANA end up getting far less than they were promised. The second is that the SAP consulting companies simply repeat whatever SAP says. This means that on virtually all accounts there is no independent entity that can contradict statements by SAP.

Being Part of the Solution: What to Do About S/4HANA

We can provide feedback from multiple HANA accounts that provide realistic information around S/4HANA — and this reduces the dependence on biased entities like SAP and all of the large SAP consulting firms that parrot what SAP says. We offer fact-checking services that are entirely research-based and that can stop inaccurate information dead in its tracks. SAP and the consulting firms rely on providing information without any fact-checking entity to contradict the information they provide. This is how companies end up paying for a database which is exorbitantly priced, exorbitantly expensive to implement and exorbitantly expensive to maintain. When SAP or their consulting firm are asked to explain these discrepancies, we have found that they further lie to the customer/client and often turn the issue around on the account, as we covered in the article How SAP Will Gaslight You When Their Software Does Not Work as Promised.

If you need independent advice and fact-checking that is outside of the SAP and SAP consulting system, reach out to us with the form below or with the messenger to the bottom right of the page.

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.

S/4HANA Implementation Research

We offer the most accurate and detailed research into S/4HANA and its implementation history. It is information not available anywhere else and is critical correctly interpreting S/4HANA, as well as moderating against massive amounts of inaccurate information pushed by SAP and their financially biased consulting ecosystem.

Select the description that best matches you.

Option #1: Do You Work in Sales for a Vendor?

See this link for an explanation to sales teams.

Option #2: Do You Work for an Investment Entity that Covers SAP?

See this link for an explanation for investment entities. 

Option #3: Are You a Buyer Evaluating S/4HANA?

For companies evaluating S/4HANA for purchase. See this link for an explanation to software buyers

Search Our ASUG on S/4HANA and HANA Content


Best Understand ASUG’s S/4HANA Adoption Survey

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