Why Did SAP Fake S/4HANA Maturity So Aggressively?

Executive Summary

  • S/4HANA was massively exaggerated in terms of maturity by SAP.
  • The question answered by this article is why SAP did it.


If you observe the comment debates that I had with SAP consultants previous to around nine months ago, they debated me very hard on S/4HANA. They then did the same thing on HANA. S/4HANA has performed a massive face plant in implementation. It is difficult to see how a major new ERP version could be less successful than S/4HANA. Once you take into account how falsified the S/4HANA go live numbers as we covered in How SAP Controls Perceptions with Numbers are and how most companies that have the S/4HANA license are not implementing it, you see a failed product launch. Those people that promoted S/4HANA look quite inept or corrupt (take your pick) right about now.

Where Did All the Pro-S/4HANA SAP Consultants Go?

Those SAP consultants have mostly disappeared from my articles. When they start to bring up SAP’s talking points, I bring up the known history of these two products and they gradually get exposed. They don’t like this. So they don’t comment on my articles anymore; instead, they are looking for soft targets. So they are saying the same things but to people that don’t research and don’t know.

How Much did SAP Know?

All of this was known and premeditated on the part of SAP. We have the dates of the statements around S/4HANA and S/4HANA’s immaturity, and we can pinpoint when the statements were made and the state of S/4HANA at the time of the announcement.

How Did So Many Customers End Up With Unimplemented S/4HANA Licenses?

As time has progressed, the ratio of “live” S/4HANA customers to those that hold a license has been steady at roughly 1/5 or 20%.  SAP has stated that there are thousands of current S/4HANA implementations underway, but evaluation of job postings does not support this claim.

When SAP sold S/4HANA to many customers, they both knew they would not use it, and pressured many customers to purchase S/4HANA to satisfy an indirect access claim or through adding it to the BOM of other products. This was done to exaggerate the numbers of S/4HANA sales to Wall Street and prospects. They would have to have known that a large percentage if not most of those that engaged in a S/4HANA implementation would fail.

Why Such Extreme Fakery?

So why? It all sounds illogical.

My conclusion is for short term gain. Some executives need to get paid and show Wall Street they are making progress as soon as possible. Pulling S/4HANA forward or releasing it early enabled SAP to make a splash in the market earlier. However, they got caught with their pants down. This is because development has made so little progress since S/4HANA’s introduction. So it makes the initial statements around S/4HANA look even more inaccurate than the executives thought they were at the time. But when you gut your development, and offshore a significant component of it, then there are consequences. SAP now has enormous numbers of low paid developers working on things.


Executive compensation and how SAP selects executives is critical to understanding how SAP made so many false statements around S/4HANA’s maturity. SAP selects only the most unrealistic executives, executives like Vishal Sikka, Bernd Leukert, Rob Enslin, Bill McDermott, Luca Mucic. People that will say anything without consideration for what is true.

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