Can SAP Resources Determine if Something is True Through Belief in SAP?

Executive Summary

  • Many SAP consultants simply believe something is true because it is stated by SAP.
  • We review how reliable this approach is to determine what is true.

Introduction

We sometimes have surreal interactions on Linked In where various pro-vendor individuals make unsupported claims.

Can Truth Come from Blind Belief?

This following statement was provided by Mohamed Judi, who at the time of this comment worked for SAP. He was asked to support is claims regarding our analysis and critique of SAP HANA.

This was our comment to him. The most interesting part was his response. 

I have confronted this author with an article responding to it, and Barbel has refused to answer any of the comments. If you are interested you can see this link.  

Notice from the comment that Barbel refused to defend her article. Therefore, a person who can’t even say if she has decided if the article is fake news, but then claims the article is fake news is quite conflicted. Furthermore, it is clear that Barbel does not understand the topics covered in the article, has admitted to no understanding of the subject, and therefore is not in a position of domain expertise to make such a claim. Read the article to understand the implication. But there is an important lesson here.

If you don’t understand a subject, you cannot know if something is true of false by following a list of indicators for what is fake news. There is no replacement for domain expertise.

Mohamed Judi’s Response

Any comments I leave here are out of my belief in SAP’s vision and complete buy-in into our leadership strategy.

This is an enormous punt and illustrates that Mohamed’s entire reason for believing in SAP is based upon what amounts to faith. And Mohamed accused Brightwork of being biased and also of creating FUD — however here the question is how does Mohamed know that our research is FUD? The answer is clearly that Mohamed does not know (we asked him repeatedly to discuss specific topics and he refused to do so), and that Mohamed is using his blind faith in SAP to determine if something is true. This would mean that whatever contradicts SAP must naturally be false. This means that to not accept what SAP says as true, means being accused of providing false information or FUD about SAP.

Consulting

Mohamed Judi and other SAP resources do not use thought in determining if something is true. They simply outsource their thinking to SAP, and they “believe” that what SAP says must be true. These people then present themselves as experts on topics without doing mental work themselves. 

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 SAP Project Management Content

SAP Research Contact

  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

References

https://regmedia.co.uk/2018/08/06/sap_wipro_national_grid_complaint.pdf

Enterprise Software Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking 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

Is it True that SAP Consultants and Employees Cannot be Biased?

Executive Summary

  • SAP consultants often state they are unbiased.
  • We review the statements by one SAP consultant who states that no one who works for SAP can be biased.

Introduction

We sometimes have surreal interactions on Linked In where various pro-vendor individuals make unsupported claims.

Is it Impossible for SAP Employees to be Biased?

“It is natural to consider an SAP employee bias but I’m not claiming to be an independent market analyst so the argument of being bias or not applies to Brightwork Research employees, and other market analysts, more than myself.” Mohamed Judi

It is the position of Brightwork that SAP has been providing false information to the market about HANA since HANA was introduced. Mohamed is paid by SAP and therefore has a direct financial bias to distribute information that our conclusion is incorrect. That fact that SAP is not an independent analysis does not mean that Mohamed can play the bias card against Brightwork. Furthermore, bias does not merely apply to independent analysts. It applies to any information providing entity. When SAP states incorrectly that HANA is zero latency, it is their financial bias that causes them to do so. If Mohamed’s definition were correct, not a single entity in the SAP ecosystem would have a financial bias. This is of course impossible. There appears to be a distinct desire here to entirely misrepresent the definition of financial bias. 

Our Response

“As I said, you just shared an article from an author who is hiding from a debate. And you like Barbel lack any authentic understanding of the article, so this entire debate is going to be you offering up platitudes without any evidence and trying to dance around topic which you are unable to engage in so that you don’t display your lack of knowledge. I have seen this exact pattern many times before when debating SAP resources. I would like to see you address something specific because I don’t think you know anything about the topics of the article.”

BTW I just shared your comment with some Oracle consultants, who declared that if you can play the bias card, they now also want to do so. So we have established that no one from either SAP or Oracle has any bias (according to your definition of bias). Larry Ellison will be delighted to hear his bias level has been reduced to zero as he, like you, is not claiming to be an “independent analyst.”

Mohamed Judi

We question whether Mohamed Judi has any interest in “balanced” research.

Let us look at this quotation from his profile.

I have a proven track record of creatively coupling technology with complex business needs to increase productivity and effectiveness. I am a results-oriented digital transformation architect, with an innovative vision, and a driving passion fostering unsurpassed customer and team loyalties.”

Does that sound like a person interested in objective resource or someone trying to sell SAP billing hours? It smells like marketing hyperbole actually.

Conclusion

Mohamed Judi and other SAP resources cannot deny their financial bias. The fact that they make the argument they cannot be biased illustrates a degree of dishonesty in those that make such a claim. According to Mohamed Judi, SAP has no obligation to be anything but biased. And SAP’s consulting firms follow the same approach. They declare they are unbiased, but then counter this statement internally by saying that they don’t have any obligation to be anything but biased. 

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 SAP Project Management Content

SAP Research Contact

  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

References

https://regmedia.co.uk/2018/08/06/sap_wipro_national_grid_complaint.pdf

Enterprise Software Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking 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

Are Brightwork’s Statements Too General Versus SAP?

Executive Summary

  • SAP resources often critique Brightwork.
  • We review the statements by one SAP consultant regarding Brightwork’s specificity of critiques against SAP and check its validity.

Introduction

We sometimes have surreal interactions on Linked In where various pro-vendor individuals make unsupported claims.

Are Brightwork’s Statements to General?

This following statement was provided by Mohamed Judi, who at the time of this comment worked for SAP. 

“Also, as you know, in technology, it is important to be specific and not make general comments like “the cost of SAP is more than others” or “the performance is bad” or “most customers are ditching SAP”.” – Mohamed Judi

Our Response

I don’t see how our statements are more general than people that work at SAP.

Vishal Sikka stated that HANA would help cure cancer because genetic algorithms would run from within HANA (they had to run in the DB layer for speed).

Hasso Plattner stated that HANA was zero latency.

Steve Lucas stated that HANA allowed workers to work 5000 times more efficiently.

As you work for SAP, you are in a peculiar position to point to a lack of specificity in our articles and research. This is because top executives at your company make outrageous and highly generalized claims on every single quarterly call and at SAPPHIRE and in front of clients and on the website, etc.. So let us look at what you claimed we said that is too general.

As for comments we were to have made that were supposedly too general, let us review each.

“the cost of SAP is more than others”

The cost of SAP is more than others. Are you aware that SAP has more high expense ERP failures than any other vendor? National Grid’s multi-year SAP project ran into a $billion which we covered in How National Grid’s SAP Implementation Damaged a Company. Accenture etc… recommend SAP because it is so expensive. HANA is the most expensive database, even more, expensive than Oracle. We covered this in the article How to Understand HANA and S/4HANA Pricing

We have 53 online calculators where you can check our estimations at How to Use the Enterprise Software Calculators. If you compare you will find SAP consistently has the highest TCO.

Furthermore, we have evaluated all of SAP’s statements around TCO and could not find a single instance where SAP substantiated its claims around TCO. I wrote a book on TCO titled Enterprise Software TCO, that explains the method we used. The book explains our research into software TCO and that we were not able to find a single vendor that provided an accurate TCO, and that furthermore, vendors do not want the customer to know TCO of their applications. We conclude that as soon as a vendor mentions TCO, the statement should be disregarded as their TCO will be incorrect and designed to minimize the impression of TCO.

“the performance is bad”

I assume this is coming from S/4HANA and HANA. The performance of Fiori is bad, which we covered with testing in the article Why is the SAP Fiori Cloud so Slow? HANA has performance problems with transaction processing and is a poor database for ERP systems, as we covered in the article How to Understand Why HANA is a Mismatch for S/4HANA. SAP will not provide competitive benchmarks for HANA, and our view is because HANA will perform poorly in those benchmarks as we covered in the article, The Hidden Issue with HANA SD Benchmarks. SAP changed benchmarks to hide HANA’s weakness in TP. Your comment makes it sound like we make unsupported statements. However, as you can see, we include extensive links to supporting articles.

You may not have the time or interest to read the supporting articles, but that does not mean we do not include the links.

“most customers are ditching SAP”

I would challenge you to find where we said this. This would be an odd thing to say. Remember, most SAP customers are highly invested in SAP. I may critique an SAP product or SAP’s value, but that is not the same thing as saying that most customers are ditching SAP. Most customers do have a large number of nonperforming SAP applications, but they keep them up and running in most cases. But you have not addressed any of the points that I made in the rebuttal article. 

Consulting

Mohamed Judi provided a critique of Brightwork without search for or understanding the supporting research for each of the comments. Secondly, Mohamed Judi is extremely hypocritical in that he works for an entity, SAP, which makes enormously false claims about their products. Mohamed Judi, like most SAP resources, repeats these false claims without any concern for whether they are true. 

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 SAP Project Management Content

SAP Research Contact

  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

References

Enterprise Software Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking 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

Is There a Requirement for Both Positive and Negative Coverage in Research?

Executive Summary

  • Consultants with no research background often assume that they can accuse an entity of bias if they don’t provide a sufficient amount of positive coverage.
  • We analyze the validity of this claim.

Introduction

We sometimes have surreal interactions on Linked In where various pro-vendor individuals make unsupported claims.

Independence Means A Match Between Positive and Negative Coverage?

This following statement was provided by Mohamed Judi, who at the time of this comment worked for SAP. 

“The problem with someone always on one side or the other can’t be considered independent and unbiased. I’m sure SAP like every other company done somethings right and some other not so right but to always be against one company in particular, I hope everyone agree with me, is a little bit suspicious.” Mohamed Judi

Our Response

On the topic of the information on SAP being negative and therefore, not being impartial. What is your view of the nutrition quality of McDonald’s? How about labor treatment in sweatshops in China? If I wrote articles about the nutrition of McDonald’s or Chinese sweatshops, would you require that a certain number of the articles were positive? Should I occasionally write that the Big Mac is healthy and that the salads (that are awful) area a “healthy alternative?”

If you check the rules of research, there is never a requirement that a certain number of the article be positive. The construct of positive or negative does not exist in a research construct.

Secondly, do you hold Deloitte, Gartner, Wipro, Diginomic to a standard of writing both positive and negative articles about SAP?

Have you written articles that call into question Deloitte’s independence because Deloitte’s information on SAP, which is entirely promotional, coin-operated it too positive? Did you write this article? How about Infosys’s coverage — do you think Infosys should add some less promotional materials to their website or their sales decks? Do I need to list the laughably inaccurate quotes from Deloitte on S/4HANA to prove this point? What Was the Real Story with the Revlon S/4HANA Failure?

Is SAP’s Coverage Not Sufficiently Positive?

“I can’t speak on behalf of Barbel or even SAP but your views on everything SAP to be negative is not acceptable when you claim to be independent and impartial.” – Mohamed Judi

 

This is an example of not being able to explain why Barbel Winkler would not defend her article against Brightwork, that we rebutted in the article Is Bärbel Winkler Correct the Brightwork SAP Layoff Article Was Fake News?

Our Response

“Given this, it seems that you only call into question entities that do not write positive material about SAP. Something around 98% of all information published about SAP is pro-SAP, and nearly all of it financially biased. I don’t see you having an issue with this. I assume that if we sold out to SAP and did exactly what everyone else does in the analyst/media/consulting space, you would quickly become a big fan of ours.”

Conclusion

All vendors demand positive coverage — and the right to declare how much of that coverage should be positive. Vendors normally do not point out entities that provide entirely positive coverage as not having “sufficient negative” coverage, because the only intent of vendors is to obtain positive coverage. Mohamed Judi’s comments are deceptive and imply an interest in impartiality when he works for SAP, which pays IT analysts to provide overly positive SAP coverage. 

As with most vendor resources, they don’t respect any research that does not say the vendor they are currently working for is the best vendor with the best offering in the space.

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 SAP Project Management Content

SAP Research Contact

  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

References

Enterprise Software Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking 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

How National Grid’s SAP Implementation Damaged a Company

Executive Summary

  • In the complaint brought by National Grid against Wipro, there were important details included regarding the negative impact of the SAP implementation on their business.

 

Introduction

When Wipro was sued by National Grid for failure around a $1 billion set of SAP implementations, National Grid made some accusations around Wipro’s consultant quality.

The Claims by National Grid

“Specifically, inherent technical defects in the new SAP system rendered National Grid unable to operate its core functions relating to payroll, supply chain and procurement, accounts payable, and financial close and reporting. Wipro’s failures caused National Grid to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The first series of payrolls processed after go-live were plagued by errors. As an initial matter, payroll programs that took a few hours to run on National Grid’s legacy payroll systems took weeks to run on the new SAP system (in part due to the flawed design of National Grid’s SAP in-house cash module).”

This would have been a surprise as the project would have likely promised improvements in this area.

“The payroll system itself was riddled with defects, as payroll amounts were wrong, causing harm to National Grid and its employees. National Grid was not able to pay its employees on time and in accurate amounts, as employees were underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all. National Grid’s union workforce was overpaid by approximately $8 million, a loss that National Grid ultimately had to absorb.”

This is quite basic functionality and considered essential for operations.

“Within weeks after go-live, the SAP system could not properly run National Grid’s business processes for paying vendors. By January 2013, the backlog of unpaid invoices exceeded 15,000, caused in part by data corruption that generated inaccurate vendor invoices. Unable to obtain the supplies it needed to service its customers and run its operations, National Grid had to prematurely pay vendors, in estimated amounts, to ensure that they would continue to supply National Grid with required materials. These pre-payments resulted in reconciliation problems when National Grid had to subsequently determine amounts that were advanced to vendors in excess of what was actually owed. In other instances, National Grid unknowingly paid vendors for the same invoice multiple times, which took extensive research and effort to uncover and correct.”

This describes a ridiculous situation which calls into question how much the system was tested before being cut over. This is not only the responsibility of the consulting firm, and questions around National Grid’s efforts in this area as well as the timeline that may have lead corners to be cut naturally arises.

“As a result, a cash reconciliation team had to be formed to contact banks to determine whether checks were actually cashed or not. This encashment problem forced National Grid to write-off approximately $3 million on approximately 40,000 checks that were cashed or voided in error.”

What a tremendous effort this must have been.

“Following go-live, National Grid experienced extreme delays in its financial close and reporting processes, which jeopardized its ability to carry out each of the functions discussed above. For months, neither National Grid nor its auditors could rely on the integrity of the data generated by its new SAP accounting management systems. National Grid was therefore forced to repeatedly delay issuing critical financial and regulatory reports (both state and federal) regarding its financial status, drawing penalties from its regulators and jeopardizing its relations with lenders.”

Obviously, with the previous items, there would have been no way to close the books.

“The financial close delays after go-live were stunning: whereas National Grid typically performed its monthly financial close in 4 working days, the first financial close after go-live took 43 working days. These delays were caused by (among other things): (i) the instability and defects in the SAP system; (ii) inaccurate data conversion and lack of data capacity; (iii) defective application interfaces; and (iv) the cascading effects of the payroll and supply chain issues described above.”

Again, the most basic things could not be done in the ERP system.

“Nor could National Grid take advantage of certain attributes of the SAP solution that are designed to enhance an organization’s financial close and reporting capabilities. The system’s flawed mapping and related design defects prevented National Grid from benefitting from the SAP FERC module, which addresses unique accounting requirements set by FERC for public utilities like National Grid. For more than a year after go-live, National Grid was unable to use the SAP FERC module to process the extensive financial reports it must regularly provide to FERC, and the company was forced to seek numerous extensions from its regulators. FERC also denied National Grid the ability to engage in short-term borrowing from banks due to the company’s inability to file FERC financial reports. The problems with the SAP FERC module should have been readily evident during testing, but Wipro never tested the module and none of the problems were discovered until after go-live.”

This lack of testing is very common at the SAP consulting firms. SAP has many problems with its applications and various modules. However, there is a strong tendency in SAP consulting firms to “take SAP’s word for it” that something works. This claim is made against Wipro, but actually SAP shares in the responsibility here for having such continual problems in so much of its software.

“By September 2013, the continuing efforts to stabilize the new SAP system cost approximately $30 million per month, totaling over $300 million. As of August 2013, there were still approximately 321 external resources contracted, and full SAP stabilization was not achieved until approximately September 2014.”

This is actually little discussed in the SAP and ERP industry. When a project does fail, what are the costs to remediating the situation? It is often thought that the loss is just the project cost, but when it negatively impacts the business,  the business costs and the remediation must be added.

Conclusion

One has to be careful in taking accusations in legal cases at face value. There is no requirement in a US legal case that any stated be true. However, these issues are explained with specific detail by National Grid. If there were no lawsuit filed, we would never have heard of these claims as the implementation failure would have been suppressed. SAP consultants normally give a highly misleading representation of the benefits of SAP implementations.

This is what can happen when an SAP project goes south. Project problems and failures happen far more often that is generally discussed because they are suppressed. They are suppressed by the customers, by SAP, and by SAP consultants.

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 SAP Project Management Content

SAP Research Contact

  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

References

https://regmedia.co.uk/2018/08/06/sap_wipro_national_grid_complaint.pdf

Enterprise Software Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking 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

National Grid’s Explanation of Wipro’s Consultant Quality

Executive Summary

  • National Grid provided a scathing description of Wipro’s consulting resources and consulting management.
  • We review this description for accuracy.

 

Introduction

When Wipro was sued by National Grid for failure around a $1 billion set of SAP implementations, National Grid made some accusations around Wipro’s consultant quality.

The Claims by National Grid

“Underlying Wipro’s failures as Systems Integrator was its failure to meet one of its core contractual obligations: providing National Grid with appropriately skilled and experienced consultants. The consultants Wipro assigned to the Project were often incompetent, inexperienced and/or incapable of managing an SAP implementation of the Project’s size and scope. Wipro’s consultants lacked the requisite skills, experience and expertise concerning SAP software, industry standards of care and the U.S. utility industry, including with respect to the applicable regulatory requirements and union rules.”

This is Wipro’s reputation.

“Directly contrary to its representations in its RFP Response, Wipro had virtually no experience at the time implementing an SAP platform for utilities regulated in the U.S. In many instances, Wipro failed to provide any consultants at all, much less those who were sufficiently skilled and experienced. For example, during crucial Project phases, Wipro’s team had vacancies in positions as vital as Program Director, Solution Architect and Track Leads for Finance and HR.”

The reason for this is that these types of resources generally don’t want to work for Wipro.

“Wipro consultants also lacked a basic understanding of critical Project areas, such as benefits, warehouse and inventory management, business planning or budgeting consolidations, and accounts payable, requiring National Grid to demand stronger resources. Wipro’s lack of appropriately skilled personnel became so acute that it had to hire contractors to fill essential Project team roles.”

Hiring contractors happens far more than is generally known because the consulting firm asks or demands that the contractor hide the fact that they are a contractor. Consulting firms often pretend they had a hand in developing resources who they literally just plucked off of the street.

“In some instances, Wipro inexplicably reassigned crucial consultants off the Project and onto engagements for other clients.”

The answer to this is easy to guess. Wipro has a shortage of consultants of good skill level, and they have sold too many projects for their consulting skill base. Other projects most likely demanded that these more capable consultants be reassigned, perhaps because the other projects were at risk.

“The revolving door of Wipro consultants severely disrupted the Project by depriving National Grid of Wipro personnel who had familiarity with National Grid’s business processes and had prior involvement on the Project, resulting in incomplete and ineffective training of replacement consultants, delays in project tasks and inferior work product. Contrary to its pre-contract representations, Wipro’s U.K.-related work was not an applicable or appropriate design template for the U.S. based utilities USFP. And not only did Wipro fail to successfully leverage its U.K. experience, but it also failed to understand National Grid’s legacy systems so that it could effectively leverage those processes that assimilated best with the new SAP system.”

This is because resources without the experience they said they had were filling critical roles on the projects. Consulting companies and Indian consulting companies are known to be the worst at this, routinely falsify the experience on resumes to match whatever the project needs.

“Ultimately, the fundamental failures in Wipro’s approach to the design of National Grid’s SAP system were reflected in a host of design defects that became clear only after the system’s disastrous go-live, as discussed further below. Rather than build a system that accommodated National Grid’s required business processes and avoided unnecessary changes, Wipro built an overly complex SAP solution that was not configured pursuant to industry standards of care for an SAP implementation of the Project’s size and complexity, and that did not efficiently, or in certain instances did not at all, address National Grid’s actual and necessary business processes.”

This might have been an issue related to using “standard SAP,” which means using inappropriate functionality because it is approved by SAP. The overall SAP consulting market is marred by robotic thinking that tends to not question SAP.

“Further, Wipro failed to understand the end-to-end National Grid processes, and thus failed to advise on the ramifications changes it made in one area of the system might have on another. Instead, abandoning its contractual responsibilities, Wipro defaulted to the role of “builder,” and, even there, failed miserably. For example, Wipro’s coding work was deficient and failed to conform to industry standards of care, including development standards related to SAP’s programming language known as Advanced Business Application Programming (“ABAP”). Among other things, Wipro’s coding: (i) lacked modularization such that its code was not reusable elsewhere in the system, leading to inconsistencies in the code, difficulties in maintaining the system, coding errors and a lack of traceability; (ii) lacked inline documentation, reducing transparency and making it difficult to identify and resolve defects in the code; (iii) was developed with an incorrect technical approach, resulting in increased maintenance expenses; and (iv) did not account for a variety of different conditions and scenarios, leading to more defects in the system.”

National Grid probably should not have accepted using ABAP in the first place. SAP nearly always railroads customers into using ABAP without concern for the fact that ABAP is a highly inefficient language which we covered in the article Why SAP Customers Followed SAP’s Advice on Coding in ABAP.

“On the USFP, Wipro failed to fulfill its responsibilities during the data extraction process, including determining what data needed to be extracted from National Grid’s legacy systems and converting and loading that data into the new SAP system. As was discovered after go-live, in many instances Wipro did not convert and load National Grid’s legacy data into the new SAP system correctly, sometimes loading entire data files that were corrupt. In other instances, Wipro failed to follow best practices by moving through data conversion phases without first resolving key errors that arose during prior phases of the conversion process.”

This is as basic as it gets. Loading corrupt data files can also be motivated by deadlines that are approaching and an attempt to show progress. It can also be related to not having the domain expertise to validate the errors.

“After go-live, National Grid was also forced to undergo significant re-testing of its system. Even after National Grid was crippled by its defect-riddled SAP system, and after certain remediations were complete, Wipro’s tests were still reporting that the system was operating smoothly. However, when other consultants tested the same processes, they were finding significantly different results and numerous defects. For example, when Deloitte retested Wipro’s test scripts, it uncovered twice the number of defects in the areas of procurement and supply chain. Nor were these additional defects minor: for example, when re-testing certain test scripts, Deloitte uncovered an $8,000 receipt that was recorded in the system as an $880 million receipt – an error that Wipro somehow never detected. Deloitte continued to re-test Wipro’s test scripts through several other system releases that were necessary to fix the system issues. With each additional release, Deloitte’s results were the same: it uncovered many system defects that Wipro failed to uncover, even though Wipro had reported all of its original test results as “passing” or “adequate.”” – National Grid Complaint

This example indicates that even the most elementary items were not caught in Wipro’s tests. What would the impact have been of recording a receipt for $880 million? How could such a large discrepancy not be caught by Wipro’s tests?

Conclusion

One has to be careful in taking accusations in legal cases at face value. There is no requirement in a US legal case that any stated be true. However, these accusations seem par for the course with Wipro. Our critique of National Grid is how could they have possibly expected Wipro to deliver what they say they would? The best defense for Wipro is to point to its reputation and say obviously they would not be able to perform.

However, another major problem faced by National Grid is that there are no quality consulting firms to choose from that are large. Deloitte or Accenture may offer high quality than Wipro, but the lying offered by Deloitte and Accenture is off the charts. In our evaluation of all the well-known SAP consulting firms, there are not any whose information can generally be said to be accurate.

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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SAP Research Contact

  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

References

https://regmedia.co.uk/2018/08/06/sap_wipro_national_grid_complaint.pdf

Enterprise Software Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking 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

How to Understand Wipro’s Position on Lying

Executive Summary

  • Wipro has an interesting defense when called out for lying to National Grid about their SAP experience.
  • It is categorized under the heading of “catch us if you can.”

Wipro receives our highly coveted Golden Pinocchio Award for their responses to National Grid in their motion to dismiss. 

Introduction

When Wipro was sued by National Grid for failure around a $1 billion set of SAP implementations, National Grid made some accusations for which Wipro maintained a curious response.

The Claims by National Grid

“Wipro’s representations were knowingly or recklessly false when made,” the firm said at the time.

“As Wipro knew or should have known, it had neither the ability nor intent to assign appropriately experienced and skilled consultants to the Project because… it in fact had virtually no experience implementing an SAP platform for a US-regulated utility.” – The Register

The Wipro Response

“There was no explicit statement indicating that Wipro had not completed implementations of SAP for U.S.-based utilities nor were specific references provided in this regard.

Wipro also defends much of the language in the RFP response as common puffery implying that National Grid had a basic responsibility to check references.  UpperEdge has obtained copies of National Grid’s RFP and Wipro’s response and believes that Wipro has a reasonably good chance of having their motions to dismiss granted.  Oral arguments on these motions are to be held on June 10th.” – Upperedge

Conclusion

This defense from Wipro appears to be “catch us if you can.” And that the problem is not lying, but the fact that customers don’t fact check the lie. This brings up the question as to why anyone would listen to anything Wipro has to say. If it is false, Wipro will simply declare that the responsibility is on the receiver of the message for fact-checking Wipro.

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SAP Research Contact

  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

References

*https://upperedge.com/sap/wipro-responds-to-national-grids-sap-implementation-billion-dollar-lawsuit/

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/06/botched_sap_implementation_national_grid_wipro_settlement_75m/

Interesting Comment Snippets

Comment #1

“The problem most large customer service businesses have (water, gas, electricity, fixed or mobile telecoms, ISPs, etc) is that they mistakenly think that they’re not an IT business. So rather than build their own (or buy the IP of an existing system from which to build) they spend hundreds of millions on SAP and are then staggered when it doesn’t work out well.”

Comment #2

“SAP never makes sense. I used to implement it and there is about a 50% of disaster with marginal, at best, upside. Why people continue to implement SAP is a complete mystery to me. If there were any other business that sold a product which was enormously expensive, not infrequently destroyed their customers’ businesses and had upside in the 10% range, I doubt they would have a customer. SAP needs to stop blaming the SIs too. Every major SI has had many failed SAP projects. That means your software is a dog and near impossible to implement.”

Comment #3

“Wipro is a cheap alternative but you get what you pay for. They do have some good staff but they don’t pay very well and as it’s an overseas firm, not too many US workers, at least by comparison with the more expensive consultancies. That leads to a fair bit of turnover among the US workers especially when it’s discovered that raises don’t exist for the most part and greener pastures beckon. Much like IBM, really…”

Comment #4

“I think SAP is about to start getting replaced on a regular basis for a few reasons.

Their software is dog old. Ancient ABAP stuff from the 70s that has been hated by users since the 70s.

Their cloud story is a mess. They have all these random acquisitions which they are trying to squeeze in somewhere (ironically exactly what they used to make much of Oracle doing). They have their IaaS partnerships. They have a useless HEC cloud… A mess.

HANA is a complete money grab and the opposite of what people want in software. Everyone else is going SaaS where the software company includes and manages the database (even Oracle, the database company). SAP decided that people want to pay millions upon millions to flip out a mature database with an immature database and then manage it.”

Shaun Snapp on Criminal Intent in IT Consulting Firms

Executive Summary

  • It is quite common for IT consulting firms to collaborate with vendors to provide fraudulent information to customers.
  • Learn why this can often qualify as criminal intent.

Introduction

IT consulting is often presented as companies providing services and advice to customers. In many cases, a particular vendor will be said to have an excellent ecosystem. However, if consulting firms continually lie to their customers, and lie as directed by software vendors to reinforce the exact information provided by the software vendor, then the ecosystem’s intent can be viewed as a conspiracy against customers. The crime to be committed is fraud. The criminal intent is deliberately working in conjunction with a software vendor to perpetuate a fraud.

It is curious how infrequently the term fraud is used in software, but it should be used quite frequently. Some vendors have vendor partnership agreements that control the marketing and the statement made by their consulting partners. Typically, customers are entirely unaware of this fact. Consulting companies nearly always present themselves as independent from the software vendor, but they maintain skills in specific software, typically only a few software vendors. And their objective is to drive purchasing decisions, generally by any means necessary, often knowingly providing false information to accomplish this objective. Consulting companies will ostensibly agree to support an RFP process, but then rig the process so that the vendor they have resources to bill with ends up being selected.

Conclusion

The typical information provided by vendor partner consulting firms is often fraudulent and therefore creates a criminal conspiracy with software vendors. The question being, why is the term criminal conspiracy not more widely used when describing consulting ecosystems? It meets all the criteria, and IT consulting firms operate in an unregulated market. In many cases, it is the consulting firm that gives the least accurate and most positively spun information on a software vendor that wins the contract. The system ensures that the most highly biased information gets to customers. Yet consulting firms are not held accountable for the quality of the information they provide.

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  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

When SAP Consultants Lie About Their Financial Bias

Executive Summary

  • Why would a senior person from an SAP consulting firm lie about their financial bias?
  • Whey selling SAP software is not the only type of financial bias.

Introduction to Lying About Bias

SAP consultancies sell either SAP products or services — however, they have to give the impression that they are not biased. The primary way they do this is by lying about this bias and trying to hide it from clients.

Textbook Case of Lying About Financial Bias

We found a textbook case of this lying in a comment from Mark Chaflen, who (at the time of this writing) works for PwC. Mark Chaflen is a Director at PwC, and notice his comment.

“To be clear PWC does not sell SAP licences and are not tied into SAP to sell products. Therefore there is no quota.”

This is designed to work on people that don’t know much about the industry but it is an incredible lie. Mark’s quota is based upon selling SAP services, not based upon products. But Mark Chaflen is attempting to confuse the topic by saying because he does not sell software, that he and by extension PwC do not have a financial bias. Mark Chaflen, a Director with a significant services quota, is declaring that PwC has no quota. The deception is absolutely breathtaking. One has to stand in awe of a lie that it this large.

Conclusion

It is our analysis from working in and studying SAP for so long that the major SAP consulting companies are filled with people who lie about their financial bias. This is a perfect example of just such a lie.

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  • Interested in Our SAP Research?

    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, contact us and we will be in touch.

How Independent Are SAP License Management Companies?

Executive Summary

  • SAP license management companies display a lack independence.
  • We cover this independence problem.

Introduction

License consulting companies are probably one of the only groupings of advice offering entities that can really claim to be independent of SAP.

The Limitations of Scope of SAP License Management Companies

While SAP license management companies show much more independence from SAP than other entities that provide advice around SAP. It should be noted that licensing management entities are not active in that many dimensions of SAP. They focus on the contract side. While licensing is one dimension where there is more independence, there are far more dimensions that are uncovered by any entity providing independent advice. We would know as we perform the research in more non-licensing dimensions than licensing-dimensions of SAP, and the publications about (choose any topic) show remarkable consistency from publishing entity to entity. That is they don’t diverge from the SAP marketing message. And working on SAP projects, the advice offered on direct communications with the customer match the published information from these entities.

And of course, it’s not as if Deloitte. etc… are dying to provide honest information to its clients, but even if they wanted to, they are restricted by the partnership agreement they signed with SAP.

The Independence of SAM/License Management Software Vendors

There is one issue within the SAP license management space. So the license management/SAM vendors are partners with SAP. They have to be to get their software work with SAP. That means they have to watch how they step around SAP. If you look at the publishing around indirect access by the SAM vendors, they did not take the position that SAP’s position was untenable and it was cheating the customer, and even illegal — which we have written is the undeniable conclusion, but that indirect access could be managed with their software.

The licensing consulting companies rely on SAM software, so one could see some “tendrils” of SAP reaching out to the license management companies through the software that the license management companies rely upon. When SAP has a point of leverage, they use it. And their “partnership managers” are I think the best in the business. For those looking for training as “muscle” in enterprise software, the SAP partnership division provides the best training in intimidation tactics.

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 SAP Project Management Content

SAP Licensing Research Contact

  • Interested in Our Indirect Access and Licensing Research?

    SAP consulting firm hide as much as possible about licensing from their clients. This is because they must agree to be silent on licensing to maintain their partnership relationship with SAP. We offer unbiased and detailed advice on SAP licensing.

  • We have a better track record of being correct than any of the well-known brands.
  • If this type of accuracy interests you, contact us and we will be in touch.
  • References

    Enterprise Software Risk Book

    Software RiskRethinking 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