Is There Really Independent Advice in SAP?

Executive Summary

  • What it means becoming a controlled certified SAP Partner and the deception that it applies.

Introduction

On a recent article about G2Crowd, a commenter stated the following…

“With software solutions, the best approach is of course to take independent professional advice . . .”

We hear this comment quite a bit. That companies should look for independent advice in SAP. But the question is where is this advice found?

I recently wrote this comment to a person at a company reaching out for advice where both he thought, and I thought that SAP was providing him with false information.

“If I were employed by Deloitte, I would be told to not contradict SAP, and to tell you that it is all true. If I varied from that, it would show up on my review. The media companies that cover SAP only speak in favorable terms around whatever SAP says to keep the advertising and paid placement revenue flowing. It is incredible how every public and private source is necessarily required to tow the line.”

This is my continual point that there are not independent sources of information on SAP. This is verifiable in public, but I am told…

“That is not true in private Shaun, in private great independent advice is given.”

Often this is followed by..

“my firm….XYZ is providing that advice.”

Which of course is not verifiable. But when I run into or debate other SAP consultants, it seems like they are repeating the same talking points from SAP. I am periodically sent emails with advice from consulting companies to SAP customers where clear falsehoods permeate the email. Often the consultant will declare they are just “repeating what SAP is telling them.”

Zero to No Independent Advice

Therefore, in SAP, there really is very close to no independent advice, and there is close to no business model for it to develop. The companies that make the most money from SAP, companies like Deloitte and Accenture are lying factories for SAP, acting as extended arms of SAP. And when the correlation between repeating what SAP says and consulting income is so high, and it is incredibly difficult to find consulting companies that follow the opposite approach, where does that say the real business model is in SAP consulting?

Becoming a Controlled Certified SAP Partner

SAP remotely controls consulting companies that work in SAP. This is declared in the most controlling language possible in the partnership agreement.

Companies that consult in SAP become “certified partners.” In this way, they agree to have their media output controlled by SAP, and in practical terms, they agree to place the interests of SAP above the interests of clients. I have been in SAP for decades, and I can’t recall coming across any independent advice. In my field, everything is driven by quota attainment. And the people that can tell the biggest lies, most convincingly win the quota competition. It’s a competition for narcissistic sociopaths for who can tell the biggest whopper. I once made the mistake of asking a salesperson the following.

“How are we going to implement S/4HANA if we don’t have anyone with the experience who has implemented S/4HANA, and if these resources are so difficult to find in the market?”

And I was told the following:

“Shaun, we don’t have to boil the ocean right now.”

The idea is that you tell the account what they want to hear, and then you worry about the inability to meet expectations later. This is particularly self-serving for sales, because they not only not have to worry about coming up with a solution before the sale (and in fact there really was no good solution – this was a hard resource constraint) as they aren’t involved in staffing or the implementation, they don’t have to worry about “boiling the ocean” after the fact.

At many SAP consulting companies boiling the ocean is considered planning to be able to implement what is being sold.

In most cases when I see presentations on SAP, I am in the back of the room thinking “wow what a tremendous lie.” SAP consulting companies will frequently tell customers things that have been disproven seven years ago.

Does Independent Consulting Advice Exist Outside of SAP?

There might be independent advice available outside of SAP. But it would have to be evaluated. Independent should never be assumed because it is stated. Independence must be proven as just about everyone declares their independence. In the same way that the cheesiest salespeople I have ever met in my life declare that they are “trusted advisors.” Really, how many salespeople out there think they are trusted advisors when they aren’t? Furthermore, how can you be a trusted advisor if your quota pushes you in the direction to sell the most possible software or services to a customer?

Trusted advisors are not trusted advisors because they claim to be. Someone must actually trust them for them to earn this accolade.

The term, “trusted advisor” gets our Golden Pinocchio Award. 

Come to find out, the term trusted advisor was used apparently more in the 2011-2013 time frame for salespeople to intimate to their management on sales calls that their relationship with their customer was better than it actually was.

Conclusion

Given the amount of corruption we have witnessed, the entity making a claim would have to prove their independence, and the best way to do this is by publishing honest information. But how often do you find honest information on consulting websites? If these entities that set themselves up as independent advisors can’t even publish critical and accurate information about SAP on their websites, what makes anyone think that the willingness will spontaneously occur during a private correspondence?

One of the approaches I use when debating SAP consultants who are concerned about something published by Brightwork may not be “accurate,” is go out to their website. Normally one will find the standard lies all copied from SAP marketing.

Now they have no problem with piles and piles of falsehoods on their own websites, but they have problems with “accuracy” at Brightwork. This person is not concerned with accuracy. They are only concerned when the information is critical of SAP. Then their accuracy antenna come out. However, if we were to published something false but positive about SAP, they would happily thumbs up the share.

When asked to defend the copied and pasted information from SAP on their websites, they tend to lose interest in continuing the debate.

If the advice is all kept “in private,” then there is no way of validating the claim.

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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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