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.

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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