A Study into the Accuracy of the IT Media on SAP

Executive Summary

  • SAP pays large numbers of IT media entities in both advertising in paid placements.
  • We review the accuracy of the IT media on SAP.

Introduction

This will be the future location of the analysis of SAP & IT Media where we will calculate the results of our in-depth” analysis of how the IT media covers SAP and their accuracy.

In our research A Study into the Accuracy of SAP, we evaluated significant pronouncements by SAP and measured their accuracy. This study demonstrated very low accuracy on the part of SAP..

In this research, is connected to and an extension of that research by evaluating the accuracy of IT media entities for the same pronouncements/announcements made in the previous research. But in this study, we evaluated how the media entities that covered each pronouncement/announcement by SAP. As much of this information is released through IT media entities in addition to being published on SAP’s websites, the question to be asked is how much are IT media entities repeaters of SAP’s proposals.

This table is still being built. Soon it will have the number of sources that verified statements and projections by SAP, and a calculation of the total average percentage of verified statements versus overall articles.

The Number of Articles Versus Verified SAP Information

SAP Topic Area (Prediction)# of Sources Offering Information# of Sourced That Verified SAP# of Sources That Verified SAP, But Without SAP CommentingLink to Article with Full Explanation
Netweaver to Become Major Infrastructure "Product." 46120LINK
SAP to Host its Own Products and not Rely on AWS100LINK
SAP's Run Simple Marketing Program Reflects the Reality of SAP
HANA Will be an Excellent Fit for ERP Systems?
HANA Will Make Run MRP Faster than On Any Other Database
You Can Run S/4HANA on a Smartwatch
SAP Mobility is Number One in Mobility Due to Sybase Acquisition
HANA is the Fastest Growing Product in the History of Software.
Fiori is Commercially Successful, Inevitable and Broadly Used by SAP Customers
With SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas, SAP Made Fiori Widely Available a Personalized, Responsive, Simple UX for its Customers
Apple and SAP Partnership
SAP CRM 7.0 is the Best Product in the Field
SAP ByDesign Will Beat or Shock Netsuite with a 90 MPH Fastball
SAP PLM
SAP MDM
SAP SPP
SAP Will Have a Billion Users by 2015
HANA Will Run 100,000x Faster than Any Other Technology
HANA Will Help Employees Work from 10 to 10,000 Times Faster
Ariba is Useful for Direct Procurement
SAP to Introduce Revolutionary Health Application Based on HANA
S/4HANA Has a Simplified Data Model
SAP ASAP Methodology Sped Implementations
SAP Rapid Deployment Solution Sped Implementations
S/4HANA is Complete
Design Thinking Speeds SAP Implementations
Best Practices are Contained within SAP
Best Practices are Contained within SAP
The SNP Optimizer Provides Good Supply Planning Output
The PP/DS Optimizer Provides Good Production Planing and Scheduling Output
Solution Manager Would Become Predominant Content Management Solution for SAP Implementations
SAP is Finished on Oracle
SAP's S/4HANA Implementation Numbers
Indirect Access (Type 2) is a Legitimate Claim
Fiori is the Best UI in Enterprise Software
ByDesign to Run on HANA
SAP's ERP Would be The Only System a Company Would Ever Purchase
All of an SAP Prospect's Existing Applications are Legacy
All Non HANA Databases are Legacy
S/4HANA is so Different from ECC That it is Not Covered as a Free Upgrade
SAP Simplifies The Customer's IT Landscape
SAP's Integrated Suite Offers a Lower TCO
Reengineering Business Processes to Match SAP Leads to Long Term Competitive Advantages
SAP Support is a Good Value
In Memory Computing (via HANA) is Something New and Different
The Count of Fiori Apps is High
Hasso Plattner and his PhDs Invented HANA
HANA Has a Lower TCO
Shelf Life Planning Works in APO SNP
S/4HANA in the Cloud Can be Easily Extended
Parallel Processing Works with the SNP Optimizer
SAP on Alliance with Google

What this table shows is that IT media entities primarily repeat messaging provided by SAP.

IT Media Coverage Notes

Which Articles Were Included

Google does a good job of sorting by relevance versus the search term. As we moved down the list, articles tended to be less relevant. If the subject was really just tangentially mentioned and not the main subject of the article, we did not include that article in the calculation.

SAP Netweaver

SAP Netweaver was often appended to previously existing products. For a while SAP, BW was called Netweaver BW. SAP Process Integration (PI) was called Netweaver PI.

When we reviewed the articles on Netweaver, we did not include or analyze any Netweaver article that was an article about a different application. We only included articles which covered Netweaver as an infrastructure component. In the case when the Netweaver integration infrastructure was included with other items (like PI or BW or MDM), we did count that article.

The Reason for IT Media’s Inaccuracy

There are important reasons why the IT media entities by in large do not contradict SAP.

  1. Financial Self Censorship: The IT media entities that cover SAP can’t write what they want. They rely upon SAP as a funding source. Therefore they primarily act to help SAP get its message out. One of the significant conclusions of Brightwork’s research into the IT media system is that virtually every media source that provides information on SAP also receives money from SAP. Furthermore, it is in only very rare cases, such as with Diginomica and Forrester that the fact the media source receives some type of income from SAP is declared (and the amount is never declared). The vast majority of IT media entities normally do not declare any financial relationship to SAP, and even entities like ComputerWeekly, which are mere “eyeball generators” for what is a marketing automation backend managed by TechTarget which is covered in the article How ComputerWeekly is a Front for Marketing Automation.
  2. SAP Direct Ownership: Some IT media entities like ASUG and Digitalist are either financially owned or have so little independence from SAP that it may as well be SAP. For example, articles on SAP’s Digitalist online magazine are often reprints of information released on SAP. ASUG’s media output is quite apparently taken directly from SAP.
  3. Insufficiently Knowledgeable Writers: Many IT media entities do not employ writers that have sufficient knowledge about the technology or have ever been on projects that are the topic of the coverage area. These type of writers are at a disadvantage in pushing back on statements from the vendor.
  4. No Editorial Interest in Verifying Claims: There is a tiny market for writers that verify the vendor’s statements. The vast majority of income available to media entities is by simply repeating the messaging of sell-side entities. In fact, the only entities that tended to validate what SAP stated, or contradict it, were either IT analysts or very small publications usually from a person with first hand IT experience.

Therefore, they cannot be accurate because they do not have freedom of speech.

No entity can consistently score this low by accident.

Where is this accuracy tracked? The answer is nowhere. No entity anywhere published the accuracy of SAPs statements. The IT media system is controlled by the largest sell-side entities, and the vast majority of the entities pretend to be traditional magazines that serve the interests of the reader, when in fact that leverage that trust to sell out the interests of the reader. One perfect example of this is the media source Digitalist. Digitalist is owned by SAP. However, SAP already has its own website it can release as much messaging as it wishes. Therefore, why did it create Digitalist? We can’t know for sure, but it appears that it allows SAP to release more information on a source that appears not to be SAP’s website. In this way, they cut out the middleman and simply own the media entity rather than pay the media entity to repeat their messaging. How SAP presents, the creation of Digitalist is amusing.

“We created the Digitalist magazine to help C-level executives be leaders in the digital economy, and ultimately transform their organizations and the world itself into a better-run world,” Mr. Woods said.

The strategy fits into SAP’s overall “Run Simple” positioning, he added.”

Interestingly, this quotation focuses on the supposed benefits of Digitalist rather than simply stating it is another pathway to getting SAP’s message out. The quotation finishes with a falsehood, SAP’s marketing slogan called Run Simple, that we debunked in our previous research into SAP’s article.

“The Digitalist is headed up by Editor in Chief Elana Varon, who was previously executive editor at CIO magazine. The articles are written primarily by outside contributors, including business and technology journalists, as well as by some SAP subject-matter experts.”

Interestingly, the selection of Elana Varon, who previously accepted paid placements from SAP for CIO magazine has an excellent background to produce more SAP messaging/propaganda but this time working directly for SAP.

Feedback From Our Criticism

We were recently told by someone at Diginomica that our research into SAP is not “constructive.” Furthermore, that we/Brightwork Research & Analysis are not thought of well in the SAP community.

The SAP community is considered to be.

  1. SAP
  2. SAP Consulting Partners
  3. SAP Software Partners

It is not considered to include IT media entities and IT media entities. It is well documented that SAP consulting partners and SAP software partners close to universally repeat SAP’s messaging. But this study illustrates that for the most part, so do the IT media entities.

The statement is certainly true of the first two entities. We challenge what SAP says, shows their inaccuracy and have pointed out many times that SAP consulting partners look after their own and SAP’s interests far over their client’s interests. SAP consulting partners are major promulgators of false information about SAP, mostly repeating SAP’s messaging. However, we dispute our placement regarding the third leg of the SAP community, which is SAP software partners. In this part of the community, we are quite popular, although most of these entities must be silent about their support publicly as they fear offending SAP.

Who Verifies SAP?

What this leaves is the conclusion is that there is very little independent verification of SAP. And furthermore, the fact-checking research on the part of Brightwork is considered unconstructive on the part of the SAP community. This is not surprising in the same way that it would not be surprising to learn that politicians don’t find fact-checking entities like Politifact to be “constructive.” The smoothest way for any IT media entity to operate is to solicit funding from the sell side and serve as a passive message repeater. It is also the pathway for the least conflict. By publishing positive information, you receive the endorsement of the community that makes money off of SAP. There is virtually no considerations as to whether the information published is accurate. The intent is profit maximization, that is profit maximization for SAP, for the publishing entity and for the community that makes money off of SAP. And as the income from the buyer side has mostly been eliminated, with much of it going into the pockets of Google that produced no content, this is the present and the future of our media system.

Is it True that Media Entities Paid by SAP are Merely “Reporting the News”

Forbes and Computer Weekly will tell you that they are merely reporting the news. – That is from companies that pay them. It is curious that these publications don’t cover the announcements from smaller vendors with any similar frequency.

It’s almost like funding drives media coverage. That is the funding seems to determines not only how messaging is covered, whether it is questioned or repeated, but who’s messaging takes precedence.

Conclusion

These results are damning of the current IT media system. The system is controlled by SAP and primarily serves as a medium to get out SAP’s messaging. The information these media entities provide is unreliable, and the common denominator is that each of them relies upon SAP and other industry sources for funding. Only of two of these entities, Forrester and Diginomica even attempt to inform their readers that they are funded by SAP. The rest keep it a secret from their readers, clearly hoping that they never figure it out.

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.

References

https://adage.com/article/digital/sap-launches-digital-magazine-reach-c-level-execs/299716/