What This Article Covers
- The Relationship Between the Major IT Media Entities and SAP
- How SAP Media System Control Works
- The Undeclared Financial Relationships to Industry
- Reviewing Pro SAP Media Output
- Being Paid to Publish SAP Press Releases
SAP’s relationship with its consulting partners is the core of SAP’s success going back decades. In this article, we will cover why this partnership is so effective in blocking out other software vendors.
How SAP Media System Control Works
After years of analyzing how SAP releases information to the market, and how other entities write about SAP, a model developed that explains how the system works. The concept is to build an echo chamber so that SAP says seems likely to be true. The SAP media model or more generally the IT media model applies to other large software vendors, Microsoft and Oracle being good examples, but no software vendor uses the IT media system as effectively as SAP. And an important reason for this is that while SAP is only the 4rth largest worldwide software vendor (after Microsoft, Oracle and IBM) SAP’s overall economic activity is actually larger. This is because SAP outsources almost all of its consulting (where most of the money on SAP is actually spent) so that it has hundreds of thousands of SAP consultants that work for other companies. These consulting companies, like Deloitte, Accenture and IBM among a host of others, serve as message repeaters for SAP. These entities repeat SAP’s messaging not because it is true (none of those entities has historically cared what was true), but because it is profit maximizing for them to do so.
The Undeclared Financial Relationships to SAP
In journalism and research, one is supposed to declare if they receive money from the entities which they cover. However, companies like Forrester and Gartner never declare their financial relationships.
- When Gartner releases its Magic Quadrant, which is the most influential software selection tool used for enterprise software they never declare who they received money from that they have included in the quadrant. However, SAP is a major contributor to Gartner. Forrester is the same.
- ComputerWeekly essentially republishes SAP press releases.
- ASUG, the SAP user group, publishes whatever SAP wants to be published. ASUG pretends to represent users, but its media output is undifferentiated from that of SAP’s.
The following media output from Forrester is a good example of this. This is Forrester’s Wave for the Big Data software category.
Reviewing Pro SAP Media Output
So let us look at the ranking. SAP is rated as close to AWS, Hortonworks and Oracle. AWS is well known for its open source Big Data hosting offering the standard open source DBs, tools, etc. Hortonworks is a well-known Hadoop vendor. It had $185 million in revenue and Big Data is all that it does. SAP has HANA to offer in the Big Data space, but HANA can’t possibly be a good use for Big Data because it is not for unstructured data and it is quite expensive, and it is priced per GB or TB. SAP recently acquired Altiscale, but Altiscale was more of a Big Data software startup, and SAP would not have had time to incorporate them in time for this Forrester Wave.
Overall, there is simply no possible way that SAP would have been listed in this comparison without the money that it gave Forrester. And this is the type of thing that software vendors that compete with SAP must always contend with. SAP can make it appear that it is a leader in various media output because of its enormous financial resources. And this is only one example of how SAP controls the conversation.
The problem IT media, as with the general media is funding. But with IT media the problem is particularly pronounced because precious few IT media outlets follow any conflict of interest rules. If we have a system that is rigged behind the scenes, then the largest players will always come out on top, regardless of what is true. This is because the big players have the bankroll to pay off whoever they need to. These payoffs can be in the form of advertising, “vendor services” (ahem…..Gartner), yearly contributions, etc.. The point is they create a media bias in the media outlet. And if CIO Magazine or ZDNet or Gartner wanted to follow the conflict of interest rules and disclosure requirements what would happen to their business model?
We publish articles that contradict media output that is inaccurarte and that SAP pays to have generated, and this an be used to improve the odds for vendors that compete with SAP.
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