What is the Real Story with SAP’s Run Simple?

Last Updated on May 24, 2021 by

Executive Summary

  • The Run Simple marketing program by SAP has been quite popular.
  • In this article, we review the accuracy of the Run Simple campaign.

Video Introduction: What is the Real Story with SAP’s Run Simple?

Text Introduction (Skip if You Watched the Video)

For several years now, SAP has been using the term simple in its marketing and sales. There is Simple Finance, Simple Logistics, the name “Running Simple,” or “Run Simple,” used in many SAP presentations. So what does all this simple stuff mean? We cover all of this and how the concept should be interpreted by buyers and those who study SAP. You will learn as we begin by analyzing some of the statements we found about simplicity from SAP. Watch as we evaluate these statements’ accuracy to come to a general conclusion about SAP’s running simple.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.

Lack of Financial Bias Notice: We have no financial ties to SAP or any other entity mentioned in this article.

  • This is published by a research entity.
  • Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department. 

The Effort Put Behind SAP Run Simple

At SAP conferences, SAP and partners drove the concept of SAP Run Simple into the ground. Each partner seemed to have simply worked into their catchphrase, “Run Simple with E&Y.” “Let IBM Show You How to Run Simple.”

For a while, there everything was “SAP Run Simple,” and a lot of people who had never worked with the software, or had but had forgotten how it worked, were running around saying how simple everything was going to be. SAP Run Simple was the catchphrase on SAP marketing literature, and SAP Run Simple was woven into many different SAP messaging areas. Of course, the SAP partners picked up SAP Run Simple with an uncountable number of consulting companies using different takes on SAP Run Simple to co-promote with SAP. With SAP Run Simple, everything was supposed to now be simple in SAP.

In his book SAP Nation, Vinnie Mirchandani does an extensive job of covering the history of SAP’s use of the term simple or proposing they will simplify going back to the 1990s.

The High-Level Concept of SAP Run Simple

SAP has been fighting the perception that it’s hard to use and expensive at a high level. Problems are challenging those perceptions, as they are both true.

  • Is SAP is Difficult to Use?: If you want to produce a forecast, approve a PO, check on inventory, it will be more difficult than in other applications. SAP is known as the most complex enterprise software applications. I say this complexity is a perception — however, as a long time SAP consultant, I can say that it is true. One example of this is how long it takes to get things done in the user interface or the SAPGUI. Another example is how SAP makes integration more difficult than other vendors by preventing its database’s direct interrogation. They are still the only vendor I know of that uses an intermediate document, a relic from the mainframe era’s hierarchical data formats for application integration. Now one might say the complexity is worth it. Whether something is worth its inherent complexity is a separate discussion from whether something is complicated.
  • Interestingly, much of the marketing by SAP that promotes S/4 HANA is how much it simplifies what were complicated things in SAP. The problem, though, is that it relies upon simplistic platitudes regarding a simplified data model and Fiori’s use. However, Fiori is not a user interface. It is a series of apps with a very hazy future. I cover this in the article What is in the Fiori Box? Also, is SAP agreeing that their software is very sophisticated right now?
  • Implementation Costs: SAP has the highest cost implementations in nearly any software category you want to compare. I know this from working on many SAP projects and comparing them to non-SAP projects. Full TCO calculators on SAP and non-SAP applications show this research and allow people to calculate the TCO for their projects. It is precisely why so many consulting companies recommend SAP. No consulting company suggests lower cost SaaS solutions, which they can’t make the most money on.

I am bringing up this information above as a simple background as to why SAP is motivated to present their systems as easier to use.

The “simple” campaign is part of changing the perception.

Understanding the Marketing of SAP Run Simple

Let us take a look at some of the marketing statements on Running Simple. Here is one that caught my eye.

If we simplify everything, we can do anything. SAP helps you streamline your processes, so you have the agility to create new growth opportunities for your business with the world’s most innovative platform.

There are a lot of statements like this on the SAP website. The first part of the paragraph is a platitude or a nursery rhyme. Much like the phrase “if you don’t stand for anything, you will go far for everything,” or “if the glove does not fit, you must acquit.” It is a sentence designed to appeal to our reptilian brains. The last part of the paragraph is entirely untrue.

SAP is not the world’s most innovative platform. Also, SAP is not a platform. SAP internally developed every single area of functionality has copied from someplace else (I speak only of the applications SAP developed. I don’t know the acquired applications well enough to make that claim — but those are not SAP applications). That is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it is credited, but saying you are the most innovative platform does not acknowledge where you obtained these ideas. Like Microsoft, SAP can say that it is big. It can say that it is successful. It can claim enormous monopoly power, that it has the most highly compensated consultants in IT.

However, it cannot claim innovation.

I can list of vendor after vendor that has participated in true innovation. I don’t want to just list them here, but I point out innovative functionality in software vendors at Brightwork Research & Analysis. Let us show some respect for the true innovators. This reminds me of a tension-filled interaction between Tywin Lannister and Joeffry on Game of Thrones. At one point Jeoffry, to establish his authority, states, “I am King!” Tywin Lanister responds, “Any King who has to say, “I am King!” is no true king.”

It is amusing. See the clip below:

[tube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sJY7BTIuPY[/tube] Wouldn’t Tywin say the same thing to SAP for saying they are the most innovative platform in enterprise software? I think he would.

In an article on making things simple by Frank Scavo, he presented the following areas where SAP was proposing it was more simple with its newer products.

  1. A Simpler Code Base
  2. A Simpler User Interface
  3. Simpler to Implement
  4. Cloud Deployment Simplifying Ongoing Support
  5. Making SAP Simple to Deal With

Let’s go through each of the quotations individually and then analyze whether the information provided by SAP in each area is true or likely to be true.

A Simpler Code Base

Under HANA the applications can now simply record transactions and not have to create any summarized data fields for later reporting. With HANA, reporting always goes back to the source data in memory to build aggregated data fields on the fly. This shrinks the size of the programs, greatly reducing the number of lines of code, making them less error-prone and easier to debug. It also means that users can now drill down from summary data to details in any way they choose, without having to write special reports or customize the code.

True or False?: Some aspects of column based databases are more simple than row-based databases (what HANA proposes to replace). However, nothing definitive can be said either way. I cover this in Does S/4 HANA Have a Simplified Data Model? SAP has been like a dog with a bone on this one, and they are entirely mistaken on this topic.

There is a second point that the code in the application layer has been cut down and simplified. This has repeatedly been referred to by SAP. However, this comment by an architect in the book SAP Nation 2.0 makes me question this proposal.

“What SAP has done with S/4 is simplify the underlying structure through database views in HANA. So it’s another layer on top of the database that compounds very granular underlying database tables into logical business constructs; something that has always been done by the application logic in SAP (the data in SAP is dumb — all the intelligence is in the logic) And since that SAP logic is all process driven in the “order to cash” or “procure to pay” themes, making business sense of that data can be a real bitch. What it is NOT is a material reduction in tables or a simplification of the data structure. Buy definition, it can’t be because those hundreds of million lines of ABAP code all point to those original tables in some way; so until the code is rewritten, the tables still need to exist. And that includes all the customer customizations…”

Additionally, I find this quotation very confusing because my understanding was that all the ECC tables had been converted into columnar tables, and all the code in S/4 in the application layer had been rewritten to address those column based tables.

This quotation calls this into question.

“It’s another layer on top of the layers that already exist. It is additive. And the more layers, the more issues with context and integrity — and the more challenges in maintaining relationships when the underlying tables change. Also, though the views are great for getting things out, but they really can’t put  things back. So it’s really analytics only. To put it back in SAP, you have to follow the old rules and it has to go to the original tables.”

If this architect is correct, I was misled by several people from SAP that pitched S/4 HANA to a broader group over a year ago. Of course, they were repeating a message they were told to repeat and probably did not know themselves.

Secondly, HANA will take longer to implement, and there is less in the way of skills to manage any HANA complexity than competing databases. This is because there are fewer HANA skills in the market than for the competing databases that could be used. This is similar to buying an uncommonly purchased car — it will mean fewer available mechanics to work on it.

So more likely than not, HANA is a more complex implementation than implementing without HANA. There may be some maintenance benefits from HANA versus more traditional databases, as there are fewer indexes (which I cover in several articles here). But again, HANA has other complexities that come along with it. Here are why SAP’s comments on HANA are so unreliable:

  • SAP misstates both the origin and advantages of column-based databases. None of the technological underpinnings of HANA are exclusive to SAP, and in fact, none of them were invented by SAP.
  • SAP routinely lists the advantages of HANA without listing the disadvantages.

That means any statement by SAP on HANA must be put through a reality blender to get a balanced final output.

The Verdict? Most Likely Untrue.

A Simpler User Interface:

SAP Fiori provides the user interface for Simple Finance. Fiori apps operate across desktop and mobile devices to provide a simplified user interface for SAP’s applications. They are not just a new presentation layer but in many cases combine SAP transactions into a single user process. For example, entering a manual payment in Accounts Payable can now be done in a single screen instead of the multiple screens it previously required in SAP. On a side note, after much push-back from customers, SAP announced that Fiori apps will now be delivered at no charge to customers under maintenance, removing one barrier to adoption of Simple Finance.

True or False?: Fiori cannot be the user interface for Simple Finance, or what is now just “Finance.” It can’t be the user interface for all S/4 HANA when it is eventually released in what now looks like next year. I explain why this is the case in the article What is in the Fiori Box?

The user interface for S/4 HANA will be the same (outside of some Fiori apps here and there) will be SAPGUI. Companies that want to get a modern interface need to seek third parties that are far better at modifying and representing the SAPGUI than SAP.

The Verdict? Untrue.

Simpler to implement?:

Implementation tools and methodologies are built right into the application, based on SAP’s previous work with its Rapid Deployment Services. These include wizard-like tools to guide and configure the applications. There are data migration tools to map data from existing systems into Simple Finance—whether from previous versions of SAP or from other systems. Implementation testing is also managed within the system itself. In addition, Simple Finance is integrated with SAP’s collaboration system, Jam, to encourage knowledge exchange. If a user runs into problems, for example, he or she can reach out to other users for help.

True or False?: The Rapid Deployment Services of RDSs are a jumble of mostly already existing material that has been repackaged. For instance, it includes:

  • Best Practices documentation, which isn’t best practices. That is another topic that I cover in this article, Evidence for SAP’s Best Practice Claims.
  • Configuration documentation
  • Some confusing flow charts
  • Various documents of different types depending upon the RDS in question.
  • Some demo data, again, very much depending upon the RDS in question.

Many of this has been around for quite some time and is just repackaged into “RDSs.”

I can’t speak to the proposed data migration tools mentioned in the quote. It’s hard to see how implementation testing could be performed in the application.

Jam is an unknown quantity at this point, and it is not enough to hang your hat on. Overall, one would have to see new SAP applications installed more quickly than older applications before anything definitive can be said.

On November 30, 2015, Hasso Plattner published How to Understand the Business Benefits of SAP S/4 HANA Better.

This article shows some clear frustration on the part of Hasso with the well documented fact that SAP’s customers are having a problem seeing the value in S/4 HANA.

Let’s understand each of Hasso’s observations and see how they stack up. You can first read Hasso’s article, which I have provided the link above, and then read this one as I have taken out what I think are the most important quotes. I have each of the quotes and my comments organized under the exact headings that are from Hasso’s article.

Hasso on The Reduction in Complexity from S/4 HANA

“For years our customers complained about the complexity of the business suite and asked for simplification. Now some fear they have to relearn a lot and that will cost time and money. The simplification of the UI is real and will save time with the first day of productive use. The business functionality of the transactions is still the same but comes in a much more efficient form.

The dramatic simplification of the data model, the fact that any field can be used as an index for selecting data and the unprecedented short response times are allowing for much faster development cycles of new applications. The deployment of extensions in SAP HANA Cloud Platform is an elegant way to enhance SAP S/4HANA systems or to build completely new applications. SAP S/4HANA combines the proven set of core business functionality, in many languages and for nearly all countries, with the ability to venture into completely new dimensions of applications. This capability is key when business processes are developing at an ever increasing speed and core enterprise systems cannot just be complemented by point solutions but have to also accommodate these changes.  This reduction in complexity also lowers the threshold for smaller companies to switch to SAP S/4HANA.”

Let’s look into the detail in each area brought up by Hasso.

  • For Years Our Customers Complained About the Complexity of the Business Suite (ECC): Yes, this is true. However, most of the complaints did not have to do with what HANA is improving. Many of the companies did have to do with the SAPGUI. However, again SAP buyers cannot expect Fiori to cover many of the ECC screens for some time. So Fiori will be used along the same old SAPGUI. Therefore, complaints will continue.
  • The Dramatic Simplification of the Data Model: I cover Getting Clear on S/4 HANA that it is debatable whether HANA simplifies the data model.
  • ..The Ability to Venture into Completely New Dimensions of Applications: It is hard to see how this is true. S/4 has a (partially) new UI. And Fiori can be customized much more easily than SAPGUI. However, it is still a lot of work, and there is not a consensus on Fiori yet in terms of whether it will stick longterm. The later part of this paragraph is a sort of fanciful sales talk, and it is challenging to address what Hasso is describing.

The Verdict? Some Things are Untrue; Others are Unknown.

Cloud Deployment Simplifying Ongoing Support

SAP also wants run simple in how customers keep their applications up-to-date. Like most traditional on-premises vendors, the majority of SAP customers are not on the latest releases of its products. The reason is that applying new versions (in SAP lingo, “enhancement packs”) is often a labor-intensive activity—testing the new code, retrofitting any customizations, regression testing to be sure nothing gets broken, and migrating data. SAP’s solution is to take over these responsibilities by hosting customers’ systems in SAP’s HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC). This program, already rolled out to some early SAP customers, is essentially a managed services offering in which SAP takes all responsibility for day to day operation of the system in SAP’s own data centers. Notably, SAP also takes responsibility for keeping the customer’s system up to date with the latest enhancement packs and bug fixes. It even supports systems with custom modifications.

True or False?: This one is pretty easy. This quote is several years old, and this has not happened. Some of this may be related to price, and some simply SAP trying to be good at something that it does not have experience in. However, there is no momentum for this year after the HEC was introduced. Everything at the beginning of this quotation above is still the case today.

The Verdict? Untrue.

Making SAP Simple to Deal With

Bill McDermott is always good for some major whoppers. I question how good McDermott is a spokesman at this point for SAP because he has built up a history of saying things that turn out not to be true. It is probably a good time for him to take his stock options and SAP to bring in a new fresh face to pitch this crazy stuff.

He (McDermott) continued: “For customers, we’re committed to a beautiful user experience. We will make it simple to do business with SAP: simple pricing, pay-as-you-go in the cloud, simple web experience.”

Those are big promises. Anyone who has negotiated an acquisition of SAP software knows that SAP contracts are incredibly complex.  Pricing is opaque, with many various types of named users defined for each product. SAP’s terms and conditions around indirect access (when other systems access information from an SAP system) are onerous.

The result is that it is nearly impossible for an SAP customer to be fully compliant. When SAP does an audit of a customer’s use of SAP products—which it has the right to do—it will find problem, if it looks hard enough.

Even finding the right person in SAP’s organization to deal with is not a simple matter. Whether it is the result of having a worldwide organization or peculiarities of German corporate governance, it is difficult to understand who reports to whom, or who is responsible for what.

True?: I don’t think I need to add anything to what Frank Scavo said.

The Verdict? Untrue.

SAP Run Simple

SAP has a huge media influence. The advantages of being big are real. SAP can simply reach out to most media outlets and find them compliant with most messages that SAP has to give them. SAP is a major advertiser, which, combined with being big, goes a long way to getting its message out.

If a media outlet presents this information without commentary, which they often do, and if SAP does this through many media outlets, then it can seem that the media outlet is endorsing SAP’s marketing machine, when that may not be their real intent. However, if SAP quotations are provided without objective commentary from the article author, it is effortless to create an echo chamber. That is, a lot of pollyannish statements are made by SAP that becomes taken for granted.

Was SAP Run Simple Ever and Accurate Concept?

I have worked in SAP since 1997, and I don’t recall anything in SAP to be simple. SAP may be the standard, and it may be robust. But it is not simple. I have noticed a strong correlation between people who propose SAP’s new simplicity and how far away they are from SAP applications, and, i.e., how little they know. And of course, it’s much easier to believe something complex is simple — if you don’t have to do the work yourself to configure or setup said system.

Secondly, there was always a problem using the term “simple” as part of a product name that SAP marketing never picked up on. The word “simple” is a superlative adjective, and adjectives don’t make sense as part of application names. And after a while, it makes more sense to drop the identifier as it only becomes redundant. This would be like calling a system “handsome” or “fantastic.” Let us apply this to another application, say the SAS Forecast Server, which would become the:

“SAS Outstanding Forecast Server”

See…it just does not work.

Secondly, S/4HANA is not simple. Parts of S/4 HANA can use the Fiori user interface, but quite a bit about S/4HANA is more complex. This includes all the changes that are a part of S/4HANA that need time to be understood and incorporated correctly into companies.

What Happened to Run Simple?

Just as quickly as SAP Run Simple had arrived on the scene, the term was removed from the SAP marketing literature. Simple Finance was renamed to just Finance. Simple Logistics was renamed to several different items, but the word simple was no longer used. SAP Run Simple had run its course as a term to use.

ComputerWorld on SAP’s Run Simple

On August 25, 2014, ComputerWorld published the article SAP’s Simplicity Push Is Not So Simple.

In this article, we will review the material for accuracy.

Article Quotations

“SAP has long grappled with the side effects of its software being perceived as both sophisticated enough to meet the specific needs of almost any company but also complex, expensive and unwieldy.”

SAP’s Complexity is Merely a Perception

The beginning of this article is a problem because it implies that the software is perceived. However, this is not a perception. SAP being not only complex but unnecessarily complex. This pushes the article towards probably pushing SAP’s marketing message that SAP’s evident complexity is simply a perception. ComputerWorld has some type of financial relationship with SAP that means ComputerWorld acts typically as merely a passive marketing channel for SAP.

HANA is Attached to Everything SAP Does?

“Under CEO Bill McDermott, SAP is pledging to make both its software and its customer-interaction processes simpler. At the Sapphire conference in June, McDermott unveiled Simple Finance, one of a planned series of Hana-powered ERP applications that use the Hana in-memory computing platform and other technologies to slim down the code base and make the user interface more appealing and productive.

Hana is attached to everything we have, McDermott said in a recent interview.”

Bill McDermott is an unreliable source of information on SAP. He is a lifelong salesman with a yearly compensation of $50 million. Previous statements made by Bill McDermott have mostly proven to be untrue. Once again, he is proven wrong when he says HANA is attached to everything SAP does. Six years after its introduction, it only works with a minority of SAP applications and only has penetration into one application for implementation: the SAP BW.

Oracle and SAP as Big Cloud Companies?

Like rival Oracle, SAP is in a transition period as its customers, who traditionally bought perpetual licenses for on-premise deployments, look to adopt cloud-based software that is sold by subscription.

Oracle also receives the vast majority of its revenues from on-premises software. Oracle over-reports several sales from the cloud, but it is not very difficult to look under the covers to find out the reality.

SAP’s Run Simple Campaign Must be Fine Tuned?

SAP may need to fine-tune its pledge for more simplicity, says independent analyst Jon Reed. SAP used to sell so much software based on its completeness of functionality, Reed says.

This is a political way of saying that SAP has overstated the “Run Simple” marketing program. Jon Reed is framing it in favorable terms, implying that SAP’s complexity is necessary because SAP’s functionality is complete.

  1. SAP does not have completeness of functionality. SAP lacks functionality where other vendors do have functionality — process industry manufacturing is just one example. Secondly, some of SAP’s functionality in the release notes does not work correctly.
  2. Even if a company has “completeness of functionality,” which itself more a term of propaganda than a real statement (a more accurate statement would be that an application has a wide breadth of functionality), it does not necessarily follow that this means a great deal of complexity. For example, vendor Arena Solutions has a wide breadth of functionality for BOM management, but its software is easy to use.

One would have to know close to nothing about SAP to believe that SAP is not all of a sudden simple. The entire Run Simple campaign is simply an example of counter-marketing. That is attempting to counter a valid negative perception by asserting the opposite.

It is not declared, but Reed is a co-founder of Diginomica, which counts SAP as a funding entity. Therefore, ComputerWorld, which receives funding from SAP and does not declare this, is obtaining a quote from what appears to be an independent source, in this case, Jon Reed. Still, there is also not declared of Jon Reed’s relationship to SAP. (Diginomica does declare SAP’s sponsorship on the Diginomica website.) But overall, this article has both a biased publisher and then employed biased sources.

But a product’s sheer depth of features is declining in importance as enterprise software buyers adopt newer, more specialized cloud applications.

This is an interesting observation from Jon Reed. But what this means is that SAP is losing its grip on customers. This is consistent with our primary inspection of the SAP market covered at [Brightwork Research & Analysis.]

Customers Tell Jon Reed that SAP is Simple to Use?

The more crucial task for SAP is to make doing business with it easier, and that work is far from done, Reed says. SAP at Sapphire put out simplicity as a leadership mantra: Were going to lead you to a simple future, he says. Its a challenge for SAP to live up to. When I hear customers tell me how simple and easy it is to deal with SAP, Ill get on board.

It is hard to fathom who is telling Jon Reed that it’s simple to use SAP. I am a long term SAP consultant going back to 1997, and to do anything in SAP is always more difficult and complex than doing that same thing in any other competing application.

This is covered in the article [Is SAP’s Run Run Simple Real?]

DSAG on the Simple Story

“SAPs message of simplicity is a good story for customers, says Marco Lenck, chairman of DSAG, a German SAP user group. This is the right direction for customers, but it takes investment in terms of time, knowledge and money to get there.”

Marco Lenck’s quotation here is golden. Marco very nicely puts the simplicity story in a box by calling it what it is. He then basically says that SAP has a lot of work to do in the area.

DSAG is the only SAP user group that does anything close to its mission of representing user interests to SAP. The only one that dares to stand up to SAP.

Simple is So Hard!

“One CIO of an SAP shop agrees. Simple is really hard, says David Wascom, CIO of Summit Electric Supply and a board member of the Americas SAP Users Group, because all the steps that have to take place in your business dont go away.”

This is more justifying SAP’s unnecessary complexity. What do “all the steps that have to take place not going away” have to do with SAP’s complexity? Complexity is primarily a feature of software design, and SAP designs extremely complex software, but not because the problem it is solving is particularly complex. An excellent example of this is the SNP optimizer. The SNP optimizer has a lousy design. Other optimizers are far easier to use, while SNP’s are mostly useless.

It seems that this article is commingling complexity with bad design. A good measure of software design is how something that is complex can be made simple to use. An excellent example of this is Airtable. Airtable makes relational databases almost as easy to use as a spreadsheet. The complexity is hidden from the user.

SAP Becoming More Simple?

“Wascom says that he is seeing some signs of improvement lately from SAP, but he’s hoping for more. One of the biggest challenges I have as a business executive is not how to get SAP to give me some particular piece of functionality, he says. The challenge is managing the risk of my SAP investment. To that end, SAP should improve customers visibility into its product road maps, Wascom says.”

This is a pretty severe dig at SAP if you follow SAP. This is because SAP has probably the most confusing product roadmaps of any software vendor. The reason for this is SAP is always proposing things in their roadmaps that they cannot deliver. They allow marketing to control the roadmap and more or less tell development what they will do and when they will do it rather than the other way around. This is because, at SAP, sales and marketing are far more powerful than development.

But that is a slightly different issue from the complexity of the software itself.

Does this Quotation Qualify as a Big Message?

“While committed to SAP technology, Wascom offered cautionary advice to any fellow CIOs who are considering the company’s products.

The big message is that SAP, among the platforms I’ve looked at, is the most powerful and most flexible to meet whatever your business needs are, he says. But with great power comes great complexity. Its not like installing Microsoft Word.”

This is a strange comparison. Microsoft employs no one to install Word. It self-installs. SAP projects fund millions of consultants worldwide, and SAP projects can go on for years. This is a major driver of revenues for major multinational consulting companies.

At this point, it seems reasonable to assume that people reading this article would know that SAP does not self-install. This quotation appears designed to minimize expense and complexity and SAP.

And once again, the statement is that complexity is a trade-off for some virtue. But SAP is far too complicated for what it does, and its complexity is a hindrance to using it effectively. I can provide a long list of software vendors that cover the same areas as SAP but have far less complexity because they are simply better designed. The best software works this way.

SAP Needs Ombudspeople?

“SAP would benefit from having simplicity ombudspeople who would guide customers through difficult software migrations and improve the entire customer experience, says independent analyst China Martens.”

Isn’t that what large SAP consulting companies are supposed to do? Aren’t they supposed to be independent?

China Martens has to know that SAP gets very little revenue from consulting and outsourced it is consulting in return for being recommended decades ago. Secondly, the software must be designed better; putting consultants on the issue will only do so much good. But secondly, SAP’s support has been dramatically degraded, so now customers are far more frequently left to fend for themselves than in the past.

Also, SAP will never employ any person who supports the customer’s interests in SAP. That is not the way that SAP operates. Even the large consulting companies, who don’t technically report to SAP, behave as if they do, putting the interests of SAP ahead of those of their clients.


SAP Run Simple, which is supposed to apply to S/4HANA, makes no sense, particularly when SAP Run Simple is supposed to apply to just about everything from S/4 to Fiori to HANA when all of these items are new and will require years of burn in to reach the stability of the products they are replacing.

It is no easy feat keeping up with SAP’s S/4HANA terminology. SAP went through a period where they invested mightily in a false marketing construct — that the new applications were somehow simple.

Basically, for all of SAP’s emphasis on their Simple program, it’s hard to find any substance to any of it. There is no evidence that new SAP applications will be any simpler, in actually any dimension than previous applications.

  • SAP has made some proposals, but they are easily disproven and are designed to exploit those with little understanding of SAP.
  • Other proposals are unknown and depend upon seeing the results in the field. However, they are presented as if they are already proven. This is a consistent theme in SAP’s writing. Unproven conjecture and bragging are presented as if it is an academically researched and settled topic.

The “Run Simple” program was directed at people who are easily tricked. It was a major way that SAP sold HANA and S/4HANA, as we cover in the article Does HANA Have a Simplified Data Model and Faster Reconciliation? However, within a few years, Run Simple was a dead marketing program at SAP.