What Should Customers Do About S/4HANA Failures?

Executive Summary

  • S/4HANA has sucked massive amounts of resources from SAP customers that implemented it.
  • We will recommend what to do about this now that S/4HANA has failed so dramatically.

Video Introduction: What Should Customers Do About S/4HANA Failures?

Text Introduction (Skip if You Watched the Video)

As the S/4HANA failures have piled up, the question is sometimes asked what customers should do about this. We are the only independent entity that covers S/4HANA failures. We are updating this article for September of 2019. Since this article was published, we have covered S/4HANA failures in the article What Was the Real Story with the Revlon S/4HANA Failure?, the article The Hidden S/4HANA Home24 and KPS Failure, and The Hidden S/4HANA S Oliver and KPS Failure. You will learn our response to a question we received about the reports of problems with S/4HANA. You will also learn some obvious things that SAP customers can do to protect themselves from S/4HANA.

Our References for This Article

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

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

  • This is published by a research entity, not some lowbrow entity that is part of the SAP ecosystem. 
  • 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. As you are reading this article, consider how rare this is. The vast majority of information on the Internet on SAP is provided by SAP, which is filled with false claims and sleazy consulting companies and SAP consultants who will tell any lie for personal benefit. Furthermore, SAP pays off all IT analysts -- who have the same concern for accuracy as SAP. Not one of these entities will disclose their pro-SAP financial bias to their readers. 

Adjustment #1: Adjust Who One Interprets as Sources of Information on S/4HANA

Stop listening to SAP or Deloitte & co or any of the entities laid out in the article, Who Was Right About S/4HANA Readiness? without finding independent corroboration. The controlled sources like ASUG write nothing but promotional materials around S/4HANA, as we cover in the article How Accurate Was ASUG on its S/4HANA Poll?

SAP also paid Forrester to produce a ridiculous study using three customers (why only three?) that estimated a S/4HANA implementation should cost around $887,000, as we cover in the article Forrester’s Fake S/4HANA TCO Study.

Consulting companies mispredicted S/4HANA complete. As an example, we evaluated one consulting firm prognosticator’s accuracy in the article Mark Chaflen Accuracy Checker.

All of these entities are financially connected to SAP or make money from selling S/4HANA consulting services. Therefore they are an unreliable source of information on the reality of S/4HANA.

Without fact-checking these entities, customers are guaranteed to be lied to.

None of our studies or research into S/4HANA has been paid for by SAP or any other vendor or any other entity.

Adjustment #2: Just Say No to Vendor NDAs

Never accept an NDA from a vendor. Never implement software that has an NDA attached. SAP has been doing shady things by making customers sign NDAs. As a publisher who covers stories that none of the other information providers in the space will cover, project problems are already sufficiently censored. Further secrecy is not necessary — unless you have significant issues with your product, of course.

Adjustment #3: Inform SAP and Your Consulting Partner You Know You Were Lied To

Inform SAP that continual lying will not be tolerated and that immature products cannot merely be misrepresented without consequences.

It is incredible to me how many clients accept lying from both SAP and the consulting firm. By not calling out the lying, you encourage more of it. The fact is both SAP and SAP consulting firms lie a lot — and we have the evidence to prove it. The lying intends to charge more for things that are often not true and cover up previous lies that were told to try to sell or otherwise influence.

If you tolerate lying, SAP and the consulting company will continue to lie to you.

Adjustment #4: Request Compensation

Demand compensation for implementing a product that SAP knew was defective or lacking in maturity as we cover in the articles, How Accurate Was SAP on S/4HANA Being Complete?, Why Did SAP Fake S/4HANA Maturity so Aggressively?, Mark Chalfen on S/4HANA Maturity, and How S/4HANA Suite Missed Release Deadlines when it was being sold. This means that SAP would be liable beyond the license amount but also for restitution of implementation monies.

There is a broader question around S/4HANA — which is why it is being charged for at all for customers that have paid their support for ECC. S/4HANA is simply the next version of ECC. We cover this topic in detail in the article.

Adjustment #5: Question Compliant IT Departments

IT departments are also culpable in this equation. Many IT departments wanted to implement S/4HANA to get the fact they had managed a S/4HANA project on their resume. If the business companies continue to allow their IT departments to be so easily manipulated by software vendors and consultancies, they will not get the systems they need to run their business. The waste in the SAP space is enormous and will continue until other parts of the company begin to ask questions.

If you are from the business reading this, you may want to read the article, Where Does The IT Department Owe Allegiance? as you may have to confront your IT department for giving SAP and the consulting firm a pass.

Adjustment #6: Public Audits

Public and government agencies that implemented S/4HANA should demand audits of these implementations. What was promised before the S/4HANA implementation, and what was delivered? It is well known that SAP and SAP consulting firms consider public firms easy targets.

They will continue to take this view as long as no one requests that public taxpayer-funded entities are audited.

Adjustment #7: Don’t Buy the 2025 Deadline.

Any entity financially connected to SAP has been highly reticent to call out the 2025 deadline for what it is: a fake deadline designed to create a burning platform to make customers jump to S/4HANA. We cover in the article, How to SAP and Oracle’s Support Profit Margins Compare to Pablo Escobar’s Profit Margins, that there is no way SAP will walk from supporting customers that are willing to pay.

However, even though SAP has enormous margins on ECC support, they will continue to pummel customers by requesting a premium for this support, as we cover in the article Why SAP Will Charge a Premium for 2025 ECC Support


Customers were aggressively misled, and the culprits are obvious. Furthermore, there are specific steps that SAP customers can take to use the information of S/4HANA to make positive changes in how they manage SAP.