Why Do SAP S/4HANA Customers Have to Sign an NDA?

Last Updated on March 7, 2021 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • SAP makes S/4HANA customers sign NDAs.
  • What does this say about the maturity and quality of S/4HANA?

Introduction

This article is in response to a question we received about the reports of problems with 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.

Lack of Financial Bias Notice: The vast majority of content available on the Internet about SAP is marketing fiddle-faddle published by SAP, SAP partners, or media entities paid by SAP to run their marketing on the media website. Each one of these entities tries to hide its financial bias from readers. The article below is very different.

  • First, it 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 Quote on How Much S/4HANA Failures are Published

But to be fair – this is the case for all embarrassing things both companies and persons does. We all tend to exaggerate the good things we do and not talk about the bad things.”

Our Response

The comment about observing data points, is generally true. However, in this case, I don’t think it applies very well. I know of many failed S/4HANA implementations that never became public. People within those companies reached out to me. The Under Armour situation is far worse than reported — and is being covered up by IT. So the problems with S/4HANA are suppressed, not exaggerated. IT departments routinely suppress their failures. I can walk into any SAP account and find large numbers of applications that are not working as advertised or just on zombie servers, and it is in secret. And there is something else. Customers sign NDAs when they implement S/4HANA. This is very odd, and the question is why. The only conclusion I can come to is that SAP knew the issues they would have with S/4HANA and needed to put a muzzle on their customers.

Conclusion

This should be a good lesson for customers of SAP or other vendors. If a vendor asks you to sign an NDA as part of purchasing an application, this is an indicator that the application is highly problematic. As soon as an NDA is part of a software purchase, this is a good indicator that you should pass on the application. No vendor should ever submit an NDA to a customer as part of an application purchase.