The Lack of Objective Information on SAP

What This Article Covers

  • The State of Objective Information on SAP
  • What is SAP Certification?
  • The SAP Gold Partner
  • How the SAP Partner System Serves to Censor Partners
  • Limitations on the Available Information on SAP

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Introduction

SAP has some of the tightest control over the information that is published on them of any software vendor. In fact, I would argue that SAP’s censorship of information is higher than any other software vendor in the world. Part of the control is exercised through providing sources of income to those that publish. Other forms of control are through the SAP partnership agreements.

This article will explain a disturbing feature of the SAP partnership system, and its impact on the objectivity of information that is available generally on SAP. That is information both in a published form and communicated orally.

What is SAP Certification?

SAP certification is a process that software vendors go through to declare that their solutions are “certified by SAP.” The software vendor then displays a badge on their website and uses the badge in PowerPoint presentations and so on. An example of one of these certification badges is listed below.

While valued by customers, and in fact, many customers will not buy without it. In fact, SAP puts very little effort into the certification process. The requirements are very watered down, typically only a very small amount of data is transferred between systems, and only a very limited grouping of fields. A SAP certified solution does not mean that the company has a working adapter. Not at all.

However, what the SAP certification does mean is that the vendor will follow SAP’s rules regarding the information it provides. The SAP certification is a bit of a bait and a switch. The software vendor often thinks they are getting access to a new market, but they soon learn this is an incorrect assumption. But they are left with the legacy of no longer being able to control their marketing message.

The SAP Gold Partner

SAP certification is for companies that have a software or hardware product. However, many consulting companies are SAP partners, although they don’t have to go through a certification as they have no “product.” But SAP consulting partners face the same limitations to their marketing and advisory messages regarding SAP as soon as they become SAP partners. SAP has different levels of partners. For instance, a SAP Gold Partner is very high in the hierarchy. Being a SAP Gold Partner supposedly means meeting a higher standard, having more people within the company having passed certification tests, etc.. However, I have worked with SAP Gold Partners that never have to pass any certifications because they are connected through personal relationships at high levels to SAP. Furthermore, in small market countries, there are SAP Gold Partners that are utterly unqualified, but SAP has some other reason for wanting that company to have the designation. In some small market companies there just are not very many choices.

However, I have worked with SAP Gold Partners that never have to pass any certifications because they are connected through personal relationships at high levels to SAP. Furthermore, in small market countries, there are SAP Gold Partners that are utterly unqualified, but SAP has some other reason for wanting that company to have the designation. In some small market companies there just are not very many choices.

The SAP Partner System Serves to Censor Partners

Companies that are partners with SAP lose control over the information that they provide to customers. They must not provide information that contradicts the SAP information. This includes companies that are the largest advisors in the space (your Deloittes, Accenture, etc..) to the smallest.

How do I know all of this?

Many a SAP partner has contacted me and tell me stories of how SAP threatens to take their partnership away if they don’t follow the SAP partner rules. And they explain exactly how the control by SAP works.

Although to be fair, many if not most of the SAP consulting partners don’t seek to provide accurate information to their customers anyway. In this way, they have been very easy to buy off. The large consulting companies make advising decisions based upon their profits and are not concerned with the benefits their customers receive from software.

Limitations on the Available Information on SAP

SAP controls or at least influences information released through non-SAP partners. These are media entities like CIO Magazine, Gartner, Forrester, etc.. SAP is contributors to all of the major IT media outlets. And what SAP receives in return is uncritical thought out articles and coverage. SAP can rely upon these outlets to serve as repeating mechanisms for their marketing materials.

Conclusion

Therefore, companies are boxed out of accessing accurate information on this topic. Brightwork Research and Analysis is one of the few entities which will publish or provide consulting on this topic. Unsurprisingly, we have no partnership with SAP, and unlike someone like Gartner or Forrester, we take no money from SAP.

References

Who is the Most Accurate Source on SAP?

Want to find out? See... A Study into The Accuracy of SAP

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