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Siren Song: Another Ad That Bugs Me


Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: SAP's truth-stretching ads

So another ad has made me cranky. SAP is running an ad that claims:

The right software can make any size company more efficient, more agile, more responsive. In short, make your company more. That's why companies that run SAP are 32% more profitable than companies that don't.

The statistics geek in me kicked in, along with my common sense. If that data were correct, this sounds more like correlation, NOT causation. It's not the least bit responsible for SAP to claim that “software” makes a company efficient. I think the best you can hope for is for software to not get in the way, particularly not getting in the way of lean methods.

The blog I linked to above does a great job of picking apart this ad, including a revealing quote from the president of the firm that did the “32%” study:

“We try to make it very clear to our clients that software does not make companies perform better, that software cannot improve your bottom line and that since most software is not free it will cost you money. If the people running the company make better decisions because of the software, then they can impact the performance of their business.”

Here are earlier “siren song” posts.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus. He is currently writing his next book, tentatively titled Measures of Success.

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