Gartner: Research Misrepresented in Oracle Ad

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-12-21 Print this article Print

Gartner's Ombudsman has slapped Oracle on the wrist, saying that the database giant misused Gartner research data in an ad in The Wall Street Journal.

Gartner Inc.s ombudsman has slapped Oracle Corp. on the wrist, saying that the database giant misused Gartner research data in an ad in The Wall Street Journal. The ad, which ran Nov. 28, claimed that "94 percent of customers run up-to-date Oracle Applications (Easy to upgrade at no additional cost)." The ad contrasted that number to 4 percent of customers who run up-to-date SAP Applications, which, the ad claimed, are "so expensive and difficult to upgrade [that] 96 percent of SAP customers didnt do it." The ad cited its source as being statistics taken from a March 2005 Gartner report.
The problem with these figures is that Oracle contrasted numbers for two different time periods, according to the ombudsman, Nancy Erskine, whos a vice president at Gartner.
Not only that, but the numbers reflect all aggregated products on Oracles side, while they pertain to only one version on SAPs side. Erskine wrote in Gartners Ombudsman Weblog that the numbers apparently come from a report titled "ERP Upgrades Will Reflect the Uncertainties of the Overall Market." "To compare 94 [percent] with 4 [percent], Oracle has contrasted numbers for two different time points and aggregated all the Oracle applications shipped as Release 11i (which comprise five distinct versions, shipped over a five-year period) and compared that with one version of SAP product (which became available to customers in March 2005)," Erskine wrote. "The advertisement egregiously misrepresents the data." Click here to read more about a survey that showed users reaction to upgrading to Oracle. Beyond those misrepresentations, Oracle referenced only products shipped as Oracle E-Business Suite, omitting products on which a higher percentage of customers arent up to date. "Oracle currently has a number of other Application products (including PeopleSofts Enterprise, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, and JD Edwards World)," Erskine wrote. "A higher percentage of Oracle customers using those products are on versions which would not be considered up-to-date." An Oracle spokesperson said that the criticism boiled down to details, but that the gist of the ad is still on target. "Gartners research makes it clear that a majority of SAP customers are running older versions of SAP software," the spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. "History shows that upgrading from one code base to another is costly and disruptive. Gartners blog may point out some differences in interpreting the data, but the main point—that SAP [customers] face expensive and challenging upgrades, upgrades that are being forced upon them by SAP and upgrades that are required to get the latest piece of functionality—is well-founded and documented within Gartners own research." Gartner had not responded to inquiries by the time this article was posted. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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