On the heels of SAP’s dubious claim that companies using its software are 32% more profitable than companies that don’t, Oracle is now claiming that “leading global retailers who use Oracle Retail solutions outperform their peers with 49.7 percent higher operating profits and 61.5 percent higher return on invested capital.” What’s fascinating is that both SAP and Oracle base their claims on research from the same company, Stratascope. On Wednesday, I reported that Stratascope’s CEO, Bruce Brien, took issue with SAP’s claim of a causal relationship between its software and superior profits. In an email to me, Brien said, “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.”
Now, Stratascope is also calling into question Oracle’s numbers. The research firm yesterday issued a press release saying “it has discovered that its research had been mischaracterized, misrepresented and referenced without permission by Oracle Corporation to make claims about Oracle’s performance in the retail industry.” The release quoted Brien as saying, “As a Stratascope Inc. customer, Oracle has the right to pull financial statements out of our repositories, but we have no knowledge of the validity of the criteria and methodology they have used, particularly because several of their claims are based on a set of data that we do not possess. Our name, which was misspelled in their announcement, was used without our permission and erroneously attributed.” In his email to me, Brien commented further: “The SAP study was conducted by highly trained financial analysts in my full-time employ. The numbers, methods, and formulas have been audited and we stand behind their accuracy. We cannot stand behind any claims that Oracle makes in this regard.”
As with the SAP study, I find no indication that Oracle has released the details of its research, so it’s impossible to check its claims. Corporate software buyers would do well to call the bluffs of both these firms.