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UpperEdge Compares Accenture, Deloitte, and IBM for SAP

Boston, MA – October 22, 2020 – Biased market research, ineffective RFP processes or sole source awards to incumbent providers often yield the selection of an SAP implementation partner who is not a good fit.

To help understand the hidden critical differences between providers, UpperEdge, an independent third-party advisory company that empowers organizations to get the most value from their IT supplier relationships, released its latest analysis, “Implementing SAP S/4HANA:  Accenture, Deloitte, and IBM Compared.”

UpperEdge contrasted Accenture, Deloitte, and IBM across the S/4HANA transformation program lifecycle including:

  • Strategy & Planning (Phase 0)
  • Evaluation, Selection & Negotiation (RFP)
  • Project Mobilization (Award to Explore)
  • Program Delivery & Execution

After helping companies negotiate over 500 SAP agreements and over $10B in implementations, UpperEdge used a data-driven approach to identify the differentiators for each.

Is There a Clear Winner? 

Winning can only be defined when applied to the criteria established for each engagement.  “The three providers can all deliver on the implementation of an S/4HANA project,” said John Belden, Project Execution Advisory Services Practice Leader.  “However, they all exhibit specific tendencies that need to be considered during selection.  As an example, as they enter an engagement, Accenture overall tends to focus on the roadmap journey, Deloitte focuses on enterprise value, and IBM emphasizes cost calculations.”

“While there is no clear winner in all cases, for every engagement where these companies have gone head-to-head, the firm that was selected was a clear winner for that particular instance.  Knowing how their strengths map to an organization’s needs is significant.”

But UpperEdge found substantial differences in the lifecycle of a project and did a deep-dive comparison of the three integrators, identifying their strengths and weaknesses in each of the following areas:

  • Roadmapping
    • Stakeholder Engagement
    • Delivering a Fully Integrated Sourcing Strategy
  • RFP Response
    • Staffing Model Tendencies
    • Common Estimating Gaps
    • Quality of Oral Presentations
    • Commercial Competitiveness Proposed
  • Award to Explore
    • Staffing Ramp Tendencies
    • Contracting Value Erosion
    • Commercial Competitiveness (Contracting)
    • Shared Risk Commitments (Fixed Fee)
  • Program Management
    • Change Orders Frequency and Embedded Contingency
    • Project Status Reporting

Commercial Competitiveness Proposed During RFP

To take a closer look at the analysis, Commercial Competitiveness (RFP) is just one of the 12 factors that were compared.  “Experience dealing with these integrators in their commercial competitiveness in the RFP stage shows that Accenture differentiates through using the scale of their relationship with you, so if you’ve got an existing relationship, they use volume discount structures and aggressiveness of contract terms to address cost.  They don’t generally compete just off the top on rate,” explained Len Riley, Commercial Advisory Practice Leader.

“Deloitte, on the other hand, will compete from a blended rate standpoint and will position a little more aggressively using shared risk structures.  We’ve seen IBM differentiate more just on flat rate around offshore and onshore competitiveness,” Len added.

Implementing SAP S/4HANA:  Accenture, Deloitte, and IBM Compared is a complimentary deep dive into how these integrators compare throughout the entire lifecycle of an implementation.  For more insight, read about UpperEdge’s IT Sourcing and Negotiation Services Support.



UpperEdge maximizes the value its clients receive from their key IT supplier relationships by helping them develop and execute fact-based sourcing, negotiation, and program execution strategies.  Visit to learn more.