Did Clarkston Just Parrot SAP on S/4HANA?

Executive Summary

  • Clarkston Consulting makes proposals about S/4HANA’s “Platform” and related S/4HANA topics.
  • We review Clarkson for accuracy.

Video Introduction: Did Clarkston Just Parrot SAP on S/4HANA?

Text Introduction (Skip if You Watched the Video)


The falsehoods published on the websites of SAP consulting firms never cease to amaze us. Clarkston Consulting is one of these SAP consulting firms with zero concern for whether anything it publishes is true. Clarkston Consulting writes articles for people that can be tricked and essentially repeats whatever information is provided to them by SAP marketing. You will learn about Clarkston’s claims made on their S/4HANA website pages. As part of our continual series on accuracy on SAP, in this article, we review the accuracy of Clarkston Consulting on their article 4 Ways S/4HANA is Transforming the Wholesale Distribution Industry.

See our references for this article and related articles at this link.

Clarkston on S/4HANA’s “Platform”

We recently participated in a SAP® partner workshop where SAP® discussed their cutting-edge solutions for the wholesale distribution industry and how these solutions enable wholesalers to compete and win in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

This first paragraph shows how compliant Clarkston is to SAP. SAP often likes companies to put the registered ® symbol in articles that are written about SAP. As you may notice, this is entirely unnecessary. As if it is unclear whether the name SAP has been registered at some point in history! No independent media entity would write this way. Companies that are part of SAP’s partner network do what SAP says and communicate what SAP wants them to communicate.

The SAP S/4HANA® Ecosystem

SAP S/4HANA quickly became the cornerstone of any business transformation. No matter the business need, SAP S/4HANA and the applications connected within the platform’s ecosystem allow for the communication of business functions that were commonly handled separately to interact and learn from one another.

That is curious. Because Brightwork’s independent research into S/4HANA implementations shows, just the opposite is happening. That few companies are successfully implementing S/4HANA.

This seems to be Clarkston repeating what SAP says without verifying whether it is true.

We reviewed the key solutions that were discussed and why this technology is now a necessary component of your business.

At this point in the article, things go downhill. Clarkston now introduces several things that are other SAP applications and not S/4HANA. What are these things part of an article on S/4HANA?

Item #1: Sales Leveraging SAP Hybris® Commerce

The SAP Hybris Commerce solution will provide an E-Commerce platform to enable key capabilities that include pricing procedures, web page personalization, contextual experiences and website content. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 40% of B2B digital commerce sites will use price optimization algorithms and configure, price, quote (CPQ) tools to calculate and deliver product pricing dynamically. By increasing the connection points with your customer and providing the same capabilities regardless of how or when they connect, you’ll be providing analytics and history across all channels and enabling an omnichannel experience. The capabilities of the web, mobile and social can then be leveraged by your field sales teams to provide the customer with all details of their interactions.

Right, not part of S/4HANA.

Years after this was published, SAP placed Hybris into C/4HANA. However, as this article was updated in September of 2019, C/4HANA was a preannounced product. As we cover in the article How Accurate Was Bluefin Solutions on C-4HANA?

Item #2. Marketing utilizing SAP Hybris Marketing

Marketing is an overlooked line of business within wholesale distribution. SAP Hybris Marketing provides the ability to take customer segmentation and predictive analytics to the next step with a marketing focus. This is especially true as wholesalers continue to explore B2C along with B2B. SAP Hybris Marketing allows a business to understand their customer segments and to build campaigns to focus on these segments.

Not part of S/4HANA.

Item #3: Analytics for the Internet of Things Using SAP Leonardo®

The Internet of Things, now marketed as SAP Leonardo, can provide live insights, predictive capabilities, optimize processes and enable new business models. For wholesalers, Leonardo can provide unique capabilities around connected fleets or environment monitoring, meaning understanding the location of their fleet, truck temperatures, equipment health, efficiency in routes, and usage and consumption of inventory.

Leonardo is not part of S/4HANA. Leonardo is SAP’s grab bag of tools for IoT.

But it’s helpful to learn that Leonardo is also a registered name. Yes, I was not sure if the name Leonardo has been registered yet. Now, thanks to Clarkston, we know.

Years after this was published, Leonardo died as a product — as this article was updated in September of 2019. We covered this in the article Our 2019 Observation: SAP Leonardo is Now Dead.

Unlike Clarkson Consulting, we predicted Leonardo would not become a viable product back in May of 2015, as we cover in the article Why Leonardo Seems so Fake.

Item #4: Human Resources operating SAP SuccessFactors® HCM Suite and SAP Jam Collaboration

Lastly, SAP SuccessFactors cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solutions provide a comprehensive human resource solution for an industry which is experiencing an aging workforce and a need to market wholesale distribution to young millennials. Some of the capabilities include recruiting, which provides a strategic approach to attracting and engaging talent; and SAP Jam Collaboration which provides collaboration tools and a private social networking feature.

SuccessFactors is not only not part of S/4HANA. It was not developed by SAP and is an acquisition.

Collaboration is one most critical elements in a business transformation. Wholesale distributors are undergoing significant changes in their industry, requiring a need for enhanced technologies. Leveraging SAP S/4HANA and its corresponding platform functionality from SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP Leonardo, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Jam Collaboration and SAP Hybris Commerce, can help distributors differentiate their services for clients and prepare their organization for the digital economy.

Neither SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP Leonardo, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Jam Collaboration, nor SAP Hybris Commerce is part of anything called a “S/4HANA platform.” This is a marketing construction in its entirety.


Clarkston is so under SAP’s power that they repeat, much like a parrot, whatever new marketing construct comes down the pike from SAP. Publishing an article like this is also how an SAP consulting company shows subordination to SAP.

This article receives an accuracy score of 1 out of 10. Nothing in it is true. It makes no sense, principally because there is no S/4HANA platform.