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.


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.

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 completely 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. But companies that are part of SAP’s partner network do what SAP says, and communicates 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 of the article things really go downhill. Clarkston now introduces a number of things that are other SAP applications, and not S/4HANA. Wha are these things part of an article on S/4HANA?

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 and won’t be ready for several years as we cover in the article How Accurate Was Bluefin Solutions on C-4HANA?

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.

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 nice 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.

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 simply 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.

SAP’s Inaccurate Messaging on S/4HANA as Communicated in SAP Videos

Fact-Checking SAP Information on S/4HANA

This video is filled with extensive falsehoods. We will address them in the sequence they are stated in this video.

SAP Video Accuracy Mesurement

Appleby's StatementAccuracy % of the CommentExplanationLink to Analysis Article
S/4HANA is what allows key processes to be digitized.
ECC was already fully digitized and digitized across key business functions.The Problem with Using the Term Digital Transformation on IT Projects
HANA is a Platform
HANA is not a platform, it is a database.How to Deflect You Were Wrong About HANA
Fiori is a major advantage for S/4HANA.
In S/4HANA implementations Fiori is infrequently used when S/4HANA. How Accurate Was SAP on the Number of Fiori Apps?
Fiori is far more efficient than what came before.
In testing Fiori and S/4HANA, Sven Deneken's statements did not hold up. There was a particular weakness in actually making changes after noticing something needed to be changed, and we found the efficiency below that of ECC with of course SAPGUI.
S/4HANA is innovative as it brings "real time inventory."
Sven Deneken brings up the topic of "real-time capabilities," however there is nothing particularly real-time or different in terms of a reaction than ECC. Whenever you make a change in ECC or any other ERP systems for that matter, the entry is real-time. Sven Deneken states that "the physical inventory is the same as the digital inventory." However, under what system would this not be true?What Happened to the Term Perpetual Inventory?
S/4HANA is innovative because it allows access to supplier information.
Sven Deneken states that information about the supplier is "just a fingertip away." Sven Deneken may be familiar with ECC, where supplier data is also a fingertip, or say mouse click away. It called the Vendor Master in ECC.
Sven Deneken says that the cycle could be changed to daily or sub-daily.
Why would that occur? This is a very strange scenario that is being laid out.
S/4HANA is innovative because it allows MRP to be rerun interactively for a product location.
Sven Deneken is extremely confused when he states that S/4HANA allows a fresh MRP run to be performed for a specific product location and that this is a differentiator for S/4HANA. For a single product location, there is no ERP system that cannot run MRP for a single location. Secondly re-running MRP does not remove uncertainties. MRP can be re-run when something changes. For example, when the forecast changes.Performance Problems with HANA and MRP
Sven Deneken states this demo shows SAP has reimagined inventory management.
However, all of this functionality, save for several of the graphics shown in the video have already been available in ECC for many years, in fact, decades.

The Problem: A Lack of Fact-Checking of S/4HANA

There are two fundamental problems around S/4HANA. The first is the exaggeration of S/4HANA, which means that companies that purchased S/4HANA end up getting far less than they were promised. The second is that the SAP consulting companies simply repeat whatever SAP says. This means that on virtually all accounts there is no independent entity that can contradict statements by SAP.

Being Part of the Solution: What to Do About S/4HANA

We can provide feedback from multiple HANA accounts that provide realistic information around S/4HANA — and this reduces the dependence on biased entities like SAP and all of the large SAP consulting firms that parrot what SAP says. We offer fact-checking services that are entirely research-based and that can stop inaccurate information dead in its tracks. SAP and the consulting firms rely on providing information without any fact-checking entity to contradict the information they provide. This is how companies end up paying for a database which is exorbitantly priced, exorbitantly expensive to implement and exorbitantly expensive to maintain. When SAP or their consulting firm are asked to explain these discrepancies, we have found that they further lie to the customer/client and often turn the issue around on the account, as we covered in the article How SAP Will Gaslight You When Their Software Does Not Work as Promised.

If you need independent advice and fact-checking that is outside of the SAP and SAP consulting system, reach out to us with the form below or with the messenger to the bottom right of the page.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

S/4HANA Implementation Research

We offer the most accurate and detailed research into S/4HANA and its implementation history. It is information not available anywhere else and is critical correctly interpreting S/4HANA, as well as moderating against massive amounts of inaccurate information pushed by SAP and their financially biased consulting ecosystem.

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