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SuccessFactors & SAP – HR Customer Musings from Down Under

In my last post, I summarized some of the HR business and IT considerations for customers to reflect upon when they are thinking of moving to, integrating with or starting with a SuccessFactors cloud solution.

In this weeks post, I will share some further discussions that I have had with fellow customers on the impact the SuccessFactors acquisition has had on their and SAP’s HCM Solution/Roadmap.

18 months after the acquisition, many customers are still evaluating the impacts on their; HR technology roadmaps, process improvement opportunities and the value proposition of moving to the SuccessFactors cloud processes. The acquisition has also had a profound impact on those customers who have implemented the SAP HCM on-premise solutions, such as Nakisa STVN, Learning Solution, eRecruitment and Talent Management. Many of these customers are now considering the longevity of these solutions, and the large investment they have made in licenses, implementations, support costs and potential write-offs for these in coming years. With SAP repositioning its development focus from on-premise to SuccessFactors solutions (see diagram 1), the previous held assumptions by many on-premise customers have now been challenged. Some of these previous key assumptions might have been along the following lines;

  • SAP would continue to proceed with it’s investment in ‘on premise’ HR Talent suite

  • Maintaining a central ERP approach is core to achieve the outcomes for the HR business

  • Integration with other non-SAP providers would continue to be cost prohibitive

  • Capital funding would be utilised for future implementations and developments

Diagram 1 – Solution Portfolio for HR LOB, Go-forward solutions highlighted

As a result of SAP’s change in direction a new value proposition might be required to justify future SAP HR investment. Some examples of the value proposition benefits we discussed included;

  • Leveraging the SAP Strategic and investment decision in SuccessFactors Cloud solutions

  • Hybrid integration providing best of breed of SuccessFactors with the SAP on-premise solution & investment

  • An increased User friendly interface – improving user experience

  • Mobile first solutions provided as standard

  • Implementation Costs reduced, Rapid deployment plans are standard

  • Minimised TCO with less infrastructure, support resources and BAU customer development via SuccessFactors solution

The general agreement with my fellow customers was that in the Australian marketplace there has been a lot of talk/evaluation about moving to SuccessFactors for ‘talent’ processes, but there wasn’t the mad rush to the ‘cloud’ that everyone expected at the start of 2013. Each of us referenced at least 2-3 customers that we were aware of implementing at least one SuccessFactors ‘talent’ process in 2013. We could however list more than a dozen customers we were aware had been evaluating SuccessFactors in 2013, and would potentially implement in 2014.

In summary we all agreed that as SAP HCM customers it is important we;

  1. Take the time to understand and keep abreast of SAP’s HCM Roadmap; and

  2. Analyse the impact of point 1 in relation to our future HCM roadmap and investment planning

Some other interesting questions/points we have discussed included;

  1. Whether SuccessFactors would be happy about their performance / growth over the acquisition period?

  2. Have SuccessFactors gained more customers than they would have in the corresponding period without SAP?

  3. Has the SAP brand helped or hindered SuccessFactors in finding new customers or retaining existing ones?

  4. Has the SuccessFactors product developed at the rate they expected over the last 18 months? (Employee Central we all agreed would not have been developed as quickly without SAP involved)

Each of us had various opinions/responses to the questions above. I personally thought some of YOU might also have thoughts/answers and might be willing to share you experiences/insight, so don’t be shy.

I look forward to your responses.

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