SAP HCM -> SuccessFactors: The consulting model. What about the little guys? Can we play too?
Is this just a game for the big boys?
Today I read that Deloitte have just joined up with SuccessFactors to become a
Great! Only I don’t mean great really. Why is this? Well, basically it is because I can appreciate how much I want to be involved in the new and exciting moves that SAP are making with SuccessFactors, (just read my last blog on the topic) and yet I really don’t want to work for one of those large consultancy firms again. Yet, because of the relative immaturity of the market, if I were a customer looking to implement a SuccessFactors solution – I’m going to go with someone that has that rather cool sounding name.
Looking Back on SAP HCM Consulting
I remember, years ago, how large consulting firms dominated the SAP HCM market. Today, there seems to be a much healthier distribution (in Australia at least from what I can see) between large firms capable of servicing huge multinationals, down to smaller firms that offer more specialist advice. The clients I work with seem to appreciate this too. They didn’t like that large consultancies in the past would use them as training grounds for their consultants – and that this was just expected. The number of bodies on the ground would be very large for what was supposed to be a simple solution. Today, with a maturity in the market, small teams of “experts” can often provide a much cheaper/better experience – especially as the smaller companies are going out of their way to attract the real talent. With social networking as prevalent as it is today – customers are even able to seek out the talent that they want to work with them. They are able to do this because that talent has been around a while and people know who they are and are networked into the talent.
However, now we’re in an interesting situation. Some (ex-SAP focused) consultancies are leveraging their “knowledge” about HCM as the reason you should trust them. Others are signing large partnership deals, like Deloitte (goodness knows who is making/taking money here, but I’m sure it isn’t just handshakes that are getting traded) (please do correct me if I’m wrong here!). But individuals are going to have to work even harder to throw up a hand to say – “Hey, I haven’t got a lot of experience, but I’ve been able to solve stuff for you in the past…” . The networks and experience that have been used in the past are suddenly next to meaningless – out goes the consulting 2.0 model, and back to the big sales pitch.
Where to now?
It is going to be a interesting few years for smaller consultancies who focus on hiring and retaining the right people, rather than the bigger consultancies, who (in my extremely cynical experience) focus on making money. In the end, I hope that having the right people will mean that we (the smaller consultancies) can adapt, learn and add real value. After all, I wouldn’t hire someone based on their skill (that would be IMO too short sighted), instead I like to focus more on their ability and desire to learn new things.
From Big to Small
When I look back to how the smaller SAP HCM consulting firms have taken market share from the bigger ones, I don’t see that shift (until recently) having been helped by SAP. However, especially in the last few years I’ve seen that momentum change. It’s even more obvious now with SAP offering free developer licenses for HANA and the mobile platform, really encouraging individuals and small developers to become part of the solution.
I hope that SuccessFactors as part of SAP sees the value in encouraging smaller niche players into their market and doesn’t just keep the door open for the big players. It would be lovely to see a “Discovery Consulting joins SuccessFactors as Successtastic Implementation Partner” headline on the SuccessFactors blog – but obviously the market doesn’t care about that and would probably take a dismal view of SuccessFactors “wasting” time with the little guys. But some bones thrown our way would be really appreciated 🙂
Thanks for listening
Finally – I’m not 100% sure that this is the right space for this blog – but lacking any specific SuccessFactors area in SCN, it’s were I’m putting it. Please let me know if you think there is a better place (within SCN). Thanks!
Please note that even if I work for them none of my views should be taken as representing my employer – these are my own badly formed ramblings, not theirs. I really should come up with a better disclaimer, yet it’s much more amusing to write a fresh one each time I post. If this rambling in the disclaimer bothers you, I’m amazed you managed to make it this far in the blog. And if you’re still reading – thank you! What do you think, am I being overly cynical, does cloud mean just too big a shift in doing things for SAP HCM people to move to?