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SAP HCM 2012 Wrap-up

Well, 2012 was a bumper year for SAP HCM. February saw the conclusion of SAP’s $3.4bn acquisition of SaaS HCM vendor SuccessFactors, which had already given 2012 an air of excitement when it was announced in early December 2011. HR Renewal was one of the most exciting on-premise announcements of recent years and the newest Enhancement Package, EhP6, was of high interest to the SAP HCM community.

As the year progressed SAP’s SuccessFactors integration strategy became hotly debated and controversially analyzed. Mobility was an underlying area that many people in SAP HCM wanted to see SAP take some positive action on. As the year began to draw to a close, the first SAP HCM TweetChat was held and recorded a record number of tweets for a SAP TweetChat. You can read the full transcript here.

As always, there were a number of quality blogs and SAP became a leading publisher of SAP HCM content on SCN – something that engaged the community like never before. Jarret Pazahanick doubled his yearly Top 10 SAP HCM blogs to a Top 20 SAP HCM and SuccessFactors Articles of 2012. A month earlier I had published a blog on the Top 10 SAP HCM folks to follow on Twitter and SCN, an update to Jarret’s blog 18 months earlier.

I had started off 2012 with my My 2012 SCN SAP HCM Wish list and boy I was lucky because I had every single one of my wishes come true in 2012. The number of contributors to Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN) blogs made a sharp upward curve in 2012, which can see along with all of the Nakisa-related news of 2012 in my recently published blog Nakisa 2012 Wrap-up.

SuccessFactors and the completion of the acquisition by SAP

In early February SAP completed the acquisition of SuccessFactors. Many analysts had already spoken out in the previous year, but Jarret pulled together a stunning Q&A piece for Cloud Avenue and followed it up by engaging with a number of experts to discuss The Future of SAP HCM Consulting and SuccessFactors – 2012.

At HR2012 Las Vegas, held in February and March, David Ludlow formally announced SAP’s strategy for SuccessFactors. Jarret was again at hand with his brief SAP and SuccessFactors Roadmap Analysis. He also published a blog consolidating a number of sources to help customers stay informed. SAP’s strategy is focused on the Hybrid model and SAP’s Jean-Bernard Rolland published a blog to clarify What is a cloud and on-premise hybrid solution by SAP?.

In June SAP announced that they would be offering a hosted payroll solution for SuccessFactors Employee Central – SAP Cloud Payroll – and Jarret blogged about the New SAP and SuccessFactors Cloud Payroll Offering.

SuccessFactors has had a lot of focus this year and Howard Marshall was one person who certainly thought that everyone was all aboard the successfactors “gravy” train. Since SAP announced that SuccessFactors is the go-forward solution for Talent Management, it has been difficult for any consultancy offering Talent Management services to ignore SuccessFactors. SherryAnne Meyer of ASUG gave us her views on the whole SuccessFactors deal in Out with the Old, In with the New?.

SAP rebranded SuccessFactors Jam to SAP Jam and also announced that SAP StreamWork would no longer be the focus of innovations for social collaboration software. Prashanth Padmanabhan showed some real-world examples of how SAP uses SAP Jam in his blog on how the Recommendations Feature in SAP Jam Makes Us Productive.

SAP HCM and SuccessFactors Integration

Integration has been a white hot topic this year. I started out with a blog on SAP and SuccessFactors Talent Hybrid Packaged Integrations: an overview. I have updated this with the links to my blogs on the Integration Add-on 1.0 for SAP HCM and SuccessFactors and also SP1 and SP2. For the release of SP2, I got together with Paul Hopkins of SAP Solution Management and wrote Integration Q&A: Managing employee compensation using SAP HCM and SuccessFactors. Later in the year SAP made the The specified item was not found., their first integration package for Employee Central.

Prashanth Padmanabhan was a serial blogger in 2012 on various topics and outlined SAP and SuccessFactors User Experience Integration in August. In September he clarified the licensing issue around customers with SAP NetWeaver PI when he blogged about Integration Technology Options and Licensing Info For Customers Using SAP HCM and SuccessFactors.

Jarret again couldn’t resist giving us his  viewpoint about the confusing number of integration options and gave us the The Real Truth about SAP and SuccessFactors Integration. But Jarret wasn’t done there and had a bone to pick with SAP about the message they were giving to customers about integration. Jarret thought that the suggestions of proven integration were hype.

On-premise HCM

SAP have signaled consistently during 2012 that they will remain committed to on-premise HCM, especially in Core HR. Robert Moeller, Solution Owner for Core HR and Payroll at SAP went on the record to show SAP’s commitment to on-premise in his blog Shop Talk – Long live SAP HCM Core On-premise!. Although EhP6 was already in the works, SAP further committed to core SAP HCM with the release of HR Renewal. Both of this are covered below.


SAP released Enhancement Package 6 (EhP6) for ECC6 in mid-2012. Andrey Kulikov of SAP put together a great slide-deck on EhP6 and HR Renewal that features a lot of screenshots. The Insights Podcast team recorded a podcast on SAP HCM Enhancement Package 6 and HR Renewal, I blogged on What’s new in EhP6 for SAP HCM Talent Management and Christopher Solomon – a prolific blogger in 2012 – also blogged on the new HCM Processes & Forms: EpH 6 and beyond…..rise of the NEW hcm p&F?. Frans Smolders, Solution Owner for analytics at SAP published a number of blogs in 2012 and informed us of What happened to HR Reporting and Analytics in EHP6 and HR Renewal 1.0? .

EhP6 featured a number of nice enhancements to SAP, but the biggest advantage of moving to EhP6 is being able to use the new HR Renewal release from SAP.

HR Renewal

Probably the biggest on-premise news for a number of years, the New SAP HCM Functionality – HR Renewal 1.0 provided an overhaul of some of the aged SAP screens, as well as introducing a new HR Landing Page and embedding a version of Nakisa OrgChart. On top HR Renewal, SAP will released two Feature Packs for HR Renewal to add additional functionality – details can be found in another blog by Jarret on SAP New HR Renewal Functionality and Roadmap. A whole set of new MSS analytics and dashboards were also introduced as part of HR Renewal, as set out in Frans’ blog above.

The Insights Podcast team was also lucky enough to have Robert as a guest in their podcast on HR Renewal.


Another major piece of functionality released by SAP – although not restricted to HCM – was SAP Personas. SAP Personas, in contrast to HR Renewal, allows the classic SAP gui screens to be enhanced to a superior UI. Peter Spielvogel gave us the details in Driving business user satisfaction with new SAP personalization options that improve usability.

Analytics and Reporting

In addition to the MSS reporting introduced in EhP6 and HR Renewal, SAP also released the BusinessObjects bolt-on SAP Executive HR Reporting RDS. This provided a whole host of analytics for HCM in a number of well-designed dashboards. I spent way too long on putting together a 4-part series on Analytics for Talent Management.


Mobility has been an underlying hot topic for SAP in general, as well as for HCM. SAP’s licensing model has been both confusing and overpriced and Jarret has been working away at SAP to try and build some change that will benefit customers. He blogged about SAP HCM Mobility and Roadmap earlier in the year and Sharon Rudock, COO Mobility at SAP had a very good stab at The specified item was not found..


As always, the SAP HCM calendar was packed with events. This year saw one new addition in the SuccessConnect event, SuccessFactors’ own conference.

HR2012 in Las Vegas was the first conference of the year and the first since SAP completed the SuccessFactors acquisition. Jarret gave his Top Five Reasons to go to the SAP HR2012 Conference and many of these reasons are still valid for the HR2013 conferences – definitely something I would recommend that customers and consultants attend. As mentioned above, David Ludlow used his keynote speech with Jason Averbook to provide SAP’s strategy and roadmap for SuccessFactors. Immediately after the keynote, the Insights Podcast team recorded a podcast with David. After the event I blogged on the 5 things I learnt about SuccessFactors and Talent Management at HR2012. It is interesting to see how this information compares nearly 10 months’ later.

The next conference on the circuit was SAPPHIRE, held in Orlando in May. This was SAP’s first opportunity to clarify the detail behind their strategy and announce the details around integration. Lars Dalgaard used his keynote speech to announce SAP’s overall Cloud strategy. Ahead of the conference Jarret outlined the SAP and SuccessFactors – Five Key topics I Want to Hear About at SAPPHIRE and afterwards I reported back on with my post-mortem and personal highlights with A new SAP Mentor’s HCM & Talent Management take on SAPPHIRE.

In June SuccessFactors held their SuccessConnect conference in Syndey, San Francisco, and London. SAP Mentor Chris Paine published his summary of SuccessConnect 2012 Sydney – a personal viewpoint and Jarret followed suit with his SAP and SuccessFactors – Mobility, Innovation, Payroll and Charity.

Next up was the more exclusive SAP Analyst Briefing, held in September in Palo Alto. Both SAP Mentor and analyst Vijay Vijayasankar and Jarret were critical of SAP’s unclear Cloud strategy, among other things, in their blogs SAP Needs A Better Cloud And Platform Story, And A Good Story Teller and SAP Briefing – Cloud, Mobility and HCM  respectively.

Chris Paine was again in the action when he attended the #sapapjsummit – or SAP Asia Pacific & Japan Analyst & Influencer Summit 2012.

Finally, SAP TechEd kicked off in Las Vegas in October and followed suit in Madrid, Bangalore and Shanghai. SAP TechEd Live featured a host of live interviews, all of which can be found on the SAP TechEd Live 2012 Madrid Interviews page.


This was a brief blog summarizing the year for SAP HCM. And boy was it a year for all of those working in SAP HCM. 2012 will be tough to follow, but I believe it will be an equally interesting year – although probably not as eventful. A full year has passed since SAP announced that they were purchasing SuccessFactors and despite heavy investment, some questions still remain over their integration strategy and delivery.

Although I have mainly used SCN sources, there are a number of great blogs and videos out there. The likes of Jon Reed, Dennis Howlett, and Thomas Wailgum provide numerous excellent blogs, podcasts, videos, and Google Hangouts throughout the year and at all the major conferences covering most major and minor SAP HCM topics. I also recommend following some of the individuals in my blog posted at the beginning of this blog to keep up-to-date with the happenings in SAP HCM.

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  • Hi Luke,

    Great summary. You really hit all the major topics for 2012. This really was quite a year. And I wanted to personally thank you for your commitment on social this year within the SAP HCM community. We are lucky to have you in our network. All the best in 2013 – Happy New Year!

    P.S. Aren’t you on “vacation”? 🙂

    • Thanks Jeremy. You are correct, I am on vacation 🙂 . That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t quite do the thorough job with this that I could. There are many more sources that could’ve been included, including – if memory serves me right – a HR2012 Singapore summary from your good self.

      Best wishes for 2013 and I look forward to catching up in Las Vegas!

  • NIce and well articulated write up for a year at a glance. Hope SAP and Successfactors finally come up with a widely accepted integration pack for clients that use on-premise looking to migrate to on-demand(SaaS)..

    • Thanks Latunde, it was an experimental format for me so I’m glad that it came off ok.

      I think SAP will continue to focus on integration for the Hybrid model, so migrating entirely over to the Cloud will have to wait…

    • Thanks Chris! I tried to make sure every HCM-related topic was covered, although I’m bound to have missed something. You deserved a mention for your outstanding contribution to the HCM P&F movement 🙂

  • Great job pulling all of this together and pretty impressive to see all the content that shared with the SAP HCM community in 2012 and I think that SCN is becoming to the go-to spot for customers to learn “bleeding edge” information about SAP and SuccessFactors.

    On a side big thanks for mentioning some of the articles that I wrote in 2012.

    • Thanks Jarret. It took a few hours, but it was interesting to see how many of the major events and moments were captured by SCN or well-known members of the SAP community. I also could’ve added much more if time had permitted – I’ll try to do a better job next year 😉 .

      It was pretty hard not to include some of your articles as you touched almost every topic of SAP HCM this year. Keep up the good job in 2013 🙂

  • Hi Luke.

    First of all a warm New Year Wishes from down under(Oz) 🙂

    A big thanks to you for compiling putting together this great read. This very well captures highlights and anything worth knowing about SAP HCM 2012 in general. Also a big thanks to all the HCM mentors and bloggers (specially Jeremy Masters , Jarret Pazahanick , Christopher Solomon) for making extraordinary efforts to ensure everyone else gets to hear the real story from these events. This year definitely saw lot of community  initiatives  and commitment from SAP as well. Many of SAP product owners and solutions experts had popular content on SDN.

    It’s been a great year and I can’t wait see what unfolds in this new year. 🙂



    • Hi Sudhir,

      Thanks – best wishes from up here! 😉

      2012 was a great year for HCM and there were many experts taking their time to post, including our friends at SAP. I hope we see the same level of engagement from all parts of the community this year and, if so, then I think we’ll be in good hands with how SAP HCM and SuccessFactors topics unfold.

      Best regards,


  • Thanks for the great wrap-up Luke!  You can really see what a great year it was for the SAP and SF HCM community when it is laid out the way you did.  I am so glad to see this excitement around HR Renewal.  Thanks to our Products and Globalization teams and all the others that contributed, including customers, partners and mentors, that we collaborated with all over the world.  My hope is that this kind of excitement will justify that we keep building on this for a long time.  Aside from the next quarterly releases of HR Renewal, what I am really looking forward to in 2013 is that the implementations, especially live implementations of HR Renewal, really take off.  Here is to a successful 2013 everyone!

    • Thanks Robert – I appreciate your feedback. You and your colleagues did a great job with not only HR Renewal, but also with your community engagement. 2013 will show whether the hard work put in by SAP paid off both for HR Renewal and also the other investments like SuccessFactors and Personas.

      SAP is moving in the right direction and while some of the newer initiatives will take time to bear fruit, it’s going to be very exciting to witness a “new age” in SAP HCM.

      Best wishes for the year ahead!

  • WOW. What a great way to start the year – looking back is the best way to prepare to go forward.

    It is amazing to look back at all that has been done, written and discussed in the past year, and I believe that it is just the start.

    Welcome all to 2013, and Happy New Year to you, Luke!

    • Thanks Chiara. When it is articulated like this then you realize how much happened. I hope it has created a good foundation for another great year. I think HR2013 will give us an idea of how far things have come because HR2012 was, for me, where it all started last year.

      Best wishes for the year ahead!

  • Many thanks for the great job you’re doing by sharing the latest information about SAP HCM and SuccessFactors. You’ve posted a lot of great articles, i personally liked your series about analytics.

    And thanks for mentioning my slidedeck – i have some plans to share more about HCM this year.

    Best regards and keep it up!

    • Thanks Andrey! There has been some good blogs around and I thought this was a nice way of giving an overview as well as providing some of the top blogs around.

      Best regards,


  • Great summary of the year Luke, and thanks for your relentless blogs and tweets on all things SAP HCM, it’s been a great way for me to keep up with the pace of change in this space.

    Cheers & happy new year !