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Ever since I collaborated with several industry experts last year on The Future of SAP HCM Consulting and SuccessFactors (updated 2013 version is coming in February) I have been getting questions on the best way to learn SuccessFactors, especially from individuals that are looking to transition from their SAP HCM careers and I typically passed along formal information regarding SuccessFactors training. I recently had dinner with my friend Chris McNarney and given he is one of the few well-known SAP HCM Consultants to fully make the transition to SuccessFactors Consulting I wanted to share his journey via this Q & A.

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Chris, Tell me a bit about your background and the transition from doing SAP HCM Consulting to SuccessFactors?

Somewhere back in what seems like a million years ago (2005) I was working at a global corporation when they purchased SAP. I joined the project team and spent the next several years learning most of the areas of the SAP HCM on-premise suit as well as managing the production support team. For the past three and a half years have been doing independent consulting, specializing in the Talent Management modules of SAP. Prior to getting into SuccessFactors, I have worked pretty extensively with the Talent/Succession module, Nakisa, LSO & Performance Management and my SAP origins come from OM, PA and HR interfaces, which gave me a really good base to consult in the Talent Management modules.

So obviously when your competitive differentiators in consulting are your skills within the SAP HCM Talent Management modules, you are going to be acutely aware of SAP purchasing SuccessFactors and adopting the SuccessFactors modules as the ‘go forward’ solution. These days I actually consult in both SAP HCM on premise and SuccessFactors and its very interesting to see the differences in the two solutions during implementations where you can appreciate the different strengths and weaknesses of the various software delivery types.

How do you go about learning to consult in SuccessFactors?

I was extremely fortunate to get connected to SuccessFactors partner Blue Ascent that was made up of a number of expert level SAP HCM consultants who had worked together on various projects in the past. They really committed to taking people that were experienced and knowledgeable in the on-premise SAP HCM world and giving them opportunities to ramp up in SuccessFactors in a way that was not reckless to their customers.  What I mean by reckless is that it’s obviously no secret, and has been well documented on Twitter and SCN that every SAP HCM consultancy on the planet is trying to build a SuccessFactors practice and I’m no exception to this as prior to the acquisition; my SuccessFactors experience was not impressive. What’s reckless though is that it’s very easy as a consultancy to sell work, and then staff it with people whose only SuccessFactors experience is a 3 week crash course in SuccessFactors and let them try to learn on the job.

In my own case, I first attended the core SuccessFactors mastery course that provided exposure to the fundamentals of SuccessFactors (the instances, provisioning, Success Factory, etc.) and covered the Performance Management, Goal Management and Employee Profile modules. After that, I took Employee Central Mastery (this built on the first course and introduced the use of XML with SuccessFactors), Succession Mastery as well as Compensation Mastery and then soon I’ll be taking a Workforce Analytics course. So now I’ve got all this training, but I still didn’t have any real world implementation experience and formal training is good, but it never has the unique requirements that you’re going to get on a real project. For real world experience, Blue Ascent partnered with another group that was a SuccessFactors implementation partner prior to the acquisition and provided me with two excellent training opportunities. In each project I had a mentor consultant who led the design sessions, was the primary configurator and decision maker, but I was allowed to learn from them and execute tasks throughout the project. Obviously since these projects were training roles, the consulting rate reflected that, but it was more than balanced out by the experience and long term opportunity from getting real SuccessFactors project experience. From the customer perspective, I was still providing some value, but I was learning the module with the support of a lead consultant. This training has proven to be invaluable, as after those 2 projects, I’ve been able to take on SuccessFactors projects as the lead consultant with the experience and training needed to be successful.

How does SuccessFactors training work?

Well, I’m obviously speaking from my own experience here as SuccessFactors has several training delivery methods, but here is how it worked for me. I took all of my classes virtually with the introduction mastery course spanning three weeks though I’ve heard that since I took that first class, the introductory class has changed somewhat and Performance Management and Goal Management are not covered. The first two weeks of the mastery course were going through the lessons and the class would meet daily for an hour to ninety minutes online. In the class the instructor would have one or more students demo their system configuration for the group and after that the teacher would begin the next day’s lesson explanation and walkthrough. Then the students would read the lesson materials and complete the lesson configuration sometime before the next day’s class.

The other mastery courses were all only two weeks long, but those classes all had prework activities that had to be completed before the first day of training. What was constant among all classes was that the last week is a case study, which were always a round of configuration based on the customer’s requirements.  The last day of the training is always the consultant’s demonstration to the client (the instructor). In one class I took it was a ‘live’ presentation over the phone, but usually they were screen recordings (with audio) that were posted on the class Jam group. I became a big fan of the screen recording features within Jam I predict it will completely revolutionize how clients can deliver training and issue resolution, hopefully spelling the end of the dreaded BPP. Regarding the actual training classes, I will confess that when I readied for the first course, I thought it’d be quite simple, but for that course and the others, the work effort is no joke and it was a noteworthy time commitment to do it right.

How do you compare learning SuccessFactors to SAP?

Well, the learning curve isn’t quite as steep with SuccessFactors, simply because SAP is built as part of ECC and requires so much peripheral knowledge to be an expert in the space.  Since SuccessFactors is largely focused Talent Management, you don’t need knowledge of how to do things like, run a trace, deactivate a delivered BAdI to turn your own on, look through short dumps, etc. That doesn’t mean SuccessFactors is a piece of cake as like any software it has its nuances and is constantly evolving with its rapid release of four updates each year. Another challenge to picking up SuccessFactors is that it lacks the community that SCN provides in SAP and even though there is a community for SuccessFactors partners it’s not nearly as robust as SCN. On the plus side though, you’ll never see a SuccessFactors consultant get on and post that they need the entire configuration for module X to be sent to them by the next day like you might on SCN.

Even though it’s a new software tool and a new delivery method – at its core – SuccessFactors is still trying to accomplish the same goals that the SAP on-premise modules are. Since a big part of the consulting skillset is providing input and options on a company’s business processes that are being designed to work in concert with the software, good consultants will find themselves having the same conversations with a client regardless of the tool they’ve chosen to implement. Even with a competing product like Workday – every customer who’s using that for Talent Management is going to have a discussion about whether or not succession is a Manager Self-Service activity or not and SAP on-premise or SuccessFactors are no different. A good consultant will be able to counsel a customer on the pros and cons of whatever the design decision is and explain how the chosen software tool will (or could) interact with that decision. I have been through enough projects and seen enough Talent Management business processes that was just a matter of learning how SuccessFactors accounted for those processes and what the configuration choices were.  Once I picked those things up, I can apply that information to customer design sessions, just like I do with on-premise SAP.

What are the some differences to being a SuccessFactors consultant as opposed to being an SAP consultant?

There are really a lot of interesting differences, too many for me to cover in one answer, but I’ll note some highlights.  First – and especially for independent consultants – a major difference is that when you’re an SAP consultant you can be brought onto any client to work on any project and you don’t have to go through an SAP partner, nor does SAP need to be informed. With SuccessFactors, it’s not quite the same as when you work on a SuccessFactors project, you generally need to work through a SuccessFactors partner. Additionally, due to the nature of SuccessFactors configuration, a consultant is granted access to the customer’s provisioning environment (provisioning is the ‘backend’ of SuccessFactors configuration – stuff a client cannot do on their own) by SuccessFactors directly.It will be interesting to see how the consulting dynamic changes as SuccessFactors continues to grow.  Will work always be moved through partners?  Will there be avenues for independents (who are generally experts in their areas) like there are in SAP?

Another consulting difference I’ve discovered is that SuccessFactors projects are generally staffed without the support structure that you’d have in an on-premise project. There’s no portal person, no basis person, no security person or no developer. This is theoretically because those aspects are either handled by the client or by SuccessFactors, however there are still some technical components, which require attention such as various interfaces to and from SuccessFactors. Some integration can now be handled by SAP PI, but there are a lot of files you could be importing into SuccessFactors – depending on your implementation – and only a couple of the big ones are handed via PI.  There’s also the FTP setup and coordination, and don’t forget the Single Sign On (SSO) setup. As a consultant you’re expected to be the point person for the SuccessFactors side of those items. Lastly, when a client purchases SuccessFactors they usually have internal IT staff who will have technical questions, and you will be the first point of contact for those questions whereas with an on-premise implementation those questions usually would go to another consultant.

On a similar line of thinking, what are some of the differences with SuccessFactors and SAP on-premise projects?

From a project perspective, there are obviously differences too. I sat through my very first SuccessFactors kickoff project and laughed to myself as I watched the lead consultant pull up the client’s SuccessFactors instance 10 minutes into the meeting and demonstrate how to execute Succession Planning. I compare that to an SAP project where the first number of weeks of a project are spent getting your environments setup, the portal running, setting up access and just generally ironing out those fundamental setup issues. The SaaS model creates such a smoother project experience without having to having to hassle with the usual project functional/security/basis/portal hassles and from a customer perspective, this is such a big win. SAP customers have to feel helpless sometimes as their consultants go around and around with the bowels of SAP setup (“hey, it’ll be three weeks before TREX is setup, here are some screenshots you can look at until then”).

Of course, that’s the cup half full and the cup half empty is that with SuccessFactors, discussions of customizations are basically non-starters. In SAP, you can change almost anything because the customer has the source code and SAP provides so many custom code opportunities with BAdIs. Since SuccessFactors has the source code, when your customer tells you that they don’t like how something works in SuccessFactors and it can’t be configured to work the way they want, their only recourse is to contact SuccessFactors and ask to have this feature included down the road. In the SAP on-premise world, getting customer requests turned into a reality is not a simple proposition. I can say from my own experience consulting in SuccessFactors that the requests for customizations are much fewer than they are when I consult in SAP (though they still happen!). It’s hard to speculate exactly why this is but I know that in SAP quite often we find ourselves customizing something simply because we customized something else earlier and these changes tend to build on each, like little white lies tend to build on each other to cover the earlier ones. Maybe in SuccessFactors, because we haven’t already customized we don’t have to hassle with trying to cover up for our earlier deviations. Maybe customers already know going in they can’t ask to customize to they just accept the out of the box solution whereas in SAP they can’t always resist the temptation to say “the process drives the software, not the other way around.”

When you look at the Talent Management offerings of SuccessFactors, you can tell that it has the advantages of being built more recently and exclusively for Talent Management, whereas SAP HCM Talent Management was built to fit into the mold of the rest of SAP. A great example of that is security as in SAP you spend quite a bit of time in this area and likely have at least one person dedicated exclusively to HCM security navigating the murky waters of structural authorization profiles where in SuccessFactors that work can all be done by a superuser. For those of us who have seen both sides to security (SAP and SuccessFactors), it is pretty amazing to see the differences.  SuccessFactors security is administered through something known as Role Based Permissions (RBP) and a superuser (note – does NOT need to be a dedicated security expert or even a functional consultant) can go in and in a matter of about 90 seconds can say that everyone who is a manager should have access to function X, Y and Z with edit access to fields A, B and C for all direct reports and then one level down of indirect reports. There’s no authorization profile assignment to the job or to the position.  There’s no “now that you’ve done this wait 12 hours for the job to pick up”. There’s no ‘you need to follow the security request process, check back in 15 business days’.  It’s there, and it’s done, and it’s very impressive.  My point of this is that because SuccessFactors was built more recently than was SAP HCM, it benefitted more naturally from advancements in technology. 

Any words of wisdom for those looking to make the transition?

Purely my own perspective, right now there are so many customers out there who are legacy SAP HCM customers and are interested in the SuccessFactors modules going forward. Those customers are desperate for people who can help them appreciate the differences between the two systems, who can help integrate data from SAP to SuccessFactors (because that IS an effort) and help them use SuccessFactors in a way that will not eventually burn them should they ever end up being full cloud customers and not just hybrid customers. Seize the opportunity to be that source of information for your customers.

Additionally, I would say try your hardest to get connected to a couple SuccessFactors projects as a trainee like I was fortunate enough to be able to. People may think that SuccessFactors is straightforward to configure, but speaking from experience, there are a lot of nuances to configuration and (like any software) there are a lot of tricks of the trade that had I been the lead consultant on without any training with real clients, I would have made poor consulting decisions on behalf of my customers.

Lastly, there isn’t the network of knowledge sharing in SuccessFactors that there is in the SAP HCM world.  I have been tremendously lucky to have met so many great independent consultants and work with good SuccessFactors partners, but if you don’t have a network built up, then make sure to use the resources that are available.  A number of individuals have posted great blogs here on SCN and there’s so much to be learned on Twitter from people like Jarret Pazahanick and Luke Marson, not to mention the SAP and SuccessFactors LinkedIn group. The upcoming HR2013 conference will have 17 sessions on SuccessFactors so that is another avenue to become more educated.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Chris’s journey to become a SuccessFactors consultant as you can see the hard work and effort he has put in over the past year. One thing that has become pretty clear is how important it is for SAP HCM and SuccessFactors customers to realize that the dramatic shift that has occurred due to the SuccessFactors acquisition. It has caused the SAP HCM consulting industry to scramble which has turned into a Wild West environment with a lot of consultants and consulting firms willing to cut the corners to get their foot in the door or claiming expertise and experience that they don’t really have. It is more important than ever to make sure you follow the Seven Tips to ensure you hire the Right Consultant and be on the lookout for Signs you Should Not Trust your SAP/SuccessFactors Consultant. For SAP HCM consultants reading this I would high recommend that if you are considering making the move to SuccessFactors to take the time and effort that Chris outlined above and do it the “right way” as nothing worthwhile in life comes easy. Chris and I look forward to any questions or additional insights so please let us know in the comments below.

You can follow me on Twitter at SAP_Jarret


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45 Comments

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  1. Luke Marson

    Hi Jarret,

    Great job by you and kudos to Chris McNarney for sharing his path to the “new order” of SAP HCM consulting. Chris is already a respected consultant to those that know him and I’m not surprised he’s been smart enough to make the transition.

    I think what this blog highlights is that despite the similarities, SuccessFactors is a different world and requires a different way of upskilling. I certainly think it is going to be hard for some consultants and even consultancies to make the transition over to SuccessFactors but hopefully this blog will provide consultants with some tips.

    Although I am aware of most of what Chris has said, something important he highlights is that training is mandatory and that as projects go through SuccessFactors there are going to be less chances of having cowboys on projects.

    Best regards,

    Luke

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks Luke for the kind words and additional insights as your SuccessFactors and SAP HCM consulting: The Wild West of 2013 really did a great job on shining a light on this topic from another angle and some of the “cowboys/cowgirls” that are claiming expertise without going through the the process the “right way” that Chris outlined above

      On a side note thanks for idea to tweak the title from “How to Learn and Become a SuccessFactors Consultant” to the new and improved “How to transition from a SAP HCM to SuccessFactors Consultant” as it captures the context of the article alot better.

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  2. Stephen Burr

    Great insight and delighted to hear the perspective from someone who has “done it”.  Thanks Jarret for writing up the conversation. 

    I think Chris McNarney took a solid approach to cross training based on his previous SAP experience and I’m sure there are queues of others wanting to tread the same path.  With SFSF approach to training and working in partnership on at least 2 projects, hopefully everyone will be “guided” down this route.  While I guess there will be some who will try to charge full rates but staff with “juniors” (not a practice restricted to SFSF!), I think most companies are being more pragmatic and recognising the learning opportunity, power of partnership and longer term benefits. Interesting point about independents though.

    Chris’s comments re-iterated and put some hard facts to points that I’ve seen raised many times  (such as flexibility – config, time to provision); thanks for those.

    You also discussed integration and I wondered if Chris had worked on a hybrid model approach with any of his customers?

    Finally, Chris mentioned no equivalent to SCN … I wondered how we (could all) encourage SFSF experts to get involved with SCN more?  Why isn’t there a dedicated space for SFSF?

    Thanks again – great stuff!

    Stephen

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    1. Chris McNarney

      Hi Stephen:

      Thanks for the kind words.  To answer your question – yes, I have worked on a hybrid implementation and spent a lot of time working through the integration.  There’s a lot to that integration, even beyond just the pure interface.

      Not all of the objects in SAP line up to the objects in SFSF, so you have to spend some time thinking about what goes where.  This is another advantage to consultants migrating over from SAP to SFSF.  If you know what the field was originally intended for, or how it gets used in SAP, you can make a more informed decision about where to ultimately drop the field in SFSF.

      I’m not nearly the prolific blogger as some others on SCN, but I’ve actually drafted a blog I need to clean up an publish that walks through mapping some of the OM objects that are interfaced in a hybrid implementation to the SFSF field which would be the best destination to incorporate with SFSF functionality.

      Thanks,
      Chris

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      1. Stephen Burr

        Interesting … and hang in there on the blogging!  I’m not the most prolific nor natural writer (takes me lots of iterations to be happy enough to publish) but I’m glad I bothered when I finally get there.

        You have at least one person interested in reading it … 😀

        Thanks,
        Stephen

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      2. Jyoti Sharma

        Hi Chris,

        Thanks for sharing your strategy on the transition. Please share your blog on hybrid implementation, looking forward to it.

        Cheers,

        Jyoti

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    2. Luke Marson

      Hi Stephen,

      I hope the SuccessFactors approach can help stop the growth of the Wild West, but it will take some time.

      To jump in on your last 2 questions, some members of the community have been trying to bridge the gap between the communities and recently SAP have been working with SuccessFactors in the background to begin some activity – so watch this space throughout the year 🙂 . I think so far that I am one of the only person to cross-post in both communities and that was at the request of SAP/SuccessFactors, which goes to show how far the integration of the communities has to go.

      Regarding a SuccessFactors space on SCN, both SCN and SAP have actively chosen not to pursue a separate SuccessFactors space because SuccessFactors is considered part of SAP HCM. I agree with this approach and don’t see necessarily why it requires its own space as such. SuccessFactors should not be seen as separate to SAP HCM – it is just one of two options of consuming HCM applications from SAP (the other, of course, being on-premise SAP HCM).

      Best regards,

      Luke

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      1. Stephen Burr

        I can see the argument for not differentiating. 

        Hopefully more experienced SFSF consultants will contribute soon to the SCN HCM space.

        Cheers,

        Stephen

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          1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

            Thanks for the detailed comment Stephen and kind words. Much like you I believe SCN has made a mistake in not building a SuccessFactors space with SCN so that all the information was in one place.  Since SAP was willing to pay 3.4B for SuccessFactors and kept the name of the company it is strange they want to consolidate it within the existing HCM group on SCN.  I am hoping in 2013 Chip Rodgers and Mark Yolton will reconsider as feels like a real opportunity especially as ~80% of SuccessFactors customers are not SAP HCM customers.

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    3. Jyoti Sharma

      Hi Stephen,

      I have been thinking about how we can go about creating a dedicated space for SFSF experts, I have made my transition from SAP HCM to SFSF and currently working on an EC implementation. Please share if you, Jarret and Luke have ideas on how we can get this going as frankly, SCN is the place that folks should come to.

      Cheers,

      Jyoti

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      1. Luke Marson

        Hi Jyoti,

        SCN have already made the decision not to create a separate SuccessFactors space because SuccessFactors is part of SAP HCM – it is not a separate area. While a sub-space would be useful, the HCM space is the place to use.

        Maybe SCN will re-consider, since this decision was ultimately influenced by SAP and it makes sense to have a more central area for specific engagement. However, I can understand why it might not happen.

        Best regards,

        Luke

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  3. Vijay Mohan

    Hi Jarret,

    It was really great and interesting blog shared by you. It gives good insight of what the SuccessFactor and SAP HCM does.

    Thanks and Many Regards

    Vijay Mohan G

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  4. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

    I thought I would shared a question that I have gotten repeatedly over the past year and got again yesterday on a Linkedin comment to this blog.

    Question – “I would like to know one more thing i.e. is it possible for some one who is not a Sucessfactors customer or partner to enroll for a training to become a Sucessfactors consultant.I mean can a individual also register for Sucessfactors training like one can register for a SAP HCM certification. If yes request you to kindly share the details for the registration process”

    Answer – “It is my understanding that certification is available for official SuccessFactors partners as well but individuals on their own cannot sign up and take SuccessFactors certification like they can in the SAP world”

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    1. Vijay Mohan

      Dear Jarret,

      Thanks and infact my next question which i wanted to ask was exactly the same 🙂

      I was so inspired after reading your blog and started researching if i can find any help to approach a right point of contact for getting trained in SuccessFactors.

      Ho so ever how can i find the local partnered of SuccessFactors in India if any and also is there any training’s available.

      If you help me with this it would be really great help.

      Again Many thanks.

      Best Regards

      Vijay Mohan G

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        Chris and I are happy to have inspired you and my recommendation would be to review the official SuccessFactors Partner Portal determine the local partners in your area, and reach out to each of them. I know that many partners globally are looking to grow their SuccessFactors practices (although many are looking for experienced hires).

        Another option would be to do some research and find out companies in India that have SuccessFactors installed and try to join their organizations.

        Make no mistake that anything worthwhile in life takes hard work, research, dedication and passion so you control the next steps.


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  5. Jyothi C

    Jarret

    This is wonderful blog  to get more insight into the real world of SF training .

    Thanks to Chris for sharing more about SF training.

    Regards

    Jyothi

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      1. Muppalla Padma Latha

        Hi Jarret and Chris,

        Happy new year to you all!

        Thank you for sharing this info and guiding us through a right approach.

        Looking forward to know more about the training information soon.  It is a very nice blog you provided.  Thank you once again!

        Thanks,

        Padma

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  6. Julien QUESTER-SEMEON

    Thanks Jarret and Chris McNarney for putting this interview together.

    I had the luck to train Chris on Employee Central and Succession and really appreciate the insight you give on SuccessFactors training approach and the usage of Jam’s video capabilities in the acceleration of the learning.

    Also, your looking back at your initial training after having shadowed and actually implemented SAP and SF projects is very useful for us as a training department.

    Looking forward to talking with you in your future Workforce Analytics and Planning Implementation Training.

    Regards,

    Julien.

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    1. Chris McNarney

      Hey Julien!

      Hopefully your crossfitting is still going strong.

      Good to hear from you and thanks for the nice remarks.  Julien is right, I was lucky enough to have him for my instructor in two courses as helped me learn to stand on my own two feet.  Courtesy of his expert instructing, I learned quite a lot.

      Regarding the training vs real-live projects portion.  What I was referring to is that the case studies are designed to demonstrate how to use various parts of the functionality, which is all perfectly well and good.  At an actual client, you get into more situations where you have to figure out something isn’t actually possible.  Like negative testing, I suppose.

      That’s a hard thing to include in training, because people will say “why are you asking me to figure something out that I cannot do?” or “I spent 4 hours figuring out some crazy way to do something that you can’t really do and couldn’t finish the regular assignment”.

      Anyway, thanks again, and does this mean you’ll be my teacher for the WFA class too?

      Chris

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

        Chris, It is like a “Behind the Scenes” VH1 music special as your past (ie SF teacher) are coming out of the woodwork.  Hopefully you dont have anything else in your past you forgot to tell me as the truth will come out on SCN 😆

        In all seriousness thanks for jumping in Julien and providing some perspective from a unique angle.

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      2. Julien QUESTER-SEMEON

        Hey Chris.

        Funny you talk about Crossift. Like any other sport, and like for Software Consulting, it’s all about education, training and continuous learning. Let me give you 2 lessons I learnt from Crossfit and that apply to the topic we are discussing:

        • You cannot learn everything from a class. I am recovering from an injury right now and this is the kind of teaching that is out of scope for a regular training. The coach gives awareness and general principles on how to avoid injuries, but does not go into detail. It is a bit like the “not possible”part of the product we do not teach. However, it is still possible to educate (vs. train) to react in this kind of situations. Our goal is to educate you on where to find the information when the training is over, and our way to do is to provide you all the possible links to our documentation. I am open to any feedback you would like to share about it.
        • People like an exhausting effort, when they are guided through it. So, be prepared to the WFAP class I will teach you in February(I just checked 🙂 ). Remember the EC training? It will be that intense, but for one week only.

        Regards.

        Julien.

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  7. Saquib Khan, PMP

    Good job Jarret and Chris!

    “It will be interesting to see how the consulting dynamic changes as SuccessFactors continues to grow.  Will work always be moved through partners?  Will there be avenues for independents (who are generally experts in their areas) like there are in SAP?”

    This means that there is no chance to work as an independent consultant, you have to join some partner to offer SF services.  I called it “Monopoly”.

    Also, there are few people who become SF certified consultants.  I am eager to know, what topics or classes you have attend before giving a SF certification exam.

    Chris, Do you recommend any certification, in the area of talent management such as :

    http://www.astd.org/Education/Certificate-Programs/Career-Planning-and-Talent-Management-Certificate

    http://www.hci.org/hr-training-courses

     

    Thanks & Regards,

    Saquib Khan, PMP

    “ I mentor every day, pass on wisdom to help people to anticipate rather than react. It frees people and speeds up their development.”

    LinkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/saquib-khan-mba-pmp/4/40a/980

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    1. Chris McNarney

      Hi Saquib:

      Thanks for the reply and comment.

      I guess I would say monopoly is not the word I would use.  The barriers to entry are certainly a little greater in SuccessFactors than they are in SAP.  However I think that an independent consultant working through another consulting firm is more or less the norm, as true ‘direct’ contracts are few and far between (at least in my own experience). Besides, I am independent and I found work doing SuccessFactors.  I see from your LinkedIn in your signature that you too are an independent doing SuccessFactors work – surely that must mean there is some measure of opportunity there for independents and not truly a ‘monopoly.’

      Certification in SuccessFactors entails completing their mastery courses in various modules.  It is not classroom/book learning and then an exam at the end.  The case study at the end of the mastery courses is graded on various criteria, but there is no ‘exam.’

      As for those other two certification links you sent me – I guess I would say that if you’re starting from scratch learning the business side of HCM, then maybe those classes will bring some kind of value to the participant.  I will say in my own experience, I’ve never had a need to have any of these certifications (I see the classes in your links are all between one and two thousand dollars each + travel for one to two days of sessions).  As a consultant, no client has ever asked me about having any kind of certifications. 

      My opinion is that I would not recommend a specific talent management certification for a software consultant.  Maybe you love learning that way and have no other tangible experience, though.  If that’s the case then maybe you’d have a different opinion.

      Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      Chris

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  8. Latunde Laniyan

    Big ups to both Chris and Jarret for this detailed write up. With reference to the previous comments on how to get onto the sfsf train you have to be linked to a certified successfactors partner this i tihink is more stringent than getting to the SAP HCM space.

    However i just hope and believe that subsequently there will be a space for sfsf  webgroup on the SCN or a new forum just like the SCN but can be named seperately but be active, ellaborate and educative as the SCN.

    Cheers!

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks for the comment and kind words Latunde. I am hoping as well that SuccessFactors follows the SAP SCN model of having an open community to help share information as I think it would help differentiate them with some of their competitors.

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  9. Francisco Julia

    Hi,

    I read you column, and immediately I try to register in successfactors trainning, but the webpage says:

    “Only current SuccessFactors customers are able to register and gain access to our customer community and

    subsequently to the Success Academy Portal”.

    I´m a certified SAP HCM and Project Manager consultant and in the company that I work have SAP, but it appears that I can´t register , it that´s right? How can we do it?

    Regards

    Francisco

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Hi Francisco

      Thanks for the comment and it was mentioned a few times in the article that you need to be a customer or work for a SuccessFactors Partner to be able to take training and get certified.  Is your firm a SF partner?

      Thanks,

      Jarret

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      1. Muppalla Padma Latha

        Hi Jarrett,

        Can any one share the realtime scenarios with SF and SAP HCM Point of view to have a feel of the process before we think about the certification and struggling to get a SF partner details.  Why because, any SF partner would first ask the candidate whether you have any experience or not.  Without giving an opportunty there will not be chances of gaining experience in SF for sure.  While sharing some expamples of process scenarios, whoever is the experienced SAP-HCM consultant or a Business Partner can at least relate SF process with their experiences… it’s just a thought….

        Thanks,

        Padma

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        1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

          Hi Padma

          I am not sure I understand your question but what is clear is the direction SAP/SuccessFactors is heading from a HR roadmap point of view which will ultimately drive the supply and demand in the market. We provided our thoughts on on the consulting market last year in this article The Future of SAP HCM Consulting and SuccessFactors and my plan is to pull together a similar article in the next month as a lot has changed in the past year.

          You are correct though on the challenges to break into SuccessFactors with a partner as not much different than the challenges many “freshers” are having breaking into SAP HCM as it is hard to get your foot in the door without experience. That said I know some SF consulting companies that are looking to grow their practices by training very experienced SAP HCM consultants with SuccessFactors.

          Thanks,

          Jarret

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    2. Chris McNarney

      Hi Francisco

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.  Unfortunately Jarret is right; as I noted in another reply, there are a few more barriers to entry than there are in on-premise SAP HCM given that training has to be taken through a SuccessFactors partner.

      Like Jarret said, if your firm is a SuccessFactors partner, then you’ll be able to work through them to get yourself enrolled in training.

      Thanks,
      Chris

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    1. Jarret Pazahanick Post author

      Thanks Deepak for the kind words and I think many SAP HCM consultants will be making the journey to SuccessFactors that Chris did over the coming years.

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  10. Anders Bang Christoffersen

    Thanks for the article – is currently also in the middle of transitioning from SAP HCM On-premise to SuccessFactors. Have now finished the Recruitment Management and Recruiting Marketing, compared to the SAP E-Recruiting the Successfactors solution and education is a lot more comprehensive than the SAP E-Recruiting one week course…

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    1. Christopher Solomon

      Did you not read the article?!?!?! He laid it out. Pretty much the same all these years later too. If you are speaking of consulting, your best bet….get employed by a SF Partner willing to put your through certification. SF “training” is not the same as the certification.

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