February saw the annual SAP Insider conference, now in its 10th year. Held again in Las Vegas this year – this time swapping the MGM Grand Casino for the Bellagio – it was the first year that HR was on its own, having been split from GRC and Finance as it had been in previous years. As usual, Amy Thistle and her team did a fantastic job of organizing a conference full of excellent content, great networking opportunities, and many memorable moments. Customers, exhibitors and consultants also played their role in helping to make this a top class event.
There was plenty of tweeting from the attendees and the #HR2013 hashtag and SAP Mentor Martin Gillet did a fantastic job of documenting the event via his streams of top-class photos, which can be seen here.
It was clear from day one that having a SuccessFactors track was a good move. There was a lot of interest from customers who wanted to learn more about what the strategy and acquisition meant for them, as well as topics around integration and the products themselves. In the SAP sessions that I attended, there was a common message that SAP on-premise will continue to receive significant investment (although SAP were unable to confirm how much more investment there is), but they advised customers to use SuccessFactors for talent management processes.
Of course integration was a hot topic. There wasn’t much additional detail or outlook into the future roadmap, other than a high-level look at the next two integration packages on Recruiting. Interestingly this was anticipated as single delivery up until now. One thing that we did discover is that SAP has over 100 customers using their Hybrid integration packages. And despite the imminent release of SAP HANA Cloud Integration there were no details announced. Customers will have to wait until SAPPHIRE to see if there’s been any movement on the roadmap.
As seen in the demo session, Employee Central does look great but is still a bit lightweight in comparison to OM and PA. However, with the investment in Employee Central the solution will have over 50 country versions available by the end of the year.
SAP’s message was “Core HCM is here to stay!” JB Rolland and Robert Moeller both emphasized this and spent plenty of time showing the present and upcoming HR Renewal functionality and discussing the various enhancements coming to core HCM, including SAP on HANA for HCM. The new Portal-based Landing Page and various ESS and MSS screens are wonderful compliments to the existing on-premise system. HCM Processes and Forms are another added value for on-premise customers, especially those that don’t want the expense of using Adobe’s Interactive Forms technology. If you are looking to stay on-premise then things aren’t looking so bad for you.
Even without David Ludlow highlighting the Nakisa 4.0 OrgModeler writeback capabilities, demand for demos of the solution at the Nakisa booth had been high. There were many questions about the future of Nakisa and all the signs are that they are continuing along healthily like the on-premise business in general.
Nakisa were one of the few vendors that were actually able to talk about a successful HR mobile rollout in their session with Kiewit. Gary Pickering from T-Mobile also sat on the Nakisa panel with Pascal Occean and me to discuss best practices and various themes around implementing and using Nakisa solutions. Nakisa Cloud seemed to be of interest to the attendees.
There were some memorable sessions for me, for various different reasons. In no particular order these were:
- “Live demo: SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics & Workforce Planning” – Kouros Behzad with Mick Collins – I’m not sure if Mick was an “official” speaker in this session, but his tag-team effort with Kouros providing a great balance of interesting customer demo and an engaging story.
- “Turning HR and Talent Management solutions into systems of engagement” – Prashanth Padmanabhan – Prashant is a passionate and engaging speaker and did a very fine job of showing the value and power of SAP Jam. I really enjoyed Prashanth’s presenting style throughout the session.
- “Panel discussion: The future of SAP ERP HCM — Predictions from the experts”: Steve Bogner (moderator), Mark Ingram, Martin Gillet, Luke Marson, Sharon Newton, Jarret Pazahanick, and Brandon Toombs – Anyone who has read my previous blogs will know that I am a big fan of panel sessions and this one didn’t disappoint. Steve Bogner did a very fine job moderating the session and threw in a few fine jokes along the way, including affectionately referring to SAP’s VP for Line of Business HR as “General Ludlow”. Sharon Newton was particularly added value to the discussion by many of the usual suspects from the Insights Podcast team.
- “Live demo: SuccessFactors Employee Central” – Tobias Dosch, SuccessFactors, and Joachim Foerderer, SAP – This one was most memorable for Joachim Foerderer’s combination of presenter and stand-up comedian. Not only that, but Joachim performed a “last man standing” act of defiance as he stayed to answer every single question before leaving the hall. Major kudos due there. Definitely one to see next time if you didn’t get a chance to attend this session.
And an honorary mention goes to Fred McCloud, who assisted me with my SAPexperts session on “SAP and SuccessFactors – an Overview”. SAPexperts are offering a free download of the In-Depth special report here.
Photo courtesy of Martin Gillet
The conference was full of important points, but there were a number of key takeaways from the conference:
- SuccessFactors is a very hot topic in HCM in North America
- SAP will continue to invest in on-premise past 2020
- For talent management, customers are advised to use SuccessFactors
- SAP have some great mobility options, but for HCM customers usage is almost at zero
- There is a lot coming in Employee Central and it is moving up notches fairly quickly
- Integration between SAP HCM and SuccessFactors is moving slowly
- SAP Jam is a great solution but is still not heavily adopted
- SAP doubled their Hybrid-only SuccessFactors subscriptions sales target of 60 (to 120) in 2012
- Nakisa 4.0 OrgModeler is a very popular solution among SAP HCM customers
- If you’ve not attended before, I urge you to attend next year’s event!
HR2014 will take place in Orlando, Florida on March 11th to 14th. With the development of the SuccessFactors market I believe there will be a lot more SuccessFactors experiences being shared by SAP, customers, and consultants. I hope that we’ll finally see a customer who has implemented the SAP integration packages. I would also like to see some customers talk more about mobile.
All in all this was another great conference that will continue to grow.
I recommend reading these viewpoints in addition to my own: