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I’m excited to see Seth Godin tomorrow when he speaks at the ASUG-SAPPHIRE keynote address. His book Poke the Box is a epithet for what I do each  year at this annual conference: listen, examine, poke, prod, question, challenge and try to influence the shape of the technology I am now using or will be using in the next five to ten years.

Tomorrow, I will be speaking about my recent experiences inmaking an  impact on the usability features of SAP HCM when I speak about Customer Validation of HCM Renewal 1.0,Feature Pack 3, which is now released by SAP for general availability.

This morning, I participated in the pre-conference,“SuccessFactors Employee Central, Cloud Payroll, and Integration to ERP”.   Employee Central takes what is best out of SAP’s strengths in localization and globalization and applies it to the best usability features of SuccessFactors. There were a few features I was just itching to get my hands on. Take, for example, the ability for a manager to initiate a change in an employee without having to know about the object,  Position.”  He/she can execute the change simply by providing the necessary information. There is no need for the manager to know there is a position in the background. This is genius. We have long struggled with how to educate managers on the importance of the Position and what that data element means – both separate from the employee record and in relationship to the employee record.

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Yet, many tquestions remain n my mind about SAP HCM on premise and SAP SuccessFactors (HCM cloud).  At the moment, the “full cloud” HCM deployment appears to be a cornucopia of SAP, EC and partner solutions.  Flash back to a time when we had multiple vendors and separate and disparate systems that did not talk to each other in a synchronous language or real time.  We in the HCM Community have often joked, “The good thing about SAP is that it’s fully integrated.  The bad thing about SAP is that it is fully integrated.”  What if we got what we asked for — that is, less integration — and really did not want that to begin with?

Moreover – what intrigues me about the cloud versus on premise model is this:  Is the cloud model merely prettier than what we’re used to seeing in on-premise?  What’s the value equation?  I heard enough confused attendees at this morning’s pre-conference to know that the attraction is the UI of SuccessFactors.  But – what if your on-premise solution could have the same or similar UI?  And I do believe that’s possible with EhP6, HCM Renewal 1.0, Feature Pack 3.  Trouble is – no one is selling that as hard as SuccessFactors software; so, sometimes it’s a little bit harder for customers to sift thru the muck to find what is actually best for their own company:  full cloud, full on-premise or hybrid?

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It’s a complicated puzzle to solve.  None of us have all the answers.  But, I’m confident that together,  in our community of HCM users, we will ask the right questions, challenge the status quo, and generally influence the future course that SAP/SuccessFactors charts.  In the meantime, I plan to use the next four days to soak up information, reconnect with colleagues and friends, and generally come away with more ways to “poke the box” with SAP.

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4 Comments

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  1. Former Member

    SHerry, I can barely wait until I hear some of the stories rostered for the next days. Much is coming together, yet so much is still being done. All your questions are valid, but while there is daily more definition, some will never have a clear cut answer, because each situation is different. In fact, we need to become better and faster at analyizing the specifics, and in proposing solutions.

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  2. Luke Marson

    Hi Sherry,

    Thanks for the great insights from the first day. It’s interesting that on that last slide they put “tight integration” yet SAP are selling the benefits of “loosely coupled integration” with SuccessFactors. I’d be interested to know if you or your members picked up on this and what the thoughts are. Is the message confusing?

    Best regards,

    Luke

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  3. Former Member

    Great blog and I love your customer-centered perspective on this Sherry. I share some of the same questions – particularly the ‘value equation’ for core-HR. Replacing core-HR in any decent-sized company is not a small, simple task. Many of us remember the difficulties in implementing our current SAP HR systems, and going through that again, for a value equation that is somewhat murky just isn’t appealing at all. With Thomas Otter taking a leadership position at SuccessFactors Employee Central I am sure that value will be more clear in the years to come.

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  4. Robert Moeller

    Hi Sherryanne!

    Great blog!  Sorry I wasn’t there at SAPPHIRE to hear you speak.  Thanks again for the work you did with your team on the customer validation testing for HR Renewal 1.0, Feature Pack 3.  Thanks also for agreeing to share your experience at SAPPHIRE.  It is important for other customers to hear what you were able to accomplish in a few short weeks (note to others: your mileage may vary).  Sherryanne – we agreed that Steve could blame you if he still finds bugs – right? 😉   Enjoy SAPPHIRE/ASUG and wishing safe travels back home.

    Best Regards,

    Robert Moeller

    SAP Labs, LLC.

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