Skip to Content

Summary of HCM News From SAPPHIRE/ASUG-Part 2: Cloud


In part one I talked about the changes coming to the Core HCM UI that were discussed at SAPPHIRE/ASUG.  In this blog, I cover my impressions  in the cloud space.  If you want to hear more thoughts on this rapidly developing area, follow me on twitter @brandontoombs.  The show is absolutely massive, so the below are just the data points that I was able to gather.  At several points during the week I wanted to be 3 places at once!

From a “breaking” news perspective, there was less of it in this area than in core HCM.  SuccessFactors has their own conference in October so anything Earth-shattering may be waiting until then  Additionally,  Lars Dalgaard, former SuccessFactors CEO/current head of SAP Cloud was unable to attend due to a family emergency. Lars is a brash force of nature on stage, so his absence was felt.  Last year, Lars articulated had a clear vision last year around allowing customers to choose which portions of the cloud to adopt and at which pace.  It would have been interesting to hear how this has been refined based on the past year.  Regardless, Pepsi and Timken were featured in one of the keynotes where they explained their rationales for the making the move to EmployeeCentral.  It will be interesting to hear their stories as they go live.   From what I heard at the conferences several more large customers may be close to making this leap to EmployeeCentral as well.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: I posted the above 15 minutes before the news broke that Lars is leaving SAP.]

Below are the highlights/impressions I took away:

  • The march toward the cloud for talent continues unabated.   Customers I talked to seem to be embracing the SuccessFactors model for their talent platform.  Perhaps more tellingly, a number of SAP HCM customers are replacing other cloud “best of breed” solutions (such as Taleo recruiting or Halogen performance) to implement a full SuccessFactors talent platform. 
  • Major progress on Employee Central globalization, which now has localization for 51 countries, with payroll  now available for 22 countries.
  • Recruiting Onboarding is now officially released.  I saw a preview of this at HR2013 and was impressed at its use of social integration.
  • I heard more than one customer mention that the SuccessFactors license costs are being  aggressively discounted.  I believe that this is a great move to guarantee a critical mass of adoption of the product. 
  • Not surprisingly given the number of licensing deals, there was a lot of interest from customers wanting to hear more about how the integration works between core SAP HCM to cloud SuccessFactors talent management.  No major new news on this front at SAPPHIRE but SAP is executing nicely on already released commitments: integration connectors specific to employee data, compensation, and recruiting (new hires) have been delivered with more integrations on the way soon, including a requisition interface based on vacation positions. 
  • Speaking of integration, 3 new SAP HCM/SuccessFactor Rapid Deployment Solution (RDS) packages were approved and announced: Epi-Use for cloud payroll, Hypercision for LMS integration, and Coeus for employee/recruiting/comp data migration and integration (full disclosure: I was part of the Coeus team.)  
  • I heard multiple customers grousing about the 15 custom field maximum restriction on some of the interfaces into SuccessFactors.  Hopefully the SuccessFactors developers will address this soon.
  • The big open question remains when HANA Cloud Integration will be publicly released to customers for SuccessFactors to SAP integration.  HANA Cloud Integration for those of you don’t know is SAP’s “cloud-based middleware” that they are touting as the long-term integration solution for customers.   This was originally supposed to be in place Q1 of 2013 (which has come and gone).  I have not heard a new official date.
  • I did not hear much about progress towards multitenant payroll so I can only assume that this is still off in the distance. For the time being, SAP’s strategy will continue to be Employee Central (which is true SAAS multitenant)  with payroll  being handled by a managed cloud single-instance payroll .  Since SAP’s payroll engine is universally regarded as the finest on-premise payroll in the industry, they can probably get by with this arrangement a while longer as long as they can hide any complications caused by the integration to the single-server “behind the curtain”. 

  That wraps up my wrap-up. 🙂   Overall it was an exciting and rewarding few days.  

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Thanks for sharing, Brandon; you could not have chosen a better day, with Lars' step-down announcement..

    I laughed at the reference to the "pudding cups, fruit, and fluorescent margaritas" in your previous post, made me realize I am not alone in the SAPPHIRE food funk. And somehow, I had missed 2 of the 3 RDS announcements!

    I posted a few days back a review focusing on the Employee Central's developments, for reference here it is LINK

  • Hi Brandon,

    Great job with this comprehensive lowdown. There were a couple of things here that slipped under my radar, which is inevitable when you're not there.

    Regarding SAP HANA Cloud Integration all I know is that it will be in the second half of this year, around 6 months later than planned. Although SAP did release it to customers on-time (mid-March) this was only on Ramp-Up and for the Customer Engagement Initiative (CEI) that they are running. I couldn't tell you how many SuccessFactors customers they have, but they are engaging with a few SAP HCM partners.

    I don't expect a true SaaS Payroll engine to pop-up from SAP for a number of years. The level of complexity to match what they have now on a multi-tenant platform is quite high and if you factor in the other possible enhancements they could make then it really will take some time to have something ready if their developers are focused on EC and SAP HANA (although I hear a lot of EC developers are now working on HANA).

    Best regards,


    • Luke-

      Thanks for your info on HCI.  Looking forward to see customer stories as well.

      I hope we're all wrong about the timeframe for SAP to release a cloud payroll.  While the single instance payroll backend is just fine for existing SAP customers making the shift I think that SAP is going to have a hard time competing and winning new cloud business against Workday with the current design.  I believe that if anyone can do this right it's SAP.  SAP wasn't the first to market with payroll back in the late 90's, but they came out with the best solution; the same could happen in this case.  But it's only if SAP doesn't become complacent and rely on the current blended approach.  Just my $.02!

      Missed you at SAPPHIRE/ASUG.  Hope to see you at SuccessConnect/HR Tech.


      • Hi Brandon,

        I would really like to be wrong about a genuine SaaS Cloud Payroll solution! I expect that the current approach is just a stop-gap until they have a genuine SaaS solution and I think something is better than nothing now, as long as SAP provide a migration path once they have a solution ready. I really think the guys from SAP should reading this blog when they design a SaaS Payroll:

        Looking forward to catching up at SuccessConnect and maybe at HR Tech.

        Best regards,


  • Great article Brandon,

    But I'll appreciate if someone within the house can explain to me what this mufti tenant strategy is all about. I see EC is a full mufti tenant approach while cloud payroll is not please kindly explain the difference.



    • Hi Latunde,

      To put it very simply, multi-tenant is where each customer has a tenant (an instance of configuration) but uses the same software and database as the other customers. Employee Central Payroll is a hosted solution, meaning every customer has their own instance of the software.

      Best regards,