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5 Things I Want To Know from SuccessConnect 2013

SuccessFactors’ annual conference, SuccessConnect, is around the corner. Held at The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas from 9th to 11th October, it will feature sessions from a number of HR Technology industry experts, SuccessFactors product experts, and partners. The full agenda can be viewed here and I’m very excited about a number of the sessions being conducted.

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I will be holding an Employee Central experts panel covering implementation and integration of Employee Central featuring Thomas Otter, VP Product Management for Employee Central at SuccessFactors, Jyoti Sharma, Manager SuccessFactors at EPI-USE America, Umesh Rustogi, Head of Product Management for Cloud Integration at SAP, and Randy Houck, Director of Technology Services at EPI-USE America. I will also be available at booth #711 and looking forward to meeting delegates during the conference, so please come along and say hello.

If you are interesting in also going to HR Technology Conference that is held in the days prior to SuccessConnect then you should check out this discount code for $500 off the HR Technology Conference and $400 off SuccessConnect that Jarret Pazahanick is offering.

The roadmap for SuccessFactors has become clear over the last 18 months and integration has become more and more focused. However, there are still some things that I would like to find out about at SuccessConnect and I will report back on my findings. Here are the five things I want to find out from SuccessConnect 2013.

1. When will the SuccessFactors HCM suite run on HANA?

Although the SuccessFactors platform runs on SAP HANA Cloud, the database does not yet run on HANA. There are a lot of benefits to the platform running on HANA, in particular the performance benefits it would bring. Hasso Plattner announced at SAPPHIRE NOW that SuccessFactors will be up-and-running on HANA by August this year. There has been no further news or announcements, so I am interesting to know if we will hear some news or estimated dates for when SuccessFactors on HANA will finally become a reality.

2. When will the Metadata Framework be rolled out across more solutions in the suite?

The Metadata Framework (MDF) is a powerful mechanism for extending the SuccessFactors suite, although at present it only fully exist in Employee Central and partially in Succession & Development. I have heard plans that it will be rolled out to Recruiting Execution and I am keen to know when this extensibility component will be available in Recruiting Execution and other solutions. The immediate benefits of MDF primarily lie around Position Management, but also include an almost limitless number of customer-specific objects and rules. These enhancements will give customers large amounts of flexibility in extending SuccessFactors to meet their business needs and I am confident that SuccessFactors are planning to do this.

3. Are there plans for Benefits, Time and a genuine SaaS Payroll solution in the suite?

I firmly believe that the only real functionality missing in Employee Central are Benefits and full Time Management functionality, both of which are covered by partnerships with 3rd party solutions such as BenefitsFocus and WorkForce Software. There are rumors of Benefits functionality coming in Employee Central soon, although this has not been announced yet by SuccessFactors. With the recent Time Off enhancements in the August release there is already a portion of this Time Management functionality in the system and I am in no doubt that SuccessFactors are planning to extend it. A quote attributed to Dmitri Krakovsky in a recent blog by Bill Kutik specifies that SuccessFactors are putting a focus on global Benefits functionality. I am keen to see whether this is something that customers will be able to expect in the near future.

In regards to Payroll, I am keen to see if SuccessFactors are working on a genuine, SaaS-based next generation Payroll solution. There are a host of possibilities available, plus reduced TCO for SAP and SuccessFactors versus the hosted Employee Central Payroll and more native integration with Employee Central and SAP ERP. To get an idea of what a next generation SaaS Payroll solution can offer I highly recommend this blog by Holger Mueller of Constellation Research.

Additionally I would be interested to see what functionality is announced in regards to Global Assignments, Concurrent Employment, and document management. These are also important to some customers and I understand are under consideration or development by SuccessFactors. Employee Central is growing at a rapid rate and customers will want to know what they can expect over the next 12 to 18 months as they plan or consider a switch to the Cloud.

4. When will the ODS Reporting functionality be available for the Talent modules?

The Operational Data Store (ODS) Reporting, which is available through the same Online Report Designer that is available in Workforce Analytics, is a tool for transactional reporting that provides actionable analytics for end users with pivot tables, charts, and graphs. It also leverages the Metadata Framework. Outside of Workforce Analytics this is currently only available for Employee Central but is planned for the remainder of the SuccessFactors suite. I would like to know when this powerful functionality will be available for customers across all of the SuccessFactors modules.

5. What are the future plans for Mobility?

Mobility is a hot topic and SuccessFactors do a great job of mobilizing functionality in SuccessFactors BizX Mobile and SuccessFactors Headlines. The iPad app has recently been revamped and contains a number of enhancements, but the Android version is still lagging behind despite the strong market penetration that Samsung’s smartphone and tablet devices are enjoying. There is also more scope to bring more activities into the mobile applications as well as introduce brand new capabilities like SuccessFactors did with the excellent Headlines application.

Summary

SuccessConnect is going to be a great conference and there is going to be a lot of information on new features and functionality, along with best practice tips and expert presentations. I think if I can get answers to most of these questions then customers will be very well informed about making strategic decisions to move to SuccessFactors if they have not already.

If you are going to SuccessConnect then you will have the opportunity to meet the authors and contributors of the SAP Press book SuccessFactors for SAP ERP HCM at the event. Additionally there is a HR Tech HR Meet-Up being held the day before SuccessConnect starts and it would be great to meet any attendees wishing to talk HR and HR Technology with a group of industry experts in an informal setting.

Don’t forget to watch the #SConnect hashtag on Twitter to follow the latest and greatest news and announcements from the conference. And as usual, the SAP and SuccessFactors LinkedIn group is the place to go for all of the latest information on SuccessFactors.

12 Comments
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  • Great work Luke, and good luck in getting answers to any of those forward facing and market sensitive questions 😉

    I wrote about some of them a while back – http://www.wombling.com/cloud/oh-and-time-management/ and http://www.wombling.com/cloud/blue-sky-thinking/

    I’ve already been right about one prediction, I wonder how many more!

    I really don’t think running on HANA is a big issue, because until the customer gets some benefit from running on HANA they couldn’t care less what database/platform they are running on. Nothing currently about SuccessFactors is slow anyway! However HANA will enable some new and cool reporting and potentially forecasting abilities. But those functionalities would need to be built! Just having the database underneath swapped out is meaningless and is chasing marketing buzzwords/headline grabbing stuff that doesn’t actually result in improvements for the customer.

    Right – that rant out of the way 😉 … My additional questions I will be posing. (and similarly hoping to get responses on, but not holding my breath!)

    SAPJam – where is the developer enablement of this tooling? It is supposed to the the social glue between SAP’s products, yet beyond SAIL there isn’t much that has been done to help people take advantage of it. APIs exist (I know, I have copy of them 😉 ) but it’s not as easy as it should be to take the next step here to building awesome solutions.

    OffBoarding, can it be as good as the OnBoarding? (I’m hoping this is a simple YES! but if so it’s not been pushed as an advantage of SuccessFactors nearly enough).

    EC API – Will the OData API used for Employee Central be extended to the other areas of the suite, (I’m sure it will) and what is the roadmap.

    Partner/Customer Extensions – As you know this is a topic dear to my heart and that we will very likely hear a lot more about at SAP TechEd. It’s also one of those predictions I got right 😀 However, I’d like to find out a little more about the roadmap as currently it’s just Employee Central as far as I’m aware, it would be great to see this expand, as I’m sure it will.

    Once I’ve finished with those questions… Then I’ll be asking if any of you namby pamby functional types actually understand the Tech part of the HRTech or you’re all just looking at the functionality. 😉

    Looking forward to seeing you!

    Cheers,

    Chris

    • Hey Chris,

      Fingers crossed you get more right 🙂

      Well, at the moment a large enterprise or a customer using RBPs can expect additional performance lags. RBPs can add up to 30% performance lag, so HANA will remove this lag. But it also offers other capabilities, particularly for supporting multiple customer apps built on SAP HANA Cloud Platform within the SuccessFactors HCM suite.

      I see your questions are more developer-related, which is where you bring your perspective into play. I certainly would be keen to see how far you get with answers (as I am with my questions), but they won’t be at the forefront of my “namby pamby” conversations! 🙂

      Look forward to catching up next week too!

      Cheers,

      Luke

  • I would like to know when successfactors will allow clients, and not, as per mark ingram pointed out, successfactors and implementers to do basic config changes. why should I pay for someone to change my oil in my car when I can change my own oil?

    • Hi Howard,

      Customers can make basic and even more complex configurations within SuccessFactors. Some modules have more flexibility than others, but overall there is a high level of configurability. SuccessFactors is designed to be managed and maintained by HR professionals and not by Basis. For example, creating performance appraisal forms or compensation forms is the job of HR and not the job of a consultant. However, it is down to a consultant to ensure that a customer is ramped up on these skills during a project otherwise there remains a reliance.

      I hope that clarifies somewhat.

      Best regards,

      Luke

      • Hi Howard and Luke,

        Howard has a good point. I’d like to see customer be able to do more. Luke is right in that clients can do a lot in the admin tools. In recruiting the issue is specifically around requisitions, candidate profiles, applications and offer approval templates. They are defined using XML and not accessible to the client.

        Cheers, Mark

        • Thanks for the insights into Recruiting Mark and I can see where Howard is coming from. It’s a shame that Recruiting doesn’t have the same level of configurability as some of the other modules that I’ve worked with – I certainly wasn’t aware that this level of “customization” is required for configuring standard functionality.

          Best regards,

          Luke

          • I’d still call it configuration vs the SAP notion of customization. It’s anywhere you have forms such as requisitions, candidate profile, etc. It’s easy XML editing but still should be something clients can do.

            I hope to learn about recruiting and the MetaData framework. Like Chris I love opportunity for extensions and the use of APIs.

            Cheers, Mark

          • Hello Luke,

            Thanks, its been a wonderful take of representation on SuccessFactors that integrates  other areas of SAP like HANA, HCM,etc.

            I am also keenly interested how it will overtake Workday in Future.

            Please share your valuable information.

            Thanks.

            Best Regards,

            Jayasree D