One part of my role as the HR/Payroll SIG Lead for the SAP User Group within Australia is to catch up with fellow customers to consider and discuss issues which affect the SAP HR landscape within our community. One constant conversation over the past 18 months has been the impact of cloud solutions and in particular SAP’s acquisition of SuccessFactors.

In this blog, I will summarise some of the HR business and IT considerations that I have discussed with my fellow SAUG customers when they are thinking of moving to, integrating with or starting with a SuccessFactors cloud solution.

These considerations have been summarised in no particular order of importance and have been provided as trigger point for other customers to consider/ evaluate the impact for their situation;

1.    1. Processing & Integration Model for the Cloud

  • Understand what the new cloud process options are
  • Understand what people data is being processed where
  • What is the Authoritative Data Source for your process? On-premise or cloud?
  • Resources / Effort to set-up integration/extracts based on your requirements
  • Which integration model will you use? (Flat file / PI / Cloud)
  • How much custom DEVELOPMENT can/should you do in the ‘cloud’?
    • UPDATE; SuccessFactors SAP HANA Cloud Platform now provides a platform for customers/partners to build their own applicaitons to deliver customer specific requirements; to fill on the gaps if SuccessFactiors does not provide a solution. An example could be USA Benefits application which SuccessFactors will not deliver as part of SuccessFactors solution.

2.   

        2. Financial Model variations

  • Decision to invest in cloud versus how much capital you have already invested in on-premise
  • OPEX v CAPEX decision, does your investment plan need to change?
  • HR Business might need to plan for OPEX cost, does this require budget uplift? Quick decisions may not be possible as result, might need to plan then wait for a new financial year.

3.   

        3. Business / User readiness

  • Are the business users ready for ‘gamification’, mobility, etc? Should you phase the roll out for ‘wiz bang’ options?
  • Are there too many solution / process options?
  • Is there a priority to keep it simple, and increase best practice/complexity over time?

4.     

4.    4. Procurement involvement

  • Many HR groups can/may contract directly with SaaS vendors, however involving the procurement group is more likely to lead to a reduced price for subscription
  • This is not on-premise software, so new contractual elements around privacy and data ownership are more important
  • Procurement may want business to go to RFP, marketplace for evaluation than just selecting SAP/SuccessFactors
  • Procurement might need to provide guidelines to help HR/IT in dealing with SaaS solutions if ‘cloud’ is new for your organisation

5. Licensing / Subscription – User based

  • Buying per user for SuccessFactors Talent processes
  • The number of user’s identities the employees who are available for processing in cloud solution, some of your employees might only be in SAP ‘on-premise’, not in cloud.
  • Tracking/processing of ‘active’ solution users, movement up and down in user numbers may impact your subscriptions numbers
  • Generally ‘subscription’ starts at contract signing not deployment of solution, paying from day one, not when ‘go live’
  • Renewal licensing? Do you negotiate this up front?

6. Security – IT Concerns

  • Security of employee data
  • What is your company or country policy?
  • Can business make decisions without IT involvement?
  • Who needs to be involved in decision making?

The above is a sample of considerations others also exist around vendor management pre and post implementation and where does on-going ownership of the solution sit within the business or IT?

Two further considerations/lessons were highlighted by those who have implemented SuccessFactors in the last 2 months;

  1. Ensure that HR and IT are involved in the selection, evaluation and implementation this way key parties are making decisions jointly, sharing in the success and the pain;
  2. If you are moving to the cloud, ensure that you involve your procurement group early in the negotiation process to ensure best bang for your buck!

From a personal viewpoint I for one welcome and embrace this shake up of in the HR area. We the customers are the ones who are ultimately the beneficiaries of the SuccessFactors acquisition, as well as the increase in other ‘cloud’ solutions, as we now have greater choice, higher grade solutions and more competitive options. It is and will prove to be the disruption required for us all to ask questions of where the HCM space is going next, and that’s a great thing.

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5 Comments

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  1. Jarret Pazahanick

    Great to see you blogging and l couldn’t agree more with the final paragraph.

    On option I am seeing customers in North America consider is a FULL cloud solution (ie Employee Central/BizX) or Workday vs a hybrid approach which changes some of the dynamics in your #1.

    On a side I understand that the BizX name is being retired but mentioned it above as that is the “common” name most people know at this point.

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    1. Rob Makinson Post author

      Thanks Jarret,

      FInally took the the plunge and decided to put something out there.

      I haven’t heard of a lot of Australian companies moving to Workday as yet. I know of a few who are considering Employee Central, I attended a customer info session on Employee Central last week and there was a lot of great questions around payroll compliance, award contracts, end of year processing, etc.

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    2. Luke Marson

      BizX was retired in July and the suite is now called the SuccessFactors HCM suite. It’s not a big bang announcement so you’ll still see the BizX name for a while as the branding filters throughout SAP/SuccessFactors and the ecosystem. I expect those in the know to be using HCM instead of BizX so maybe this is a way of differentiating between the experts and those on the periphery. Interested to know your thoughts.

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  2. Luke Marson

    Hi Rob,

    Fantastic blog and thanks again for publishing this great set of insights from Australia. For many of the points its down to the customer to decide – and no doubt they will need some expert opinion to assist them. Unfortunately its hard to tell how far reaching this expertise is globally and whether it is sufficiently spread in Australia.

    For example, understanding what data is processed where and what the system of record is depends on a number of factors (e.g. what data is used, what processes, what applications, etc.). Deciding how much development to do depends on customer requirements and whether a customer chooses to use a 3rd party solution or develop something in-house.

    All-in-all it’s an exciting time, but full of questions and options. There is no real one-size-fits-all approach due to the varying systems and approaches used by customers in the past. Expert advisory is required and identifying the experts is a tough job. Folks like yourself will be able to help with this.

    Best regards,

    Luke

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    1. Rob Makinson Post author

      Thanks Luke,

      So far I have come across a few companies that I would feel comfortable with implementing SF in our region. We have a unique set up where I work having implemented eRec and LMS just after the acquisition. As we start evaluating succession and development, we have started thinking about which system would be our ADS for competences, work experience, qualifications, etc, so we can leverage employee data for recruitment, learning and talent. I am sure we will get the right outcome, it is certainly lots of fun working through all the options and issues.

      I will keep the community up to date with our journey.

      Cheers

      Rob

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