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In my last post, I summarized some of the HR business and IT considerations for customers to reflect upon when they are thinking of moving to, integrating with or starting with a SuccessFactors cloud solution.

In this weeks post, I will share some further discussions that I have had with fellow customers on the impact the SuccessFactors acquisition has had on their and SAP’s HCM Solution/Roadmap.

18 months after the acquisition, many customers are still evaluating the impacts on their; HR technology roadmaps, process improvement opportunities and the value proposition of moving to the SuccessFactors cloud processes.  The acquisition has also had a profound impact on those customers who have implemented the SAP HCM on-premise solutions, such as Nakisa STVN, Learning Solution, eRecruitment and Talent Management. Many of these customers are now considering the longevity of these solutions, and the large investment they have made in licenses, implementations, support costs and potential write-offs for these in coming years. With SAP repositioning its development focus from on-premise to SuccessFactors solutions (see diagram 1), the previous held assumptions by many on-premise customers have now been challenged. Some of these previous key assumptions might have been along the following lines;

  • SAP would continue to proceed with it’s investment in ‘on premise’ HR Talent suite
  • Maintaining a central ERP approach is core to achieve the outcomes for the HR business
  • Integration with other non-SAP providers would continue to be cost prohibitive
  • Capital funding would be utilised for future implementations and developments

SAP Roadmap.JPG

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Diagram 1 – Solution Portfolio for HR LOB, Go-forward solutions highlighted

As a result of SAP’s change in direction a new value proposition might be required to justify future SAP HR investment. Some examples of the value proposition benefits we discussed included;

  • Leveraging the SAP Strategic and investment decision in SuccessFactors Cloud solutions
  • Hybrid integration providing best of breed of SuccessFactors with the SAP on-premise solution & investment
  • An increased User friendly interface – improving user experience
  • Mobile first solutions provided as standard
  • Implementation Costs reduced, Rapid deployment plans are standard
  • Minimised TCO with less infrastructure, support resources and BAU customer development via SuccessFactors solution

The general agreement with my fellow customers was that in the Australian marketplace there has been a lot of talk/evaluation about moving to SuccessFactors for ‘talent’ processes, but there wasn’t the mad rush to the ‘cloud’ that everyone expected at the start of 2013.  Each of us referenced at least 2-3 customers that we were aware of implementing at least one SuccessFactors ‘talent’ process in 2013. We could however list more than a dozen customers we were aware had been evaluating SuccessFactors in 2013, and would potentially implement in 2014.

In summary we all agreed that as SAP HCM customers it is important we;

  1. Take the time to understand and keep abreast of SAP’s HCM Roadmap; and
  2. Analyse the impact of point 1 in relation to our future HCM roadmap and investment planning

Some other interesting questions/points we have discussed included;

  1. Whether SuccessFactors would be happy about their performance / growth over the acquisition period?
  2. Have SuccessFactors gained more customers than they would have in the corresponding period without SAP?
  3. Has the SAP brand helped or hindered SuccessFactors in finding new customers or retaining existing ones?
  4. Has the SuccessFactors product developed at the rate they expected over the last 18 months? (Employee Central we all agreed would not have been developed as quickly without SAP involved)

Each of us had various opinions/responses to the questions above. I personally thought some of YOU might also have thoughts/answers and might be willing to share you experiences/insight, so don’t be shy.

I look forward to your responses.

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7 Comments

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    1. Rob Makinson Post author

      Thanks Paul,

      Trying to to share some thoughts and generate some discussion in the community.

      Appreciate the support and liking post.

      Cheers

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      1. Paul Fraser

        Hi Rob,

        Given all the talk about Big Data and Analytics, is there any mention by customers of looking at this area? If so, is there confusion, as both SAP ERP and SuccessFactors are mentioned as possible solutions.

        Thanks Paul

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        1. Rob Makinson Post author

          Hi Paul,

          There has not been a lot of discussion about big data in our forums. A portion of our group are using BI/BW for their HR reporting, Iwould not expect them to move to SF workforce analytics, unless they were moving to Employee Central.

          Interesting position for the hybrid cusotmers who implement, a talent process in succession, performance or recruitment. Will they implement SF workforce analytics for these modules or use the standard SF reporting or will they look to feed the SF data to thier existing BI/BW for consolidated HR reporting?

          Lots of exciting times ahead in the reporting space as well.

          Cheers

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  1. Luke Marson

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for this update for the community – job well done. Here are my thoughts on your questions:

    Whether SuccessFactors would be happy about their performance / growth over the acquisition period?

    I think they would be very happy. They have seen an increase in sales due to the marketing muscle of SAP and exposure they have seen. Before the acquisition very few folks in the SAP HCM world were aware of SuccessFactors, although there were a few hundred customers using their talent solutions. Of course this changed significantly within the first 6 months after the completion of the acquisition.

    Have SuccessFactors gained more customers than they would have in the corresponding period without SAP?

    Undoubtedly, for the same reasons as above.

    Has the SAP brand helped or hindered SuccessFactors in finding new customers or retaining existing ones?

    This is an interesting one. I’ve heard if from both perspectives. One customer I spoke to said that their business was concerned about going with SuccessFactors now that it was part of the SAP family since SAP is associated with being slow, poor UI/UX, and limited innovation. On the other hand, I’ve spoken to customers that see SuccessFactors as benefiting from SAP’s wealth of HCM experience, integration expertise, and larger R&D budget. I certainly think it’s more the latter than the former, but each customer has their own view and not all customers see as much into how things are working at SAP as others.

    Has the SuccessFactors product developed at the rate they expected over the last 18 months? (Employee Central we all agreed would not have been developed as quickly without SAP involved)

    I would say that it has accelerated their expectations. Although SAP committed to growing Employee Central back in March 2012, many didn’t expect the pace of innovation that would take place. The sheer number of developers and time invested in Employee Central far exceeds any point of SAP HCM and this is resulting in the rapid development that we are now seeing.


    Best regards,


    Luke

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    1. Rob Makinson Post author

      Thanks for the response Luke, appreciate it especially on weekend.

      There are lots is questions and as you say they customers all have a variety of options, requirements and would respond differently to questions above.

      Lots of exciting times ahead. Having worked with SAPHCM since Jan 1997, in both consilting and on the client side this has been the most invigorating change in that period. Lots of fun ahead and new things to learn.

      Cheers

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      1. Luke Marson

        You’re welcome Rob.

        this has been the most invigorating change in that period. Lots of fun ahead and new things to learn

        Although I’ve been in SAP HCM much less than you, I definitely agree with this and find it a very fun and interesting time.

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