SuccessFactors Q1 2014 Release: focus on Compensation with short retrospective, tips and tricks, and road ahead
It is this time of the year again, and I’d like to share some information with you on SuccessFactors Compensation Management in 1402 as well as the boader solution evolution. I am very happy that Atif Siddiqui has accepted to work on this blog with me. Atif is one of the contributors of the SAP Press book “SuccessFactors with SAP ERP HCM”. I recommend this book as it is really the first one that brings the one-premise and cloud HR worlds together in a very comprehensive way, written by people who’ve deep experiences with “both sides”. Atif was responsible for the “Chapter 9: Compensation”, and I’d like to spend some time with him talking on the Compensation Management solution. But first of all, tell us a few words about yourself Atif.
Atif Siddiqui: Thanks Yannick for the intro. I am currently with HRIZONS as a Principal Consultant for HCM/Compensation. My professional background has seen me involved in several large multi-year and global ERP deployments over the last fifteen years or so. My last engagement as a customer was leading the SuccessFactors Compensation/Variable Pay implementation that got me interested in jumping on the other side of the fence and here I am putting that experience to best use.
YP: Thanks for this introduction Atif. We just released 1402 that contains a few interesting innovations for compensation customers. One of the major innovations is the “Automatic Upload of Employee History”. This enhancement shows our constant effort to give the customer more automation from their SuccessFactors solution. It works like this: it automates the import of employee history records into the system, but without any manual interaction. Professional Services can schedule a job for the customers to automatically pick the employee history file from a pre-defined FTP server, setting up the recurring frequency, the encryption type, and a few more parameters. The job can then process the import file for Employee History records for the selected Variable Pay Program.
New job type in 1402: Import of Employee History (click to enlarge)
As most of our customers are running their compensation rounds at this period of the year, I’d like to do a small retrospective on the latest shipments and go back to 1302. A lot has happened over the last 4 quarters. What are your key takeaways from the 4 last shipments?
AS: I definitely can see many customers benefiting from the Automatic Upload of Employee History but I would like to also see the Bonus Calc job being run automatically once the upload has been completed, as that is the logical next step in the Variable Pay process. This will ensure the Bonus Worksheet reflects the latest data uploaded.
Now let’s go back to the enhancements delivered since 1302. The product management team has been busy in delivering the key integrations with the Employee Central product both for Compensation and Variable Pay. The integrations delivered today not only support the eligibility and data collection from EC but also support the process for publishing compensation data back to the EC module. This allows for a complete end to end integration and automation of the annual compensation cycle. I would strongly urge all EC customers to leverage the SuccessFactors Compensation solution.
Secondly, the Compensation/Variable Pay product has seen new enhancements that will enhance the overall customer experience. The enhancements that stand out are the recent worksheet UX overhaul with additional filters, Compensation Profile, FTE Handling, Job Monitor and Variable Pay statement.
YP: thank you. Now can you give me your 3 or 4 top new functionalities, and how you think they can better help our SuccessFactorsCompensation customers?
AS: My top 4 functionalities have to be as following:
- Flexibility around the statement generation process. Now as a customer I can generate statements for one or multiple employees, control the statement generation process, and last but not least generate statements as a PDF file.
- FTE calculation for non-hourly employees – One of the most important background element changes that enhance the FTE calculation process. I am currently engaged with a very large customer that struggled with this in 2012/2013 planning process and this will be a big win for the 2013/2014 compensation planning cycle. In the past this was a manual process for consultants to configure in the solution.
- The new worksheet UX – I have worked with several customers since the last release to upgrade them to leverage the new enhanced worksheet. The seamless and clean interface makes the acceptance of solution much easier but it’s the filter options most of the managers have applauded.
- Job Monitor – I am actually going to also mention this one as this saves a lot of time and takes the guess work out of whether key compensation processes have started/completed or as an admin have I run the required updates job as necessary. Talk about a small feature making a big impact.
YP: Now you can have 3 wishes for the Compensation Management R&D team, what would this be?
AS: Let me start off with a realistic wish. In the Compensation product, I would like to see the flexibility of controlling the number formatting (for Money, Percentage, Amount) at the field level vs. the form level. This capability does exist on the Variable Pay module.
Now on to the advanced section on my wish list. First one on top of my list has to be Reporting. The aggregate export, adhoc report, and rollup report are ideal for the Compensation Admins or Analysts but for the executives or senior managers in the organization, I often find recommending the use of Executive Review. Would like to see in future an introduction of an analytical toolset built into the Compensation product. Something similar to the SAP Lumira product functionality would be utopian.
My next wish would be to have an enhanced editor built into the product to manage the Compensation/Variable Pay Statement Templates. The enhanced editor would allow for customer to create custom sections, add custom content, and control the visibility of text on a rules based framework. The editor should also support multi language capabilities. Coupling that with my first wish to have the analytical product integrated with the Statement.
Last but not least, I would like the R&D team to announce the roadmap for running the Compensation/Variable Pay Product on the HANA engine. I can see this would be the top differentiator for the SuccessFactors Compensation product as the possibilities of using an in memory engine behind the scenes can result in overall improvement not only on speed but open new avenues such as real time analytics which is often required in the Calibration process.
Those were my top 3 wishes. I know you have been busy internally to come up with a 2014+ roadmap. Can you share some insights?
YP: Happy to do so Atif. Of course I cannot disclose many details yet, but these are very high level the main areas we are planning to invest in this and next year. I‘ll probably be able to get into more details in my Compensation Management session at HR2014 taking place in Orlando in next month.
- Continuous improvements of the new worksheet UX: this was shipped beta for variable pay with 1402 and we are planning to bring it GA for all customers in 1405
- Accessibility of the solution: this is part of a broader effort cross solution in order to be compliant with some standard like Section 508 in the US
- Better support for global organizations: those enhancements will help companies operating globally and having local compensation plans
- Enhanced variable pay calculations, like for example support for quarterly forecasting process
Continuous Improvement of the Compensation Worksheet in 1402 – beta (click to enlarge)
YP: Our readers love to get the tips and tricks from the experts. Would you like to share with us a few dos and don’ts from your most recent projects?
AS: Yes one of the most surprising elements for me personally is customers are not leveraging the SECOND_MANAGER hierarchy which is specifically delivered for the Compensation product to manage the approval process. This allows for the Compensation hierarchy to stay static if required while the regular suite hierarchy can change during the compensation cycle. The SECOND_MANAGER hierarchy also is reflected in the Executive Review functionality which makes it easier for higher level managers to only focus on employees that are in scope of the current planning process.
Second one would be the use of Executive Review itself and reduction of Route Map step. Many customers have a typical three step approval process once the forms are generated. The manager approves the initial recommendations, followed by the managers Manager, and lastly approval by a Compensation Administrator or HR. If your organization has many managers, this creates unnecessary approval steps for an administrator to maintain. I recommend my customers to make use of the Executive Review Edit capabilities to modify results after the initial recommendations have been made and do away with the second approval process in the route map. Now of course this comes with a little bit of a change management effort but it works.
Last but not least, if your organization is doing a mail merge of Compensation Statements post planning cycle administration, leverage the statements delivered out of the box. This reduces the manual work of generating statements outside of the system plus automates the delivery of the statements as a Self Service functionality.
YP: thanks a lot Atif. I am sure our readers will appreciate all the insights. All the participants of HR2014 Orlando will be able to see you in action at the “Quick Fire Experts Panel” and ask more Compensation related questions and go into deeper discussions. I am personally very much looking forward to this session!
AS: Thanks Yannick. See you in Orlando in a couple of weeks.
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