About 18 months ago, I joined SuccessFactors as Product Manager for Employee Central. I came from Gartner, where I’d researched HR technology for several years. Gartner and Forrester Research are rivals, but the relationship between analysts is generally cordial. I’ve met Paul Hamerman on a number of occasions, one involving baseball, a game he knows almost as well as he does HR technology. When my colleagues asked me to be involved in responding to the Forrester Wave, I was doubly curious. Firstly, I wanted to see how our product would be perceived today, and also I was interested in how Paul ran the process.
Forrester made a decision to only evaluate SaaS vendors in “The Forrester Wave™: SaaS HR Management Systems, Q4 2014.” While many organisations continue to deploy on-premise HRMS technologies, the victors and also-rans in that market are clear. There are exceptions in some geographies and industries, but the new business is in the cloud. Tools like the wave are designed to help organisations evaluate new system choices, so the decision to focus on SaaS HRMS in this wave makes perfect sense.
For several years SuccessFactors has led in the integrated Talent Management space.. However, this is the first report from a major analyst firm that evaluates Employee Central and our other products against the competition in SaaS HRMS. The last report was over 2 years ago, and in that time, much has changed.
3 years ago, when I first saw Employee Central, I felt it had immense promise, while recognising there was work to do. Over the last 2 years, we have massively accelerated the breadth and depth of the EC product. That trajectory was made possible by the design decisions of the SuccessFactors Architect and Product Manager, both of whom still work on our products. I’m especially thankful to our early customers, who helped forge what the product is today. Our position in the Wave is a vindication for us of that collaboration and of SAP’s decision to acquire and invest in SuccessFactors.
The future looks bright. The insight we glean from our customers, SAP’s unrivalled global reach, and the SuccessFactors “nothing is impossible attitude” sets the stage for this product to achieve even greater success in the cloud than SAP has today in on-premise. More than ever I am convinced that the combination of SuccessFactors and SAP has created something rather special.
Permit me to give those evaluating software the same advice I gave when I was an analyst. Use the research as a starting point, but set evaluation criteria that work for your organisation. Spend time talking to the analyst to understand what they don’t write in the report. Look the people that build and deploy the product in the eye. Talk to customers and partners. Consider integration to the rest of the business, and understand the vendor’s vision and gauge their ability to deliver on that vision. A decision you make today about your Core HRMS platform will be with your organisation for at least a decade. Evaluate Trajectory, not just a point in time.
I would like to thank Forrester and Paul for a rigorous and robust evaluation. I’m already looking forward to the next one.
 Source: The Forrester Wave(TM): Human Resource Management Systems, Q1 2012, Forrester Research, Inc., January 25, 2012.