Hello HR fanatics,

After regular posts about payroll and analytics I want to bring you up to speed about a fantastic new member of the SAP family: Fieldglass.

Recently I got into a lot of conversations with SAP HCM customers, which are struggling with their contingent labor, about how Fieldglass could help them. In this blog I will describe the value of the Fieldglass platform and the ways in which Fieldglass connects to SAP HCM.

Change is in the air for HR

For decades, HR has focused on the employee. Today this is no longer enough. New ways of working will rapidly change how talent works with the organization. Globalization and the changing demographics of the workforce mean that HR can’t no longer simply just focus on the people on the payroll. According to the Harvard Business Review (July 2013) contingent workers are the fastest-growing segment of America’s job market. This Oxford Economics study showed that 82% retail companies are increasingly using contingent employees.

And in addition, A 2013 U.S. study from MBO Partners revealed the following statistics:

  • 17.7 million independent workers — projected to reach 24 million by 2018
  • At 36%, Gen X represents the largest group of independent workers
  • 64% of independent workers report being highly satisfied
  • 77% are committed to remaining independent

So, if talent is no longer on the payroll, the younger generations want to work independent, and the job satisfaction is highest under the contingent workforce, then HR needs to step in and face the changes ahead.

Take for example compliance: With today’s emphasis on security and safety, ensuring compliance to your policies on these topics is paramount. How is safety training completed? After workers are terminated, who ensures that they no longer have access to your systems? Organizations need solutions to help drive compliance to internal policies such as a “do not hire” rule as well as compliance with broader legislative rules and regulations. Fieldglass provides auditable proof to ensure that policies are adhered to and tracked in a centralized manner.

What is Fieldglass?

Fieldglass is a platform that’s sits in the middle of buyers and suppliers and it takes care of all processes around recruiting and maintaining the contingent workforce (e.g. by providing time sheets, reports on headcount and compliance, etc).

A common concern is that it will disintermediate the relationship between the buyer and the supplier, the reality is that Fieldglass facilitates it. For buyers, the requisition is simplified. For suppliers, they’re able to provide services in an expedited fashion. They’re no longer held up by complex or unfamiliar on-and-off boarding or approval policies. These highly manual processes are streamlined with Fieldglass. Buyers can create requisitions in two clicks, competitively bid for services, benchmark their needs against the broader market, on-and-off board workers, capture time and expenses, automate invoicing and get detailed reporting and analytics. More information, use cases, customer testimonial videos, and much more can be found in this eBook: The Power of Fieldglass for SAP Customers

Do you need Fieldglass?

Can you answer 4 basic questions about your total workforce (internal and contingent labor)?

  1. Who is working for you?
  2. Where are they located?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. And how much are they costing you?

In many instances, organizations can answer those questions for their full-time workforce. But the real challenge is answering those questions about their flexible, external workforce. The total workforce should be looked at in two dimensions: The first segment are those direct workers that companies manage in their HRIS (like SAP HCM) to track and manage them. For the most part organizations already have that problem solved.

The second segment of workers are external workers. Managing them is the challenge. Let’s dig into the various types of contract workers. Today we have contract workers, outsourced workers, Statement of Work, or SOW, engagements and Independent Contractors. From a hiring manager’s perspective there are a lot of steps involved in engaging an external worker or service: from requesting a resource, to onboarding a worker, to tracking them, to reporting on them. It’s easy for them to get lost along the way.

Now let’s take a look at the size of this potential problem for organizations. From a workforce perspective, commonly the external workers represents between 20 and 50 percent of the total direct workforce. And from a finance and procurement perspective, the external workforce can represent between one and five percent of revenue.

As for HR organizations I see that in many cases the responsibility for managing contingent labor is shifting from the Procurement office to the HR Office. Main driver behind this is compliance. But this is not the only reason. Standardization of business processes is something customers are looking for to achieve the following goals:

  • Better source and plan the total workforce demand;
  • Manage the risks involved with contingent workforce;
  • Select the best person for the job;
  • Engage all workers to contribute to business success.

How do you implement Fieldglass?

Fieldglass offers standard connectors to link the Fieldglass platform to the SAP ERP HCM system. This means that the procurement and requisition will take place on the Fieldglass platform. Managers can create requisitions in 2 clicks and route these into the organization. This can be done in 2 clicks because much of the required information is pre-populated with data coming from e.g. SAP HCM.

For many of these customers the organizational structure (which they maintain in SAP HCM) is leading. This means that the position and job information, which are maintained in the org structure, need to be available in Fieldglass in order to create a requisition. This is all supported via the standard Fieldglass connectors.

After the resource purchase is made in Fieldglass the contingent labor record is interfaced back to SAP HCM. At many of existing joint SAP HCM and Fieldglass customers the contractors are stored in SAP HCM in a separate employee group. This provides the customers with full visibility into how many people are working and at which locations. This can also be achieved using the standard Fieldglass connectors which work with SAP NetWeaver PI to interface directly into SAP HCM.

Via the standard Fieldglass ‘Worker Download Connector’ the following infotypes can be maintained:

  • 0000 – Actions
  • 0001 – Organizational assignment
  • 0002 – Personal data
  • 0007 – Working time (only for storing the normal work schedule)
  • 0016 – Contract details
  • 0901 – Purchasing data (with purchasing organization and purchasing group)

After the connector from Fieldglass into SAP HCM is set up the hiring procedure can bring externals into SAP HCM. In the same way a termination procedure can delimit the infotypes after termination of the contract.

In addition to the HCM related data also other ERP related data around the vendor, the job seeker ID, cost centers, task codes, the billable per diem and pay rates are available in the Worker Download Connector. And there are custom fields foreseen in the connector to communicate custom data. This makes the connector very rich as a starting point and flexible enough to meet custom requirements.

What expertise is required?

Over the years Fieldglass has built the required expertise in interfacing with SAP HCM to build the interfaces for you. The concept with the connectors is very flexible and they can be maintained to support your use cases. One typical requirement is to include a work location from a custom infotype. This information can be added into the Fieldglass connector. The Fieldglass consultants will help you to understand how it works and can have the conversations about your requirements at ‘infotype level’ if required.

What does the future hold?

Many customers are already using the existing connectors. Considering that this is a very well working connection between SAP HCM and Fieldglass this will be the short term solution. In parallel we are interested in feedback from existing Fieldglass and SAP HCM customers to understand how we can further optimize our interfaces.

For customers that want to go full cloud we are also planning a solution which combines SuccessFactors Employee Central with the Fieldglass platform. This will provide native integration and will help customers to get insight in compliance, streamline processes for learning, recruiting and onboarding, and allow them to do workforce planning across the total workforce. The first touch points and deliveries are planned for the first half year of 2015. 

Are you interested?

I’m looking forward to your feedback!

Best regards,

Frans

frans.smolders@sap.com  

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5 Comments

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  1. Chiara Bersano

    Thank you so much, Frans, for this great summary. I love the world of opportunities that Fieldglass is opening up, and I think there are no limitation in the type of customers; contingent employment is becoming widespread, we are seeing it growing fast in the US and IMHO it will catch up fast in Europe as well.

    The reasons for that are multiple, but are both stemming for an economical uncertainty and a wish for more freedom that in particular the Millennial generation is expressing. We are looking at the Company of One approach.

    The problematic around the different types of employees has been alive since quite some time. I remember well the struggle of how to capture contractors and temp workers in the ERP – and the questions were not different when it come to cloud tools.

    I’d be happy to discuss all this more, definitely some round-tables coming up!!!

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  2. Shaila Velappu

    Great article Frans, as usual. You have summarised and answered all the questions many have on what Fieldglass is  and how it compliments the on-premise solution plus on cloud. Looking forward for the upcoming updates.

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  3. Grace Molina

    Thanks, Frans Smolders, for coming up with this blog.

    I found this youtube video on a ‘Total Workforce Management’ design prototype as part of UX Re-Design for SAP CLoud Solutions including Ariba FieldGlass and Success Factors uploaded back in June 2014.

    SAP UX Cloud Re-Design – YouTube

    Is this still happening?

    If not, how will SAP bring together on-premise SAP procurement solutions, SAP HCM, Ariba, and Successfactors with Fieldglass in scenarios such as pure on-premise, pure-cloud or different combinations of on-premise and cloud solutions.

    I look forward to hear from you.

    Thanks.

    Best Regards,

    Grace

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