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Challenges with SuccessFactors in IT Strategy for HR

SuccessFactors HCM Suite is no doubts the best HR Cloud solution in the market specially for those customers who are already using SAP HCM solution for their HR Business and interested in either moving to cloud or enhanced/ integrated SuccesFactors Talent Management provision into SAP HCM core.

SAP Best Practices and SAP Rapid Deployment solutions help customers transition into the cloud with hybrid integration scenarios to retain the value of prior investments on premise while expanding and innovating in the cloud. They help with new cloud deployments and support data migration to the cloud.

To know it in a better way there are already useful Resources available here on SuccessFactors by Luke MarsonSuccessFactors – Useful Resources and Documents


But during strategic planning we have faces several important factors or I would say challenges and which is necessary to get considered very much before investing into cloud. I would mentioned below some of the factors needed for strategic decisions for implementation consideration or choosing SuccessFactors.

1) Many organizations don’t realize there is a great deal of work that can and needs to happen prior to the launch of a SuccessFactors implementation. It is necessary to get all the  policies and strategies in place, communicated and accepted by the organization. It is necessary to compare the compatibility with the existing solution and to make sure that the integration comply with Organization. Companies should introduce big picture changes well in advance of a new implementation. The organization should also define key performance indicators that will help measure performance. How will we know if the new model is providing a good ROI? Are there metrics that can help us compare performance ratings against merit increases?

All of these need to be considered in the very beginning of defining the strategy.

2) SuccessFactors is a comprehensive HCM solution – it offers both core HCM functionality and talent management functionality. Organizations can opt to only use the talent management functionality and connect SuccessFactors to their core HCM system, or manage all of their HCM system needs in SuccessFactors Employee Central. Thus, the first step is to define how the organization will use the available functionality, or we can say define the functional scope of the implementation. For those companies ready for talent management functionality, it is recommended scoping the project into phases, pairing a couple of talent management modules together for the implementation.

Along with functional scope, organizations should create a roll out plan or road map for the selected functionality. And here’s come the integration, SAP offer two integration technologies that can be used with their Talent Hybrid iFlows: SAP NetWeaver Process Integration and SAP HANA Cloud Integration. The Dell Boomi comes bundled with the Employee Central subscription, although this solution can be expensive to use for a Talent Hybrid scenario.This packaged integration is not available into SAP PI but some of them available into HCI and hopefully SAP will include it for SAP PI as well in the future.

It is important to decide the integration platform which could be a additional cost for some Organization who are not using either of this 3 middleware technology. And the decision is not at all easy if you have not a clear road map for the future integration.

Integrating SAP HCM and SuccessFactors has been already mentioned/analysed by the experts Integration Add-on 3.0 for SAP HCM and SuccessFactors

3) It is also necessary to start thinking about infrastructure. While cloud-based solutions have fewer infrastructure issues, there still remain infrastructure considerations. Like throughput, quality of data transfers, load balancing and virtualization. These are the main concerns usually from customers for deciding cloud solution and Organization also wants to ensure that their data is safe, available and accessible easily. Major concerns is over Security from the companies as still today many organization has their own modified security policies and generally follows the pattern set up by their Head Offices somewhere else in the Globe. And this is one of the crucial factors for an organization to make decision on Cloud solutions and for integrating with their on-premise solution.

But I think SAP has provided some top level Standards in concern with Security Cloud Data Security & Protection Standards

4) User experience between the two systems needs to be addressed while integrating. As the SAP NW Portal system relatively looks weak comparing to SuccessFactors. Thanks to HR Renewal, the add-on feature for SAP portal which definitely increase the performance and productivity and better comparable UX for SuccessFactors. Single Sign-On is always important to considered Single Sign-On to SuccessFactors from SAP HCM

As SAP is focusing very seriously on future UX strategy this is very important as well to take into account for defining the HR strategy and we must define a separate road map for this.

On a more tactical note, organizations should start their data cleanup process early. Most companies want to feed their SuccessFactors solution with data from their core HCM system, usually on an ongoing basis. That data must be clean and reliable or your implementation is in serious trouble. Time invested in cleaning up data will pay for itself many times over.

For many companies, implementing a cloud-based solution like SuccessFactors is a new experience. Companies are having issues with scope, timelines, methodology and expectations, which ultimately impact project success. One common misconception is that cloud-based solutions, like SuccessFactors, can be implemented very quickly. Another common idea is that these projects can be executed with little consulting support.

All these factors need to get considered for the organization at the very beginning, which will not not only help in defining IT strategy for HR but also help in plan the implementation smoothly.

Organization are much curious to know about the future road map, support strategy, joint licensing option and many more other factors as well from SAP. A very interesting thought has been shared by Jarret Pazahanick in his excellent blog The Future of SAP HCM and SuccessFactors Consulting – 2015

Hope strategic decision would get more easy for the organization in the near future.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Soumyasanto Sen,

      Thanks for the excellent doc.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Ramesh.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Excellent write up & articulation Soumya. This covers couple of fundamental challenges during cloud implementation. Luke's articles always bring useful information. Your post now  have added good value input on SF implementation.

      Is there any industry specific challenges observed for SF implementation (i mean, if challenges in automotive or manufacturing may be different from that of energy or retail, etc)?


      Nimai Majumdar

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you so much Nimai for you nice comments.

      These points has been almost valid across cross Industries. So far I haven't look around for Industry specific challenges, but it sounds interesting to me.