SAP SuccessFactors is introducing new capabilities in its HCM suite that transform the entire concept of HR service delivery, moving from series of individual and isolated self-services into end-to-end intelligent-services that can easily cross software modules and integrate processes. Intelligent services is designed to connect – and even predict – the impending transactions resulting from a change and automatically adjust them for the user, helping improve the employee experience and reduce reliance on – and cost of – shared services.

Limitations of Traditional HCM Suites

HR processes are often complex, typically spanning traditional boundaries of HCM applications and organizational departments. What begins as a simple Core HR transaction can have significant impact throughout other HCM suite modules, generating multiple workflows and updates that must be processed.  For example, if a hiring manager goes on leave, not only does the Core HR system need to get updated but potentially others including the applicant tracking system, the performance management systems, learning systems, payroll systems, benefits carriers, and more.  End users are often unable to easily navigate this complexity, and companies are forced to spend large sums of money on HR Shared Services groups and/or Business Process Outsourcing to ensure all the downstream processes are completed correctly based on the initiating event. 

We’ve taken the concept of suite – and the events and workflows within it – to the next level, building a more intelligent, predictive, and expansive suite that provides end users more control over end-to-end events and reduces the involvement – and expense – of HR shared services. 

The Next Generation of HCM Software – From Self-Services to Intelligent-Services

The traditional method of enabling causal end users like employees and managers to complete HR processes has been through self-services.  Yet, these are often confined to a single process and isolated to a specific HCM module, generating frustration for users to get through everything they need to do when something changes.  Costs are incurred to leverage shared services and/or Business Process Outsourcing to help process the events and correct errors. 

With new intelligent services, we’re taking self-services to a new level.  Instead of end users having to predict all the tasks they may need to complete when they start a HR process, intelligent software does it for them.  With intelligent services, managed in the new SAP SuccessFactors event center, individual transactions that make up common workforce events but cross organizational boundaries and software modules, are consolidated into a single experience.  Instead of managers or business partners having to guess all of the relevant tasks when a change takes place, or rely on shared services to fill the gaps, SuccessFactors does it for them, freeing up valuable manager and employee time. For example, workforce changes triggered by SuccessFactors’ core HR system, Employee Central, can be cascaded to other SuccessFactors modules such as Learning and Onboarding, as well as 3rd party systems. The end result is a simpler and more efficient employee experience, a reduction in cost and complexity, and less reliance on HR Shared Services or BPO to process/finish/correct the transaction – all improving HR service delivery. 

Unlike any other HCM suite, SuccessFactors enables an HR transformation from self-services that is:

  • Integrated – – An HR transaction no longer begins and ends with a Core HR system, but extends across all impacted modules to create and end-to-end, complete process.  
  • Intelligent – Each capability is aware of the smallest changes that happen in another and automatically responds with intelligence. It predicts the next step in the change, guiding users to the right place according to existing rules based on groups, role-based permissions and notifications.
  • Efficient – Intuitive software fills the gaps instead of HR, shared services, or business process outsourcers, reducing time and expense spent on tasks that don’t drive value to the business. HR professionals can easily configure workforce changes based on rules and settings, allowing the right steps to be presented at the right time.

A New Suite-wide Event Framework

Creation and management of intelligent services is done in the new SAP SuccessFactors Event Center which underpins the entire SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite, enabling customers to deploy brand new, end-to-end people events like becoming a manager, changing employee and/or position information, initiating a leave of absence, processing a new hire/termination, and more. 

All rules based on groups, role-based permissions, proxies, and notifications are incorporated.  SuccessFactors intelligent services can even be linked to external systems to enable seamless integration with 3rd party applications.  HR administrators can also easily manage intelligent services based on rules and notifications settings within the Event Center. 

Benefits for Every User

Intelligent services simplifies the user experience for managers and employees by providing a logical consolidation of everything a casual user might need to do when responding to a HR event – all without regard to application boundaries or department siloes. No longer do they need to try and predict what’s next – or what system to access – when executing a multi-step HR process.  Instead they are taken through a series steps based on what’s happened and what the system predicts will need to be done.  

With every step that end users take on their own, at least one less call for help from HR Shared Services will be required. SuccessFactors is simplifying the HR service delivery model and reduces the workload – and cost – of HR Shared Services by eliminating the need for them to perform manual processes and data corrections. 

Enabling the transformation of HR with a simpler, smarter suite. 

At SAP SuccessFactors, we believe the future of HR is “no” HR, meaning that the HR function will continue to transform from the traditional administrative focus to a strategic enabler of business success supporting the people across the organization.  Intelligent services is the next-generation approach to self-services and takes us one step closer to this state by leveraging technology to remove complexity from typical HR events.  End users are empowered end users to do more on their own, without the need to rely on HR Shared Services to do it for them.

Available with the Q3 2015 release, SAP and SuccessFactors are enabling 16 pre-defined workforce changes and will add new events in future releases.

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  1. Ankita Roy Chowdhury

    Thanks David for this insight. It would be great if you could also recommend few links where we could get a deep dive over this subject also considering from the configuration standpoint.


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