A User-Centric View of SuccessFactors Migrations
On the heels of SAP’s major shift from on-premise software to SaaS, many SAP customers are assessing their own cloud migration strategy. This process is in full swing in the HCM space, where organizations using the on-premise SAP ERP HCM solution are considering migrating to SuccessFactors. When planning for this transition, companies have a myriad of factors to consider – from which HCM modules to implement in the cloud (Core HR, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics) to how their transition aligns with SAP’s own technology roadmap, which itself is evolving.
For many organizations, the “full cloud” deployment model, where the entire HR application runs in the cloud, is not a feasible option from the get-go. Instead, a more gradual approach is preferred, where they implement selected SuccessFactors modules, while continuing to use their current HCM system (with the “Side by side” or “Talent hybrid” models). In most cases, implementing SuccessFactors involves some type of integration, whether with SAP ERP HCM, other parts of ERP, or other third-party systems. The complexity of a migration project further increases with the scale of the HCM installation and the legacy of heavily customized processes and functionality .
So while the end result of a SuccessFactors migration may be simplicity, the road to get there is not necessarily simple.
User Adoption and User Experience KPIs
It’s in the context of this migration journey that I want to explore the benefits of incorporating user-centric KPIs in the project success criteria and using them at key stages in the process.
In the face of it, the concern with user adoption and experience when migrating to SuccessFactors may seem superfluous. After all, with a cloud-based architecture, standardized processes and functionality, and best of breed UI, SuccessFactors seems to inherently address many of the challenges customers experience today with their on-premise solution: complex infrastructure, costly and often underutilized customizations, cumbersome workflows, obsolete UI. However, precisely because the actual migration for most SAP customers is bound to be a complex and multi-step process, it is important to ensure a smooth user adoption and quality of experience, by focusing on those who will ultimately make the implementation a success: the actual users.
First, let’s define these KPIs by considering some key questions that everyone involved in a SuccessFactors implementation, from technical consultants to executive sponsors, should be able to answer confidently:
(1) How are our users adopting SuccessFactors? (a.k.a. “user adoption”)
Here we need to measure application utilization at the user and application function level, e.g.
- Number of users active in the application
- Active time spent by individual users and user groups
- Usage patterns across different SuccessFactors modules and screens
- Frequency of interactions (from application logins to execution of specific processes)
(2) What is the quality of user interactions with SuccessFactors? (a.k.a. “user experience”)
Here we need to capture and quantify various issues that impede user productivity, e.g.
- User generated errors, typically a manifestation of process or training issues
- System generated errors, due to data quality or solution configuration issues
- Response time of user initiated transactions, such as page to page navigation
For these KPIs to render an accurate picture of user experience across the organization, the assumption is that we need to collect them across the entire user base .
Next, let’s look at how these KPIs fit into the typical implementation methodology for a SuccessFactors migration.
Build a Business Case
When building a business case for implementing SuccessFactors, you may be considering, among other factors, various pain points with the current HCM system. If so, it’s helpful to assess their impact on user satisfaction and productivity. The underlying issues may range from process inefficiencies to poor system performance. The impact of these issues can be quantified by monitoring the live user interactions with the SAP HCM application (whether delivered through SAP GUI, NW Portal, or NW Business Client) and rolling these metrics up at the organizational level. With this “user impact” assessment, you can provide a more robust justification for the migration.
Define the Scope of Migration
Before the actual implementation kicks off, the project scope and success criteria need to be defined. If your migration to SuccessFactors is a gradual one, user analytics can help you prioritize the HCM functions and user groups that should be targeted for a migration. Understanding which functions have the highest utilization rate and yet have the largest gaps in user experience will help you maximize the impact of migration.
Another important objective of early migration planning is to get an accurate understanding of current HR processes, which will need to be converted during their transition to the cloud. Tracking the actual execution of these processes in the current HCM system gives you a more accurate view of your current business workflows. It enables you to identify specific requirements that may need to be considered when moving to the new processes.
Define Success Criteria
One of the best ways to keep your migration project focused on delivering a quality experience to end-users is to incorporate user-centric KPIs in the success criteria from the onset.
- User adoption KPIs will be used to track activity around the new HCM modules, to ensure they are properly adopted and in compliance with your best practices.
- User experience KPIs will be used to validate that users can execute those functions efficiently and effectively, without major impediments.
At various points throughout the project (during the verification, launch, and post-go-live phases), you can rely on these KPIs to track progress and validate key implementation decisions regarding process design, configuration, or training and communication strategy.
Test the New Solution
As you’re testing and fine-tuning the SuccessFactors modules with your Pilot users, you can leverage the full capture of user-experienced errors as an early problem detection mechanism. Based on this, you can identify additional training requirements or configuration changes. The more complex the deployment architecture, the integration scenarios, or the solution configuration – the more pressing the need for a broad test coverage. By relying on a fully automated tool to capture user workflows and error incidents, you can leverage every user interaction (every click, task, or process execution) across the entire user group engaged in the UAT cycle, to test and validate the solution.
Monitor Adoption after Go-Live
Even with a flawless implementation, seamless process design, and intuitive user interface, there is always the risk of poor user adoption. The first step towards fixing an adoption gap is recognizing that you have one. Tracking activity levels throughout the rollout reduces this risk by giving you visibility into any emerging gaps. Furthermore, by isolating specific application modules, business processes, or user groups where adoption is lagging, you can tailor your training and communication strategy throughout the rollout. You will be able to answer questions such as: Which divisions are not adopting the new Succession and Recruiting processes? Are there users who struggle with the Compensation module?, etc.
Provide a Better Support
The benefits of user analytics extend beyond the initial rollout. On an ongoing basis, they help your SuccessFactors Admin and Support teams assume a proactive role in delivering services to your users. Most importantly, they give you the ability to separate fact from fiction and avoid fire drills. For example, Are the complaints about usability or performance credible? Are certain problems isolated to the users who report them, or do they reflect a systemic issue? Complete visibility into user experience will help your team stay focused on the real issues impacting your users.
 SuccessFactors – Useful Resources and Documents is a great one stop shop for those involved in SuccessFactors implementations.
 For more information on user analytics for SAP solutions, see SAP User Experience Management by Knoa.