When SAP SuccessFactors launched its pilot Value & Innovation in Practice (VIP) program in the United States in 2013, Senior Director Lori Paulin had strategic, global growth in mind. Three years later, the VIP program is bringing together thousands of customers on six continents around the world in a completely sales-free zone for open conversations about getting the greatest value from their SAP SuccessFactors investment. With just about a week before SuccessConnect 2016, I caught up with Paulin and a customer to find out more.
“We understand what customers may be going through once they’ve purchased SAP software, and this program is designed to help them get the most out of their investment,” said Paulin. “There’s nothing off-limits for the customers to tell us because we are here to help them. Customers set the agenda, and there isn’t a sales rep in the room.”
The VIP program offers customers the opportunity to collaborate with each other through webinars, onsite Customer Success days, and one-on-one networking. About 60 webinars in different time zones take place each year with customers, partners and SAP experts leading discussions across a range of most-requested topics such as SAP Jam, mobility and integration. Local, day-long VIP events provide in-person networking for customers with both peers and SAP experts, including SAP product managers who build feedback into road maps.
I talked with David Chin, the Chief Human Resource Officer at BioSensors International, a medical device company headquartered in Singapore, which hosted an onsite VIP event at his company. Chin said he and his colleagues have attended other scheduled events, webinars and conference calls covering product updates and similar important topics. They have also networked with customers they’ve met through the VIP program.
“Joining the VIP program is an excellent opportunity to connect with a community of people to find out who’s developing clever, innovative ways of doing things in the rapidly moving technology and development space,” he said. “Having individual meetings with people who are in similar situations is excellent for brainstorming ideas, finding out who’s having what issues, and what sort of solutions they’ve come up with that we can use.”
BioSensors had no technology platform for HR processes when Chin joined the company, and he defined it as one the first priorities. Here’s how he described BioSensors’ transformational journey, having grown from Singapore-based startup to 1,200 employees in 20 countries.
“We want to become a billion dollar company, and that is driving our HR practice,” said Chin. “The only effective way to reach that number of employees in so many regions is with technology. We want to deliver a common experience to our people so everyone does goal-setting, performance management, and compensation the same way, and people connect with each other on the same platform. Centralized HR helps with employees’ sense of belonging – that we’re all one company and have the same practices in how we do things – and it sets in place standards and benchmarks in terms of how we manage the company and people.”
With very high employee participation and completion rates in the system, Chin sees BioSensors well-positioned to use SAP SuccessFactors for innovation and business benefit. “Using the cloud to deploy multiple application modules in an integrated manner has allowed us to drive crispness and clarity, meaning consistent, transparent goals, responsibilities and accountability that’s cascaded from the most junior person up to senior management and the Board,” he said. “Employees know how they are measured and rewarded, making the organization more focused on the same criteria for success.”
Open to all current SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Ariba customers, the VIP program is expanding, most recently into Dubai, Abu Dhabi, New Zealand, Greater China and Spain. Paulin, who collaborates with SAP’s user and developer groups, said she plans to further growth. SuccessConnect 2016 events in Las Vegas, Vienna and Sydney will feature special VIP networking and educational sessions. In Las Vegas, members have the opportunity to participate in the North American VIP Throwdowns, going head-to-head presenting their innovative HR processes. The opportunities are unlimited with this kind of collaboration!
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