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Author's profile photo Todd Asevedo

Why SAP Cloud Platform may save your life one day…

Every time I move past a retail location that had been a Blockbuster store I am reminded of just how close we all are to irrelevance in this free marketplace.  Early in 2000 John Antioco, blockbuster CEO, had a chance to buy Netflix for $50 million.  He didn’t see into the future far enough to see what would eventually happen to Blockbuster and Netflix.  Since very few of us have the ability to see into the future like Reed Hastings (Netflix CEO and Co-founder) we need to be able to react very quickly as the digital disruption takes down the next Blockbuster.

In HR Technology we see a similar disruption with new HRIS companies that compete with a solution that doesn’t allow for customization.  That doesn’t even sound right but when you dig in you find out that customization has inhibited the very agility that HR organizations need to stay alive and relevant now.  What was it about customizations that is so bad for agility?  You couldn’t accept enhancements easily if your system was highly customized so you are outdated very quickly in the current 24 hour news cycle.

The emergence of the all in one thinking is not new and SAP carried that message through to great success in the 90’s selling the “Power of One” message.  Completely integrated and everything from one vendor.  That was great when innovation was on 3 year cycles.  Fast forward to the quarterly cycles of today and it is obvious why a model that doesn’t allow for customization is interesting.

It is hard today to find a company in the U.S. that will say that something other than their people are the special sauce that differentiates them among there competitors.  I guess if you have no competitors then your processes for managing people do not have to deliver competitive value.  They just need to get the job done. So, if you have no competition the current “Power of One” messaging, which includes the maxim that all HR processes should be standard, just get the job done, sounds good.  If however you have people that want to put you out of business you need both the agility to iterate faster than they do and the flexibility in your systems to support that.

This is where SAP SuccessFactors has been able to break out of the “one size fits all” thinking.  We deliver the ability to support our customer to maintain their competitive edge with talent and flank their competitors by doing it faster in one system of engagement.  How?  With our Platform as a Service (PaaS) called SAP Cloud Platform (SAP CP) we offer something really revolutionary. The ability consume innovation from thousands of big thinkers globally that can create competitive opportunity for you amazingly fast.  The apps that they create take advantage of the UX, data, role based security, Intelligent Services, already in your SAP SuccessFactors solution.  They don’t have to do the plumbing so they can be quick.  Time to market is your competitive advantage by adopting the HR apps you need when you need them.

In a Power of One world you are only as competitive as all the other customers the vendor has.  Are you a priority after the sale or is the retailer down the street?  Don’t put your business life in someone else’s hands.  With SAP CP you can build your own apps that plug in just like an iPhone app in the App Store.  Build something amazing yourself using the tools?  Commercialize it in the App Center and you just created another revenue channel for your company.  HR/HRIT as a profit center!

If you think this is interesting there are lots of ways to learn about SAP CP and our App Center.  We will be hosting a customer panel to hear directly from a few customers who have used SAP CP to gain an advantage or mitigate substantial risk.  On August 31st at 8:30 PST at SuccessConnect in Las Vegas we will have Hydro Quebec and Boehringer-Ingelheim talking about their own experience.

Today you can go to the APP Center and see the 149 apps already purpose built to deliver immediate value to our 6000 SuccessFactors customers just for HR.  All of these apps were created by organizations using SAP CP and the Power of Many will be clear.  The Power of One is the Blockbuster of 2000 so please don’t get stuck there!

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      Author's profile photo J. Pazahanick
      J. Pazahanick

      Good job with this Todd and probably the reason that Workday recently announced their PaaS solution which Dennis Howlett outlines in these two articles

      SAP/SuccessFactors is obviously well ahead in this area but will be interesting to see how Workday ramps up their offering as obvious the "Power of Many" (PaaS not acquisitions that is) 🙂 is the better strategy longer term

      Author's profile photo Todd Asevedo
      Todd Asevedo
      Blog Post Author

      This comment is a long time coming Jarret but since you brought it up I am glad I waited.  WD had 9 acquisitions when this was posted and so did we. Now its 9 for us and 12 for them. I wonder how many people are working on their PaaS? With all of the other promises they have made to customers it will be a miracle if they catch us anytime while I am still working full days...  We have our issues but where it counts we are SAP strong.


      Author's profile photo J. Pazahanick
      J. Pazahanick

      Better late than never for a comment and no disagreement here as the PaaS, REAL global functionality and several other areas SuccessFactors is well ahead of Workday at this time and mention it in this recent SuccessConnect recap podcast with Jon Reed as well.

      here is something else as well that caught my on HCP


      That said with 280+ Apps ADP seems to be leading the way with HR Tech Vendors if I am not missing anyone