How to select and manage your SuccessFactors implementation partner?
Choosing the implementation partner is crucial for your project’s and your business’s success. SuccessFactors projects are also public cloud solution projects, naturally leading to the organization’s cloud migration, ideally transformation. Introducing the cloud mindset is typically part of the SuccessFactors project scope.
We at SAP are happy to guide your partner selection.
Organizations went through a detailed RFP and review process to ensure features and functions met their business needs. However, the consulting partner they chose to get the system up and running was selected relatively quickly and, in some cases, based on only the cost.
Acquiring a new software solution is like buying complex machinery; selecting a partner is comparable to the delivery and assembly team. The team’s experience and competence are indeed vital for smooth operation.
Partner Consultant Selection
SAP Partner Finder is available to identify authorized SAP SuccessFactors partners and certified consultants for customers to review their knowledge and experience.
We have the following tiers,
Essential: Partners at the essential competency tier have met the training and delivery requirements to achieve at least one of the SAP product and/or process specializations.
Advanced: Partners with an advanced competency tier show the progression of their SAP practice in the specific competency. Working with one of these partners means access to more certified consultants, platform integration capabilities, and a higher number of successfully delivered projects demonstrating a deeper level of proven customer success.
Expert: Partners who achieve this highest tier have demonstrated exceptional customer success in the competency. These partners can assist customers with end-to-end transformation projects with their proven experience working across the competency product portfolio and developing unique solution capabilities in the specific area.
The following article would be also useful for you Choosing the Right Partner for Lifelong Success
Certified Product Knowledge
SAP strongly recommends that all HXM consultants must be certified and current to work with our customers. Ask your partner for proof of valid Associate certification credentials and validate their digital badge on Credly (you only need the name of the consultant and claimed SAP certification name) or contact your SAP Customer Success Partner to help you. Provisioning access is also exclusive to certified consultants(Provisioning access policy).via Credly you can verify the certification of the resources within minutes and for free.
The following is an example for finding a consultant (here my EC certification is shown and the last update date, typically linked with the last release, or when it is issued)
Top Recommended Partners in your region, and Industry
Review customer (peer-to-peer) feedback, you can ask help from your SAP team to arrange another customer reference to get their experience, SuccessFactors communities (https://community.successfactors.com/) about the feedback and experiences.
Some questions that can help you to identify the right partner for you,
1. How many similar SuccessFactors projects are delivered for the same or similar scope and countries?
Let’s assume you are deploying SF LMS. If the partner has no LMS project delivered but only SF EC (or any other module). It is a credible risk factor for you to consider.
Let’s assume you are deploying Employee Central or Employee Central Payroll in the Gulf region, and the partner has experience only in India. Due to the legal framework and regulations, these two regions are quite different again, it is a risk factor you should raise at your talks.
2. How is the delivery team working set-up, culture?
Some partners prefer only remote, some others only onsite or mixture. Some expert resources might be shared or dedicated. Sometimes partner’s solution architect is too technical with limited process understanding and needs your HR process owner’s guidance. It would be best to consider these factors, which suit your case.
Partner selection is like selecting a 3-year-old used car, the most suitable option for you different than your neighbor or your friend, there are several factors to consider. Some values engine some other value leather seat or sunroof at a used car selection. similarly here industry knowledge (do they implement for a HR project for the chemical sector), scale (conglomerate or 10K+ users experience), culture or experience with partners among others.
3. Who will be your assigned consultants?
Let’s face it, consulting is the people’s business; even the strongest and biggest partner may not have adequate resources for the exact time and scope. A consulting business, not company A or B, is good or bad, but resources/experts A or B are usually remembered. A consultant should model and provides a solution to problems; therefore, even certification can not guarantee an ideal solution modeling. Key resources, dedication, and availability are also quite necessary; several parallel projects by the partner or many new hires are also factors that you should consider as risk factors.
4. The language barrier and cultural fit?
Offshore or near shore are common concepts and have been successfully used for decades. However, there should be a good blend of onsite, ideally local presence (e.g. Arabic, and Spanish speakers per need on the ground). Moreover, the first project of a South European partner in a North European customer similarly has some risk factors. You can hear several examples of why or how a project failed just because of the cultural fit.
5. Some red flags during the scope of work talks?
Unlike blueprint-based on-premise solutions, public cloud solutions are based on fit-gap analysis. If the partner agrees on every point and does provide a custom solution for these instead of providing options out of the box. It is also a typical red flag as any avoidable custom development increases Cost, project timeline, and supportability hence the total cost of operation.
6. Former project references?
Even if it is not the same SuccessFactors modules, try to get as many references as possible to make up your mind. Ideally, talk to the SuccessFactors project manager and/or architect instead of the sales team, partner, or managing director. Moreover, customer experience counts, and learning how former customers perceived their services is quite instrumental for your selection process.
7. Check the total cost of the former projects, if possible.
It is not uncommon to have longer and costlier projects via several out-of-scope change requests. There are several reasons why projects evolve in this direction. One of the reasons is the partner’s mindset and business model.
8. How long is the proposed project duration?
Activate methodology and testing cycles are pretty straightforward. It is quite surprising if you receive a proposal that is clearly shorter than others. You can conduct a sanity check like testing, and training activities. how long they are? You can also ask for references if the partner claims the project can be delivered much faster.
9. What is the Cost of the project?
Consulting services are not a commodity (unlike 1 Kg of iron or a chemical product that is almost identical). You can compare finding the right partner to finding the right dentist or surgeon. If you have the right certified, experienced one with some endorsements from your friends, you eliminate some risk factors.
Don’t forget that, a project escalation is time-consuming and more expensive and impacts the mood of the internal IT and Business parties. A bad start with software implementation can quickly lead to much costlier corrective measures.
Typically if the offer is quite lower than the other ones, there is a good reason behind it. It is quite seldom to find a great dentist or surgeon or personal trainer (Let’s say a service provider) much cheaper than the market. The same applies to the software implementation partner selection.
10. Partners’ requests and questions?
Established partners usually ask governance questions in the beginning and try to secure resources during the project from your organization. (HRIT project manager, HR project owner and confirm the ownership, request testing partner, business end users etc., among others). They also promote standard features and capabilities to limit the custom development scope, reduce complexity, and encourage a cloud mindset. They also try to clearly define the scope of the work, who owns master data migration, change management, and the process owner, and ask questions about landscape and interfaces.
11. About the RFP process and iterations
Customers typically share a scoping document and request comments from the partners. If some partners respond, most of the requests are available in the standard, whereas others tend to share that these are not standard and change requests are imperative. It is also a great indicator of competence (or business plan).
Finding the right implementation partner for your company is surprisingly similar to finding a routine maintenance partner for your new electric Tesla car or any other complex high-tech machine. You can follow the manufacturer’s guidance and use the certified network and your experience based on the recommendations. Alternatively, you follow the price tag that usually does not produce optimal output.
To sum up, a successful project certainly needs a good implementation partner, among some other factors. An exemplary implementation partner should have consultants with good communication skills, curiosity, and engagement, solid technical background, and a good fit with customers’ corporate culture. Last but not least, working with SAP teams is imperative for a successful partner.
Your Customer Success Partner (CSP) is also happy to provide further guidance, feel free to reach us.