Moving to SAP SuccessFactors… it’s all about the process, right?

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HR technology systems are designed to enable your HR and people-related business processes. However, when implementing SAP SuccessFactors HCM suite just how important is process knowledge versus experience in the technology?

SAP SuccessFactors - SFSF

Experience!= Experience

Understanding business process is important, but experience in technology is equally important and just having 20 years’ experience in SAP HCM doesn’t mean that someone can be a good SAP SuccessFactors consultant straight off. Without a deep understanding of the technology, how can a consultant design a process? And when you consider that business processes have changed and SAP SuccessFactors is designed to support modern processes, is that SAP HCM process experience really an advantage or could it be a hindrance? Just because a consultant has 20 years process experience doesn’t mean that they can instantly understand how the technology can support modern HR processes without experience of that technology. There’s no bigger waste of your HR technology budget than re-building your on-premise processes and design into a next generation HR system.

Now, that’s not to say that 20 years of experience would be a waste. There are some things only experience can teach. But for those things to be effective, there has to be the modern cloud mindset and understanding of the technological changes that have taken place in the HR world.

Business transformation and skills transformation

Much of the move to a cloud HR system is a move to business transformation and often a larger digital transformation program. Getting the process design right is critical, and design is a lot more than just filling out the configuration workbooks that SAP SuccessFactors provide for their software. Consultants should be guiding customers and documenting requirements; understanding processes and the underlying technology – as well as knowing common practices and having experience from numerous customers – are essential for being able to build out a robust design.


Head in the clouds

Legacy thinkers can be dangerous. Consultants need to think with a new cloud mindset. But it’s not just consultants: customers also need to think with a new mindset and understand how cloud works and what it can offer. The best path to success on your project is for both the consultants and the project team to be thinking about the new possibilities that the cloud brings, the way in which processes can be simplified, and how multi-national and fragmented businesses can standardize.

This new mindset is where much of the value is. Re-thinking processes, understanding how to best design a solution using highly configurable software, and understanding integration scenarios just touch on the iceberg of this mindset. But you as a customer must also be ready to think this way. How can you standardize? How can you simplify? How can you manage a self-services roll out? How can you best take advantage of the latest and greatest, now and in the future?

You should have your cake and eat it

Ultimately, for a SAP SuccessFactors implementation to not only be successful but also optimal and high value, the consultants implementing the solution need to be well versed in business process and the SAP SuccessFactors technology they are implementing. These go hand-in-hand and a consultant simply cannot be qualified to create a winning HR solution without having both. How can a consultant talk about common practices if they’ve only done 1 or 2 projects?

And then there are the quarterly releases. Consultants need to stay up-to-date, period. In the on-premise world, there was an enhancement package release roughly every 12 to 18 months. Even then, many customers wouldn’t implement the new enhancement package for several months or would wait for the next enhancement package to be released. But with the SAP SuccessFactors, there’s a new release every 3 months. Every new release adds new capabilities and features that make a difference to what you’re doing. If a consultant isn’t tracking these, how can they offer optimal value? It’s the deep expertise that sets the best consultants apart from the rest.


Taking ownership for your success

As discussed by Jarret Pazahanick and myself in this episode of Firing Line with Bill Kutik before, it’s up to customers to do their homework and due diligence on consultants. Your consulting partner might not be so honest about how experienced their consultants really are when their core focus is to win your business. Sadly, many consulting partners who aren’t trying to pull the wool over your eyes might just have no idea about how capable consultants in the marketplace can be. No matter you might be told, there are plenty of experienced consultants available to help your implementation be a success.

Author: Luke Marson, CEO Americas and Principal Architect, iXerv

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