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What is all the hype about SuccessFactors?

SAPSuccessFactorsHuman Capital ManagementTalent Management+-

Every industry has buzzwords. In SAP it’s the new products and releases that cause a storm. They have been created (by what in my eyes must be near geniuses) or purchased, integrated and rebranded to increase SAP SE’s offering to existing and prospective clients. Past and present SAP buzzwords have included Business Objects, Ariba, Hana and Concur – however these days it’s all about SuccessFactors.


What is SuccessFactors?


Just last Friday whilst at my desk arranging interviews, approving placements and signing contracts a Director from another part of the Investigo business wanted to pick my brain and get a better understanding about why all his clients “are always talking about SuccessFactors”. And to him and many others who have asked, I said, “Human Capital Management (HCM) and Talent Management in the cloud”. This statement tends to lead to as many questions as it answers.


At this point I usually go on to explain that SuccessFactors is a cloud-based business solution designed to increase a workforce’s full potential. It helps align strategy with performance and achieve better business execution. Companies choose SuccessFactors because it allows them to increase growth, lower operating costs and expand profit margins.


Then I wait... Does the colleague asking me want to know more or have I sufficiently fed their appetite to know in layman’s terms what SuccessFactors is? Normally it is.


For me, for a while SuccessFactors was just that simple statement that I regurgitated when asked without truly understanding exactly what it was. Until I met the experts. After meeting with a senior member of IBM’s HCM and Cloud based solution division my excitement about SuccessFactors and the need to find out more was founded. Since then I have worked with multiple clients helping them find the right SuccessFactors consultants to configure, test, manage and implement the solution in their business. This is no easy task.


The limited number of knowledgeable, trained and certified consultants with a proven track record in delivering SuccessFactors projects is driving the market value of these professionals skyward. Consultancies dominate the market, having the budget and capability to train and give real project exposure to their employees. An organisation looking to implement SuccessFactors will only select a supplier that has a proven track record of delivering these projects to their competitors. Right now Accenture is the market leader but it won’t take long for the others to catch up to meet the growing market demand - a demand that will only increase as more companies choose to transform their businesses and empower their workforce.


Why all the hype?


SuccessFactors is not the only cloud-based solution in the market transforming how companies manage their workforce. Workday, founded by the ex-CEO of PeopleSoft, David Duffield, is both Financial and HCM in the cloud and is SuccessFactors’ biggest rival with small and medium sized companies not already SAP Enterprises.


So then why is SuccessFactors all the rage? First we need to understand why such a product exists.


There is a gap between business strategy and performance. It seems simple to say that having the right people on the right tasks can unlock a business’ full potential. The first step in closing the gap is to align the people with the strategy. This is achieved by creating goals and subdividing the organisation’s strategy, cascading those goals to every employee and tracking the progress against the goals to track how each person’s work supports the overall business strategy. The result is focus, visibility and accountability across the workforce, making it far easier for organisations to plan for the future.


The next step is to optimise performance throughout the employee lifecycle. Using SuccessFactors allows organisations to find and recruit the right people and importantly, get them into the right roles. It helps employees gain the right knowledge and skills through training and development and rewards them as organisations develop them into future leaders.


Finally you can accelerate business results with insights provided by SuccessFactors to run the business better. SuccessFactors offers more than process efficiency and transactional cost savings. Both Enterprise class and SMEs can use the full suite of talent solutions, core HR, collaboration and workforce analytics to improve productivity and engage, retain and motivate employees.


Now don’t get me wrong, the journey an organisation has to take (and costs it must incur) to reach a point where a HR transformation is backed by the main stakeholders is very difficult. Important decisions include how best to implement SuccessFactors, which route to take to market and when to implement the transformation.


What the future holds


SuccessFactors is more than just a buzzword. SuccessFactors is helping organisations transform their business with the most important asset at the heart, their employees. Imagine a perfect world where a Manager goes to procurement to get the sign off for an additional or replacement hire and the strategy and understanding behind why the hire would benefit the business is already laid out. The processes are already in place to streamline the recruitment, hiring, onboarding, goal setting and performance management, learning and development, compensation and rewards for excellence, and are managed by one future-proof system based in the Cloud. That perfect world is here and it’s called SuccessFactors.


To hear more about opportunities or discuss how Investigo can help your business’ SAP SuccessFactors journey please visit the SAP LinkedIn group or contact Max directly on or 07711 373255.

Max Fronicke
Posted by Max Fronicke
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