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Build Value-Added Extensible HR Capabilities with SAP HANA Cloud Platform

by David Ludlow and Aurelia Sousa and Jochen Nagel | insiderPROFILES, Volume 7, Issue 1

December 31, 2015

Value-Added HR with Cloud

Many SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) customers are exploring transitioning HR processes to the cloud with applications from SuccessFactors, an SAP company, to simplify their HR landscapes with standard, modern, best-practice solutions. The challenge, however, is to strike the right balance between standardized processes while still maintaining unique differentiating processes that attract top talent. Learn how SAP HANA Cloud Platform solves this challenge as a platform-as-a-service for companies to build, extend, and run unique processes on top of SAP SuccessFactors applications.


 

Widespread recognition that effective and forward-looking talent management processes can be a competitive advantage has led to increasingly stiff competition to attract, develop, and retain top talent. This is true for companies across a multitude of industries. Legacy human capital management (HCM) solutions can quickly become outdated, which makes it difficult for growth-oriented companies to be nimble as they enter new markets, pursue acquisitions, and strive for innovation.

A software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach to HCM helps organizations meet these challenges by offering unmatched agility, rapid time to deployment, and an opportunity to standardize and simplify human resources (HR) processes with modern, best-practices solutions.

The catch, of course, is that many companies possess unique HR processes that are often mission-critical competitive differentiators and are served by specific on-premise solutions. While SaaS applications offer simplification, companies must balance shedding complexity with keeping a base level of uniqueness. The challenge for many companies is achieving this balance with standard cloud applications.

Bridging the Gap with SAP HANA Cloud Platform

Many SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) customers are beginning to consider this dilemma as they explore transitioning some HR processes to the cloud with applications from SuccessFactors, an SAP company. These customers are also starting to understand that simplification versus uniqueness no longer has to be an either/or proposition. With SAP HANA Cloud Platform, companies can (re)build, extend, and run their own unique processes on top of SAP SuccessFactors applications using SAP HANA as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS), thus keeping their differentiating processes while still moving toward a more simplified and standard environment.

Companies that adopt this approach are well-positioned to become employers of choice for many reasons, not the least of which is immediate access to a development platform that can kickstart innovation,  add value to HR processes, drive engagement with employees and managers, and respond to organizational needs faster and more effectively. By extending applications on

SAP HANA Cloud Platform to serve only those processes that provide a competitive edge, and using off-the-shelf SAP SuccessFactors applications for more standardized processes, companies have the opportunity to reexamine their entire HR landscapes to significantly reduce complexity.

SAP HANA Cloud Platform combines agility and a low total cost of ownership with customer-specific applications that are not dependent on new software releases or updates from SuccessFactors for requested new features. With SAP HANA Cloud Platform, extension capabilities enable new ideas to become new functionality more quickly than similar changes to an on-premise landscape.

Making Ideas a Reality

SAP partners are already using SAP HANA Cloud Platform to complement the SAP SuccessFactors suite and bring fresh ideas to life — enabling developers to build new applications that are not customer-specific, but rather come to fruition from an idea that has the potential to reshape the market.

One example is JobPts (job points), a new application from Semos that is built on SAP HANA Cloud Platform and integrates with SAP SuccessFactors applications to deliver an employee engagement and rewards tool. Employees and managers can use the application to recognize superior work on a points-based system; the application complements existing performance, goals, and compensation functionality by automating motivation and reward practices and providing deeper insights into talent and performance trends.

Two additional examples are applications developed by Accenture, an SAP alliance partner that for many years has developed HCM software that complements SAP’s on-premise and cloud solutions. Over the last few years, Accenture has expanded its HCM offerings to include new and extended applications built on SAP HANA Cloud Platform specifically for integration with SAP SuccessFactors modules. Two of its latest additions are Accenture Clone and Test for Cloud and Accenture HR Audit and Compliance as-a-service.

Accenture Clone and Test for Cloud was developed to extend the capabilities of SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central by offering a secure environment for the copying and testing of data prior to going into production. Accenture HR Audit and Compliance as-a-service enhances reporting capabilities in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central by automatically checking data against specified criteria and rules. One client, for example, uses the application to monitor roughly 1,000 preset payroll rules, keeping tabs on data that is maintained in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and interfaces with a third-party payroll administrator.

 

With SuccessFactors adding new customers at a rapid pace, it is clear that adopters accurately view it as one of the leading and most comprehensive cloud solutions on the market for providing a foundation that helps simplify and transform HR.

Filling in the Gaps

In addition to developing new solutions, Accenture works with many clients to enhance their existing SAP SuccessFactors applications, building functionality to run those unique differentiating processes. In other cases, customers have the functionality they need, but ask Accenture’s development teams to customize applications to be more user-friendly; often this means making functionality available in a mobile app.

One example is Accenture’s mobility-enabled LMS Classroom Host application. This application was developed to integrate with SAP SuccessFactors Learning to automate the check-in, check-out process for classroom training and includes collaboration and location-based functionality. It is one of many examples of developers and customers themselves using SAP HANA Cloud Platform as a non-invasive way to fill in the functionality gaps by developing application extensions that interact with SAP SuccessFactors applications but are not affected by the SuccessFactors upgrade cycle.

With SuccessFactors adding new customers at a rapid pace, it is clear that adopters accurately view it as one of the leading and most comprehensive cloud solutions on the market for providing a foundation that helps simplify and transform HR. But customers also need a fast and easy way to seamlessly integrate their own ideas and uniqueness with what they already have, and the world is moving too quickly for any one vendor to do it all. SAP HANA Cloud Platform frees companies from the long-held truth that added functionality depends on the whims of a third-party developer or comes at a massive cost — in terms of the resources or complexity required to customize an on-premise landscape. Now, enhancements are limited only by the imagination.

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David Ludlow, SAP
David Ludlow

David Ludlow (david.ludlow@sap.com) is Global Vice President of Product Marketing, focusing on global human capital management (HCM) solutions for SAP and SuccessFactors. The team works with customers, partners, industry analysts, and the entire SAP and SuccessFactors ecosystem to help ensure SAP/SuccessFactors delivers top HCM solutions for their customers.


Aurelia Sousa
Aurelia Sousa

Aurelia Sousa is SAP HANA Cloud Platform Center of Excellence Lead at Accenture. Aurelia has been with Accenture for 17 years and her career has focused on SAP application implementations, with a special expertise on HCM solutions.


Jochen Nagel
Jochen Nagel

Jochen Nagel is Software for HCM Lead at Accenture focusing on product management and engineering. Jochen is an HCM SAP applications expert with more than 12 years of experience in consulting and project management in the SAP area.



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