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Notes from HR 2012

by Margaret Hein

March 20, 2012

by M.S. Hein, HR Expert

I had a great time at HR 2012 and learned so much great stuff, and met so many wonderful people. The atmosphere at the conference was electric—lots of hot-off-the-press information and conversation, not to mention all the valuable networking going on.  David Ludlow’s HR Keynote was particularly impressive, and lots of folks were buzzing about what a great job he did. [Note: The Keynote addresses have been posted on Insider Learning Network, so make sure you check them out. You don’t want to miss hearing what they—Sanjay Poonen, David Ludlow, and Jason Averbook—had to say about what's happening in the world of HR.]

While I was in Las Vegas, I had the chance to chat with some leading HR experts about their thoughts about HR 2012 and what they learned, and what they think the hot topics are.

HR expert and SAP Press author Luke Marson spoke with me about some of his take-aways from HR 2012.  He even shared his notes about the Jason Averbook and David Ludlow HR Keynote address. Here are his thoughts:

Jason made some excellent points around HR and HR technology:

  • HR must understand the impact of HR technology
  • Implementing SuccessFactors because it's a hot topic is not a reason to implement it

David made some key statements:

  • SAP isn’t forcing anyone onto on-demand -- they are reacting to changes in the market and want to offer a full HCM cloud offering.
  • If clients come to SAP and ask about Talent Management then they will say SuccessFactors as default answer, but you can do Talent Management how you want.
  • There will be continued investment in Core HR with accelerated investment in SuccessFactors Employee Central
  • There will be Parallel investment in analytics

Deepankar Maitra, whose most recent HR Expert articles are “Improve the Debugging Process for Dynamic Actions” and “Improve the Usability of Your SAP System User Interface,” found these themes reflected by attendees as well:

“Mobility and SuccessFactors were the 2 buzz words I experienced – and were the 2 ‘mysterious’ topics that everyone wanted to know more about.”

Luke also focused on the SuccessFactors theme in his comments about the week at HR 2012 overall:

“While it seems like SAP has committed all of their R&D investment into SuccessFactors and not on-premise, it should be noted that SuccessFactors is a long-way off from being a solution with the level of in-depth functionality that on-premise has. SAP have confirmed that they will recommend SuccessFactors as their Talent Management solution but that they will allow clients to choose their own solution (on-premise or on-demand). This is a smart move because SuccessFactors is not yet integrated and doesn't provide the level of functionality that on-premise does. This will inevitably change and SAP hopes to have integration between SAP and SuccessFactors prototyped by SAPPHIRE.”

Following the HR 2012 HR Keynote, Luke also had some questions about HR, analytics, and HANA.  Fortuitously, Luke was part of the Insight podcast team who had the opportunity to interview David Ludlow following his Keynote speech ( and asked, in particular, about SuccessFactors Employee Central.

“David made it clear that the solution is not yet ready for the marketplace, but rapid investment is going to be a priority over the next few months. SAP made it clear that their 3 priorities are: usability, analytics and mobility. SuccessFactors answers the first of those, but SAP made it clear than investment in analytics for on-premise and on-demand was going to be parallel. This is a fairly new area in SAP and I think it's a good move to continue to invest in this topic for on-premise customers. SuccessFactors (and Nakisa's Succession Planning solutio n) already has a good amount of analytics and reports, but typically SAP has not delivered a lot in this area.

HANA is a significant innovation in this area, but SAP are rightly investing in other types of analytics for customers. It was mentioned to me that SAP wants to run their ERP system on HANA and after seeing the live demo in Sanjay Poonen's Jumpstart Day Keynote I can see why. Overall the messages were loud and clear and I think SAP made some bold and decisive statements throughout the conference, which is exactly what was needed ahead of SAPPHIRE in 8 weeks.”

Thank you to Deepankar and Luke for taking the time to talk to me, and re-capping some of the exciting goings-on at HR 2012. I can’t wait to hear what you’ll have to say in the coming months!

(Anyone else want to add their 2¢? Please do! Just click on “Leave a Comment” below.)

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