GRC
HR
SCM
CRM
BI


Blog

 

Looking at hybrid deployments? SAP and SuccessFactors tips from Jeremy Masters (Q&A transcript)

by Amy Thistle

June 6, 2013

HR functionality is headed to the cloud, but what does that mean for your existing on-premise solutions? And what are the key decision points around SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors integration?

HR 2013 speaker Jeremy Masters of Worklogix joined me recently to take questions on the benefits and challenges of hybrid SAP/SuccessFactors deployments, covering configuration and custom development options with SuccessFactors, cloud vs. on-premise solution trends, the role of SAP HANA,  and more.

You can read the full text of the Q&A in Insider Learning Network'sHR Forum, or read our edited transcript here. You can also catch Jeremy at the HR 2013 event in Amsterdam.

Amy Thistle, Moderator: Welcome to today's Q&A with Jeremy Masters, SAPexperts advisor, SAP PRESS author, and frequent speaker at our SAPinsider HR conferences.

Jeremy will be presenting a number of sessions at next week's HR 2013 event in Amsterdam and in Singapore this fall, too. In Amsterdam, he'll also be part of a SuccessFactors panel discussion, moderated by Martin Gillet and joined by Luke Marson, Sharon Wolf Newton, Prashanth Padmanabhan, and Thomas Otter.

Thanks, Jeremy, for taking some time to join us today and field some questions!

Jeremy Masters, Worklogix: Amy,

Thank you to you and all of the folks at Insider Learning Network. This is quite an exciting topic. I am happy to be here with you today in our online discussion. We already have some great questions coming in.

Next week, I will be in Amsterdam at the HR2013 conference. Hope to see some of you there.

Kir Chern: Hello Jeremy,

  1. SAP on-premise allows many avenues to configure/adapt the application to suit customers' requirements, including via IMG, exits, enhancement framework, and modifications (as a last resort).
  2. Can you highlight some of the options possible with SFSF?
  3. How can the in-house IT team be equipped with the skills to do so on their own?
    1. Is there any avenue for custom development with SFSF?
    2. If yes, what is the development environment option? Can the in-house IT be equipped to develop any extensions or custom developments?
    3. And who would then maintain and ensure the custom development works over time?

Thank you once again. Hope to catch up with you again.

Best regards,

Kir Chern

Jeremy Masters: Hi Kir,

Nice to see you again. Thanks for these questions. You have asked some real good ones.

SuccessFactors does not have a typical development landscape as we know it in our SAP HCM system. That said, it has both configuration options via the admin panel, as well as an enhancement platform (called the meta data framework), which allows you to do some things such as create custom objects, etc. In this forum, it is too numerous to list all of the options for each SuccessFactors module. We can take that offline depending on which module you are looking at, and what you are wanting it to do.

As far as equipping IT, the most important thing IT needs to understand is about data. Since many SAP HCM customers will opt for hybrid, IT will become data stewards and data champions since the solution will rest on ensuring that the data is sent to/from SAP and SuccessFactors correctly and in a timely manner.

 

Sven Ringling: Hi Jeremy,

Where do you think the integration advantage between SAP on-premise and SuccessFactors stands today?

For a customer considering a hybrid, what's the integration advantage of using SuccessFactors for the cloud bits compared to a 3rd party cloud solution - say, Workday or Saba - assuming all other things being equal (i.e., only looking at technical and process integration, not what the different products can do stand alone)?

And on top of any possible integration advantage: is there a synergy in licensing as well (something on-premise customers are keen on as they usually will already have a license covering most processes, so they would rather leverage what they have than pay for half of the processes a second time)?

Thank you,

Sven

Jeremy Masters: Sven,

Thanks for joining. It's great that you could make it and looking forward to seeing you next week in Amsterdam at the show.

For a customer considering a hybrid, what's the integration advantage of using SuccessFactors for the cloud bits compared to a 3rd party cloud solution - say, Workday or Saba - assuming all other things being equal (i.e., only looking at technical and process integration, not what the different products can do stand alone)?

The advantage would be with some of the pre-built integrations that SAP has come out with. SAP has come out with two Add-Ons (requirement is the customer needs to be on ECC 6.0).

There is the:

Integration add-on 1.0 for SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors BizX

Integration add-on 2.0 for SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors BizX

So the data/process integration within these integration packs will enable SAP customers a quicker time to deploy (all things being equal).

That said, there is nothing to say that other vendor cloud solutions would be any worse or better. There is a difference between a Workday and a pure talent management vendor (like Saba, PeopleFluent) since Workday is more of a full HR cloud solution than some of the other niche talent management vendors out there.

As far as licensing, this is a sensitive topic. The idea of credits is not new to this discussion as you reference, but this will be up to the SAP account rep and obviously a controversial idea.

 

Andre Sousa: Hi Jeremy,

I've just heard about SF and integration with SAP and I would like to introduce just a few comments and questions.

Don't you think that SAP will integrate all SF features into the core ERP rather than having a hybrid solution? What is the big advantage of having it in a 3rd party cloud solution?

Does SF have any compatibility with mobile devices?

And finally one last question (off topic): Do you think SAP is keen to move to a complete cloud computing solution in the next 5 to 10 years? What are your thoughts?

It was great to hear you on the last podcast about SAP EhP6.

Best Regards,

AS

Jeremy Masters: Hi Andre,

Thanks so much. The podcasts by Steve Bogner and the Podcast team are great. For those of you who don't know, you can listen to them here.

Don't you think that SAP will integrate all SF features into the core ERP rather than having a hybrid solution? What is the big advantage of having it in a 3rd party cloud solution?

Yes, SAP is in the process of integrating data, process, and user experience from SAP and SuccessFactors. They are building out Employee Central as an alternative to SAP Core. I addressed the advantages/disadvantages of cloud earlier.

Does SF have any compatibility with mobile devices?

Yes, SuccessFactors has several mobile applications with their applications, which come with the baseline cost (e.g., no additional charge). The following apps are currently available:

 

table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> tbody> tr> td valign="top" width="163">

BizX Mobile Touchbase

/td> td valign="top" width="475">

Set the right priorities and make one-on-one meetings more efficient.

/td> /tr> tr> td valign="top" width="163">

BizX Mobile Jam

/td> td valign="top" width="475">

Stay on top of projects, find experts and content, and contribute new videos and photos.

/td> /tr> tr> td valign="top" width="163">

BizX Mobile Org Chart

/td> td valign="top" width="475">

Find people in your company fast, then connect via email, phone, or a text.

/td> /tr> tr> td valign="top" width="163">

BizX Mobile Recruiting

/td> td valign="top" width="475">

Monitor applications, approve requisitions, provide candidate feedback, and approve offers.

/td> /tr> tr> td valign="top" width="163">

BizX Mobile Learning

/td> td valign="top" width="475">

Sign up for courses, connect with experts, and even complete entire classes while on the go; instructors can manage their classes and enrollment from their phones or tablets.

/td> /tr> /tbody> /table>

 

And finally one last question (off topic): Do you think SAP is keen to move to a complete cloud computing solution in the next 5 to 10 years? What are your thoughts?

Yes, this is what they are trying to do with Employee Central, so that they can take on Workday. Time will tell if/how/when customers heavily invested in SAP HCM will get there.

 

Jeremy Masters: Some useful documents for you all.

You should check out Luke Marson's documentation on SCN. It is an excellent resource for anyone looking for information on strategy, roadmap, integration, security, RDS, etc.

And speaking of integration, which was all raised by Sven, Andre, and Kir, you can check out some great resources here:

My blog on SuccessFactors Integration Challenges (June 2012)

Jarret Pazahanick's blog on The Real Truth about SAP and SuccessFactors Integration (Oct 2012)

Jarret Pazahanick's blog on SAP and SuccessFactors - "Proven" Integration is Hype (Nov 2012)

All of these blogs have been controversial but the intent has been to push SAP to develop a more robust platform to connect the two systems.

 

Amy Thistle: In your pre-conference presentation on Talent Management, you go into hybrid deployment options. Could you talk about how customers are adding SuccessFactors into their SAP HCM mix? Can you share a couple technical challenges and functional benefits?

Jeremy Masters: Great question. Yes, in my Jumpstart at the conference, I will talk about how customers are considering SuccessFactors (pros and cons). I actually do a detailed review (functional area by functional area) to compare/contrast SAP versus SuccessFactors functionality. For example, we compare SuccessFactors Compensation Management versus SAP Enterprise Compensation Management.

As far as technical challenges, most will boil down to:

  1. Data/Integration - issues with the master data that will be fed to SuccessFactors. If the data is wrong in SAP (or transformed wrong), then the data in SuccessFactors will be wrong. Because SAP and SuccessFactors have two different data models, inevitably there will be some hiccups.
  2. Inflexibility - some of the ways your company has done things in the past (right, wrong, or indifferent) will not work in a cloud model. Your business process may have to change to fit what the vendor's business process dictates. 

As far as some benefits:

  1. Scalability - The cloud offering will most likely give you more flexibility to scale faster. For example, if your company acquires companies, or divests, you will have a more agile platform.
  2. Faster Innovation Cycles - release cycles of new functionality (where customers can opt in or opt out), typically happen in spurts of 3 or 4 months. This has been a problem area for SAP for a few years now, which they are trying to improve on with new on-premise offerings such as HR Renewal and SAP Fiori.

These are just the top 2 of each, but the list on either side goes on. I will talk more about this during the SAPInsider conference next week in Amsterdam.

 

gabrielasojamaya: Hi Jeremy,

As you've just mentioned, the SAP strategy seems to be "going to the cloud" and possibly "being only in the cloud" in the future:

Can we then assume that less and less attention will be paid to the enhancements of the existing core SAP applications - e.g., Recruiting/Learning/Talent/Performance/Compensation - as SAP will be working more with the cloud solution?

My other question relates to the data protection. As cloud solutions are still new to the market, how can the clients (especially those who operate around the whole globe) be sure that HR data in the cloud is really protected and also all global data protection regulations are met?

Thank you.

Best regards,

Gabriela Soja-Maya

Jeremy Masters: Hello Gabriela,

Great questions.

Can we then assume than less and less attention will be paid to the enhancements of the existing core SAP applications - e.g., Recruiting/Learning/Talent/Performance/Compensation - as SAP will be working more with the cloud solution?

Overall, the marketing that SAP is saying is that the innovations for on-premise Talent management will be "continuous, and selected". The majority of innovation will be invested into the cloud apps. Many customers that I have talked with are also confused since they may have recently invested in on-premise Talent management. The good news is that there are enough partner vendors out there (Worklogix, EPI-USE, Nakisa, hyperCision, AspireHR) that create, support, and continue to innovate for those customers not wanting the cloud, or not ready for it.

My other question relates to the data protection. As cloud solutions are still new to the market, how can the clients (especially those who operate around the whole globe) be sure that HR data in the cloud is really protected and also all global data protection regulations are met?

Cloud solutions are not really new. These types of solutions (whether you call them "hosted" or "in the cloud") have been around for over a decade. The data centers that contain this information have been fully certified in all measures around data protection/security. Despite this, some companies will continue to have an issue with this. Some public companies and government agencies will not go to the cloud due to the risk.

 

tina_ng: Hi Jeremy,

If SF Employee Central is going to be our system of record, how do we maintain job key in SAP for Payroll purposes, if we are redefining what sits on "job" in SuccessFactors?

How difficult is it to change the meaning of job key in SAP to the components that need to exist in SF?

How easy is it to do year-round compensation planning in SF compensation management? For example, if an employee receives 2 salary adjustments in a year - one during the annual compensation cycle and one at another time during the year?

Why would we want to be a hybrid? Wouldn't it make sense to move everything to the cloud?

How frequent are the updates once we are totally in the cloud?

When still in hybrid mode, what is the timing with SAP support packs and SF cloud updates? Typically, who maintains this?

How technical does an individual need to be to configure in SF in comparison to SAP?

Best regards,

Tina

Jeremy Masters: Wow Tina, you've got some great questions.

If SF Employee Central is going to be our system of record, how do we maintain job key in SAP for Payroll purposes, if we are redefining what sits on "job" in SuccessFactors?

That's a tough one to answer in this type of forum, but let me first inquire why you would still need job in your SAP system (presumably if you are using it for payroll).

The answer is not dual maintenance, so we would need to explore this together.

How difficult is it to change the meaning of job key in SAP to the components that need to exist in SF?

This would be a consulting exercise.

How easy is it to do year-round compensation planning in SF compensation management? For example, if an employee receives 2 salary adjustments in a year - one during the annual compensation cycle and one at another time during the year?

Well, easy is a relative term. In the example you provide, you are talking about two modules within SuccessFactors - the annual process / planning is conducted using the Compensation and Variable Pay modules, whereas the off-cycle pay is handled via forms in Employee Central.

 

Why would we want to be a hybrid? Wouldn't it make sense to move everything to the cloud?

Boy, that's a loaded question. Yes and No. Depends on the value proposition and the financials of moving. This is individual and situational for each and every SAP HCM customer.

How frequent are the updates once we are totally in the cloud?

About every 3 to 4 months.

When still in hybrid mode, what is the timing with SAP support packs and SF cloud updates? Typically, who maintains this?

For SAP support packs, I haven't heard of anything slowing or accelerating.

How technical does an individual need to be to configure in SF in comparison to SAP?

I would say they roughly compare, though the configuration options with the admin panel of SF is more intuitive for the average user.

 

Kir Chern: Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for answering my earlier questions.

I also read about the addition of HANA (or SAP NW Cloud ?) to SFSF. What does that mean?

And what are some new possibilities that brings to the table ? I am confused about all these HANA things.

Thanks and regards,

Kir Chern

Jeremy Masters: Kir, thanks for bringing this up. Yes, it was stated during SAPPHIRE this year that customers will be able to extend the SuccessFactors platform via the SAP HANA Cloud platform. This will be something for which you can use Java development to create applications specific to your business.

Basically, SAP and SuccessFactors are in the process of making the system (the API) more open for developers to extend. As of the current time, there is not much you can do from a development perspective.

We will wait and see what possibilities this leads to for us in the SAP eco-system.

 

uday: Hi Jeremy,

I am new to SuccessFactors. I would like to know the following:

Let us say our E-recruitment, MSS, and ESS are implemented. Let us think this is on separate systems (I mean E-recruitment and ERP-HCM).

As far as I know, the E-recruitment data is depicted on the cloud platform using SuccessFactors - Recruiting. How do we pass data to SuccessFactors in this case. Secondly, how does data coordination happen between HCM (Non-E-recruitment) and SuccessFactors. This is taking into consideration that our landscape consists of two separate instances.

The next thing I want to know is how are HCM P & F taken care of? For instance we have the NEW HIRE form wherein data flows from E-recruitment to the HCM system. Does it mean data flows from SuccessFactors to HCM?

Does SuccessFactors have a separate database compared to ERP-HCM?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Uday,

In all of your questions, it means interfaces. SuccessFactors and SAP HCM have totally separate databases. They are two different systems with different data models that need to have established integrations between them. This can be accomplished by middleware such as SAP NetWeaver PI, Dell's Boomi (the middleware product that SuccessFactors used to use primarily), as well as SAP HANA Cloud Integration (estimated August 2013 release from my SAP Labs sources).

Please check the following links that I already posted, which shows you some pre-built integrations.

Integration add-on 1.0 for SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors BizX help.sap.com/erp_sfi_addon10

Integration add-on 2.0 for SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors BizX
help.sap.com/erp_sfi_addon20

 

Amy Thistle: Thanks to all who posted some GREAT questions and followed the discussion.

I also invite you to join us for more on hybrid deployments, and attend Jeremy's sessions at HR 2013 in Amsterdam and in Singapore. Visit the HR 2013 conference website for more details and view all the session tracks.

And thank you again to Jeremy Masters of Worklogix for taking some time to join us today. Looking forward to Amsterdam next week!

Jeremy Masters: Amy, thanks for hosting this great Q&A. It was indeed a great set of questions, and I hope I was able to help.

Please visit my website and blog, and follow me on Twitter: @jeremymasters

See some of you next week at the conference!

An email has been sent to:






More from SAPinsider



COMMENTS

Please log in to post a comment.

No comments have been submitted on this article. Be the first to comment!


SAPinsider
FAQ