Q and A


Q&A with Jeremy Masters on talent management deployment options, SAP & SuccessFactors (transcript)

by Kristine Erickson

HR 2013 conference producer Amy Thistle recently moderated a Q&A with SAP HCM expert Jeremy Masters in Insider Learning Network’s HR Forum. The topic? Talent Management and current and future deployment options. ‘

You can review the full Q&A in the HR Forum, or read our edited transcript here. Jeremy will be presenting on this topic during  a special three-hour Jumpstart session at HR 2013  on February 25 – and you can catch him in Las Vegas throughout this year’s HR 2013 event.

Amy Thistle: Welcome to today’s Forum! I’m pleased to have Jeremy Masters of Worklogix – and a speaker at HR 2013 next month – join us again to take your questions here in the HR Forum. Today’s topic for the next hour:  talent management and new deployments options from both SAP & SuccessFactors.  

Today, Jeremy will answer questions in the thread for the next hour, and share  a tip or two from his upcoming session in Las Vegas at HR 2013 on this same topic – I hope we’ll see you there! I see some questions here already, so I’ll let Jeremy begin. Welcome, Jeremy! 

Jeremy Masters: Thank you Amy. It's great to be here with you for the next hour, answering your questions on SAP Talent Management, including on premise and cloud offerings with SuccessFactors.  I will get started with answering some questions. 


Kir Chern: Hi Jeremy,

1. I would like to enquire more about the key functionality (i.e. key features) differences (e.g. strengths) between SAP on-premise vs Successfactors ? Let's say, e-recruitment and learning solution. Or where can I find out more about such details ?

2. How do you best convince and assure your customers to move to cloud based solutions (like SSF) and it is "absolutely" secure ?

3. What are some learning experiences (lessons learned) peculiar to cloud based project implementation such as SSF (eg. recruitment) ?

Thank you and best regards,

Kir Chern

Jeremy Masters: Hello Kir, 

Hope all is well in beautiful Singapore. 

For #1, this is great question. I would always recommend looking at this entire on prem vs cloud scenario module by module (ie., functional area by functional area). For more information on the comparisons between the modules, you can catch me at the HR 2013 event in Vegas.  The answer unfortunately is not so straight forward, but it is clear that there are some offerings that are more mature in each of the solutions. For example, SuccessFactors has an impressive learning module since it is the old Plateau Systems. (They bought Plateau for more than $ 290M in 2011).  

And, of course, performance management was SuccessFactor's "bread-and-butter", and it what they really excelled in for a long time. 

For #2, although quite a hot topic, security in the cloud is becoming a non-issue. There are plenty of provisions and security in place to secure data between transfer between systems through secure connections. 

For #3, for lessons learned, there are many (for anyone experienced with any cloud -on prem integration), but we can say the focus is much more about the integration (working closely with the IT security teams) to ensure integration is as tight as possible. 


mausumiray: Hi Jeremy,

I am an SAP HCM functional Analyst and I would like to know what would be the change in my role when we move this new solution.

For example we are using the IMG in SPRO today to do all our configurations and we do maintain schemas, rules and features as well in SAP HR.

Are these things still going to stay when we move to the new platform or do we have to do the configuration in cloud or success factor moving forward? If so, what would be the new technology for that?


Jeremy Masters: Hello Mausumi,

Yes, cloud configuration is done entirely within the cloud application. For example, SuccessFactors has "SuccessFactory" which is a site where some of this configuration would be done. On prem configuration will stay in SPRO via the SAP GUI, and cloud configuration will remain in their hosted application with access via your browser. 


Steve Bogner: Hi Jeremy - If I have already implemented LSO, E-recruit, ECM, etc on SAP HCM then why would I want to do a hybrid SAP/SuccessFactors implementation to replace all th at? Do I need to worry that SAP will stop supporting or enhancing the on-premise Talent Management apps - is that a valid reason to start switching now?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Steve, and thanks for joining. (For those that don't know Steve, he is the Managing Partner at Insight Consulting Partners and worked with SAP HR/Payroll since 1993.  He does great blogs and podcasts which you should check out frequently.) That's probably the (more than) million dollar question. Every customer will have their own scenario when it comes to when/how/if they will implement Talent management in the cloud (via SuccessFactors or another vendor). It is definitely situational.

For example, if I am a new SAP customer, running SAP OM, PA, and Payroll, with no talent management, then it might be an easier move to the cloud versus a long-standing SAP customer who has invested thousands (or millions) in their on prem solution with enhanced integration. They may not want to go to the cloud. They may never go to the cloud. Or they may need time to go to the cloud.

As far as SAP stopping to support on premise apps, I don't think that will ever happen. SAP will encourage customers to go to the cloud solution (as their "go forward" solution, but at their own pace, which for some, could be a long time.  


RobinFritz: Hi Jeremy,

What would be the best way to define ROI when you already own SAP Talent Management on-premise licenses and looking to move to SuccessFactors Cloud solution?



Jeremy Masters: Hi Robin, 

That's a great question, and one many customers are struggling with.

I would recommend that you start with a 5 year cost horizon where you list out your on-prem costs ( including maintenance, hardware costs, support fees) versus a cloud offering (including your subscription costs). Factor in the internal staff needed to maintain both solutions (it may or may not be the same number).

Also, apps within a cloud solution typically take a shorter time to implement than an on prem application, though there are some exceptions to that.

I would also look at consulting needs over that 5 year period, since your needs for a consulting might change. 

Hope that gets you started. 


dodykarnida: Hi Jeremy,
I have no experience on SuccessFactors, but based my experienced we did a lot of enhancement transactions and screen on sap ecc or ess mss to fulfill customer business. Is it true that in on premise we still cover these enhancements better than on cloud?
Thank you

Jeremy Masters:  Hello Dody,

Boy, that's a tough question to answer when not knowing the actual enhancements that were requested (and fulfilled) in your on premise solution. Again, it's really situational on what the requirements are, and how you have solved for them, versus a SaaS solution which might already have those gaps solved for. However, something very specific to your company may not be easily adapted (configured) in a cloud solution. My answer is the horrible (typical) consulting answer: "It depends." 


Marcos Ramos: Hi! Jeremy,

My question is on the Employee Central functionality. Is it ready for the customers to use? And if so, does it make sense to implement TM as a hybrid solution? Or what would be the implications in migrating all their PA/OM data to SSFF?

Thank you,

Jeremy Masters: Hi Mar cos, 

What a great question. Employee Central is ready for use for customers, but is not yet mature compared with SAP, Oracle, or Workday.  That said, SAP has devoted (literally) hundreds of developers (for many months now) to build this out.  I understand we will be hearing alot more about EC in the coming months at HR 2013 and SAPPHIRE/ASUG, so we will want to keep our eyes and ears open to know when the major releases are and what they will have. 

As far as you second question, (if it would "make sense" to implement TM as a hybrid solution), again this depends on many factors specific to your organization and situation. For most customers, it comes down (always to cost). Not knowing your situation, I cannot really say for sure whether you should explore those functionalities, however, I don't think any of that investment would go to waste (regardless whether you move to EC or not) since if you go forward with the TM hybrid model , you would be in the cloud anyway.  

As far as implications of migrating all data to SFSF, well, that's for another Q&A 

dodykarnida: Hi Jeremy,
Thank you for your answer. These enhancements are: Add local fields for customer specifics, add some source code to prevent human error when entry data, add more columns at standard reports etc.

Are these enhancements that we are able to implement on cloud?
In future regulations in my country, the application server should be addressed in local country. Is it possible if the application server is built in a specific country? Or do you have any the same regulation in other country and how we can manage this issue in that country?
Thank you
Dody Karnida

Jeremy Masters: Hi Dody,

Again, it's difficult in this forum to address those specific questions on your specific enhancements that you performed. It's best to have a discussion with a consultant and/or SAP/SuccessFactors themselves on those items. 

As far as the application server (data center) question, I know SuccessFactors has several different data centers in multiple countries, but again, I would defer to your SAP/SuccessFactors account rep to find a proper answer for your question.

Laura Lute: Hi Jeremy,

How does SuccessFactors integrate with our existing enterprise portal (including ESS/MSS, E-Recruiting & ECM)?


Jeremy Masters: Hi Laura, Great question. 

There is a SSO (single sign on) cookbook available here for integration SAP Netweaver Portal with SuccessFactors. Link is here:

This is really more of a technical guide for your system administrators (technical folk).


Dave Hannon: Thanks for taking our questions Jeremy. Do you hear many customers concerned about master data issues when moving to a hybrid environment? Any tips or suggestions in those areas? Thanks!

Jeremy Masters: Sure. There are plenty of concerns from customers about master data issues when moving to a hybrid environment.

I wrote a blog back in June after the 2012 SAPPHIRE/ASUG conference on the integration challenges I anticipated.

That said, these data challenges are no different between SAP and another vendor, we still need to discuss how data will be transformed from one system to another, on the frequency of refresh, and also align our processes to ensure that the right things are happening at the right time (between your on prem system, and your application on the cloud).  

SuccessFactors, like other SaaS vendors, has been integrating for year, so these master data issues are not new. Customers just need to know the best ways on how to prevent or mitigate the risks involved. 

Cyndi Garza: Hi Jeremy,

Hope all is well!  Do you know how close or far away SAP/SuccessFactors is away from real-time integration? Thanks!

Cyndi Garza

Jeremy Masters: Hi Cyndi, How are you????? 

Actually SuccessFactors and SAP are already there (with real-time/near real-time transfer).

With the Integration Add-On 1.0 for SAP HCM and SuccessFactors, Support Pack 2, you can now integrate data (for example compensation data) from SuccessFactors to SAP and vice versa via SAP Netweaver Process Integration as well as Web Services.

I am sure we will be seeing more and more progress in this area, as the months/years go on. 

Hope all is well with you!

Editor’s note: If you registered for this Q&A, you can look for an overview of this Integration Add-On at the end of your bonus download – you’ll find a link in the reminder email on January 23 or in your original confirmation email.

Andrea: Hi, My big question is the integration between SAP HCM and Success Factors, in our company we use SAP HCM with EHP5, and is now buying process Success Factors, but I would not entirely clear integration. 

Jeremy Masters: I will be talking about integration in my SAP HR 2013  session

Hope you are able to make this conference, or the one in Amsterdam. 

Also, someone who is very knowledgeable about SAP and SuccessFactors integration is Luke Marson, who is an SAP Mentor, SAP PRESS author, and also working very closely with SAP on educating customers. He has written some very good blogs on SCN (SAP Community Network) that you should check out. Check out his content here:

lukemarson:  Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for the shout out - it's much appreciated. In addition, customers reading this might be interested to know that HR Expert are publishing an extensive Special Report in February on SuccessFactors, which will cover some of the topics discussed here in more detail. Also, I am currently co-authoring the SAP Press title "SuccessFactors for SAP HCM" that will provide a deep overview of all aspects of SuccessFactors. These should hopefully help educate customers on top of the great work by people like yourself and Jarret Pazahanick.

Dawn Solomon: Luke,

Thank you for the insight on the article in HR Expert.  I am a subscriber and will look forward to reading that issue.

Dawn Solomon


lukemarson: Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for taking the time to answering some of the questions of customers and the community. I wanted to know what you think of the Empower methodology and what the key benefits are for customers of this approach, plus the pitfalls they must try to avoid.

Also, any thoughts on the upcoming integration package SP3 and what step forward this provides for customers?

Best regards,


Jeremy Masters: Hi Luke, 

Thanks for taking some time to attend this Q&A blog. It's a pleasure to have you here. Also, I forget to mention that Luke is co-authoring the book on SAP and SuccessFactors from SAP PRESS, entitled "SuccessFactors with SAP HCM", so we should be on the lookout for that this year. 

As far as your first question, like some other project methodologies, EMPOWER has a strong focus on phase-based project work that can be repeated successfully from client to client. I don't know enough about the specifics within that framework, but I am sure it has been successful given the success of SuccessFactors within the industry.  I am sure this metholodogy is much like other SaaS vendors (Workday, PeopleFluent, etc).

As far as the upcoming SP3 of the integration package, the information i have seen has been around recruiting process integration, position and candidate info, and unified user experience. If you have any more information on it, please post it here to share with the Q&A forum. 


Amy Thistle: While Jeremy wraps up his last answers, I'd like to close by thanking everyone who posted questions and followed the discussion!

A full summary of all the questions will be available here in the HR Forum. I encourage you to review Jeremy’s tips and Forum posts and join the HR Group for ongoing information and additional resources.

And of course, you can meet Jeremy at our upcoming HR 2013 conference, February 26-March 1 in Las Vegas. Jeremy will be giving a special three-hour session this year is on Talent Management.  He’ll also be presenting  sessions on enterprise compensation management (ECM) and mobile ESS/MSS. Be sure to visit the HR 2013 conference website for more details. Friday is your last chance to save $100!

And thank you again to Jeremy Masters of Worklogix  for joining us today!

Jeremy Masters:  Thank you Amy and the entire Insider Learning Network team at WIS, and thank you for all that joined today for your great questions. 
Please follow me on Twitter @jeremymasters if you are in the Twitterverse  and check out and the Worklogix website.

Amy Thistle: Again, a big thank you to Jeremy Masters -- and to all of you who posted a question today! I'm looking forward to seeing many of you in just a few weeks at HR 2013 and talking more about all the questions and options around SuccessFactors and SAP HCM.

Thanks again!

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