Expand +



Talent Management with SuccessFactors: Dos and Don'ts

Q&A with Amy Grubb, CEO of Cloud Consulting Partners

insiderPROFILES, Volume 6, Issue 1

December 23, 2014

Amy Grubb Q&A

Take a deep dive into the topic of migrating talent management to the cloud in this Q&A with Amy Grubb, CEO of Cloud Consulting Partners, Inc. Explore the current state of the SuccessFactors human capital management (HCM) suite, details about various components, potential pitfalls and security concerns, and much more.


Amy Grubb

Amy Grubb is the CEO and principal consultant at Cloud Consulting Partners, Inc., an SAP/SuccessFactors reseller and consulting partner and full-service HCM consultancy focused on implementing cloud solutions. She has consulted in the HCM space for more than 15 years, spending eight years in Deloitte’s Human Capital Management practice.

Amy has a deep background with SuccessFactors, having implemented the suite since 2007. She also has implemented SAP ERP HCM on-premise solutions for many years, so she brings a unique skillset and understanding to her clients.


What value can you gain from moving talent management to the cloud, and what are the next steps for implementing solutions from SuccessFactors, an SAP company? During an SAPinsider Online Q&A recently, human capital management (HCM) expert Amy Grubb of Cloud Consulting Partners answered questions on the integration between the SuccessFactors platform and SAP ERP HCM, implementation pitfalls, and how talent processes change when adopting SuccessFactors solutions.

Following is an abridged version of some of the questions that Amy Grubb fielded. The full transcript is available on SAPinsider Online at  


Q: Is SuccessFactors planning to add functionality and make competencies a component within its software suite?

Competencies are part of the platform within the SuccessFactors human capital management (HCM) suite of solutions. This means that they are integral to the entire suite and are leveraged by numerous components — such as performance management, development, and succession planning. This is core to how the entire suite is currently designed, and I don’t see this changing.

Q: Can you suggest which SuccessFactors solutions make the most sense for customers to add after Performance & Goals?

I hear this question all the time. There isn’t any one right answer for every customer. The more components you have implemented, the more robust your entire talent management system becomes, as each component within the suite integrates with the others. Because any component can be implemented stand-alone or in conjunction with other components at any time or in any order, you really need to look at your current landscape. I always advise clients to identify those processes that are causing them pain today, identify an area where they don’t currently have a system solution (succession management always seems to be in this category), and then look at where they can receive the most immediate value — the biggest bang for their buck, so to speak. I do a lot of work with clients on their cloud strategy or roadmap these days, and that is where I normally start.

Q: Are some SuccessFactors components more challenging to integrate than others?

If you have SAP ERP HCM for your core HR data, the standard-delivered employee data integration from SAP brings the employee data from SAP ERP HCM over into SuccessFactors solutions. That isn’t tricky and is a proven approach. (More information is available on SAP Service Marketplace about this standard-delivered integration.) Once you have your employee data, you are ready to go from a talent management perspective. For quick wins, I always recommend implementing the performance management and goal management components, as these can be implemented fairly quickly and there are many built-in tools that provide immediate value to employees and managers, such as a goal library, a SMART goal wizard, a best-practice competency library, and a team rater function.

Other integration points will depend on the components you are implementing and where you need to have or send data. SAP has already provided several standard integrations from and back to core SAP ERP HCM, and those work well. Other integrations would need to be reviewed separately for complexity. If you start with the employee profile, performance management, and goal management components, you should see immediate benefits with little difficulty, assuming that you are working with an experienced implementation partner.

Calculating TCO is a little tricky with talent processes and applications because there are some “fuzzy” intangible factors to consider.

Amy Grubb, CEO, Cloud Consulting Partners, Inc.

Q: In your opinion, is security in the cloud an issue with things like employee data?

With employee data, you have to look at your deployment model. If you are a hybrid customer (or leaning in that direction), your critical or sensitive employee data is still on premise in SAP ERP HCM. You are only bringing employee data over to the cloud to support your talent processes. If you are exploring full cloud (the SuccessFactors Employee Central solution plus talent solutions, for example), then obviously all of your employee data will reside in the cloud. In many ways, the concern over cloud security is overblown. The cloud is not new. Software as a service (SaaS) has been around for years now. Huge multinational companies do business in the cloud and don’t seem to have concerns. At the end of the day, you need to do your own due diligence on data security, but I would also suggest looking at the customer list for the SAP Cloud portfolio to help allay any of your existing concerns.

Q: Can you explain the difference between the hybrid and side-by-side cloud models?

Basically, a hybrid deployment is where you maintain your core HR processes (such as personnel administration) on premise in SAP ERP HCM, while talent processes are in the cloud in SuccessFactors solutions. Side-by-side is where you concurrently run two different deployments: one in which core HR processes run in SAP ERP HCM while talent processes run in the cloud, and another in which both core HR processes and talent processes run in the cloud. I can hear you asking, “Why would you ever do this?” While it’s not common just yet, I have discussed this model with customers that may not want to deploy SAP ERP HCM to certain countries, just to use one example. Instead, they will go full cloud for certain countries, utilizing the SuccessFactors Employee Central solution for their core HR processes supplemented by talent solutions in the cloud, and continue to maintain other countries in SAP ERP HCM while adding talent solutions in the cloud. There are other business drivers for deploying a side-by-side model as well — such as putting a cloud/web front end on SAP ERP HCM to make it more user-friendly.

Q: Any tips for calculating TCO on moving talent management to the cloud in the longer term?

TCO always seems difficult to calculate, even when you are dealing with tangible data points. It’s a little tricky with talent processes and applications because there are some “fuzzy” intangible factors to consider. First, I recommend gathering data on how many resources, hours, etc. you currently expend supporting existing talent applications. Is this in SAP ERP HCM? Is this in various third-party systems? How much time do your business owners in HR spend maintaining or running manual, paper processes? How much time do your employees and managers spend completing “talent” type activities, like completing a performance review? And I mean a significant performance review, with thoughtful, actionable feedback. From the IT perspective, you need to consider the cost of hardware and such that you will no longer spend on HR/talent systems and the hours that go into upgrades. This is a lot of data to gather, and estimation is sometimes difficult. Because any calculation could definitely change over time and need to be reevaluated. Those are just a few tips to get you started; I hope they help.

An email has been sent to:


More from SAPinsider


Please log in to post a comment.