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A Down-to-Earth Cloud Strategy

The Progressive Evolution into Cloud HCM

by Matthew Davies and Cory Skimming | SAPinsider, Volume 16, Issue 4

October 9, 2015

For companies heavily invested in their on-premise HR systems, moving HCM processes into the cloud can seem daunting. Using a progressive approach, however, that takes advantage of the cloud while still leveraging existing systems can mitigate some of the potential concerns. Hear how a large manufacturer adopted this approach for a seamless, side-by-side deployment of SAP SuccessFactors solutions and enjoyed benefits early on in their cloud journey.


The buzz surrounding cloud technology is undeniable, but moving human capital management (HCM) to the cloud can represent a significant transition for organizations entrenched in existing on-premise systems. Many companies face barriers to moving their HCM processes into the cloud and have questions and concerns about the journey. Will payroll still work? How do we manage benefits without a viable cloud benefits solution? What about the existing, customized on-premise HCM system?

To address these concerns, HR business and technology leaders must adopt a transformational mindset and a practical approach to making this transition. So how can an organization with similar concerns upgrade to a modern HCM system, better align employees with business strategy, and provide end users with an optimized, consumer-grade experience? The answer is simple: Use a progressive approach to glean all the benefits of the cloud while leveraging an existing investment in SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) for benefits administration, time evaluation, and payroll.

One Step at a Time

One of our customers, a large manufacturer of recreational products, opted to adopt this side-by-side, progressive approach to begin its transition to SAP SuccessFactors solutions. The company had many customizations in the existing on-premise SAP ERP HCM systems, but wanted to harmonize global and local HR processes as part of a redesign of its HR operating model. A shift to the cloud became necessary. Rather than using the riskier rip-and-replace implementation scenario to install SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP SuccessFactors Talent solutions in one fell swoop, the company decided on a phased implementation, installing one solution, SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals, as a trial before moving to the rest.  

The next step was to implement SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central as the framework for the rest of the SAP SuccessFactors Talent solutions. The core HR data was shifted to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, however, the payroll engine was kept the same, custom auto-write-back functions for paid time off (PTO) and shift planning were built, and a custom benefits interface and several custom Dell Boomi interfaces were developed to leverage existing on-premise programs and improve the user experience. By using a modular approach and  customizing as required to meet its specific needs, the manufacturer achieved a seamless side-by-side deployment — effectively modernizing the end-user experience without losing the robust functionality of its existing on-premise systems.


HR business and technology leaders must adopt a transfor­mational mindset and a practical approach to making the transition to the cloud. 

Benefits of Transition

Though still involved in its progressive journey to the cloud, the manufacturer has already enjoyed some key benefits of shifting its core HR data to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central:

  • An improved, intuitive user experience for all system users
  • Self-service options for end users, enhancing HR resource efficiency
  • Improved ease of maintenance for security specifications
  • New features and extensibility options with each release

Learn More

For more information about integrating on-premise and cloud HCM solutions, visit

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Matthew Davies
Matthew Davies

Practice Director
Program Management Office

Cory Skimming
Cory Skimming

Marketing Manager

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