Websites focused on marketing and pamphlets about SAP’s HR cloud solution SuccessFactors promise little implementation effort, easy-to-use operations, and integration scenarios aligned with SAP’s standard.
However, many project managers and system users struggle with time-consuming, laborious implementation projects. This only adds to the anxiety and confusion of prospective customers.
Why the dichotomy? Are the pamphlets too optimistic? Is SuccessFactors not completely optimized yet?
Why are SuccessFactors implementations so laborious?
Even global players leverage SuccessFactors. In any of these companies, some thousand employees use the solution to successfully realize complex processes. However, the operation of SuccessFactors often isn’t the problem – it’s the implementation.
Most companies are operating IT infrastructures consisting of SAP systems, non-SAP solutions and cloud applications. These infrastructures have grown organically over time, making workarounds and isolated local channels like Excel spreadsheets and analog documents the norm.
If these companies decide to move to SAP’s cloud SuccessFactors, they will likely start their project with scoping and design phases. The goal of these phases is to map existing process. And that’s where the trouble begins.
SAP SuccessFactors is an out of the box solution. As such, it is based on generic process requirements, clearly defined guidelines and roles. Unlike SAP ERP systems, cloud solutions furthermore cannot be extensively modified or customized.
SuccessFactors is more of a modular toolbox. Individual modifications are not ruled out completely – customers can still leverage add-ons through SAP Cloud Platform, for example. Their number and scope have been limited, however.
Companies often realize these fundamental truths after they’ve already begun the project. Consequently, they have to invest more time and money because of something that should come before every software implementation: process optimization.
Process optimization is crucial
Implementation projects can only be successful if companies take every aspect into consideration, ranging from employee involvement to performance evaluation. For a solution like SuccessFactors to realize its full potential, substantial process optimization is absolutely crucial.
Top management should not be afraid to change established processes for the better. Furthermore, executives have to motivate employees to change their work processes as well, away from Excel and towards transparent workflows.
Of course, all of these things require additional investments and involvement of different stakeholders regarding change management measures. However, companies can only profit from process optimization that comes before implementation projects.
Substantial obstacles to corporate development all stem from the past. New software that has to work around old mistakes does nothing to prepare companies for the digital age.
Based on our own experience with SuccessFactors, we strongly recommend prior analysis and process optimization before any implementation project. Additional investments and costs at the beginning will pay off in the end when customers can leverage sustainable, modular system landscapes.