Friday, May 31, 2013

How Social Networks Help Us Target Audiences For Training

When we announce training on SAP and SuccessFactors integration, the best channels to get the word out are the internal and external social networks that we have built. Since these communities are dynamic living communities, these have become the most reliable and trusted way to spread the word. I want to point out that this is not A channel to spread the word. For us, this has become THE channel to spread the word. We do not even have an email distribution list for announcing events anymore. Everyone in the groups are automatically invited. If they leave they are not invited.

I also use my personal networks on LinkedIn, Google+ Blogger Jam and Twitter to share information, rather than send a heavy newsletter via email. I linked many of these networks so that when I post a blog it gets posted on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn with no additional effort.

SAP Jam is working wonders for us internally at SAP and SuccessFactors. I will talk about this and show some examples at HR Insider Amsterdam. 

SAP Jam Has 9.8 Million Subscribers

At Sapphire 2013 SAP Co-CEO Jim Snabe announced that SAP Jam has more than 9.8 Million Subscribers. That is impressive growth. I was personally involved in a few SAP Jam pursuits. Many customers who buy SuccessFactors Learning for their entire employee population, see SAP Jam as a natural extension of that learning management tool.

Image via Sameer Patel
I have great respect for the collaboration products built by standalone providers and CRM providers. But the huge advantage SAP Jam has is that is is part of most people management software conversations. So when a customer with a million employees considers learning management tools for their employee population, SAP Jam gets a million additional users.

The integration between SAP Jam and SuccessFactors learning is useful and built-in. SAP Jam is natively integrated with SuccessFactors Employee Central. So when a customer with 500,000 users buys Employee Central, SAP Jam is part of the conversation.There are many more possible useful integrations under consideration that will make SAP Jam a part of every sales conversation that SuccessFactors and SAP HCM sales teams have with customers. That is hard to beat even for the best stand-alone collaboration tool providers or tools from CRM providers. SAP Jam is also integrated with SAP OnPremise HCM via the employee master data integration that we released last year. This integration makes it possible for SAP ERP HCM customers to have standard integration with SAP Jam and use it for purposes such as informal learning and social onboarding.

The SAP Jam team is a brilliant and capable team. They also have this huge barrier to entry on their side. SuccessFactors has over 18 million users. SAP HCM has over 25 million users. I would not be surprised if this SAP Jam subscribers number doubles in a year or two.

You can read my hypothesis for social-software-at-work here.

SaaS Vendors Need To Be An Extended Part Of The Customer Organization

With the proliferation of Software-as-a-Service tools that support critical business processes such as sales, people management and operations, software providers have become an extended part of their customer organizations.

During SaaS sales pursuits, vendors cannot go and just explain what the product does and expect customers to embrace their solution. Unfortunately I see many software sales people do this over and over again without success. Vendors and their employees need to study what a particular customers' business realities are and help them understand how the vendor's products and services will fit their needs and solve their current problems. An even better step would be to help customers understand how they can get towards the desired state in multiple phases.

Traditionally, this kind of trusted advising was done by large and expensive consulting organizations which also made a lot of money building custom software for organizations. From my experience working at multiple Software-as-a-Service companies (DigitalThink, SuccessFactors), I have realized that the software vendor needs to take on some of this advisory responsibility to earn the trust of customers.

I tried this approach with tens of customers who were considering SaaS products last year. It works very well. When you spend some time learning the customer's business and the customer's landscape, your conversation with them becomes about the customer's problems and less about individual products.

A workshop to discuss the customer's situation is a key difference between success and failure of SaaS projects
In the past year, when ever I was provided with the opportunity to take this approach by my sales colleagues, customers appreciated it, embraced what I had to recommend and generally bought more than what my sales colleagues were planning to sell. It helped that my incentives were designed to make the customer successful and happy in the long run, and not to sell just one product. In many cases I would mention a product or service that the sales team was not proposing and the customer would end up asking for it and buying it. SAP Jam is a good example of a product which was sought after by customers.

On the contrary,  when my sales colleague lined up an army of individual product experts, who talked about their product and took the plane home, customers failed to make a purchasing decision even after many months. That did not surprise me. Customers want to know how the latest and greatest is relevant for their current reality, which is very often far from ideal and usually pretty messy.

In cases where a customer buys products and services without thinking through how the products will fit  their current business and technology requirements and environments, their projects get delayed and their relationships with the vendors suffer, leading to less business value for both customer and vendor in the long run.

I asked one of my customers recently about their delay in purchasing cloud products. They mentioned that while they were very impressed with the individual features and products and even the value they brought as a suite, they were not clear about where to start, how the products will fit in their current landscape and how they can move to a desired end state in stages. They were not even looking for technical or product details. They were looking for a big picture and my sales colleagues kept bringing in individual product experts to show demo after demo. Clearly that did not work.

This trusted adviser approach is not feasible when an expert is asked to jump on call just to appease a customer. This has to be a deliberate, planned, recognized activity.

The current organization model of most software vendors, where there is a product organization that just builds and another one that markets or sells is not sufficient to support the Software-as-a-Service model, where the vendor in essence becomes an extended part of the customers business and information technology organization. It is time to rethink the kind of organization SaaS software vendors need to build, if they want to be successful.

I know how this worked at DigitalThink, where we supported about 80 customers with a dedicated team of trusted advisers. But there are few proven models today to scale this model to tens of thousands of customers and tens of millions of users. I guess we are going to experiment, learn and improve a lot.

I am not just talking about it. I did bring this up with my colleagues at SAP and SuccessFactors recently. They all agree that we need to do this. Will keep you posted about how it goes. It is going to be a journey for sure.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

SAP Jam In The New SuccessFactors iPad App

The SuccessFactors iPad app got a new look with the May 2013 release. SAP Jam looks very elegant in the new version. I will talk about the iPad version of SAP Jam and how it engages employees at SAP HR Insider 2013.

View of a Group in Jam


HR Insider Sessions For SAP Customers Considering SuccessFactors Learning

This is my second post in a series of posts where I want to recommend sessions to go to and people to meet at HR Insider 2013 in Amsterdam. Rather than write a generic guide, i decided to write multiple posts for audiences with different purposes. What is more valuable than getting the facts is getting to meet the people who create, market and influence the products you see. Meet them and follow them on Twitter. Many of them share information about their products on Twitter.

Your Profile
You are an SAP Learning Solution or SAP Enterprise Learning customer wondering about moving learning management to the cloud by migrating to SuccessFactors Learning. You have heard that SuccessFactors Learning is the go-forward solution for learning management. You are curious about SuccessFactors learning and want to understand how it is different from your beloved Learning Solution (LSO) and how you can migrate to it. You want to meet the experts who know both products well and who can advise on how and when to move learning management to the cloud. You are also wondering how you can bring learning qualifications back to SAP Employee profile when learning management moves to the cloud. You are also wondering if you can get an independent opinion from an expert who does not work at SAP and SuccessFactors.

1. An in-depth look at SuccessFactors Learning by Mark Brandau, SuccessFactors
Tuesday, 11 June, 2013 | 14:45 - 16:00 G104

For understanding what SuccessFactors Learning is and how it is different from SAP Learning Solution I recommend that you attend my colleague Mark Brandau's session

Mark is responsible for product marketing for SuccessFactors Learning. Ask him about the investments we are making on mobile learning. Mark will also talk about our plans for integrating SuccessFactors learning with SAP ERP HCM and SAP ERP.

2. Cloud Or OnPremise Learning Management by Sharon Wolf Newton, hyperCision
Wednesday, 12 June, 2013 | 9:00 - 10:15 | E108

Sharon is an expert in SAP Learning Solution. She wrote the book on the topic along with me and other colleagues. Sharon's company just announced a Rapid Deployment Solution to help you migrate from SAP Learning Solution to SuccessFactors Learning, if you plan to migrate. Her session will give you an independent opinion about moving learning management to the cloud.

3. SAP Jam for Talent Management by Giovanna Enea
Thursday, 13 June, 2013 | 10:45 - 12:00 | Emerald Room
Giovannaa works out of the Walldorf office.

When you consider moving to cloud based learning management, there are two things that I recommend you pay attention to. Social Learning and Mobililty. In this session on SAP Jam for talent management my colleague Giovanna Enea from the SAP Jam product management team will show how SAP Jam can play an important role in social learning and how it is integrated with SuccessFactors Learning management.

4. Ask the expert sessions for Integration in the evenings
Prashanth Padmanabhan

I will participate in two Ask-The-Expert sessions where we can talk about SAP Jam and SAP SuccessFactors integration. I will be glad to listen to your current landscape and share the experiences I gained by working with other customers like you.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

HR Insider Amsterdam Sessions For SAP and SuccessFactors Customers

This is my first in a series of posts where I want to recommend sessions to go to and people to meet at HR Insider 2013 in Amsterdam. Rather than write a generic guide, i decided to write multiple posts for audiences with different purposes. What is more valuable than getting the facts is getting to meet the people who create, market and influence the products you see. Meet them and follow them on Twitter. Many of them share information about their products on Twitter.

Your Profile
You use SAP HCM for Core HR and one or more SuccessFactors talent management applications. You are now looking for new innovations to bring to all employees in your company, while significantly saving money for your company and improving productivity for your company. You love using SAP ERP HCM for Core HR but your employees,particularly the ones born after 1980, are complaining that SAP's user interface looks like it was built before they were born. You are looking for ways to address this problem without re-implementing everything that works fine for you. You want to keep the robust SAP software in place but make the software more social and make it available on mobile devices,even personal mobile devices of employees, where appropriate.

You also want to attract, engage and retain innovative and creative young people to your company. Your want the tool they use to apply for a job and complete the onboarding process to be intuitive, easy and even fun. If this sounds like your goal, these are the sessions you could attend and the people you should meet.

1. SuccessFactors Onboarding by Parvathy Sankar
Thursday, 13 June, 2013  |   9:00 - 10:15  |  D201

When you meet Parvathy ask her about the SuccessFactors Recruiting execution and SuccessFactors Onboarding solutions. Parvathy works out of the Walldorf office.

2. SAP Jam for Talent Management by Giovanna Enea
Thursday, 13 June, 2013 | 10:45 - 12:00 | Emerald Room
Giovanna works out of the Walldorf office.

3. SAP Fiori 
Since SAP Fiori was announced only at Sapphire 2013, there are no sessions dedicated to SAP Fiori. However, my colleague Gertrud Beisel will be there at HR Insider. Gertrud works out of the Palo Alto office.

Meet her and ask her about SAP Fiori HR apps. SAP Fiori is a set of HTML5 applications for end users of SAP ERP HCM. There might be a demo of SAP Fiori apps in the demo pods. Look for them.

I am very excited about the possibilities that SAP Fiori creates for existing SAP HCM customers. Since Fiori apps can be consumed via desktop computers, tablets and smartphones, customers can take these apps to the entire employee population irrespective of their devices.

4. Social and Mobile Innovations from SAP and SuccessFactors by Prashanth Padmanabhan
Wednesday, 12 June, 2013 | 9:00 - 10:15 | E107  I work from the Palo Alto office.

In this session I will walk you through a story, told from the point of view of a new hire experiencing SAP and SuccessFactors social and mobile apps. My plan is to help you weave the multiple social and mobile innovations as a compelling experience for employees of your organizations.

If you meet me at SAP Insider ask me about how SAP is using SAP Jam to improve collaboration within SAP and SuccessFactors and with partners. I will be glad to show you the live SAP Jam group that make SAP and SuccessFactors HCM colleagues productive.

If you think, I missed something or someone relevant, please leave a comment. I appreciate your time.

Friday, May 24, 2013

SuccessFactors Recruiting Integration With SAP ERP HCM

The SuccessFactors Recruiting integration with SAP ERP HCM is now available for customers to use. In the video below, I briefly explain the integration at a high level and talk about a detailed document that solution consultants and professional services colleagues from SAP and partner organizations can use. The training content was created by my colleagues Dagmar Becker, Bianka Woelke and Parvathy Sankar. They also designed the integration in collaboration with customers.

For those who are attending HR Insider 2013 in Amsterdam, I recommend the session on Recruiting by my colleague Parvathy Sankar. If you are an SAP or SuccessFactors partner and want access to the partner Jam group I talked about, please send an email to my colleague Bryan Hart. bhart at successfactors dot com

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Employee Central Payroll Training And Rapid Deployment Solution.

My colleagues Lisa Munzenmaier, Eva Woo and I are working on a training program to train our solution consultants and partners on Employee Central Payroll. Our plan is to provide the following 7 takeaways at the end of this training.

State what is Employee Central Payroll (ECP) to customers
State what Employee Central Payroll does not do
Convey that Employee Central Payroll is based on SAP Payroll
Convey the roadmap of Employee Central Payroll
Articulate the integration between Employee Central (EC) and ECP
Articulate the integration between ECP and SAP ERP Financials
State the details of the Rapid Deployment Solution available for ECP

The training is scheduled for June 25th and June 26th. Please expect invitations soon. If you are a partner and want to be registered, please send an email to bryan dot hart at sap dot com and ask him to add you to the partner Jam group. Once you are part of the group, you will automatically receive an invite. I will also make sure I announce it on Twitter and LinkedIn apart from the regular partner channels.

Rapid Deployment Solution (RDS) For Employee Central Payroll
SAP and SuccessFactors partner Epiuse has announced a Rapid Deployment Solution for Employee Central Payroll implementation. Rapid Deployment Solutions are fixed price professional services packages that enable customers reduce risk by making their budget and implementation timelines efficient and predictable.You can read more about the payroll RDS at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Solution To Help You Move From SAP LSO to SuccessFactors Learning

Moving from one learning management system to another is a pretty important undertaking. When such a move involves moving from an OnPremise learning management system such as SAP Learning Solution or SAP Enterprise Learning to a cloud based learning management system, such as SuccessFactors learning, customers have many questions. They also ask for an expert partner who can help them make that move.

SAP and SuccessFactors partner hyperCision just announced their SAP Qualified Rapid Deployment Solution (RDS) to help customers using SAP Learning Solution make the move to SuccessFactors Learning.

Consider getting their solution if you are moving from SAP Learning Solution to SuccessFactors Learning. It will save you time, money and reduce the risk of your implementation and migration significantly.

SAP HR Insider Amsterdam 2013 Sessions

I will be presenting on the topic of Social and Mobile innovations in SAP and SuccessFactors at HR Insider Amsterdam on Wednesday June 12.  Since I presented on this topic in March, a few new things have happened. The SuccessFactors iPad application has been updated with a new interface. I might be able to show a video or a demo of the same. The new SuccessFactors Onboarding application has been released. There will be separate sessions on the topic.

SAP Mentor, Martin Gillet has invited me to join a panel of experts to discuss how customers are moving their talent management applications to the cloud. I might join that discussion.

I will also be there at two the Ask the expert sessions to listen to customers about their SAP SuccessFactors integration questions. I look forward to seeing you there.

SAP SuccessFactors Integration Sessions
My colleagues Margit Bauer and Sonja van Sleeuwen will be moderating a panel discussion and presenting on the topic of SAP SuccessFactors Integration.

If you are presenting on the topic of SAP SuccessFactors integration, please let me know. I will add the session to this list.

SAP Fiori, the new set of HTML5 apps for SAP ERP were released last week. I am not sure if there is a separate session on the Fiori HR apps. I will update once I find out.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

User Experience Innovation For SAP ERP Customers

When I talk to SAP ERP customers about the user experience innovations in SuccessFactors apps, they usually ask me about user experience innovations in the SAP OnPremise apps. I tell them that there is heavy investment in user experience for OnPremise ERP.

At Sapphire 2013 in Orlando, SAP announced a new set of apps, based on the  HTML5 technology used by most consumer applications, for OnPremise ERP customers. I had a chance to look at some of the apps covering most common end user scenarios. I am sure these apps will change the perception end users have about SAP software. These apps address the consumer-grade user experience expectations of people as well as their mobility expectations. The same apps work on the desktop, tablet and smart phone.

Even the implementation of these apps is easy and fast. I learned that our customer Colgate rolled out these apps to employees in three weeks. You can learn more at

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Number of Integrations An Average HCM Customer Has

Based on the customers I have worked with this year, I learned that, on an average, a customer who has a few thousand employees has about 60 integrations. This includes integrations with their OnPremise systems and third party services for people management. I believe this number will hold good irrespective of the cloud HCM software provider. Naturally, the number of integrations will go up with additional countries and multiple HCM systems. This number is based on a sample of SAP ERP customers.

When customers produce a list larger than 60 integrations, my colleagues and I have a close look to see what are the additional ones. In most cases we found out that multiple integrations existed because they were built by different teams over a period of time and we can combine them and reduce the complexity and cost. What is your experience? How many do your customers have on an average.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

SAP SuccessFactors Integration Sessions At Sapphire Orlando 2013

There are several sessions in Sapphire 2013 that focus on SAP SuccessFactors integration. If you are interested in learning about the current status and roadmap of the integration between SAP HCM and SuccessFactors, you can join the two micro forum sessions that I will be hosting. Please look below for the details. Our customer and partner Infosys  and partner Coeus consulting will join the first micro forum session to share their experiences piloting the integration.

If you would like to see a demo of the master data integration and compensation integration via SAP Netweaver PI, join me at the demo theater sessions where I will be glad to walk you through the demos.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Plan and Budget For Temporary Integrations

I am working with tens of customers who are moving their human capital management apps from behind their firewalls to the cloud. When I meet such customers, I point out one very important thing to them. The process of moving from OnPremise to Cloud may be a multi-year, multi-phase process and they should plan for and budget for temporary integrations to keep their current systems going while they implement new systems.

It is a bit like building a new bridge. You cannot stop traffic on the old bridge while building the new bridge. You may even have to build some temporary roads to keep the current traffic flowing.

This is a picture of the new bay bridge being built across the San Francisco bay courtesy of

Mobile Goals and SuccessFactors Onboarding

The May 2013 release of SuccessFactors has mobile goals access for managers and new hire onboarding. This releases is particularly close to my heart because concepts from Career OnDemand research were incorporated into this release after several months of collaboration between colleagues from SAP and SuccessFactors. I had the pleasure of working closely with the talented and dedicated goals management team.This release incorporates research and ideas from some of the Career OnDemand designers and experts including Enric Gili and Anke Doerzaph.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The New SuccessFactors Onboarding Product

The new Successfactors Employee Onboarding solution was announced today. Lack of Onboarding is more expensive that most people think it is.

Those of you who were involved in the Career OnDemand design days will notice that Lisa Morton is joining a company called WorldMart in this demo video. A lot of my colleagues worked on this product. It is a refreshingly innovative product. The product team will share more in the coming days.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Employee Profile Integration Between SAP HCM and SuccessFactors

When an employee, manager or administrator makes a profile change in SAP HCM, the change can be immediately reflected in SuccessFactors. I plan to show a demo of this integration done via SAP NetWeaver PI, at Sapphire Orlando. Customers have already gone live with this integration. I look forward to showing you the demo.

This is the trailer I created to explain the integration story.

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