Are the benefits of cloud HR (better employee experience, increased productivity and satisfaction, and reduced costs) worth the effort and risks associated with the transformation?

This SAPinsider benchmark report uncovers what is driving HR to the cloud while also taking an in-depth look at:

  • Where SAP customers are on their journey to the cloud
  • Which HR business processes are prioritized in the migration to the cloud
  • How SAP customers measure the success of their HR business processes in the cloud and justify the business case for cloud HR

SAPinsider State of the Market Report

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When the word “experience” is thrown out at a retail conference, it is typically preceded by the word “customer.” However, at NRF 2020 in New York City, there was plenty of discussion around employee experience as well. As we’ve said before, HR can be a competitive differentiator, and that’s why SAP SuccessFactors, Rizing, and retailers were at NRF to discuss how to transform employee experience from recruitment to retire with Human Experience Management.

Bringing Together Human Experience Management

SAP SuccessFactors initially introduced the Human Experience Management suite at SuccessConnect 2019. The suite combines the HCM tools of SAP SuccessFactors with the employee experience tools from Qualtrics.

Mia Stanzale, Principal Consultant at SAP SuccessFactors, gave a video overview of what is within Human Experience Management at NRF:

Qualtrics will be a big part of the SAP message in 2020 for Retail and many other industries. Human Experience Management looks to bring together the ‘O’ (or operational) data of SAP SuccessFactors and the ‘X’ (or experiential) data of Qualtrics. The goal of the ‘X’ data is to capture employee insight on engagement, major work events, as well as culture and benefits.

Customer Loyalty Starts with Employees

Building a loyal customer base is key to success in retail. That loyalty isn’t always created from low prices or specific merchandise, it often comes from positive experiences between customers and employees.

For example, a restaurant may have great cocktails or food, but a bad interaction with waitstaff can send a customer away for good. On the other side, exemplary service that first time may create a fan for life.

Our own Sherryanne Meyer sat in on Qualtrics Senior XM Scientist Nan Russel’s NRF presentation, and she describes how insight into employee experience can impact customer loyalty:

Having a deeper view into your employees’ experiences through Human Experience Management will help you understand how they are receiving training, if that training is effective, and if your organizational values and processes are being conveyed. Typically, you might only find this information out after a customer complaint, but you can avoid that by measuring employee experience throughout the training process.

In the end, knowing if your employees are properly trained raises the likelihood of good customer experiences, which means more loyal customers.

Read more from NRF 2020: SAP Uses Technology to Eliminate Bias in Hiring

In the era of transforming (Finance Transformation, Revenue Transformation, etc.), many organizations are still early in their journey of transition from old school on-premise Human Resources Information Systems to modern consumer-grade Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions.

The scenario is that, if you are starting to look at modernizing your HR technology landscape, it is likely that your business last changed the HCM systems 15 to 20 years ago when the compelling event was moving from Mainframe to a client-server architecture. The business case then was about a cheaper, more agile, set of boxes which were managed by your internal IT team. The paradigm has shifted significantly during that period and the elements of the business case are different, but the intent is the same: Make the business better.

Because organizations do not change their HCM systems every day, this is not a core competency for them. Generally, businesses are not savvy in what questions they should be asking when considering a change in their HCM landscape.

  1. The first step before going to market, is to determine why you are doing this and what is the problem you are trying to solve

The problem definition should optimally include leadership and key representatives from the HCM line of business as well as from IT. Having both IT and HR collaborate at this juncture ensures that this is defined as a holistic business initiative versus a tug of war.

  • Scenario 1: We are in an industry where we expect a wave of retirements in the next years and we are having challenges attracting, developing, and retaining the right talent.
  • Scenario 2: Over time, our systems and processes have grown to be disparate and inefficient. We are looking to standardize.
  • Scenario 3: We want to project the image of a modern employer with a consumer grade employee experience anywhere at any time.

The above are only three examples and are not meant to be an exhaustive list. The point is that being clear on the problem definition will help greatly in finding the right solution for your organization.  More on that later.

  1. Identify the cloud HCM vendors whose solutions are most likely to meet your needs

If in the first step, for example, you have identified that the issues you face are mostly around attracting, developing, and retaining the best, you should be seeking a Cloud HCM provider that is recognized for having the Best-in-class talent suite. If the vendor you are considering is not known as among the best in the areas which you have identified as the issues you are trying to solve, there is serious misalignment right out of the gate.

In order to evaluate which solution best meets your needs, you can use some of the information published by reputable analyst firms such as Gartner, IDC, Constellation Research, HFS, etc. These organizations specialize in providing an opinion on the technology market and can provide the data which can help you narrow down the HCM solutions that are best fit. They have the advantage of being (mostly) vendor agnostic in their assessment and recommendation.

Once you have identified the Cloud HCM vendors with which you want to engage, make sure they recommend implementation partners as you will want to evaluate both the solution and potential partners to accompany you in optimizing the value of your transformation.

The right choice of partner to implement the solution is as important as the product selection plus, you will need high-level project cost estimates from implementation partners for your Business Case as well as subscription costs. There are tools which you can use to perform due diligence on implementation partners. For example, SAP publishes a link for customers to access partner statistics showing their numbers of certified consultants—it’s also a good idea to get to know the different levels of certification.

Another source is Raven Intel where customers can evaluate implementation partners. You cannot assume that because a firm claims to be experts in implementing a software that a) The firm that builds the software has the proper programs in place to ensure that all of their implementation partners are quality vendors and b) The potential implementation partner invests massively in product certification and in consulting skills training.

Be wary of firms, mostly the large generalists who are everything to everyone, who will focus heavily on the transformation elements such as Change Management and Business Process Reengineering and will use big words like “insert here” Service Delivery Model Renewal. Clearly, these elements are very important to a successful transformation, but unless they present to you a balanced team made up of consultants that have deep product knowledge and extensive implementation experience, you are destined to fail. It is no longer true that you don’t get fired for hiring a big firm.

  1. The third step is to build the Business Case

In order to get the funds required to move forward with such a project, it is key to being able to demonstrate the return on investment. Here there are many steps on what you need to build a compelling Business Case.

In the next part of this series on transforming the human experience, we will discuss the the building blocks of a foolproof business case for moving to a cloud HCM solution.

Visionary Talent was one of the core topics of discussion in keynotes and sessions at NRF 2020, a gathering spot for over 40,000 attendees and 18,000 retailers. By NRF’s definition, Visionary Talent means bringing in and nurturing the people who bring out your best. It’s easier to do that when you make sure that your company is open to as diverse a population as possible.  

Simply being more diverse and inclusive in hiring is easier said than done. Judith Williams, SAP Head of People Sustainability, spoke at NRF 2020 about inherent biases that exist in everyone, and that how someone’s mood or even an empty stomach can bring those biases to the forefront. That’s where she suggested leaving some decisions to technology.  

Using Machine Learning to Tackle Hiring Bias

‘If we build the right type of algorithm, it’s never tired, it’s never frustrated, it’s never hungry,” says research person,” said Williams.   

She adds that the algorithms do need to be trained on the right dataset. Data that is biased will create algorithms that are biased. That means for any company looking to create greater diversity and inclusion in hiring and advancement through algorithmic means will need to ensure they are staying on top of their data and checking for any biased results it is producing. You can see the full interview with Williams here: 

SAP SuccessFactors has built algorithms to help eliminate gender bias into its Recruiting Management module using text mining and machine learning technology. This job analyzer functionality examines job postings and assesses them for any gender biases. Some language is more likely to attract male or female applicants, but this anti-bias tool helps to create gender neutral job postings.  

Making HR a Competitive Advantage in Retail 

Creating unbiased job postings means your recruiting staff have access to a more divers pool of applicants, giving them a higher change to find that exceptional candidate that will bring out the best in your organization. That’s one way that HR can be a competitive advantage for retailers and all industries.   

Systems SAP SuccessFactors provide the data and the technology to eliminate bias in your recruiting and throughout your HR organization, as well as providing intuitive interfaces that allow your employees and managers to access their human resources data and manage their careers.  

Bringing the right people in through unbiased methods and then empowering them with process and technology will ensure your company can meet NRF’s 2020 idea of Visionary Talent. 


With a failure rate of nearly 85% for early digital transformations it is no wonder why so many are merely talking about their next major modernization project. The next big step for many of the retailers we work with is the SAP S/4HANA platform. As I speak with more and more people in my network there is one glaring commonality and it comes in the form of the question, “where do we begin?” Being a data purist my reply is always, “with your data.”

Whether it’s improving your customers’ experience, significantly improving your company’s productivity or transforming how you engage with your employees – S/4HANA enables innovation but not without data. Data is the fuel that drives the digital transformation engine and the innovation that it brings.

Treating data as a strategic asset means understanding your data model in relation to critical business processes, as well as, the state of your data. And by that, I mean the health of your data.  Gartner estimates the financial impact of degrading data is between $9.7M and $14.2M annually for US companies.

Bad data breeds bad outcomes. That’s why I believe that a data first strategy is the key to jump starting a successful S/4HANA implementation. Not only does it have the potential to significantly impact a businesses’ long-term success, it can also have significant positive impact on project timelines, cost and perhaps most importantly, decreasing the overall complexity of the end-state solution.

Rizing’s approach to data management and governance is grounded in the belief that data starts and ends with people and is supported by technology. That’s why we are starting our clients’ S/4HANA journeys with an assessment of their data, data team, key stakeholders and knowledge workers. Our clients gain an understanding of the scalability of their data and data capabilities, identify gaps and opportunities for improvement and build an action plan to prepare their data for their SAP S/4HANA implementation.

Meet Rizing at NRF 2020 
Talk to Rizing at NRF 2020 in New York City, January 12th-14th. We are in booth 4636 next to SAP’s booth. You can request an NRF meeting time with us at this link. 

Implementing SAP SuccessFactors Performance and Goals software can help make performance review season easier. However, taking the time to develop a performance review plan that utilizes that technology is equally important if you want long-term benefits.

The following is a checklist to help you breeze through the preparation for the upcoming review process.

1)    Create next year’s goal plan. Many people come out of the annual performance review cycle with ideas for goals. Give them a place to log those goals so they don’t lose them. Create the next year goal plan and permission them to see it in SAP SuccessFactors.

2)    Communicate timing early and often. Knowing what your performance review timeline looks like keeps your HR team on track. It also helps employees plan the time they need to complete their duties. Be mindful of the natural ebb and flow of your organization. Pick the best time for the majority of people to complete the review. You will never be able to satisfy everyone, so satisfying most is certainly an acceptable goal.

3)    Review your rating scale and make any adjustments to the wording or number of rating options. While it seems like an easy task to go in and make performance review rating scale changes in SAP SuccessFactors, the change management it takes to get your employee and management population to use the new rating scale effectively can be monumental. It often takes several communications, examples and training programs to really get a new rating scale put into place and widely used consistently.

4)    Review your competency structure and update any competency names, descriptions, and writing assistant text. Creating a competency model for your company is a lofty task. Typically, once you have established a competency model, there is not a lot of work that needs to be done year after year. The piece you can continue to enhance in SAP SuccessFactors is the competency writing assistant text. Talk to your employees about the writing assistant and for which competencies it is most needed. Start there when making updates and improvements.

5)    Review your route maps in SuccessFactors. The route map concept in SAP SuccessFactors is the path a review takes from the moment the form is created until it is complete. Were there any bottlenecks in the performance review process last year that you want to avoid this year? Does any of text need to be tweaked? If you supply “step due” dates for each part of the process, have you updated those review dates for the upcoming year timeline?

6)    Review your user data to ensure the manager and human resource representatives are correct for each employee and people who are no longer with the company have been inactivated. Most of the SAP SuccessFactors performance and goals product relies heavily on these two relationships for the most of the process to function accurately. Have your managers and your HR team complete a quick spot check of their reporting relationships before the form launch is critical to avoiding rework.

7)    Review job specific competency mappings. As prep work for performance review season, you need to ensure that any new job titles that have been added throughout the year are created in the families and roles structure within SAP SuccessFactors, they have a job code attached, and they have competencies associated to it. In addition, you need to ensure that all employees do in fact have the appropriate job code tied to their record. Reviewing and updating this information before you launch your annual performance review will ensure that employees are not receiving a review where the competency section is blank.

8)    Review the layout and design of the performance review form. This item is the one you really want to do some careful thinking and advance planning around. Making changes to a form in SuccessFactors can happen a few different ways. Customers, if they are comfortable, can make some changes themselves by contacting SAP SuccessFactors support, or a partner like Rizing, to assist with the changes. Detailing out what is necessary, making the changes, and testing the changes can take a good bit of time to get correct and working smoothly.  Please be sure you leave enough time to vet out all the changes before it is too late and you want to launch the form the next day!

9)    Just before form launch, review the form template to ensure all pieces are accurately connected. In Form Template Settings, ensure that the form title is correct, the correct route map is associated to the form, the performance review start, end, and due dates are correct and all the appropriate switches for your process have been enabled. In Manage Templates, review the form title to ensure it matches what is used in Form template settings, review the correct rating scale is being used, and that the appropriate goal plan and development goal plan are attached to the form where applicable.

10) Avoid Surprises for Employees. SAP SuccessFactors now offers a tool called Continuous Performance Management that encourages and enables on ongoing dialogue between managers and employees. With this consistent communication, managers should have an easier time evaluating at the end of the year, and employees should see fewer surprises on their reviews.

Alleviate Stress with a Performance Review Plan

While this list is not meant to be all inclusive, it is a really good starting point for most companies to get them thinking about their own performance review process and what they need to coordinate and complete to have a successful performance review cycle.  Having a plan for each part of this process will eliminate some of the stress that is typically associated with the review process during an already busy time frame.

You can stay up to date with the latest updates in SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management by checking out our Q4 2019 Release Analysis.

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However, having a structured framework to help you evaluate the different systems and system implementation partners makes all the difference.

Our step-by-step guide will breakdown what you need to simplify the selection process and pick the right LMS for your organization.

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4. The 6 Questions to Ask Potential Implementation Partners
5. The Master List of LMS Features - Easy Checklist Edition
5. Rizing's LMS Planner




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Blended learning, mobile learning, data protocols…

Learning management systems have come a long way. These days, your LMS must be user-friendly, content-rich, and career growth-oriented to achieve the necessary results.

However, deciding whether it is time to invest in a new LMS can be tough – especially in today’s economic environment. This is why we created this e-Book – to help make the decision process a little less complicated for you.

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5. The Master List of LMS Features - Easy Checklist Edition


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Payroll needs to be right. Out of compliance? Your company may face fines. If employees find errors in their paychecks, they are likely to leave. APQC’s benchmarking database shows that one quarter of employees will look for a new job after one payroll mistake and this increases to 49% after the employee experiences two mistakes.

Payroll impacts employee retention and the bottom line of the company, and products like SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll (ECP) help organizations stay accurate and compliant—APQC benchmarks also show that payroll errors take between three to eight days to fix, so accuracy is vital. Employee Central Payroll delivers a modern cloud payroll solution that is updated with biannual releases and localization updates as they occur.

But for some payroll customers, implementing and managing a sophisticated payroll system such as ECP can seem like an impossible dream. In the past, small and medium enterprises have simply been unable to afford the cost of implementation and support. So, the benefits of automated payroll functions have been left to larger companies, while emerging businesses are left without that competitive advantage.

Growth organizations need to implement payroll in a quick and cost-effective manner with leading practice processes, limited configuration, and globalized templates coupled with localized decisions. The solution needs to be able to grow with their enterprise. And finding the talent to manage ongoing support of the solution needs to be easy.

Rizing offers Synchrony Payroll, which has recently become available in the United States, and will be in Canada soon. Synchrony Payroll is a subscription-based cloud payroll solution built on ECP and utilizing years of industry and technical expertise to enable accelerated and streamlined deployment of ECP, with end-to-end services including the subscription, implementation, and support.

Data Management, Compliance, and System Administration

Synchrony Payroll is composed of three components to help organizations manage payroll:

  • HR Data Management and Payroll with integration into SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, which ensures accurate employee information gathering, employee timekeeping, payroll approvals, and employee payments and stubs.
  • Reporting, tax maintenance and compliance, and end of calendar year processes, which includes taxes and withholding, payroll recording and reporting, and compliance with the help of partners like SpinifexIT and, in the case of the US, with cloud BSI Tax Factory
  • System administration and ongoing maintenance with user support, year-end activity execution, and legal change implementation. This is provided as a level of service from Rizing in partnership with your organization—how much service depends on your needs.

Flexible Deployment and Support Options

There are three deployment options for prospective Synchrony Payroll, with the difference between the three being how much customization your company needs to tailor the system to your individual requirements.

At the base level, Rizing is able to deploy Synchrony Payroll in three months— using our out-of-the-box solutions and a remote delivery team that works with key subject matter experts in your organization. We’ll also ensure you know how the system works, upload your important data, and help you launch your payroll.

Other deployment options will include less pre-configuration and more client specific needs, ranging from six to nine months in deployment times. Each level will also include an increasingly high number of on-site Rizing staff that focuses on ensuring your unique needs are met.

After deploying Synchrony Payroll, you also have options to determine how much support you need in maintaining your payroll system and processes. Rizing has three levels that range from application support and legal compliance to end-to-end service that includes customer service, data entry and payroll processing.

At the highest level of support, your HR team is given the freedom to focus on improving and innovating HR processes, as the payroll tasks have been handed off to Rizing. In between those lowest and highest levels of service, the mid-level support option allows your company to maintain data entry, employee interaction and the execution of payroll, if desired. At this mid-level, Rizing provides high quality transactional services such as time management and payroll execution.

Benefits of Having Options

The flexibility of implementation and service options combined with Rizing’s SAP SuccessFactors expertise and proprietary migration utilities means that you have the assurances that your data will be accurate at deployment – in whatever deployment approach you choose.  Our payroll experts ensure master data is integrated into core HR for the most accurate payroll at a level of investment that meets your company needs.

On top of that, there’s also pre-built compliance for 45 different countries (and counting), and all the other benefits of Employee Central Payroll.

Finally, and most important for your employees, flexible payroll options allow your organization to take advantage of the latest user interface upgrades that are designed to create more efficient processes through automation, intelligent services and mobile adaptations.

Sophisticated payroll isn’t just for the largest organizations. Rizing Synchrony Payroll opens up these benefits to a broader set of organizations of varying sizes and unique payroll requirements. To find out how it fits with your organization, request a demo from Rizing.

SAP SuccessFactors will have two releases in 2020, a change from the previous quarterly release schedule. As usual, each release will come with a preview period that allows customers to test new features and functionality before it goes live, as well as the live production release date.

Related: SAP SuccessFactors Q4 2019 Employee Central Release Analysis 

We can expect the biannual releases to be larger than the previous quarterly releases, so SAP SuccessFactors is adding an extra week to those preview periods, meaning customers will have five weeks instead of the previous four to check out the latest updates before they hit their systems.

The 2020 SAP SuccessFactors release dates are expected to be in the spring and fall, with dates as follows::

  • First Half 2020 Release
    • Preview – April 10, 2020
    • Production – May 15, 2020
  • Second Half 2020 Release
    • Preview – October 16, 2020*
    • Production – November 20, 2020

The Cloud Advantage

Frequent and automatic updates are a benefit of cloud HCM software like SAP SuccessFactors. Customers receive the benefit of the latest innovation without large-scale technical projects.

There is still change management, of course, that still goes along with cloud releases. That change management will be cut down for SAP SuccessFactors customers this year with the change from quarterly to biannual updates. However, it is still important for customers to have change management and release management processes in place to ensure their SAP SuccessFactors investment is maximized.

Staying Up-to-Date with SAP SuccessFactors Releases

Each release is full of updates in nearly every module of the SAP SuccessFactors suite. There are a number of ways to stay in the know with the newest innovations, fixes, and enhancements. One of which is to follow the Rizing HCM blog, where our experienced consultants dig into the release notes to find the most important updates. For the total picture, it’s important to follow the SAP SuccessFactors Community release page.