The SAP® SuccessFactors® community is abuzz today with breakthrough news on a new biannual SuccessFactors release schedule. Hinted at during SuccessConnect 2019 in Las Vegas, SuccessFactors releases will be trimmed down from four times each year to twice each year. That begins in 2020, when the production releases will be May 15 and November 20, with preview releases typically coming about a month prior.
What this does not mean is that SAP is backing off from any level of support. Nor does this mean that SAP is backing off from innovation.
Business critical and compliance related changes will continue to occur within SAP SuccessFactors regular maintenance windows. SAP SuccessFactors Mobile and Recruiting monthly release schedule will continue.
Why the Change to the SuccessFactors Release Schedule? And Why Now?
This release schedule change is focused on the customer experience. In the past, we might have considered quarterly releases a best practice—your system is always cutting edge because it is updated four times a year. As SuccessFactors’ products and customers themselves have matured in cloud expertise, it has become increasingly clear that enhancements that come so frequently can be unnecessarily disruptive to running a business.
Making a firm decision to commit to only two releases a year is gutsy. It may take a while for some customers to adjust—but I suspect that the adjustment will be quick. A few years ago, SAP attempted to minimize the impact of the quarterly release strategy by announcing enhancements twice a year and non-critical fixes in the other two quarterly releases. Still, if you’re a customer, you know that four times a year, your team needed to remain alert for potential system changes that might impact your processes.
Rachel Wagner, Rizing HCM Consultant who works closely with our customers, says, “This is a nice shift because internally the administrative time that goes into tracking and testing every quarter takes time. From a project perspective, twice a year means less disruption during the project cycle since new updates mid–project may require a little backtracking and retesting as new features or functionality are released.“
“As we continually strive to improve our customers’ experience we look for ways to reduce disruption and increase our velocity of innovation,” says Andrew Hilton, SAP SuccessFactors’ Software Release and Project Manager, “Based on overwhelming customer feedback, SAP SuccessFactors releases will occur twice per year. This release frequency won’t slow the amount of innovation you’ve come to expect, rather it will provide your company with more time to understand, test and adopt opt-in features.”
So, less frequent change means increased efficiency in managing, enhancing and deploying your HCM system. The goal should be to have efficiency at the right level. Let’s not get too comfortable with our technology or we’ll miss opportunities to generate innovative efficiencies and experiences for our employees and our customers.
Stay tuned right here and we’ll keep you alert to when formal announcements are made, and when and where educational content is available. And—regardless of how often releases occur—don’t stick your head in the sand and get too relaxed about these releases. Managing the releases properly is your biggest opportunity to create the proper environment for advancing your organization into the Human Experience Management of the future.
Want to know more?
Find recaps of the latest (Q3 2019) releases: