SuccessConnect 2018 Debrief: Impressions of SAP SuccessFactors’ Big Las Vegas Event

Leading up to SuccessConnect 2018 in Las Vegas, we polled our community to find out what they wanted to see and hear at SAP®’s premier HCM-focused event. Now that they event is over, let’s take a look back to see how what we saw from SAP® SuccessFactors® aligned with our expectations.

We’ll also examine how the event went overall, from the new venue to the messaging.

The Products

The core of SuccessFactors—Employee Central—was the key focus for those we surveyed ahead of SuccessConnect, but developments in Employee Central were not the focus of the product announcements or keynote.

Instead, SuccessFactors focused on technologies which may prove to bolster Employee Central overall. For example, SAP announced that it is beta-testing Digital Assistant, a voice-activated assistant similar to Siri or Alexa which can help users navigate the software. Additionally, SuccessFactors discussed its upcoming People Analytics tool, which will replace Workforce Analytics and combine Employee Central data with data across the HCM suite.

Beyond Employee Central, SAP Cloud Platform was a focus before the event for our community. There weren’t specific announcements or major discussions on developments around the platform for a broad audience, but SuccessFactors president Greg Tomb discussed the important of partners to innovate—and the cloud platform is a tool for that.

Expect more on SAP Cloud Platform at next week’s SAP TechEd event, also in Las Vegas. Rizing HCM will have a large group in attendance ready to learn about the latest and greatest in SAP technology.

Total Workforce Management—the intersection of internal labor in SuccessFactors and external labor in SAP Fieldglass—was also top of mind for our survey respondents. This was highlighted by Tomb in his keynote, and discussed in multiple Facebook Live videos from SuccessFactors, including this chat between Rizing HCM Fieldglass Practice Director Duane Butenschoen and Fieldglass Global Alliances and COE Director Lesleigh Seagram on how SAP is building out its Fieldglass partner ecosystem.

We are excited to be a part of that ecosystem. Check out our webcast “SAP Fieldglass and the Future of Work” to gain a better understanding of how SAP Total Workforce Management fits into your company’s strategy.

Finally, SuccessFactors product lead Amy Wilson discussed an upcoming revamp to the SuccessFactors Talent Management solution over the next few releases—with a focus on mobile and analytics. Only a small portion of our surveyed community expected to hear on Talent Management, but the upcoming changes were nevertheless interesting to hear.

“[The new Talent Management] will be about providing insight to individuals so they can grow their career and bloom in their job,” said Wilson on-stage during her SuccessConnect product keynote. “That is so essential to the future in terms of breaking down silos.”

Wilson explained that SuccessFactors will utilize artificial intelligence to help guide employees to their ideal career path, pointing to the right learning content to help along the way as well as the right people to provide guidance.

The Venue

SuccessConnect 2018 keynote SuccessFactors

SAP knew it had to increase the size of the venue for SuccessConnect 2018 after the 2017 event sold out. It did just that, with the Aria providing plenty of space for sessions as well as a much more navigable show floor—making it easy for customers to connect with partners and SuccessFactors. The row of restaurants adjacent to the conference center were a bonus.

The keynote hall was much larger. It wasn’t actually in the Aria and required a bit of a walk to the Park MGM—I think I lost weight during the event—but it provided enough space so that all that wanted to attend keynotes from SAP CEO Bill McDermott, Ariana Huffington, and Michael J. Fox were able to find a seat.

In the end, the walk didn’t seem to bother attendees, as the keynotes were packed on both days.

The Heart

SuccessFactors is all about the heart—even keeping it part of the logo after merging into the larger SAP brand. Along with products, our community believed HR practices—the real heart of HCM—to be an important topic for SAP.

Working with humans—not technology—was the focus of McDermott’s fireside chat, as he narrowed on the vital role that HR plays in the bottom line of the company.

“Everything you do within a company has to connect with the people you serve outside of the company, and the culture of the company is everything,” said McDermott.

It wasn’t just the keynotes. There were a number of breakout sessions focused on important topics such as HR process transformation to match changing workplace demographics and diversity and inclusion. If you wanted to find the heart, it wasn’t far away.

SuccessConnect 2018 show floor


This was the biggest SuccessConnect yet, but it still managed to provide the hyper-focus on HCM technology and HR topics that attendees were seeking. Despite the bigger venue, the intimate feeling was still there, and it provided a platform for customers, partners, and SuccessFactors to learn and exchange ideas.

There could have been more on the product side from SuccessConnect, but it is important to remember that the software updates quarterly—the next big product announcement is right around the corner.

Overall, a good experience for those in attendance and I’m positive most found what they needed and more.

Stay in the know on all the latest SAP TechEd and SuccessFactors quarterly release announcements with our blog.