Did SuccessConnect 2019 Meet Your Expectations?

Did SuccessConnect 2019 Meet Your Expectations? featured image

SuccessConnect is in the books for 2019, so it is time to look back and see if SAP’s major HR-focused event was all that we hoped it to be. We’ve already pointed out that Human Experience Management (HXM) and the integration of Qualtrics into SAP® SuccessFactors® was a major theme. How did that align with our expectations?

When we asked attendees before the event, there was some interest around Qualtrics and experience management. However, the most often expected announcements were around SuccessFactors Employee Central and Employee Central Payroll.

Those that we asked weren’t the only ones expecting to hear about payroll. Blogger and consultant Brandon Toombs put clarity around the future of SuccessFactors payroll as his No. 1 wish for SuccessConnect. Payroll industry expert Steve Bogner’s was also looking for answers as well. In his SAP HCM Insights Podcast, his chief concern is that the database model for payroll doesn’t match the Employee Central model – making it difficult to combine data.

Is SuccessFactors Employee Central the Only Option After 2025?

Customers continue to focus on migration from on-premise when do they have to migrate – or upgrade to SuccessFactors. That answer has not changed.

If you’re an SAP HR customer with payroll, your basic options are

  • move to Employee Central and Employee Central Payroll by 2025 which is SAP’s official long-term strategy;
  • stay with your on-premise model up until 2030 if you move to S/4 HANA on-premise and upgrade your ECC6.0 on-premise system with compatibility packs – you can do this as soon as Q3 2023; or
  • stay with your on-premise system as is and pay higher maintenance fees and go without enhancements that support a simpler-to-manage, modern user experience.

A question that continues to be raised by analysts and payroll consultants is how soon is a next gen payroll coming? Should customers wait for that model? In payroll roadmap sessions, it was clear that Employee Central Payroll (ECP) is the solution for the near future, and that SuccessFactors will continue to innovate and develop that product—the new Flex Pay feature is a prime example of that.

SAP’s Focus is on the Experience

Rather than focusing on basic functionality at SuccessConnect, SAP SuccessFactors is creating a vision for the future that focuses on user experience. The demos we saw on the stage were all mobile, driving home SAP’s focus on delivering a modern user experience – one that is fully functional for end-to-end processes on mobile device – and responsive to the way a new workforce gets things done. To that end, a new Home Page is planned for next year. The interface will include a digital assistant built on Machine Learning.

New Features and Upgrades – Talent Acquisition, LMS and Jam?

Customers we spoke with ahead of SuccessConnect were most interested in new features for talent acquisition, Learning Management and Jam. On the big stage, HXM was the big solution to Talent Acquisition. In the keynote with Amy Wilson, we got a glimpse at the new employee experience, as mobile demonstrations show the user adeptly moving throughout performance management objectives, a candidate experience, and a recruiting manager experience. These experiences are intended to tie the SuccessFactors suite of products together and out of the silos in which functions have been managed; moving from clunky, disjointed work steps to connected content and processes.

The new candidate experience on a mobile device envisions showing the employee much more about a job posting in a user-friendly, visual way. Candidates might, for example, see a map that can show distance from home to job; or virtually meet the hiring manager.

In other Recruiting news, SAP SuccessFactors is releasing an evergreen requisition, in response to demand from customers. This evergreen requisition is designed to meet the needs of industries that have a need to gather a pool of candidates for a certain position that is common across a business – like a sales clerk, for example, in a retail environment.

For Learning Management, the user experience will focus on the employee who is “always on” (mobile user), multi-generational (continual learner) and commitment to career versus organization. This results in a learning landing page that is more like Amazon-shopping than old fashioned Corporate learning.

SAP SuccessFactors Learning HCM

What about Jam? We wanted to know about SAP Jam, too. But, unfortunately, none of us saw a roadmap. If you are reading this and you have an update – please let us know.

You Didn’t Ask but Rizing is Following

Rizing consultant Lindsay Jauss is closely following SAP Cloud Identity Authentication Service (IAS). IAS is a single identify service for all SAP cloud solutions – beyond the concept of Single Sign On. Apart from the user name-password based log-in, IAS also supports 2 factor/token, social sign on, SPNEGO, and corporate user stores. Why is this important? This centralizes user management across the cloud platform, ultimately with the goal of simplifying the amount of effort it takes to secure your landscape. Starting now, new customers are set up on SAP Cloud Platform Identity Authentication automatically.

Onboarding 2.0 will be generally available in the Q4 2019 release. It’s not an easy switch to move to 2.0 from 1.0; but there is also no end of life date for 1.0 yet. Our Rizing expert, Zakiyyeh Muhammad, noted two important elements of Onboarding 2.0 she learned at SuccessConnect that customers should be aware of:

  • PDF files will no longer be supported in Onboarding 2.0. SAP is moving everything to their document management system using XTP files. Customers will need to procure additional software to create XTP files
  • The general availability release in Q4 does not include any compliance. If you’re looking to implement a different experience for new hire – i.e., one where the manager actively sends a welcome letter to new hires, for example, then 2.0 is for you. Compliance related functions will be rolled out country by country in future releases.

Guiding Complex Transitions to Cloud addressed efforts by SAP working with partners to simplify deployment strategies, integration, custom business requirements, working within the framework of implementation design principles. Rizing is an eager participant – having delivered a range of implementation options through our IMPACT methodology and simplifying the deployment and management of payroll with our Synchrony Payroll.

What Did We Learn in Total?

Going forward, payroll will continue to be a hot topic in the SuccessFactors community. There have been expectations of a new payroll from SAP SuccessFactors for a while, but Employee Central Payroll remains the cloud option for SAP payroll customers.

The roadmap sessions were extremely well done with plenty of time for questions and answers. And this is why people come to conferences – to get the information first-hand and leave really understanding the product. It’s difficult to recreate those conversations here in writing.

Employee experience matters. In part, that employee experience will be built upon Qualtrics. But mostly, experience will be an innate part of how the SAP SuccessFactors HCM suite functions to remove process and technology silos. We’ll see the experience play out in talent acquisition, performance management, the candidate experience and more. And – increasingly – we will see a mobile-first interface.

“All in all there wasn’t a lot of really big stuff announced here,” says Steve Bogner of SuccessConnect 2019, but a lot of stuff that add up to something big.” “It’s a good vision,” Brandon Toombs agrees.

For more on what was discussed at SAP’s big HCM event, check out our recap of the best SuccessConnect customer and roadmap sessions.