SuccessConnect 2020: 4 Big Takeaways on HXM, SAP Work Zone for HR, and More
Last week, SAP SuccessFactors went virtual with the SuccessConnect 2020 aimed at North America. The one-day event tried to pack in all the content of the typical two-day in-person get-together, with keynotes, roadmaps, customer stories, and even a celebrity speaker.
We have four key takeaways from the event, including what we heard from strategic and technical perspectives. You can also check out our “after-party” recap, where we discussed our impressions of SuccessConnect 2020:
Four Takeaways from SuccessConnect 2020
- Human Experience is the Driving Force
It was hard not to notice that Human Experience was the central theme during SuccessConnect, and the COVID-19 reality supported the conversation. SAP SuccessFactors president Jill Popelka praised SuccessFactors customers many times for their handling of the situation—from safety protocols to remote work.
Of course, SAP launched its Human Experience Management (HXM) brand after SAP acquired Qualtrics last year, so the two are always tied. We saw the integration of Qualtrics experience management at many points, from the new SuccessFactors home page (we’ll discuss that later) in the keynote to roadmap sessions for SuccessFactors modules.
But the Human Experience is more than just listening to employees; it’s also about giving them a great work environment, even when out of the office. Popelka says that HXM is about putting people at the center—a change from last year’s “Moment’s that Matter” theme, and that is relevant to their design processes. That brings us to takeaway No. 2:
- Home Pages are En Vogue
SuccessFactors is launching a new home page in its H2 2020 release, and we got to see it in action during the keynotes and sessions. The new home page offers engagement cards, which will allow some functions to be conducted without leaving the screen. Additionally, we saw the integration of Qualtrics pulse surveys.
This should be just the beginning of a revamped employee and manager experience. SuccessFactors product lead Amy Wilson pointed out the home page sets the stage for design patterns adopted across the HCM suite.
The new SuccessFactors home page wasn’t the only employee launching point we saw discussed at SuccessConnect 2020. SAP Work Zone for HR was also highlighted. This caused some confusion among attendees about the difference between Work Zone and the home page. Still, it boils down to this: The SuccessFactors home page is just launching into SuccessFactors-related modules and applications. SAP Work Zone for HR can be used as a portal to any application an employee might need from the broader ERP landscape.
For example, we saw that Corning used SAP Work Zone for HR to build its 2021 benefits portal. The famed glass company discussed how the benefits site was built by their in-house benefits team, without much intervention from HR operations. Corning estimated savings in the “hundreds of thousands” over a third-party website builder.
During the SuccessFactors Executive Q & A, products lead Amy Wilson noted that SAP will build much of the same SuccessFactors home page functionality into SAP Work Zone for HR. It’s also important to note that SAP Work Zone for HR is not part of the SuccessFactors product package and does carry separate licenses.
- SAP is all-in on Diversity and Inclusion
The Business Beyond Bias program has existed within SAP SuccessFactors for many years, which focused on using machine learning to bypass inherent biases. That has worked on making job postings more gender-neutral. SAP’s own work towards gender inclusion was front-and-center when the day wrapped up with an all-female executive Q&A.
By bringing in Viola Davis as a guest speaker, SAP SuccessFactors showed it is looking at Diversity and Inclusion not only from a gender perspective but from all perspectives.
In a separate Q&A with media after SuccessConnect, Popelka noted that she has her entire HR research team focused on diversity—and this is relevant beyond just the North American audience. Wilson says one challenge she has seen with customers is getting employees and prospective recruits to self-identify.
SAP SuccessFactors engineering lead Meg Bear noted that diversity drives what they think about when offering personalization in the employee experience. Tech, she noted, needs to be made available and accessible no matter an employee’s background.
“Giving a voice to every person, that’s what tech can do for us, that’s the future we can live in,” said Bear.
- An SAP Master Data Model
In the pre-cloud days, one of the major appeals of SAP was its strongly integrated ERP suite. As cloud has taken over, SAP has brought in several products—like SAP SuccessFactors, Fieldglass, Concur, Ariba, and Qualtrics —that touch many business areas.
To better connect this new wave of applications, SAP is building a unified data model across all products. That ties back to the human experience—if the apps are better connected on a master data level, it will be easier for employees to navigate their work as they move between systems and easier to get to the heart of enterprise data analytics.
Did SuccessConnect Content Meet Expectations?
In a survey of SAP customers and partners on what they want to see before SuccessConnect 2020, Employee Central (EC) and Core HR were the most desired topics. While the keynote and broad topics at the event didn’t touch on EC specifically, there were always elements of how other modules and applications–like Qualtrics–are integrating with the data entered in the core HR system.
Integrations were second among what customers and partners most wanted to hear about, and we saw that throughout. The biggest talk of integration comes around the work towards the unified data model.
What made SuccessConnect 2020 unique was the Executive Q&A at the end of the day. This allowed attendees to submit questions on the topics they wanted to hear, and that’s turned out to be the favorite part of the event for many attendees. Hopefully, a similar opportunity is offered when the event returns to in-person again.
For those that couldn’t catch the North American SuccessConnect 2020 event, SAP SuccessFactors will be hosting an event for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa time zones on October 20.