Are you a new client of SAP® SuccessFactors? Or an old hand? Whether you have one module you rolled live years ago or have been using the full suite since the beginning; you have one thing in common with all SuccessFactors users.

You need to prepare for the bi-annual SAP SuccessFactors release updates.

SuccessFactors Releases Explained

What is an SAP SuccessFactors Release? Like most software applications, the release process continually improves SuccessFactors, offering customers more efficient processes, new functionality, and bug fixes.

SAP offers various release resources to help customers – we link to some down below. But first, let’s talk about how to prepare for and implement a release.

Designate a Release Coordinator

During release time, SAP shares information in email, in the SuccessFactors Community, and on various social media outlets. It’s helpful to have an internal point-of-contact who can curate all of this information and share it with the applicable teams within your organization.

Review What’s Relevant to Your System

You probably have a hundred items on your work to-do list, and spending time reviewing information irrelevant to your system or organization just adds to that.

SAP publishes a What’s New Viewer each release, and they just revamped it to make it easier to use. You can filter various release items and select modules and features that will most impact your SuccessFactors system.

Attend SAP Q&A Series

For each release, SAP SuccessFactors hosts a Q&A Series with the product owners who highlight some of the release items they feel are essential to know about. You can submit questions before the Q&A Series to have answered during the call. There is also the opportunity to ask questions during the call. This allows you to hear from the product owners what a specific release item may mean to them.

Discuss the SuccessFactors Release with Internal Key Stakeholders

Once there is an understanding of the various release items, set up a call with your internal stakeholders to highlight and discuss the highlights. Make sure to include functional representatives from multiple teams and internal IT.

Discuss plans for what you want to opt in or opt out of. Review items that have change management impacts on your end users so you can plan accordingly.

Plan to Review/Test the SuccessFactors Release in Your Preview Instance

Testing is a crucial part of any software release. If you have a preview test instance, we highly recommend and encourage you to do regression testing.

How deep you want to test will be based on:

  • Your configuration
  • Modules in place
  • Upcoming processes
  • Decisions of stakeholders

However, we recommend at least a basic level of regression testing. Make sure to plan a timeline for testing, especially if several teams are involved.

Think of your modules and configuration and what test use cases you want to check. For example, if you have Employee Central, run through some basic scenarios: Hire, Termination, Job Change, Pay Change, etc.

If you find issues, submit a ticket to SAP Support so they can review and act if needed.

Asses Any Current Ongoing Projects and Potential Impacts

Along with testing, we recommend identifying ongoing projects, implementations, or enhancements that may be happening in your system. Those need to be reviewed and assessed for potential risks (or changes) the release may bring.

Sometimes, a custom enhancement you’re building to bridge a gap in functionality is supplied natively by SAP in a release, so you won’t need it any longer.

Identify and Prepare for Change Management to Your End Users

Review each item and decide whether to update your training materials or communicate with employees. Most release items won’t require companywide communications, but some changes – like the recent new home page rollout – would need it.

Walking through each release and checking Yes or No for change management will help you prevent any “gotchas” after you move the release into your production instance.

Our HCM Managed Services team has assisted customers with their release management processes for over six years. We’re here to help you, too! Reach out and we’ll talk about how we can help you manage the 100’s of release items.