Ever since SAP announced they were acquiring SuccessFactors there has been a lot of interest in the marketplace on the impacts to customers, partners and consultants. It appears that due to the timing of the merger SAP will use the upcoming SAPPHIRE/ASUG event in Orlando to provide the bulk of their updates. This makes it a must attend event for SAP HCM and SuccessFactors professionals and there are five important topics I want to get more clarity on and plan to report back after the event with my findings.
1. Integration – SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe mentioned while back that integration would be “out-of-the-box” and “easier, better and cheaper” and although there is a 14% overlap in the SAP/SuccessFactors customer base there was previously no integration between the companies. SAP has been working for the last several months with 15 joint SAP/SuccessFactors customers to build the initial integration offering. It is my understanding that this will include some core SAP HCM data going into SuccessFactors with Compensation related data needed for Payroll coming back into SAP with the specific details being announced at Sapphire. In talking with both SAP and customers this is the #1 priority and here are some of my questions:
- What specifically is included in the delivered initial integration?
- What is the integration roadmap and timeline?
- What is the delivery method (i.e. API’s)
- What tools will SAP provide customers who want to extend the delivered integration offering?
- What is the cost of the offering?
- What versions of R/3 will the delivered integration support?
- Will there be a Rapid Deployment Solution (RDS) around integration?
2. Customers – SAP has been pretty clear in their all their communication that SuccessFactors solutions are the “go-forward solutions” and will be where customers can expect most of the future innovation. You can get a sense of some of the confusion customers are going to face by reading between the lines in my recent The Future of SAP HCM Consulting and SuccessFactors. I have been vocal with SAP and SuccessFactors on creating a detailed product comparison so that customers have the information to choose the right software that meets their business requirements but so far it hasn't got much traction which I think is a big mistake. There are many questions including:
- How will customers know which deployment options best meets their business requirements?
- How does SuccessFactors engage with customers for their product enhancements?
- What should On-Premise customers expect to get for their maintenance dollars?
- What is the plan for customers where On-Premise is the right fit (i.e. Learning in FDA Regulated Environment)?
- What is the plan for customers that recently made a large investment in an SAP HCM On-Premise offering?
- What is the business case to justify paying additional SuccessFactors licensing for performance and compensation management when they are included in the base SAP On-Premise license?
- Will there be a migration path for existing customers looking to move to SuccessFactors?
- Will there be two sales teams (On-Premise HCM and SuccessFactors) that will compete and potentially confuse customers?
3. Detailed Roadmap – SAP provided their high level roadmap about 6 weeks ago which I provided my initial thought in the article but it is important that we start to get some insight at a lot lower level. There are many questions including:
- Detailed SAP OnPremise Roadmap
- Detailed SuccessFactors Roadmap
- Detailed Employee Central Roadmap
- Strategy around StreamWork and Jam
- Details on how Career OnDemand IP is going to be incorporated into SuccessFactors
- Who has final decision if there is a disagreement between SAP HCM OnPremise and SuccessFactors?
- SucessFactors or HCM Mobility strategy
- SuccessFactors and HANA
- Overall Analytics and Reporting
- Overall Cloud strategy
4. SuccessFactors Product Offering – It is great to see that there will be 31 SuccessFactors Sessions at SapphireNow. Given the largely SAP customer audience I would expect that many will be seeing the SuccessFactors offering for the first time. Some things that I will be looking to get some clarity on:
- Product features and highlights including countries and language supported
- Core functionality difference between SAP and SuccessFactors
- What features are “configurable” in SuccessFactors?
- Core functionality difference between SAP and SuccessFactors
- Depth of functionality that currently exists in Employee Central
- Social capabilities in each of the SuccessFactors products
- Mobility offering in each of SuccessFactors products
- Who are SuccessFactors major competitors and why
- How many customers & which customers are using this product
- Will SuccessFactors products be able to leverage the robust OnPremise security
5. Mobility – SuccessFactors delivers their mobile applications for free and in discussions have heard they see it as just another way to access their platform. I have been critical in the past asking even though the looks promising although we may have some clarity on this prior to SAPPHIRE as Sybase is being rolled up under Sanjay Poonen team and there is a major press conference/event planned for April 10. Some of my questions:
- Will SuccessFactors change their existing “free” mobile strategy?
- Plans by SuccessFactors to enhance their current mobility offering
- Will the Sybase products be used at SuccessFactors?
- Will SAP change their strategy around HCM mobility to stay competitive?
I will be arriving in Orlando on May 12 as well as speaking at the ASUG Preconference Event on May 13. If you see me walking around in my SAP Mentor shirt #126 or recognize me please stop to say hello although I apologize in advance that it may be a short conversation as with all the sessions, mentor events and blogger events it is going to be a busy 4 days for me. There is no doubt this will be an important event as SAP and SuccessFactors must outline many crucial decisions that have long term ramifications for customers, partners and consultants. If you want to stay current on all the major developments as they unfold I would recommend joining the SAP and SuccessFactors Linkedin group as well as following me on Twitter at SAP_Jarret. Let me know in the comment section the questions you have and I will be sure to ask.