A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to visit SAP Labs for a Influencer Briefing and was lucky to get a chance to sit down with Robert Moeller who is a Solution Owner for HR Core On-Premise, and covers areas such as Personnel Administration, Org Management and HCM Processes and Forms to get some updates on HR Renewal. I have gotten to know Robert over the past 18 months providing feedback for the HR Renewal in a Co-Innovation capacity as well as recently participated eight Ramp-up Knowledge Transfer (RKT) PA/OM HR Renewal sessions. Overall I have been very impressed with him and the teams passion and understanding around the importance of fixing the long criticized user-experience.
For years customers have complained about the user experience (UX) of the SAP HCM offering and it is great to see SAP finally make a sizable investment to offer them a more user friendly, harmonized and intuitive experience. In talking with David Ludlow, Group Vice President, Line of Business Solutions he confirmed the HR Renewal will continue to be a major area of investment in 2013 with a core focus on building out the content for additional countries. Having been on the ground at multiple large Fortune 500 companies over the past 14 years there is no doubt that the HR Renewal 1.0 is going to be well received in the marketplace and after seeing more than 18,000 views of my initial blog New SAP HCM Functionality – HR Renewal it shows the level of interest that is out there.
SAP made Feature Pack 1.0 for HR Renewal generally available (GA) on September 14, 2012 and enclosed is sample screen shot of new landing page that utilizes SAPUI5 technology to give a richer visual appeal. The page itself helps organize and prioritize tasks, quickly find objects via favorites, recently used, or with the built in search, and then launch tasks on an objection (e.g., employee or organization) from a context sensitive action menu. At the core it is all about changing the user experience for HR Administrators and making their lives easier.
To give you a sense of what is coming, Feature Pack 2.0 (Q4/2012) will add more content to the WebDynpo version of HCM Processes and Forms (P&F) while Feature Pack 3.0 (Q1/2013) will provide more depth to some of the framework and PA/OM content that was in Feature Pack 1.0. Here is a great chart Robert provided me which gives a breakdown of the functionality that has been released and is “planned” for the remainder of 2012.
PA/OM/P&F Parts of HR Renewal (2012)
HR Renewal 1.0 – Generally Available
Additional UI based on SAP native technology
Feature Pack 1.0 for HR Renewal 1.0 – Generally Available
User experience (UX) enhancements for administration of employees and organization:
Feature Pack 2.0 for HR Renewal 1.0 – Planned Q4/2012
For WebDynpro based HCM Processes and Forms
Additional UX and TCO enhancement for HCM Forms based on WebDynpro
Additional Country Support – Planned Q4/2012 *
*Planned Q4/2012 via Support Package: Only single infotype scenarios (analogous to /PA30) planned currently. Multi-infotype scenario (analogous to /PA40 or P&F under discussion 7/2012
Customers can also benefit from enhancements to the license free WebDypro version of HCM Processes and Forms to build out their own HR Processes that can be deployed to employees, managers and HR professionals. I have also heard that SAP is working to come up with a mechanism to offer “dynamic action” like behavior within the HR Forms so fingers are crossed this makes it into a future release. For those that don’t know, dynamic actions are used in the existing backend transactions to trigger additional information entry. For example, in the US, when maintaining a permanent residence address, dynamic actions might be used to pop-up an associated tax infotype. Here is a Sample screen shot of new Design-Time for the WebDypro UI version of HCM Processes and Forms based on Floor Plan Manager.
One of the biggest and most valid criticisms I have heard on the HR Renewal is “How come is the new Landing Page is only available for NWBC 4.0” which has a very small market share worldwide. Reportedly there were problems rendering the landing page in the portal and this caused it to fall out of the Feature Pack 1 shipment released on September 14th. In talking with SAP I can tell they understand the importance of having this available within the Portal and all indications are it will be available before the end of the year (potentially in Feature Pack 2.0).
All along there has been an impression that SAP planned to make the HR Renewal functionality available at no extra charge for customers but digging under the covers I noticed that Gateway is required for the landing page to talk to the backend which carries an extra license. Normally I would be very concerned by this development but in my SAP Briefing it was mentioned that customers can expect some major announcements regarding Gateway and I know the SAP HCM team is working hard internally to make this barrier go away for existing customers. I will be sure to update this article when more official details are released.
For customers wondering how to start taking advantage of all this new functionality it is important to note that the HR Renewal functionality will be delivered as an “In-advance” or early shipment of EHP7 and will require Enhancement Package 6 (EHP6) as a pre-requisite. An “In-advance” shipment is Support Package modeled, as a new type of Add-on, and it is great to see SAP starting to deliver quarterly updates for On-Premise like many of the SaaS vendors. While I don’t want to minimize some of the challenges of moving to Enhancement Package 6 (EHP6) when I look at the depth of new functionality in EHP6 and the HR Renewal Feature Packs which includes Personnel Administration, Organizational Management, Employee and Managers Self Service, Learning, HR Forms and the Shared Service Framework it is something I would highly recommend customers consider. Big thanks to Robert Moeller who is the Solution Owner of Core HR, David Ludlow, Group Vice President, Line of Business Solutions and everyone working hard to bring this functionality to market.
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Update: Here is a recent podcast I taped on the HR Renewal