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Customers who use a hybrid model of SAP ERP HCM for core HCM processes and SuccessFactors Business Execution Suite for talent management processes rightly expect these two systems to talk to each other. And of course, now that SuccessFactors is an SAP company, the expectations on integration of the two systems are even higher.

 

In this article, I talk to Rainer Faulstich and Markus Trapp from SAP’s “Solution Assembly and Packaging” organization about the recently-released rapid deployment solution to support the integration and help adoption of the hybrid model.

 

Rainer, Markus, thanks for taking time to talk about the SAP ERP HCM Integration to SuccessFactors rapid-deployment solution released to customers on December 14th 2012. Before we look at the solution in detail: Rainer, please give us a quick refresher on what rapid deployment solutions are all about.

 

SAP Rapid Deployment solutions provide quick and predictable value in organizations of all sizes and industries. The modular solutions include SAP software, configuration content, materials for user enablement, and implementation services. Rapid Deployment solutions are delivered by the SAP Consulting organization – or SAP partners – with predetermined scope, time, and cost.

 

Rapid-deployment solutions are innovation enablers for customers in that they help to minimize risk while adopting innovations delivered by SAP. This holds true for integrating on-premise SAP ERP HCM with cloud-based SuccessFactors solutions to run integrated end-to-end processes. SAP has delivered lots of good stuff for these so-called hybrid scenarios during the last 6 months and the objective is to make adoption for the customer as easy and predictable as possible. Rapid-deployment solutions are becoming the new norm at SAP: they simply deliver value rapidly.

 

Markus, what’s the intent of the SAP Rapid Deployment solution just released?

 

The main focus of course is to provide customers with smooth integration between the SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) solution and SuccessFactors Business Execution Suite. This should in turn make it easier for customers already using SAP ERP HCM to decide to use the SuccessFactors Business Execution Suite for their talent management processes and therefore to adopt the hybrid model in the HCM area.

 

What are the typical problems seen in customer installations when it comes to integration, that is: what are the business problems that the solution is addressing?

 

Customers encounter a number of challenges when it comes to integration, including for example:

 

• Lack of standard integration content (connectors and mappings)

• Lack of process integration

• Lack of end-to-end monitoring

• Home-grown file-transfer mechanisms that are susceptible to errors

 

And this is where the solution delivers value to the customer, by integrating a hybrid HR environment of on-premise SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors Business Execution smoothly. This means the customer can leverage existing investments in the on-premise world while at the same time consuming rapid innovation delivered via the cloud.

 

In short, customers can spend less time “managing” the integration and more time using and benefitting from it.

 

So what exactly does the solution include in the way of services?

 

Well, the goal is to get the customer up and running in as short a timeframe as possible, so the services offered are geared to achieving exactly that: web services need to be configured; content needs to be deployed for SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration for employee data, compensation planning data, and workforce analytics; SAP NetWeaver Process Orchestration needs to be configured for connectivity with SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors BizX; additional customer-specific extensions to standard content may be needed. And so on. These steps are all included in the scope of the service offering.

 

As Rainer mentioned earlier: Rapid Deployment Solutions can be implemented by SAP partners, and not just by SAP’s consulting organization, and this one is no exception: in fact, an SAP partner was also involved in the project to develop the solution before release.

 

And the solution covers all of the activities needed at a fixed price?

 

Yes, all at a fixed price. And – assuming the customer staffs the project appropriately and is able to provide the details of the process to be configured – they can be up and running with this integration in as little as 5 weeks. Of course – depending on the exact scenario – there’s also some work to be done on the SuccessFactors side. And we are assuming a running configuration on the SuccessFactors side, of course. But 5 weeks is feasible to get the integration up and running.

 

5 weeks. Impressive. How does that break down into a concrete implementation project?

 

The first week would typically be spent kicking off the project, including a detailed technical check that the prerequisites are met. The next 3 weeks or so are what we call the “deploy” phase, during which a number of things happen, including activation and configuration of the solution, training of key users, preparing the data as necessary, testing, preparing for the switch to the production environment and so on. The final week of the project sees handover to the customer.

 

Many customers have already developed their own file-based integration between SAP and SuccessFactors. Does this rapid deployment solution bring benefits for them?

 

Absolutely. Of course, they do not have to move away from what they are doing. But the template approach provided by this solution is faster and less error-prone than home-grown file-transfer mechanisms. And the use of middleware for the integration also brings benefits: point-to-point integration does not support the different lifecycles of on-premise and cloud solutions. Middleware provides additional flexibility to integrate different data models and makes it easier to implement customer-specific extensions.

 

Final question for you, Markus: where can customers find more information?

 

I can point you to the Rapid Deployment Solutions site on sap.com, which also includes a link to a step-by-step guide which provides more details on the steps involved in execution of a project based on the solution.

 

Important update (19th December 2012): some of the first comments question the prerequisite releases, stating that the package is only released for EhP5 and greater. This is incorrect, based on an incorrect piece of information that has now been corrected in the source document. The prerequistes are as stated at SAPPHIRE NOW in May 2012: all releases from ECC 6.0 onwards (i.e. SAP ERP HCM without enhancement packages, SAP ERP HCM enhancement package 1, SAP ERP HCM enhancement package 2 etc.). I would like to apologise for the confusion this incorrect piece of information may have caused and ask you to contact me directly (paul.hopkins@sap.com) if you have any remaining concerns or questions about prerequisite release levels).

 

Follow SAP ERP HCM on Twitter: @SAPHCM

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