It will be easier to understand SAP’s HR offering if we trace how it has changed over time. The SAP HR system appeared in the product portfolio in 1986. 15 years later, it was complemented by self-service applications (ESS/MSS), E-Learning and E-Recruiting. Until 2011, not much changed apart from the emergence of the SAP NetWeaver technology platform as well as the SAP ERP and SAP Business Suite 7 integrated packages. For HR, these were not revolutions and it can be said that the current on-premise installations do not differ significantly from those from a dozen or so years ago.
The real change came in 2011 when SAP purchased SuccessFactors, then the second largest cloud solution after salesforce.com, with 6,000 customers and 32 million users in 185 countries. In 2012, the manufacturer announced that it planned to migrate HR to the cloud and in the future all functionalities, including payroll, would be offered in a subscription model. Companies still had two options to choose from — on-premise (SAP ERP HR) and SAP SuccessFactors.
SAP launched an intensive campaign to encourage customers (13,000 organizations) to migrate HR equivalents to the cloud, however “equivalent" is not meant literally here, as SuccessFactors has a completely different philosophy and assumptions behind it.
First, it is a completely different user experience. Those customers who worked with the “old" SAP HR, in SAP GUI, will appreciate the difference in the interface. This is also the first time that the term “employee experience” is used in the context of SAP solutions. SuccessFactors meets the new paradigm defined by the acronym ACE: Availability to everyone, Consumer grade technology, Employee needs first. ACE is a slogan promoted by Jacob Morgan as a benchmark for HR technology.
Since 2013, customers have had the option of technology-assisted migrations. This is not a 1:1 transfer of functionalities but a change – a shift toward standardization and best practices. Talent management modules have a completely new look in SuccessFactors. Upon deciding to migrate to SF, you have to rethink the issue of working time. In SF Employee Central, the handling of working time is simplified and it supports the management of administrative employees with simple schedules. Therefore, companies with complex working time processes (working time planning and evaluation) are recommended by SAP to purchase a complementary product offered by partners. SNP offers its customers SNP E-Time (with SAP-Qualified Partner-Packaged Solution for SAP SuccessFactors certification).
Architecture variants for HR
As some customers have extensive SAP HR on-premise environments and are not ready for a complete migration for various reasons, since 2013 SAP has been supporting three basic architecture variants: on-premise, talent hybrid and full cloud.
In the ‘talent hybrid’ model, the employee record system (a place of recording of the employee’s master data) is SAP ERP HR, while in SuccessFactors, talent management processes are handled. It is currently a very popular model because it does not require re-implementation of the hard part of HR.
Due to the rather slow adoption of cloud solutions in the market, SAP postponed the end date of standard SAP HR support from 2015 to 2020 and then to 2025.
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