EPI-USE recently successfully implemented the Talent Management modules of the SuccessFactors solution in a hybrid model at a large, multi-national company. Recruiting Management, Career, Succession and Development, Performance and Goals Management and Learning were implemented in the cloud whereas Core HR, Payroll and Time and Attendance remained on premise. As the client utilised disparate SAP HCM instances, a consolidation platform was required to prevent data conflicts. All the data to be used for the cloud-based Talent Management solution was consolidated in one on-premise, Global Organisational Management system with standard delivered and customised integration between the cloud and on-premise systems.
Technical Solution Overview
Project Management Approach
The implementation of the SuccessFactors Talent Management modules was part of a bigger SAP programme where the ASAP methodology was used. An interesting challenge was to make provision for the SAP Launch project methodology within the ASAP programme approach.
In terms of design, the SAP Launch methodology provides mostly for an implementation from scratch. When moving from an existing solution, it is important to keep in mind that the client may not have any new requirements as the implementation is only driven by the landscape change. The client might therefore expect that the current solution should be replicated on the cloud. This needs to be managed as the cloud Talent Management solution can be fundamentally different to the traditional on-premise solution.
The milestones defined for SAP Launch and ASAP differ and the project manager had to fit the SAP Launch milestones into the larger SAP programme plan. This hybrid methodology was then communicated to the project team and client.
ASAP document deliverables such as Blueprint documents and formal Functional Design Specification documents are typically replaced in the SAP Launch methodology by more fluid workbooks. To bridge the gap between the workbooks and traditional ASAP design documents, EPI-USE catered for the expectation by supplementing the technical workbook with an easy-to-read design document.
Iterative design used in the SAP Launch methodology is a powerful tool to introduce clients to, and include them in the technical and functional solution validation. As this project was run according to ASAP and the iterative design could not be followed, the client was involved in the formal system integration testing and user acceptance testing to ensure they were at least part of two testing iterations.
The data model in SuccessFactors is different to that of SAP. As a number of SuccessFactors modules were included in the implementation, integration between the modules was paramount. An integration stream was added to the project to manage the integration between SF modules and between SAP and SuccessFactors.
The SAP to SuccessFactors integration model is focused on a simplified approach ensuring that clients focus on what is most valuable for the implementation. As a result of the architecture design with core HR and Payroll on-premise, integration was required on various levels.
Delivered integration between SAP and the SuccessFactors Business Execution (BizX) platform made provision for the employee profile data to be populated in BizX.
b) Payroll data was also dependent on job architecture and custom integration between SAP and BizX was developed to replicate the job architecture structure from SAP to BizX. This integration was developed using the standard API with custom extraction. The employee profile was extended in the same manner.
c) Although not experienced as such by the end user, the Learning module is technically separated from the BizX modules and standard connector files were set up to integration between the Learning platform and BizX.
d) The client opted to implement an optional curriculum to qualification integration (delivered in Add-on 3.0 SP2) that passes curriculum completion information directly between the LMS and the SAP on-premise system.
Product enhancements are released quarterly and contain universal and optional features. The dates are communicated in the community portal and release documentation is made available.
The implications for the consultant are that new features could become available after design and before solution go-live. The client and consultant need to understand what the effect of the changes are, and will need to do pre- and post-release testing and change management
In this project some functionality required during blueprint became available in the upgrades before go-live and were discussed in the final preparation phase, especially the universal upgrades, before each modular go-live. Where administrator opt-in required additional configuration and testing, a change request had to be raised.
In a SAP on premise project, requirements not met by SAP standard can be customised and are immediately available after go-live. However in future upgrades, these customisations may result in challenges.
In SuccessFactors an enhancement request is logged for any additional functionality required by the client. This is then considered for inclusion in future upgrades and could then become part of the standard solution.
Product extensions using the SAP HANA Cloud Platform can be considered, but were not used for this implementation.
SuccessFactors is a market leader in Talent Management technology (Gartner, 2015. Magic Quadrant for Talent Management). For more information on this implementation and how EPI-USE can assist you in your own journey to the cloud, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.