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Planning a SuccessFactors HCM suite implementation

To implement SuccessFactors HCM, you need a roadmap that provides maximum value with minimal rework. An expert explains how to plan an implementation that suits your needs.

Planning for a full implementation of the SuccessFactors HCM suite is both similar to and different from implementing...

other human resources software programs. However, understanding the differences is critical to building a successful roadmap that -- in the long term -- provides maximum value and requires minimal rework. There are a few key factors to consider when designing a roadmap that will suit your needs.

More often than not, a roadmap design is influenced by a business' pain points. These pain points can include, but are not limited to, outdated HRIS or systems nearing end-of-life or end-of-maintenance; consolidation and standardization of multiple subsidiaries into one central HR system; optimization of a substandard recruiting system to better attract quality candidates; enhancement of enterprise-learning capabilities to train the workforce more effectively; challenges around consolidated reporting and visibility into key workforce metrics; employee retention and rewards; and grooming candidates for key positions in high-turnover industries.

Whatever the situation, identifying pain points before embarking on an implementation is important because they will be a major factor in how you formulate your roadmap.

Special SuccessFactors HCM considerations

In addition to understanding pain points, consider certain SuccessFactors HCM elements that can affect the overall roadmap design.

Employee Central, which is the core HRIS of the SuccessFactors HCM suite, offers a solid foundation for HR processes and data management for the rest of the suite. However, for some organizations, it may make sense to target other modules for implementation first. Although this is possible, it may require process and system redesign later to align parts of the suite to match the final system of record. If you choose to implement Employee Central later, you must take great care to ensure design decisions in other modules (e.g., compensation planning or recruiting) don't require heavy lifting later and changes that may disgruntle employees who have only recently switched to the new system.

Another important consideration as you decide whether or not to implement Employee Central first is whether you need to integrate an existing HRIS or ERP system. If you don't implement Employee Central first, you will need to develop a temporary way to connect the two systems. A temporary integration method can add significant time and cost, which can be justified if used over a long period, but it can add unnecessary pain and effort if only leveraged for six months or less. Although SAP talks about seamless integration, the reality is that it can take integration consultants with significant experience upwards of a thousand hours to implement Talent Hybrid, one of the three SuccessFactors deployment models offered by SAP.

When deciding which module to implement first, analytics purists would argue that leading with Workforce Analytics and Workforce Planning would provide valuable information that would affect the implementation of other modules in the suite. For example, being able to better understand your hiring data and processes can help you decide how to implement SuccessFactors Recruiting Management optimally, or how to define a better employee retention strategy linked to compensation planning, career development and succession planning.

Another important consideration should be whether to create a roadmap that calls for a phased implementation. I always recommend that a suite implementation be done in two or three phases, depending on the size and resources of the business.

How to build a unique roadmap

Best practices for building a roadmap can be hard to define, because most roadmaps are unique to each business and address individual pain points. However, you can often apply the following commonalities.

  • It makes sense to implement Recruiting Management, Recruiting Marketing and Onboarding together because of shared processes.
  • It often makes sense to implement Compensation alongside Employee Central because of the pay structure design.
  • Implementing Succession after Employee Central reduces work around Position Management.
  • The roadmap should call for implementation of Workforce Analytics at the start or end of the suite implementation.

Building a roadmap is an important undertaking, but not one that requires a doctorate. With the help of an experienced solution architect, you can prepare a roadmap in a matter of hours. Understanding the key challenges and pain points of your organization is the first step in beginning this process. Once you have listed the pain points, you can translate them into a roadmap and begin planning the implementation.

Next Steps

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Make a business case for HCM software

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This was last published in January 2015

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What factors made your company choose its current human resources software program(s)?
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One of the largest factors that made our company choose its current HRIS system was employee dissatisfaction with the previous system. The previous system was selected and implemented by the HR department with no input from either the employee base to asses needs or IT teams skilled in large-scale data migrations. Driven by employee complaints, the HR department worked with IT and focus groups from the employee base to quickly select and implement a system that met the company’s needs, but also gave employees a system that was easy to use and navigate, and met their disparate needs.
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I agree that it is good to know your paint points. If you implement on an international level over several countries the paint points can be very different for each country. For me paint points are often short term, I would also look at the mindset. What kind of HR/company mindset are you implementing? Do you want to empower your employees more, do you want to embed HR more within your line management, etc.? I think to have a long term view is very helpful. Business and paint points can change but your long term mindset/philosophy will determine how successful the organization will master the changes.
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