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SAP SuccessFactors Consulting Careers

SAP SuccessFactors is a cloud-based SaaS platform which is part of SAP’s portfolio of workforce management solutions and human experience management (HXM), including basic human resources functions such as payroll, time and attendance, but also more innovative HR functionality like employee experience management and workforce analytics.

The various aspects of workforce management require substantial amount of time and effort, and are absolutely critical if an enterprise wants to keep their teams happy and productive. These tasks can get very complex very quickly and so automation of this administrative workload is highly desirable for every business.

Any business must align their HR and HX strategy with their long-term business goals to develop a culture in which workers feel valued, and identify their personal career narrative with the aims of the business as a whole, so the value to a business of an effective SAP SuccessFactors system goes beyond basic administration. Developing, engaging and retaining a talented workforce is critical to the success of the enterprise.

As a consequence SAP SuccessFactors is a highly valued SAP module, so this week IgniteSAP is taking a quick look at specialising in SAP SuccessFactors as a potential career path for IT consultants seeking to maximise their employability.

The Difference Between SAP HCM and SAP SuccessFactors

SAP Human Resource Management (also sometimes referred to as SAP HR) is a part of the SAP Human Resource Management System SAP HRMS), which is SAP’s on-premise HR system. SuccessFactors provides some of the same functionality as SAP HCM but as a cloud-based system it is built on a different technological basis.

Though SAP has shifted its focus to SuccessFactors as part of a wider strategic move to the cloud, it will be providing support for SAP HCM until 2040. Many organisations will still be running on-premise or hybrid SAP systems for at least the next few years, but for the purposes of this article we will be investigating SAP SuccessFactors.

SAP SuccessFactors: Cloud-Based HRM

SAP completed their acquisition of SuccessFactors in 2012 and by the most recent estimate they have over 12,000 customers, in 200 countries with a total of 220 million users. This extremely large user base now requires a proportionately large number of competent and qualified SAP SuccessFactors specialists to help implement, integrate and maintain these critical HR systems.

This demonstrates a large, active, and competitive long-term market in which SAP consultants can participate and benefit from.

The tools included in the SuccessFactors suite cover the basic pillars of HRM which are recruiting, learning and development, performance management and compensation management.

Incorporating much of the functionality of the initial SAP HCM solution like payroll, SAP SuccessFactors also includes E-Recruiting and Onboarding, Compensation profiles, Performance Evaluation, Learning, Succession and Development, Employee Central, and SAP JAM (a social networking platform for employees).

SuccessFactors Benefits

The cloud-based nature of SAP SuccessFactors, along with its more experience-oriented design mean that it is popular among HR professionals.

The solution is highly scalable because it is based in the cloud, meaning that additional resources can be allocated as required.

HR functions are streamlined and standardised so the workload of core HR functions is reduced, including recruiting and HR selection processes.

Employees’ performance can be tracked to maintain their own professional goals with the Performance and Goals module.

New hires can be onboarded with a planned process and receive digital orientation followed by controlled and scheduled training.

SuccessFactors also allows organisations to create a learning management policy that encourages continuous learning with planned training courses. Continuous learning is an important part of ensuring high levels of employee retention so this aspect should not be underestimated.

SuccessFactors Implementation Projects

According to the SAP Activate implementation framework each project to create and integrate an instance of SuccessFactors should consist of four phases.

The best practice for SuccessFactors implementations begins with a preparatory period in which plans are put in place and resources made available. This is followed by an exploratory period in which the solution brief is explored in more detail, with particular attention to ensuring that the implementation meets the needs of the business’s strategic goals.

In the third phase the project is realised with configuration and data migrations followed by a series of tests. The “final” phase consists of making the final connections and integrations to the other parts of the business’s SAP system, like S/4HANA and third party systems and resources. In reality this is then followed by the Go-Live, which includes a period of monitoring for integration errors.

This brief sketch of the process merely points out the categories of work to be carried out, and in fact each of these phases would require many pages of description to illustrate the implementation procedure to any level of accuracy.

It is important to note the size and needs of each business, and therefore the nature and duration of the work carried out during the implementation project will vary substantially.

Also, each module of SAP SuccessFactors has its own requirements and so the SAP Activate guidelines for the expected timescale of the implementation of each module varies from 6 weeks, right up to 20 weeks (for SuccessFactors Employee Central), and with unforeseen adjustments to the project, this figure can easily be extended.

The SAP SuccessFactors Services Market

Now we have established that there is a huge user base for SuccessFactors which is expanding as entirely new SAP customers, and existing SAP customers seek to move to cloud HR systems. When we also take into account the fact that each segment of an implementation project may take many weeks, if not months to complete, then the size of the market for SAP SuccessFactors services begins to become apparent.

According to a report by Gartner published in October 2022:

“By 2025, 60% of global midsize and large enterprises will have invested in a cloud-deployed HCM suite for administrative HR and talent management, but will still need to use other solutions for 20% to 30% of their HR requirements.”

In the Magic Quadrant for Cloud HCM Suites for 1,000+ Employee Enterprises, SAP is ranked as a market leader. The same report notes that SAP SuccessFactors HXM suite has “cultivated a strong network of over 400 partners that works to deliver enhanced value to the overall product proposition from SAP”.

For SAP professionals looking to specialise in SuccessFactors services, this means there is a substantial and growing market for their skills, including working for consultancies like EY, CapGemini, and IBM among many others.

SuccessFactors Training And Certification

The SAP Learning Journeys portal has 19 separate listed courses offering SuccessFactors training content. It should be noted that in these Learning Journeys much of the course content is duplicated between them: so if someone is looking to get certified (as an SAP Application Professional) to provide services as a SuccessFactors consultant specialising in Employee Central, they may find they only need to do one or two other courses in order to be eligible to take the exam for certification as an SAP Certified Application Professional in the SuccessFactors Payroll application.

In this manner following one SuccessFactors Learning Journey and taking the SAP certification exam as part of that route can contribute to the necessary content for several SuccessFactors certification exams. This can lead to gain qualifications and certifications in several complimentary SuccessFactors modules: leading to extremely enhanced employability.

In this way SAP SuccessFactors specialists can become SuccessFactors Solution Architects: professional consultants capable of designing and overseeing an entire implementation project from start to finish, and receiving the requisite extremely high compensation package for their services.

See this note regarding the Architect Learning Journey:

“To start the subsection ‘SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite Solution Architecture’, you first need to be certified in two SuccessFactors products: You need to be professionally certified in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and you need to be certified on associate level in one more product, chosen out of the topics listed in this subsection.”

Factors Influencing Success

When choosing an area to specialise in within the SAP solution portfolio, many prospective SAP consultants will assume that S/4HANA or S/4HANA Cloud is the essential route to ensuring they get constant work, but although these are certainly good options to pursue they are not the only route to a successful consulting career.

Automation of the HR functions of a business has been shown to help businesses save a great deal of time and money, and the more strategically oriented human experience elements of HXM solutions like SuccessFactors can contribute to a business’s long-term goals by increasing retention of talent in an increasingly competitive market. These are now being given more attention by the executive and finance departments of companies: adding to the allocation of financial resources.

As the world has come through lockdowns and with the increased connectivity that has led to trends like working from home and hybrid working, the need for careful management of the internal and external (or temporary) workforce has also added to the importance of what was traditionally known as “human resources”.

All of these factors have led to a much greater weight being given to the need for the services of IT consultants who can implement SAP SuccessFactors, and so now more than ever it has become a desirable SAP module in which to specialise.

Are you looking to find your next role as an SAP SuccessFactors consultant? Do you have another SAP specialism? If so our team of dedicated professionals can help you make the most of your highly sought after skills so join us at IgniteSAP