Making Sense of SAP SuccessFactors Adoption: The Challenges and Solutions

Sometimes, we look back at the pandemic's peak period and wonder, "How could we, as a collective, have been so naive?"


There is undeniably a before-the-pandemic and an after-the-pandemic time period.


And then there are before-the-pandemic and after-the-pandemic companies. While some reacted with massive furloughs with little support, others responded with a more structured approach- retaining staff as much as possible, moving staff into new roles, providing learning support to those who are let go of, and so on.


Particularly in the case of large companies with a global presence, it is safe to say that pre-existing systems and processes decided how these places would treat their people. In that sense, the HR function, and the tools it uses, came into sharp focus in the year 2020.


Football club Bayern Munich has announced that it is now implementing SAP SuccessFactors, as did several banks and financial institutions. This just goes to show that a diverse solution like SAP SuccessFactors is the need of the hour.

SAP SuccessFactors is the product suite that helps companies manage a laundry list of Human Resource (HR) functions . But, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it recently acquired its moment in the spotlight like never before.


For many enterprises, business goals have changed, strategies have been reexamined, and course corrections been made in light of the new challenges that COVID-19 brought their way.


It has become imperative to align recruitment plus train the existing task force to drive the business where it aspires to reach, despite these changed circumstances.


From streamlining recruitment and accomplishing business alignment, to tracking performance and eLearning, specifically from a remote work perspective, SuccessFactors has added layers that go well beyond the core function of Human Capital Management.


Some typical HR difficulties that SAP SuccessFactors is specifically positioned to meet include:


  1. Merging disparate systems or make them function seamlessly together

  2. The expenses that arise as a fallout of inefficient processes

  3. Keeping up with policy changes and maintaining regulatory compliance

  4. Having to reconcile data that is saved across multiple spreadsheets, or is too spread out to be of any practical use

  5. Tracking the inevitable activities that are associated with a growing business: recruitment, continuous learning, and human resource development

  6. Managing the expectations and needs of the post-pandemic bifurcated workforce comprising a mix of remote and on-site employees

  7. Aligning a highly scattered workforce with organisational goals, ensuring adherence to policies, and upholding the company culture.

SAP SuccessFactors is a tremendous asset in key areas of business enterprise both pre-and post-pandemic, such as:

  • Designing and maintaining an organizational structure suitable to the changing demands of the business

  • Ensuring accuracy in employee records: A single record per employee removes redundancies and keeps data accurate and relevant to the time

  • Providing a secure and scalable framework to comfortably absorb future growth of the organization, in the number of personnel, across multiple locations, whether local or global, on-site or remote.

  • Gathering real-time data and generating insights across the entirety of the workforce. Leaders can use this data to make better-informed decisions regarding employee performance, development, and compensation.

  • Supporting strategy execution and automating business processes

  • Bringing a sense of cohesiveness to disparate business practices

  • Managing a global workforce in a standardized manner. Multi-national companies in various industries can use SF to standardize their processes, and at the same time, retain the flexibility to localize and align their systems to comply with country-based regulations.

  • Enabling managers as well as team members at various locations to access useful information in addition to self-service tools in the language of their choice

  • Helping to engage employees while delivering a consistent brand/company experience


In settings such as the IT industry, SAP SF provides highly desirable outcomes such as rapid deployment, compliance with industry norms and best practices, flexibility and agility, innovative features, and frequent updates, all of which can be leveraged at an attractive cost.


For instance, with SuccessFactors, one global core HR system is available in a hundred countries at the same time.


Enabling pool-based succession planning by tapping into an internal talent, or streamlining external hiring with a centrally-managed hiring process or system is another great feature of SuccessFactors.





65% of SuccessFactors customers were able to fill open positions with internal employees, offering promotions or transfers as opposed to having to seek external candidates. Retention rates have also shown an improvement since SF was deployed.


Conversely, if external recruitment becomes more desirable in the changing times, the system can still support tracking interactions with multiple candidates across various locations. In the case of bringing international employees on board, the visa and permits management feature can support and track complex applications.

But first, training

Here's the thing about a solution like SAP SuccessFactors- everyone in your company uses it. The module and its use-cases are both function agnostic. After all, everyone from HR and IT to Ops and Finance need a performance management process.


The challenge, though, is that very few people understand the process, and how to use it on an SAP system.


Not knowing how to use the SAP SuccessFactors module is the single greatest challenge to successful implementation, and continued usage.

A short, condensed training just before going live just doesn't cut it. People need contextual learning based on the specific aspect they're looking to understand.


Faster end-user enablement can save you time, and help you make the most of your SAP investment. Find out how Espresso can help you.


Suggested reading: 3 Ways To Make SAP End-User Enablement Faster In 2021


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