This week as I was headed home following a full day of HR blueprint workshops, I noticed something at Waterloo Station which took me by surprise. What was it? A very large SAP advertisement promoting SAP Cloud for HR with messaging around customers not needing to replace their current system but simply enhancing and extending what they currently have.
So why was I surprised? Well, because it’s the first time in my 15 years of working with SAP HCM that I have seen such focus on HR solutions. HR has always been the dark horse for SAP as all the innovation and investment was normally allocated to other modules first. SAP did make an effort when SAP Performance Management, Compensation Management and LMS were developed to enhance SAP ESS / MSS but unfortunately customers were not fully satisfied with them and always had to make tweaks to the standard in order to suit their business process requirements.
When SAP acquired SuccessFactors in late 2011 it was a big boost for those of us in the SAP HCM space as it gave us what we had been craving on for years: A full HCM business execution suite. It meant SAP HCM was not only available on-Premise but it was the first full Cloud suite SAP had to offer its customers changing their go-to-market strategy: Cloud first for innovation and investment, on-Premise second…with SAP Talent Management leading the way!
With the good news also comes the not so good news
With the new offerings in SAP HCM also came confusion about what customers should be doing moving forward. Did the acquisition mean they had to rip and replace their current SAP HCM solution? Was the Cloud safe? How would the Cloud integrate with their on-Premise system for Finance and all other modules? All these questions and a lot more were asked to SAP HCM consultants who were also not 100% clear about SAP’s strategy and a lot of misinformation was transmitted.
Is moving to the Cloud the right thing to do now?
Moving to the Cloud is in everyone’s mind at the moment as its cost effective, easily accessible and deployed a lot faster than on-Premise solutions. Although the benefits are very attractive, moving to the Cloud isn’t a decision that can be made too quickly regardless of what some sales representatives may advise.
HR professionals should focus on a journey of process improvement and organisational change before thinking about technology if they want to reduce risks and deliver the right results. Automating all HCM processes may reduce costs the first year or two but the focus should go more to scalability and exponential value of the solution.
So what is the answer to the rip and replace question? The answer is there is no right answer. Some companies are ready to move to a fully new Cloud solution as they are aware of what to expect and are ready for what it entails: Change Management, integration with other systems and applications, reporting capability challenges, master data history, etc. Other companies may choose to move at a slower pace by enhancing current HR systems and keeping the risk levels down and the comfort levels up.
Moving to the Cloud is the means to an end not the end itself. It’s the beginning of improved HCM processes, better and faster decision making, higher visibility of the workforce and the delivery of greater strategic value.