The Ultimate Guide to SAP SuccessFactors: Capabilities, Usability, Setup, Cost, And More

The Ultimate Guide to SAP SuccessFactors: Capabilities, Usability, Setup, Cost, And More

Traditionally, human resource (HR) has been focused on personnel management and basic labour related issues. As companies embark on their digital transformation journeys, HR must evolve to keep pace. The role of HR today is more diverse than ever before, focusing on recruitment, employee morale, benefits administration, honing talent, and maximising employee potential etc.

Even then, the HR function continues to evolve, especially with the increasing awareness and integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into various facets of our lives. This has led to some forward-thinking organisations turning to a new wave of human capital management software. Powered by cloud-based systems, human capital management software helps to shift HR from a process-centric to people-centric function. The software’s capabilities are also enabling a shift in workforce management and the way we work, all of which if done right, enhances organisations’ competitiveness.

Leading the charge in human capital management software is SAP SuccessFactors, which can help organisations understand and identify strengths and areas for improvement to maximise workforce potential. SAP SuccessFactors solutions allow organisations to capture current and real-time insights from employees and link them with operational data to see what is happening in their workforce and understand why.

Since SAP SuccessFactors is a cloud-based software solution, it is offered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where usage is on-demand. This means that the software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.

SAP SuccessFactors: Save Money from Cutting Out CapEx

The key benefit of using the SAP SuccessFactors SaaS solution is cost effectiveness. In the past, organisations would need to implement customised, purpose-built IT infrastructure to deploy on-premise software solutions. In this instance, the cost associated with implementation would be very high because capital expenditure (CapEx) is incurred when purchasing equipment like servers and network devices.

With a cloud solution, there is no need for the organisation to purchase such equipment, leading to huge upfront savings in IT capital expenditure. Cloud service providers procure the hardware and then develop, configure, and secure the service, which are then ‘shared’ among their customers. SaaS users therefore only bear operational costs and enjoy the cost savings from not having to pay for equipment.

This usage model is good for small- to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) who do not have large IT budgets or support.

What Sets SAP SuccessFactors Apart from Other Digital HR Solutions?

One word: experience. While digital HR solution providers are focusing on human capital management, that is, looking at people as assets, SAP SuccessFactors is elevating that to the next level of human experience management (HXM). This concept is about putting people at the centre of the business.

SuccessFactors Human Experience Management

Jill Popelka, President of SAP SuccessFactors, described HXM as letting people lead so that they can create an impact on business results. SAP SuccessFactors is enabling a new scenario where HR is moving to the front-end of organisations and allowing business leaders to connect with employees to create experiences that drive purpose, passion and ultimately business outcomes.

This focus on experience-based HR management is an important differentiator, especially for SMEs who need an edge to stay ahead in today’s highly competitive business world.

SAP SuccessFactors also has an advantage because it is empowering HR to:

  • Simplify and standardise processes. By infusing AI and machine learning, the software provides user guidance and suggests relevant actions, thereby helping HR eliminate complexity from daily tasks and bias in areas like performance management and employee promotions.
  • Improve the employee experience, which begins when a person is first considered for a position. HR managers use the software to create a personalised, engaging experience throughout the employee’s stint (also known as the ‘employee lifecycle’ that encompasses recruitment, onboarding and all the way to offboarding) by striving to meet their needs, facilitating their career development without bias, and creating relevant experiences to increase their efficiency and well-being.
  • Adapt to changing business needs, where digital HR solutions provide data-driven insights that lead to effective responses and resolutions to existing or emerging employee issues. With AI and machine learning integrated into the software, it offers recommendations, senses patterns and can predict trends – all leading to better, more proactive, and informed choices.
  • Boost workforce management. With more people working remotely and a workforce that includes a growing mix of full-time employees, part-time employees and freelancers, SAP SuccessFactors enables holistic employee engagement across all these segments, leading to a direct impact on business outcomes.

Key Offerings Within SAP SuccessFactors’ Full Suite of Applications

The software is an integrated suite of applications with key offerings in workforce data and analytics, social collaboration, recruiting via talent sourcing, nurturing talent, and employee retention strategies. Other features include compensation programmes aligned to business objectives and managing global compensation budgets.

SuccessFactors Employee Central

One popular application within the suite is SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, which allows organisations to manage key HR operations and aggregates vital master data like employee names, identification details and usernames etc. Employee Central also tracks and helps manage major events along employees’ career paths, such as promotions, internal transfers, and new roles or assignments.

This is especially useful when there is a situation where there are full-time employees, part-time employees, and freelancers because it consolidates and captures the entire workforce’s impression and satisfaction with the organisation. An added advantage is that Employee Central – as a cloud-based solution – can easily accommodate changes to the organisation’s workforce size and structure.

Integrating with Other SAP Solutions, Including ERP, Fieldglass and Qualtrics

Data in SAP SuccessFactors can be integrated into the SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system to provide a more robust and better-quality HR solution. On another front, its data can also be integrated into SAP Fieldglass, a cloud-based vendor management system to manage services procurement and external workforce management programs. Ease of data integration across various SAP solutions brings together all forms of employee information into a single and simple workforce management system, thereby eliminating duplicates or inconsistencies in data and enabling management to make informed decisions.

Last year, SAP acquired Qualtrics, which measures brand, product, customer, and employee experience. Integration of the two software companies is ongoing, but once completed, Qualtrics’ employee experience measurement and analytics capabilities will be fully embedded into SAP SuccessFactors. These new capabilities from Qualtrics will enhance SAP SuccessFactors’ offerings in talent acquisition, workforce analytics, compensation management and other areas. Ultimately, SME users will get deeper insights from all the employee related data that tends to lie dormant within the organisation.

Usability and Cost of SAP SuccessFactors

Lastly, the software is designed with ‘usability’ as a priority, so there is an ‘SAP SuccessFactors Training Materials Guide’ available online. There are also step-by-step guides, video tutorials, software “wizards” to walk new users through setup and deployment, as well as a dedicated SAP SuccessFactors Learning page on the SAP Help Portal. All of these are perfect for SME users who do not have prior experiencing with enterprise solutions or lack a fully resourced in-house IT department for always-on support.

Users can access the same home screen dashboard although system administrators and manager-level users can access more functions than regular employees. The dashboard is organised as a series of tiles to represent the main features and can be customised, moved around, or deleted to fit an individual’s usage behaviour.

SAP SuccessFactors’ pricing is tiered, starting at US$8 per user per month or as an annual subscription beginning at US$85 per employee.

What Other IT Experts Say About SAP SuccessFactors?

So, what does the IT community think of SAP SuccessFactors? In reviews of the solution, the software comes up as “good, offering streamlined HR processes and capable of supporting global workforce with multiple language and currencies”. PC Magazine gave it its Editors’ Choice award because it has an intuitive interface and works well. Its key advantages are that it has a superb feature set aimed at SMEs and has outstanding performance tracking features. The magazine did caution that it costs more than competing HR software for small businesses, but others would argue that you get what you pay for.

Business technology review site TrustRadius scored SuccessFactors 7.2 out of 10. Reviewers who are IT managers described the software as a complete solution in terms of deployment in the front- and back-end. They especially like that it can be integrated with the SAP ERP system but warned that the communication module needs to be better configured to avoid excessive email notifications.

Enhancing the Employee Experience in Singapore, and Globally

To date, SAP SuccessFactors has been adopted by more than 7,000 customers across the world. Organisations are using it because they want to develop the best talent, foster diversity, and create an inclusive culture.

Two examples of organisations in Singapore that have implemented the software are JustCo, Asia’s leading co-working company and the only Asian-based operator to have a multi-city presence in Asia, and the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Republic’s flagship university.

SAP SuccessFactors HR Team

JustCo is focused on putting people, both internal and external, at the heart of all they do. The company embarked on a journey to empower a dynamic workforce with SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics for employee experience management. At the same time, NUS has digitally transformed its HR processes with SAP SuccessFactors to deliver better employee experiences to its academic staff and researchers.

By helping to design an all-in workforce and keep entire HR teams on the same page, SAP SuccessFactors sits at the centre of today’s HR technology revolution. It is a viable option for organisations looking to harness the full potential of their workforce and ensure their people – every company’s most important assets – are not left out as they embark on their digital transformation journeys.