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SuccessFactors May 2013 Release

By / May 17, 2013 / , / 0 Comments

I was lucky enough to attend a briefing by SuccessFactors on their May 2013 release, including a short overview of their new Onboarding product.

Below is a summary of the session.

A short disclaimer I have only recently begun looking in detail at SuccessFactors. This means I may not fully appreciated the changes outlined in this release. With attendance at next week’s SuccessConnect event in Sydney this should change.

May Release

There are four key areas receiving attention; Mobility, Learning, Recruitment and Jam.


SuccessFactors is focusing on tablet devices, specifically iPad, to give managers and employees access to more personalised content. The iPad app will have the similar features as the existing iPhone app plus several tablet centric ones.

An innovative feature is the ability for managers to conduct re-organisation planning directly on the iPad. As the re-organisation is taking place managers can see key metrics from the result of proposed changes such as costs and FTE figures.  At this stage the revised organisation structures cannot be written back to execute the changes.mobile-SF-ipad

For goal and performance management managers can view team goals, update the general status of each goal from the iPad.

When approving leave requests Managers are able to see their teams’ leave calendars. Allowing for more effective leave planning to ensure suitable team coverage when others are on leave.

I see these features as good examples around the use of tablets devices in HR beyond the basic leave request and payslip delivery.


The learning product has received a revamped user interface that focuses employees and managers on the immediate next steps around their learning. This is achieved through “call to action” buttons that change based on the status of the learning activity.

There are also enhancements around the SuccessFactors search capabilities. Recommended or Featured courses can be displayed within the search results, assisting employees in planning their learning programs.


The employee referral platform has been enhanced as part of upgrades within the recruitment module. One new feature now allow employees to leverage their social networks to identify potential candidates. Employees also have the ability to refer friends now into the general candidate pool or to a specific job. Once a referral has taken place employees can see exactly where in the referral process the referred friend is and a summary of all referral bonuses paid.


Jam, their Social Business Software, now allows for the creation of contests and challenges to “motivate and incentivize employees to learn and onboard faster”. They have included the ability for 3rd party integrations around gamification with services. Mentioned during the session was the ability to link with tools such as Punchball.

An area of focus in this release is to enable easier administration of Jam environments. New administrative features include monitoring of storage, creation of open groups and the ability flag “abuse content” and require the review and approval of certain content.

General update on EmployeeCentral

Over the last quarter SAP has seen good success with SuccessFactors with 170,000 seats sold. Some key wins highlighted – BBC, Forever 21 and Aryzta.

SuccessFactors now offers numerous international reports covering “standard” HR metrics such as headcount. Legislative reporting is also available across 23 different countries, making the platform more attractive for multinational organisations.

EmployeeCentral, through SAP Cloud Payroll, now supports payroll in 22 countries including Australia, with new additions being Russia and Japan. By the end of 2013 they aim to support 51 different countries.

As of writing SAP Cloud Payroll is still hosted out of SAP Germany which may pose challenges for some Australian organisations.

SuccessFactors are also working with other global vendors to integrate with their payroll offerings, for example ADP’s GlobalView and NorthgateArinso’s euHReka.

From an Australian perspective Talent2 was also listed as having integrations, although no further information was provided.


Onboarding is one area where SuccessFactors had been lacking in functionality. With its recent acquisition of KMS Software they are looking to resolve this gap in the product lineup.

SuccessFactors is focusing on four key areas; compliance and tasks management, overcoming first day anxiety, connecting with the organisation and finally goals and development.

While achieving compliance and task management is a foundation portion of any onboarding tool. The other three areas are where organisations will start to see higher engagement and reduced time to productivity.

Through the use of Jam new starters can be pre-assigned to relevant groups and networks in an effort to speed up time to productivity. Managers can also initiate connections between the new starter and existing team members.

It was not clear during the session how comprehensive the SuccessFactors offering was around compliance within Australia, such as Tax File Declarations and Superannuation Choice of Fund data collection.


The biggest challenge SuccessFactors has is the continued integration of all of the acquired products. The screenshots displayed during the session showed at least four different user interfaces indicating more work needs to be done to achieve a consistent look and feel.

The lack of a locally hosted payroll solution may pose some issues in the Australian market. SuccessFactors are working with a number of local partners to assist in this area and indications are hosting of SAP Cloud Payroll in Australia is in the process of being resolved.

Overall the May release seems a strong addition to their already leading talent management platform.