by Casper Nielsen
Project accelerators in SuccessFactors implementations
Do you know the feeling when buying a product, that you are looking forward to receiving and then when you have used it, you think: “Was that really it”? I have met a few customers with this feeling after having implemented their new SuccessFactors system. The question is why?
There can be many and very individual explanations to this, but we believe to have identified a few that seem to be more common.
Top reasons for not realizing full SuccessFactors potential:
- SuccessFactors implementation projects are run focusing only on the IT delivery itself
- SuccessFactors solution is designed to be too complex – simplicity is king
- SuccessFactors suite is implemented too fast
- SuccessFactors operations is not well anchored
Ad 1) SuccessFactors implementation projects are run focusing only on the IT delivery itself
SuccessFactors is a business system to its bone – it is used by the business, it is a system designed to enable the business, and it is the business taking 95% of the project decisions when implementing SuccessFactors. Therefore, SuccessFactors implementations must also be done with a business approach in mind and not just focusing on the core IT delivery.
When Implementing SuccessFactors it is essential that business processes, governance, and Change Management, is aligned as the project progresses. Your new SuccessFactors system should be a natural extension to your company’s new, adjusted offline processes, and processes and systems should create synergies and not make life harder. This requires careful consideration of process-design and how processes, governance and the system are designed to reinforce one-another. Your governance is also likely to be significantly impacted by your new HR system and, therefore, you need to review and adjust governance to make it support processes and systems. Talking about impact, you need to prepare your business, and despite SuccessFactors having a rather short implementation time, the impact of the implementation requires careful Change Management – ALWAYS!
Finally, we often see that customers are in a hurry to finalize the project and get into operations mode. Often people involved in the project are tired after working long hours for a period of time, handling both project tasks and normal, daily operations. Therefore, the important process of deploying the new solution, where the system is rolled-out to the entire organization including training, communication, ensuring that users are getting a positive first-time experience and reinforcing the benefits of this change, become a sluggish affair.
Ad 2) SuccessFactors solution is designed to be too complex – simplicity is king
When implementing SuccessFactors it is easy to lose sight of your overall project success criteria. You will be presented with a long list of super cool tools and features – but do you really need all of them? If not or if only HR wants them, don’t implement them.
Our experience is that customers need to follow a few simple design principles where one thing is above all other. We call it Intuplicity. Your system must be intuitive, and it must signal simplicity. Intuitive means that people will be able to use the system despite maybe only using a module a few times a year, it means that training is kept at a minimum, and it implies user-friendliness. Simplicity means users do not want systems filled with functionality, buttons, and information – they want easy to use applications that makes a task simple to execute. Adding all the extras only create confusion and blurs the purpose of the task at hand.
Ad 3) SuccessFactors suite is implemented too fast
Slam, bam, ready to go. This is one way of going about a SuccessFactors implementation but be realistic. There are many surroundings that will need to be managed as part of the project. You should make sure that your project team is kept busy and keeps momentum, but they should never be forced to progress faster than the team is able to comprehend and understand. This is not only in relation to the system but just as much the full context of which the system will operate as part of including business processes, governance and the change introduced to all elements.
Standard is fine. Actually, standard is great. But just hammering in a system in 2-3 weeks with minimal customer interaction and involvement is for 9 out of 10 customers a method that will end up not realizing the full business value potential and be much more expensive in the long run. This is caused by errors in system, lack of training and understanding of the system and the required changes to processes for key people in the deployment process and last, but not least, due to change requests after the project has gone live and is fully operational.
Ad 4) SuccessFactors operations is not well anchored
The last of the four reasons has to do with lack of anchoring in IT. Many IT departments are still finding their own way in the world of cloud technology. Being unfamiliar with the technology and how to find a good model for cloud operations, bring about a risk to your organization. This is reinforced by the fact that 95% of decisions in a SuccessFactors implementation are made by the business and not IT. Try to always keep your end-goal in mind – the operational responsibility of IT systems remains to be in IT – NOT in HR.
Step 1 is being aware of these pitfalls. Step 2 is choosing a partner that executes an implementation taking this into consideration. Step 3 is using these themes as accelerators for a successful SuccessFactors implementation.
In this blog, we just want to scratch the surface and give future and existing SuccessFactors customers a brief heads-up. Please give us a call or book a meeting to hear more about an alternative approach to implementing SuccessFactors, so that you can realize the full potential of your SuccessFactors investment.
is SuccessFactors team lead and project manager at 2BM. He has great experience with HR business and HR processes as well as the entire SuccessFactors suite and implementation of HR systems.