SAP SuccessFactors Review

Highly flexible and gives full visibility into our workforce management processes

What is our primary use case?

I use SAP SuccessFactors for workforce management, in order to gain visibility into the employees in my company. 

I'm working with the latest version currently and it is one of several similar products that I have used in the Middle East, including Oracle Cloud Fusion, Oracle EBS on-prem, and the regional software from Naya Tech (which has a good position in the Middle East, and which is fantastic, by the way).

How has it helped my organization?

The conceptual structure of Core HR enables us to build whatever we need when it comes to the data that we need to collect from our employees. Overall, SuccessFactors allows us to monitor the progress of our objectives throughout the year, and gives us good visibility into the performance of the company and the different departments.

What is most valuable?

First of all, I must mention that SuccessFactors has many modules. The main modules are the Core HR and Payroll modules. Payroll is based on the concept that you can create whatever you need in terms of fields, or the characteristics of a field. You can change field types and the names of every field. And with Core HR, the structure of the software allows us the flexibility to build whatever we need in terms of the data we need to collect from our employees.

The second part of this is the integration points between the Core HR module and all the task management areas. This integration is very good and it gives management full visibility regarding performance and performance management. It's built on financial scorecards, so managers can assign the objectives of the company and they can cascade these objectives down from companies to departments, and then to individuals. It lets you monitor the progress of objectives all the way until the end of the year.

I think it's perfect that every requirement has flexibility in how it is handled, and that there are several workarounds for any problem we are looking to solve. Each problem has multiple solutions, so it gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of processes.

Given these features, SuccessFactors is suitable for medium-sized companies as well as larger companies, assuming that the larger companies have simple enough enough processes in terms of workforce management. For very comprehensive processes, SuccessFactors might not be appropriate.

There is now also an overnight shift option. So it can work for blue collar workers, for manufacturing, or for any kind of industry that requires people to stay overnight till the second day. Users of SuccessFactors can manage all of this in terms of attendance or absence.

Beyond that, I think the recruitment features are good. In fact, more than good. And in the latest version there has been great improvements in the time management side of things. There is now a new module called Time Tracking, and this was something we sorely missed from the beginning of SuccessFactors. Now we can integrate SuccessFactors with a time attendance machine or biometric machine and I can assign clock-in and clock-out schedules to the GUI. Meanwhile, the databases that link to the biometric machine for time valuations connect with the data in the Payroll module. This is a great feature that has always been missing and now it's included.

What needs improvement?

To explain one feature that I would like to see in SuccessFactors, I must describe a similar feature as seen in Oracle. In Oracle, there's a feature called Workforce Prediction, and with this feature, we can predict some of the behaviors of any employee. For example, the software can attempt to predict whether the employee might resign in future, or perhaps if they will start to perform better. This is something that is missing in SuccessFactors.

Another thing that can be improved with SuccessFactors is that, although the reporting tool is not bad, there are often separate reports for different areas of the software. For management and other processes like onboarding, this is not ideal. For example, you may have separate technologies being used in the different modules, so the Payroll module may have a reporting system that is distinct from that used by the more basic modules.

What we are looking for is some way to unify the reporting tools with one technology because otherwise it gives us difficulties when we need to generate a more complete and encompassing report. How it works now is that if we need to get the report from the Payroll module, we must first ask someone with Payroll experience. And if we want to get data from the basic performance or recruitment modules, we must ask another person for that info.

I think that unifying the reporting features is the most important thing for us, which we hope to see in future versions. However, at least for standard processes, it does give us what we are looking for. We can work with cybernetics cloud integration, and that gives us very good insights. So it's not necessarily about making up a gap in the technology, it's more of a matter of being able to better handle who is responsible for what inside the organization.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SAP SuccessFactors for more than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable and very easy to do so.

How are customer service and technical support?

My experience with the technical support has been good. There's something new with their support called Wizard Guide which is a type of knowledge base where you can search for a specific issue and it will give you some notes about it. If the notes aren't enough, you can then simply open an incident.

There are several tools for opening an incident. You can have a quick chat with a technical person directly, who you can exchange ideas with. This is usually for how-to questions.

Then, there's the ability to schedule meetings with the technical support. In a meeting, you can explain the problem you are facing, and they will either support you on the spot or you will have to open an additional incident ticket. For the new incident process, you need to classify which area of which module you're having a problem with and then wait for a response.

Within a maximum of three days, they will have an answer for you. If you need faster support, there's high priority support which is able to respond in one to two hours, but this isn't something we have used yet. High priority support is more for situations where a system cannot be reached at all, or where something has been greatly affected in the production system and you don't have any workarounds at hand.

They offer their support 24/7, answer very quickly, and they even call you to make sure that you are doing well. Sometimes, when you are enabling new features or facing issues, and you haven't even opened a ticket or anything, they will detect the issue and send an email to you directly to make sure you that you are coming along. For example, they'll tell you, "Please go to steps 1 to 3 to fix your issue." So they are very good and cooperative when it comes to technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have worked with Oracle before, but in Oracle OTL, Oracle Fusion, and Oracle Cloud, there's a lot missing in terms of time management. In SuccessFactors, it is much better, and even though there is still a way to go, they have already made some significant improvements in this area.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup can be easy or hard, depending on how you go about it. If you go with the best practices, then you hardly need any setup. You simply adopt the existing processes and this is very easy and straightforward.

If you go without the best practices, such as when the company asks for new processes that are not included, or if you have to do a complex setup right from the beginning, then it will take some effort. But overall, the setup is still very easy.

It all starts with the data model, and obviously this requires someone experienced in Excel, etc., but once it is up and running, you will have screens that can be managed through the SuccessFactors' system without using any XML process. This makes things much more flexible in terms of setup compared to before. For any new processes you'd like to add, you can go directly to the upgrade center and select whichever optional upgrades you want. Thus, enhancing the software is very easy and doesn't take much time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you go by best practices and do it right from the outset, the setup won't be a costly endeavor. In terms of setup, there is a lot of flexibility compared to three years ago.

For any new process or for something already added to the SuccessFactors or SAP library, you can just go directly to the upgrade center, see the optional upgrade, and select it. Once you upgrade it, you have your setup, and you can work right away.

What other advice do I have?

They say nothing is perfect, but honestly, the SuccessFactors product is essentially perfect in my eyes. It fits all the requirements we have and solves every problem we encounter. Whenever there is a problem we need to overcome, we can easily find a similar solution and adapt it to our situation. It's rare finding software that gives you lots of solutions for any particular problem you are thinking about.

The only reason I would not rate SuccessFactors a perfect ten is because if you do find yourself missing some feature that is relevant for your organization, you will have to go develop it yourself.

I would rate SAP SuccessFactors a nine out of ten. 

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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