SAP and SuccessFactors: Three Things I Want to Know on Day 1

This transaction is going to close any day now. Presumably, both sides have been carefully considering the implications for HCM and Cloud. Nobody expects answers to all the questions at the close, but everybody expects answers to some things. As an industry analyst for HCM processes and technologies, I have many questions for SAP to address in upcoming months, but these are the questions I want answered on Day 1.

1. How aggressive will SAP be in the management changes across the organization?  SAP announced that Lars Dalgaard, SuccessFactors CEO, is moving into a role to unify and drive the Cloud business across all of SAP. Will there be a similar role for HCM? David Ludlow is currently in charge of SAP’s Global HCM Solutions. Dmitri Krakovsky is currently heading up all SuccessFactors’ products.  Will both remain in charge of their respective areas? Will one of them be promoted? Will a third person be brought in? Who is in charge of the overall HCM strategy?

2. Has the whale swallowed Jonah? SuccessFactors has a history of rapid innovation and prior to the announcement, it had communicated a typically robust investment roadmap. Will the realities of realigning resources (for integrations, platform rationalization, capitalizing on opportunities) stall that historical pace, and if so by how much? How soon will we get to see the consolidated HCM roadmap?   

3. Is Career OnDemand (CoD) on life support or is it DOA? Will SAP’s Career OnDemand be released as planned this quarter? Will the release date be pushed out in order to incorporate SuccessFactors’ influence? Or, as rumored, will it be dropped altogether? While this is a roadmap question, it is also fundamental to the cloud strategy moving forward, and as such, it is one that SAP should be prepared to answer now.

If SAP can address these three questions on Day 1, (and if they deliver a new roadmap within 30 days or less), then this merger will be on a good path to success and these answers may go a long way toward alleviating customer trepidation. The converse is also true.

While it cannot be answered on Day 1, and likely not even by Day 365, the big question is  this:  Can SAP tame the Hydra? (More on this soon.) 

What do you think? What questions would you like to have SAP answer on Day 1? What about at Day 30, 60, 90 or later?   

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4 Responses

  1. Question #2 above is deceptively simple, but in reality, it’s a highly loaded question. It was about the pace of innovation as well as the consolidated roadmap, and by roadmap I mean all aspects of the solution (product, services, alliances, etc.). Specifically I am anxious to see how quickly SAP can provide answers to these and other questions regarding the future direction of HCM solutions:

    - Integration. How will SAP help customers unify their people data and achieve consolidation across their various technologies? What are the details around integration and interoperability.
    - How will HANA be leveraged? SAP has announced ERP support on HANA db by Q4. What specifically does this mean for HCM in SAP products, or for SuccessFactors solutions?
    - How will Inform BI be leveraged beyond SuccessFactors?
    - How will SAP will rationalize their learning offering (Plateau vs. SAP learning; OnP vs. Cloud code lines)
    - What is the strategy for social HCM? SAP Streamworks? SuccessFactors Jam? Something else? Work and employee engagement is fundamentally changing and whether OnPremise or in the Cloud, collaborative, social people processes need to be in the plan.
    - What are the plans for partner solutions (especially for Nakisa, but also for OpenText, Clicksoftware and others)

  2. Excellent article and lots of great questions. I loved how you talked about Day 1 and not Day 365 as I believe that is extremely important.

    My biggest fear is that SAP will be vague with the roadmap not wanting to hurt any prospective opportunities in either channel but it is hard to believe they will have the bandwidth to do everything (ie continue to evolve all the areas where there are product overlaps) especially given that seamless integration between SAP Core HCM and SuccessFactors will be expected by customers quickly and that will be a large undertaking.

    I also provided some opinions in an article earlier last month

    http://www.cloudave.com/16194/sap-and-successfactors-acquisition-qa/

  3. Thanks for your comments here, Jarret. As you say, Day 1 is a different beast than Day 365. You ask all the right questions in your linked post from December, and just as we had no answers then, I expect very few concrete answers in the upcoming days. The pressure will certainly be on for SAP to deliver a coherent set of plans (from product to customer retention) and then demonstrate execution against them rapidly. I was going to write a “What I want to know by Day 30″ post, but after re-reading your post maybe I’ll just paste in your link and call it done. :-)

  4. Hi Yvette. I completely agree with Day 365. I am waiting to see what things will really look like. I have a customer now who is so curious because we are about to implement what we thought was the latest and greatest in Talent Management as we are ramp up for EHP6. Mark Ingram wrote an interesting blog as well on this topic. Not sure if you read it or not. You can find it at http://blog.ingramtalent.com/

    Also, check out an excerpt of my latest book on SAP Lessons Learned HCM at http://www.happyabout.com/bookinfo/SAP_Lessons_Learned_excerpt.pdf we are launching it this week!

    The books can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles!

    Take Care!
    Shonda

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