Benefits and challenges implementing SAP SuccessFactors (Part 2)


In my previous Blog (Part 1) the possible transition strategies from SAP HCM to HCM for SAP S/4HANA and SAP SuccessFactors were explained. In this blog I will explain more about the benefits and challenges of SAP SuccessFactors a cloud-based HR solution.

HCM for SAP S/4HANA (S4H4) has been developed for customers to be able to continue using SAP HCM on SAP S/4HANA until the year 2040. However, the focal point of SAP’s HCM transition strategy remains SAP SuccessFactors. Let’s see what the main areas of the SAP SuccessFactors are and what is their purpose.

SAP SuccessFactors has three main areas:

  1. Core HR: Employee Central, Employee Central Payroll, Employee Central Service Center, Work-Life, Diversity and Inclusion
  2. Talent Management: Performance & Goals, Compensation, Recruiting, Onboarding, Learning, Succession & Development
  3. Reporting & Analytics: Workforce Analytics, Workforce Planning
Blog Succes Factors 1

1. Core HR
The main part of the ‘Core HR’ is Employee Central where employee master data is stored, maintained, and used for other modules.
Another module is Employee Central Payroll where payroll calculations are supported for 47 counties (for now). Custom developments are necessary for countries which are not supported. It’s also possible to keep payroll calculations on SAP HCM and integrate with SAP SuccessFactors.
The SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Service Center manages HR and knowledge-based services. It’s divided into two core areas: Ask HR and HR Ticketing.
Employees can keep track of their well-being through various features in Work-Life. Assessments, informational content, and activities are available to improve and maintain the health of employees.
With SAP SuccessFactors Diversity and Inclusion, companies can build and maintain a diverse and inclusive global workforce by using enhanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

2. Talent Management features
Performance & Goals gives organizations an opportunity to deliver more meaningful employee reviews, and uses objective principles to help them align employee goals with business goals
Compensation management provides access-controlled compensation plans, budgeting, calibration, and viable pay options.
Recruiting supports an organization’s hiring process: attracting, engaging, and selecting hires.
Onboarding is a solution that provides functionalities for new hires, cross-boarding for transfers, and offboarding for departing employees. New hires can access the online New Hire Portal, where required documents are kept for completion. From an HR perspective, this is where administrators can look to give new hires access to the correct information, documents, and people.
The SAP SuccessFactors Learning management system offers enhanced learning experiences through the use of social and mobile features. Supervisors can create courses and programs which have the ability to be assigned automatically to team members.
The Succession Planning and Career Development solution helps identify high-potential individuals, assign successors to key positions, and create development plans for successors. The Succession module focuses on the succession planning process. The primary functionality is the ability to use all available data to make key decisions regarding which positions need to have successors, which talent is available and how to identify talent, and how to assign talent as successors for the right positions. The Career Development Planning module, also known as CDP, manages development activities such as career planning and learning activities.

3. Reporting & Analytics
Workforce analytics empowers strategic analysis by transforming your transactional data into a robust set of time-trending metrics and dimensions. Workforce planning enables you to plan for vacancies, create new positions, and anticipate workforce needs.

Benefits of an SAP SuccessFactors cloud solution

We can see that a variety of HR processes can be supported with SAP SuccessFactors. But why choose SAP SuccessFactors? There are also other HR cloud solutions in the market. In my opinion, the things where SAP SuccessFactors stands out in comparison to other HR cloud solutions are:

Ease of use
Attractive user interface
Configurable user interface to the user needs and requirements
Activities and processes can be performed from different places in the system
Many integration options to SAP On-Premise system or non-SAP systems

Nowadays, managerial roles have been shifted from a process-oriented focus to a more people-oriented role. People managers are overloaded with work, especially with people centric tasks.
SAP SuccessFactors helps by simplifying administrative processes, enabling two-way communication manager-employee, easy and simple learning & development of employees and for managers provides insights to employees and helps them to get to know their employees.
There are significant benefits of implementing a cloud-based HR solution. SAP SuccessFactors is one of those solutions.

SAP SuccessFactors is an application that helps attract, develop, motivate, and manage workforce. It is designed to engage users in business processes and the user interface is very intuitive.
The modular design gives customers the flexibility to choose which modules and how extensive each module must be implemented. The implementation can cover the entire organization or just parts of it. Next to this, SuccessFactors offers predefined best practice business processes, as well as content related to these processes.

For all these capabilities we could regard SAP SuccessFactors among HR cloud solutions as an iPhone within mobile phone industry or Tesla within electric vehicle industry. It is not perfect, it has limitations, but in most important areas offers best solutions.

Transition tools

SAP offers several tools to support customers for a smooth transition to SuccessFactors:

  • Readiness Check: Provides detailed insights of the current customers SAP ERP HCM landscape, including functionality, degree of customization, number of interfaces and existing data footprint
  • “Infoporter” tool for moving employee data from SAP ERP HCM to SAP SuccessFactors
  • Implementation Design Principles (Best Practice)
  • Best practices: How to get started moving HR data to the cloud
  • SAP HXM program - products, guides, tools, and an ecosystem of partners to help

Challenges in implementing SAP SuccessFactors

The implementation of SAP SuccessFactors also has several challenges that needs to be addressed to avoid any significant obstacles in the implementation process. Below is a short description of the most occurring challenges that should be considered based on my experience:

  1. Clear functional scope – SAP SuccessFactors offers a wide range of modules and functionalities and complicating implementation with unnecessary functionalities will make the implementation more expensive and longer.
  2. Include all the right people – unlike SAP ERP HCM solution, SAP SuccessFactors enables a much wider scope of employees on all organizational level to be engaged in shaping and using this cloud solution.
  3. Go for standard – once you define your needs completely, stick to a standard SuccessFactors solution as much as possible. If there is anything that needs to be included in the implementation which is not a standard solution, try to find anything you could sacrifice or if there is a more affordable alternative. If you don’t do this, the project budget can easily be exceeded.
  4. Testing – constantly test most common cases and include all stakeholders into the testing process.
  5. Training – although one of the benefits of SAP SuccessFactors is an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface, training of the HR team, key management and end-users should be part of the implementation project. This ensures that you achieve maximum productivity and efficiency as quickly as possible.
  6. Constant improvement – once the SAP SuccessFactors is running there are still tasks to be performed to improve utilization through constant learning, application enhancements with new HR initiatives and implementing best practices.
  7. Right partner – a partner who knows business processes and IT solutions is crucial to the success of the project. Such a partner can guide the company through organizational and business changes and is able to provide ongoing support also after the implementation.


In my first blog about the HCM strategies and this blog, I elaborated about the different SAP HCM solutions, the transition strategies and the benefits and challenges regarding both solutions.
In the table below, I’ve made a comparison between these two solutions.

Blog Succes Factors 2

In my opinion, the strategy of the SAP-related HR solution is focused on SAP SuccessFactors. Hence, all companies have already implemented the SAP HCM solution or are planning to implement SAP HCM must consider all the factors crucial for successful transition/implementation and understand all the benefits and limitations of the SAP SuccessFactors solution. This can be time-consuming and quite overwhelming for companies to do by themselves. With the help of a partner who can provide knowledge and expertise, an SAP SuccessFactors implementation can be used to enhance and improve business processes as well as use SAP SuccessFactors as a tool to increase employee’s satisfaction by encouraging them to participate in HR-related processes in the company.

Expert Session webinar

Our expert Tomislav Đekić will host an Expert Session webinar on this topic and discuss various suitable (hybrid) scenarios for the transition to SAP HCM for SAP S/4HANA or directly to SAP SuccessFactors and make a clear comparison between the different options. Join him at this online webinar on the 8th of December 2022. To register and more info, click here.

Previous blog

Tomislav shared in his previous blog the insights on the SAP HCM solution for SAP S/4HANA, discussing the suitable options for the transition to SAP HCM for SAP S/4HANA or directly to SAP SuccessFactors. You can read it here.

We're here to listen.
Get in touch with us.

About the author

Photo of Tomislav Đekić
Tomislav Đekić

Tomislav is our SAP HCM & SuccessFactors Consultant at Expertum

Read more articles by Tomislav Đekić

Related articles