Successful implementation of SAP SuccessFactors at global HR service provider

Quintop management consultants Richard van der Zanden and Anouk den Ouden were involved in a HR cloud solution implementation project for a large multinational. The project team consisted of 25 team members. Richard and Anouk provided project management and functional support and were responsible for defining and executing the change management approach around the SAP SuccessFactors roll out in 2018 and 2019.

Overview of The New HR Platform Roll Out

The first step involved was establishing the system’s foundation, this being HR Core module implementation in 70 countries, including local payroll integration. Therefore, ‘basic’ HR processes like position management, position changes, and salary changes were carried out first. In so doing, the project team was able to focus on a solid design, data migration, and the integration with global and local systems.

After a successful go live of the HR Core module in SuccessFactors, the project team started working on the ‘second batch’ of HR modules. In the second year, the work was centered around the implementation of Talent Management modules, such as Learning, Performance Management, Onboarding, Recruitment and Career & Development.

A New Way of Working

The introduction of SuccessFactors not only meant introducing a new HR platform, it also impacted the way managers, employees, and the Global HR Services team worked. With SuccessFactors, managers were expected to digitally initiate certain HR processes themselves (e.g., promotions or voluntary redundancies), of course with built-in HR controls. The focus of HR then changed from primarily operational to largely tactical and strategical, with a more coaching and business partnering role towards managers.

Not only managers experienced changes in their usual way of working, employees were positively affected as well. Regardless of their location, with SuccessFactors employees could request a day off, change their name and address details, draw up performance goals, request for feedback, and follow online courses.

Lastly, the transition to a HR cloud-based solution changed the way of working of and within the Global HR Services team responsible for HR system maintenance. They used to be dependent on the system supplier, and the process of implementing requested system changes used to be time-consuming and costly. However, with the arrival of SuccessFactors, they were in charge of the system and were able to implement improvements and changes quickly and at a low cost. Since SuccessFactors is updated quarterly, the Global HR Services team was urged to work in project mode continuously in order to handle all changes in configuration and processes.

Commitment is Key

As the way of working within the multinational changed significantly with the introduction of SuccessFactors, solid project management and change management were crucial. Quintop made sure HR and People Services were involved in all project phases. They played an important role in the SuccessFactors design, the User Acceptance Testing phase, and the SuccessFactors rollout. In addition to mapping the wishes and needs of HR and People Services, the same was done for the end user. they listened to the end user as well. Employees and managers were represented in an advisory group, in which the change approach, communication, and trainings were shared and discussed. Anouk and Richard also traveled to several countries to have open conversations with employees: What does the SuccessFactors implementation entail, what are local discrepancies in respect of the standard SuccessFactors processes and configuration, and what are employees’ beliefs and concerns that need to be taken into account? Finally, also HR leaders were heavily involved during the whole project and were, among others, represented in the project board. They proactively promoted the need for change, which made a smooth transition possible.

Besides making sure all relevant stakeholders were involved, training and clear communication were essential to make this change successful. Change agents were provided with trainings and communication materials, and guidance on how to make these suitable for their specific local situation. In addition to local communication, on a global level regular organization-wide webinars were organized and communication in newsletters were sent out, to ensure all employees and other stakeholders received uniform information.

A result to be proud of

In two years’ time, the former HR platform was successfully replaced with SuccessFactors as the new HR cloud solution. With the introduction of SuccessFactors, a new standard had been set in regard to employee experience, HR analytics & reporting, and efficiency.

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