Monday, April 29, 2013

My Sapphire Demos On SAP SuccessFactors Integration

With the current integration between SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors, HR Administrators and managers can send or receive specific information across SAP and SuccessFactors with a couple of clicks. During my micro forum sessions  and demo theater sessions at Sapphire 2013 next month, I plan to show these demos along with the story that you can tell your customers and colleagues.

If you are a partner or a customer, I might be able to handover some offline demos to you so that you can show them to your customers and colleagues. I am done with the compensation integration demo. I will build the offline employee master data integration demo this week. My colleagues from the demo and rapid deployment solutions team (RDS) teams are working on the recruiting integration demo in the live system. I am not sure if I will have the time to build offline demos for recruiting integration with SAP ERP HCM. But I will try.

I look forward to seeing many of you at Sapphire in Orlando. Here is the compensation integration story and a screen shot of the SAP HCM menu screens from where managers will launch SuccessFactors Apps.

SuccessFactors Compensation integration with SAP HCM Story Trailer
SAP Employee Self Service and Manager Self Service Portal

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Integrating Cloud Applications Is Getting Easier

My job at SAP and SuccessFactors to help customers integrate SAP and SuccessFactors. I also help customers integrate their SuccessFactors cloud applications with third party cloud applications. One of the HR administrators at a customer asked me about the direction in which integration technology is moving. She asked me if we are closer to a day where she can create and manage integrations between people management applications on her own.

I mentioned to her that integration technology is moving to cloud and becoming easier to use. In fact, integration technology is fast becoming a consumer tool, very much like email and facebook.

For example, using the integration tool, IFTTT I activated a simple integration between my blogger account and my LinkedIn account by just pointing and clicking. When ever I post a blog on Blogger, an update is automatically posted on LinkedIn.

There are many such standard integrations available between cloud based consumer tools and enterprise tools. You can even connect cloud applications to physical devices such as your phone.

The integration product management team at SAP and SuccessFactors is working towards this model. We want to create a library of standard integrations called iFlows to integrate SAP and SuccessFactors with each other and with third party applications. I will admit that enterprise software integrations tools today are neither as simple as the IFTTT tool nor as comprehensive as its library of integrations. However, I see a day, not too far in the future, where customers of enterprise software providers will be able to integrate most cloud based enterprise applications with each other with the same ease as IFTTT. SAP partners will play an important role in creating and providing a library of integrations to customers.

Once functionality becomes a commodity in an enterprise application, integration could become the competitive advantage for customers. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Integrating Multiple SAP HCM Systems With SuccessFactors Business Execution

Many SAP ERP HCM Customers have multiple HCM systems. Sometimes these systems were put in place on purpose. Sometimes these systems came as a result of mergers and acquisitions. My colleagues from integration product management have put together a very good cook book to explain the various scenarios you might face and how to handle them. I highlight some points from the cook book in the video below.

Step By Step Process To Integrate Employee Central With SAP ERP

SAP customers who use SuccessFactors Employee Central (EC) need to integrate EC with SAP ERP. This is a standard integration provided by SAP. There is a very good document that outlines what needs to be done. I discuss the document in the video below.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Design Thinking For SAP SuccessFactors Solution Architecture

Now a days we have started doing day long design thinking workshops with SAP SuccessFactors customers to help them understand how cloud and OnPremise applications will work together along with their existing business applications.

Rather than present a very complex diagram of the solution to them, we start drawing the picture on a whiteboard in conversation with the customer team. I prompt them to speak about the desired solution and create the picture as they speak. Such a method of constructing the picture while talking to them gives them a clear idea of how we arrived at the solution.

I normally do this on a white board or flip chart. If this is a small team you can do this on paper. It might look something like this.

I drew this while having lunch with a customer.
If you are interested in reading more about doing this for your customers, there is a good book. It is called Back of the Napkin.Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. If you are an SAP employee, you can order this book from SRM. No approval required.

A word about design thinking.
Some colleagues and even senior executives I have spoken to think that design thinking is about a lot of post-it notes on the wall. Another set of colleagues told me that design thinking is about smart people sitting in a room and thinking to come up with ideas. I think of design thinking as getting out of the building, putting yourself in the shoes of the person for whom you are building the solution and making something to turn abstract ideas into tangible things that people can see, touch, feel, smell and hear. It is about conversation and making things to arrive at solutions. 

SuccessFactors For SAP Core Banking Customers

There are tens of thousands of SAP ERP Customers who do not use SAP for people management. I am working with a few such customers to help them architect a cloud based people management solution while keeping the SAP ERP applications that run their business operations intact. For example, a banking customer will use SAP Core Banking along with ERP to run the bank. Their people management architecture using SuccessFactors might look something like the diagram below.

SuccessFactors Cloud HCM for SAP Core Banking Customers

Since there are over 35,000 SAP ERP customers, this is also a huge opportunity for partners who sell or implement SuccessFactors.

The architecture for certain customers have some more components. I left out some details to keep the diagram easy to understand. If you are an SAP SuccessFactors employee or partner and would like to know more about building a solution for an SAP ERP customer who does not use SAP for HCM, send me an email. I will share some more details. Please leave a comment, if you are working with similar customers. I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Help These Youngsters Who Want To Improve The Way We Grow Food

At work everyday I am bombard with talk about social, mobile, cloud and big data. Sometimes it feels like all the smart technologists in the world want to create an app that will make them millionaires in 12 months.

Amidst all this talk, it was refreshing to hear about four youngsters who want to improve the way we grow food. Here is a video about their project. Their idea is far more innovative and ground breaking than most of the projects I come across at work.

Please support their work with a small contribution to their effort. You can do so from here
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