Commoditization of SAP SuccessFactors Implementation Projects: Yes or No?
Commoditization of SAP SuccessFactors Implementation Projects: Yes or No?
The forces of commoditization are powerful than ever. If you are an HR leader who wants to transform your company’s HR to a digital employee experience, and you have picked an HR Technology i.e., SAP SuccessFactors as your choice; then the next step is to choose an Implementation partner who can Implement the SAP SuccessFactors as per your HR Transformation vision. But, the big question is— Is Implementation Service of SAP SuccessFactors becoming a commodity?
In business literature, commoditization is defined as a process in which goods or services become relatively indistinguishable from competing offerings over time. Generally speaking, commoditized products within specific categories are so similar to one another that the only distinguishing feature is pricing.
Pricing of implementation services is dependent on two major factors— Product to be implemented and experience; and expertise of the team implementing it. Products can easily be compared, however, how to compare the value of the team of implementation partner is of chief importance.
By Implementation Partner, I mean— A System Integrator/Services Partner who is certified by SAP to implement SAP SuccessFactors. There are two categories to Implementation partner in the market: a) First, who implement all SAP products like, SAP ERP, S4HANA, SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors etc, and b) Second, who specialize in implementing only SAP SuccessFactors.
SAP SuccessFactors as an HR product of choice:
It’s been 6 years — of SuccessFactors’ successful time-period under the wings of SAP. In Feb 2012, SAP closed the deal and acquired SuccessFactors also known now as SAP SuccessFactors, SAP SF, or simply SF, and created a transformational tide in the world of HR cloud technology. So much so that Gartner, Inc., the leading provider of research and analysis on the global information technology industry, has given SAP SuccessFactors the highest scores for Cloud HCM Suites. Since then, there has been a monumental innovation and a persistent, well-ordered evolution in SAP SuccessFactors product suite as a whole, making it a great tool of choice for organizations looking to implement digital employee experience.
And then what? Commoditization! A great HCM Cloud suite – SAP SuccessFactors you chose and when it comes to Implementation – What kind of an Implementation partner you should settle for? Or do you think all of them are the same?
Team’s Experience and Expertise as Commodity:
When embarking on HR transformation project – generally, the dilemma is whether to have an implementation partner for your HR Transformation project in place with just a few certified SuccessFactors consultants? Or consulting firms/Implementation partners having SuccessFactors consultants with just about a couple of projects in their ‘experience bank’?
Firstly, it needs to be understood that certification is not the only endorsement to the skill required of a SuccessFactors consultant for massive projects of HR Transformation. It is simply a prerequisite.
Secondly, did you dig deep into the experience of the SuccessFactors consultant or consultants who’s been appointed for your module implementation? Because each module has its own certification. And what about the number of consultants working on your project? Do you know if your ‘certified consultant’ is going to work alone? Does he have the relevant experience? Or you are just an ‘experiment client’ to the team?
I guess pondering the right questions and having the confident answers to the same from your Implementation partner is what makes a difference, a stark difference.
How to Identify Good Resources?
Given all the things that often go wrong with the implementation, what could be the course of action to ensure a smooth start? As with most successful efforts, an implementation project requires not just resources but good resources and sheer commitment from all facets of the organization.
Here, by good resources I mean that your Implementation partner must have an established central team; it’s pack of wolves who stick in unison to implement together, learn together, document together, solve the hurdles together through projects after projects.
Why this is important because when your wolves stay together through thick and thin during the projects over a period of time, they bring their even more enhanced skills, a level of comfort during the transformation, a smooth work-flow, and two-way confidence to the transformation table.
But there’s a challenge experienced on implementation partner’s part to be able to retain the valuable team.
Oftentimes, when implementing partner’s SuccessFactors consulting team delivers a successful HR transformation project, due to high demand in the market for such skill, they begin to embark on a new job with better pay-packages and an on-site opportunity. Such state of affairs resulted in a two-way loss:
a) Implementation Partner loses valuable information/experience gained by the consultant, which could be fruitful to take the next project a notch higher, and
b) The consultant misses out on an opportunity to work on the next project with the same team to exercise the lessons learned in the past projects.
In fact, this also impacts the implementation partner’s customers. Customer services are interrupted where customers and clients do business with a company in part because of the people. When an employee leaves the organization suddenly, the relationships that employee built for the company are suffered and also could lead to loss of a contract with a potential customer.
So as a customer, that’s where you start — Finding an Implementation Partner with Good Retention of their Experienced Team. A team which has delivered similar projects together and made them successful a few times to Achieve Victorious Organizational Transformation. But you might just be in for another challenge!
That is: you want to take-off the transformation project asap, like tomorrow, but your chosen Implementation partner’s tiger-team isn’t available because they’re already on another unfinished project!
And there, you’re at the crossroads!
Trust me, well-thought-of resource deployment on any project is a universal problem with implementation partners; whether big, mid-sized, or a boutique company. I am sure, as you read this, multiple names of such firms stirring up in your mind right now. Yeah?
Keep in mind that you don’t need a massive consulting company who would just throw bodies onto your project to make it a colossal success. Often times, smaller is better. You need that one tiger team, be it from a large company, mid-sized or a boutique company.
But Here Comes The Big Question— Are you getting that Tiger Team from your Implementation Partner?
To all my dear readers, let’s take an analogy to understand this:
How many times have you waited for a long weekend to arrive when you plan to indulge in fancy food at your favorite restaurant? To live the long-awaited experience? Often, right? And when you finally arrive there, it’s jam-packed. While waiting to secure a table, you see your favorite dish being carried to some table. The sight and smell of the food make the wait for you fidgety and you head straight towards the restaurant manager to ask for impromptu provisions with seating, food and the associated services because you can’t wait no more.
And you take a bite of the reality sandwich: The whole staff is seen to go on their last legs. The chef has gone white-eyes with all the unforeseen emergency and quits, there isn’t enough staff to discharge their timely services to you, and you’re totally cheesed off while being iron-willed to never return back to the place gone chaotic, or even recommend it to anyone ever. Just because you couldn’t do some waiting?
You gotta take the call: Certainly, you don’t want to sacrifice quality for time.
Work it out with your chosen implementation partner to assist you with the best slot possible with the best of their teams, the Tiger Team!
So, though it’s not easy or right to commoditize the attributes of an experienced team of experts, you can surely identify the tiger team if you consider the proposed attributes in this article.
In the end, I would love to thank all my dear customers for giving us that bit of waiting time so as to keep our service quality high, putting all our learnings from the previous project in the next one to use, and embarking on the beautiful journey to make you our reference customer.
And, to my good old team.. Remember, that we’re an array of Tiger Teams with an extra ‘S’ that is always ready to Roll 🙂 We are Rolling Arrays!