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SAP HCM Cloud Migration – Why You Need to Understand Your Starting Point

SAP HCM cloud migration

From Onpremise to Cloud

Luc Bossaert, Chief Strategy Officer & Board Member at Adessa Group, talks to Sven Ringling, Director at Adessa Group in Germany, on what the armed forces have taught him about SAP HCM migration to the cloud.

In this podcast we will discuss the key topics of “SAP HCM Cloud Migration” and how this affects you as a SAP HCM customer.

“Sven Ringling will be attending the event Zukunft Personal in Stuttgart, from the 9th to the 10th of April. If you’d like to discuss this or other topics related to Digital HR, please reach out to him via, to arrange a meeting at the event. “

Read the full Podcast:

Hello, I’m Luc Bossaert, Chief Strategy Officer with Adessa Group, a SAP HCM and SuccessFactors partner supporting SAP customers in their migration to the cloud. Adessa Group has a European focus, working with local consultants from offices across all major European countries.

Today, I’m joined by Sven Ringling.
The man hardly needs any introduction, but I will do it anyway. Sven has been a SAP HR consultant since 1996, a SAP Mentor and later Mentor Alumnus since 2015 and has been working on HRIS cloud solutions since 2011. He is also the author of many books on OnPremise and Cloud SAP solutions. Sven recently moved back from London to Frankfurt and is now heading up Adessa Germany. He is as such very well placed to help companies in their journey from OnPremise to Cloud … and everything in between. Welcome Sven.

Sven – Thanks for having me.

What is this move from UK to Germany all about?

Sven – Germany is a very interesting market now for cloud HR and SAP SuccessFactors in particular, as it’s a bit of a late starter, but now the wave is really rolling. So, the perfect turf for me to apply cloud experience from the UK with my market knowledge in Germany. Now with the opportunity to build this up with a fantastic team like Adessa’s, the move was a no-brainer.

Why it is paramount to know the starting point for every cloud transformation?

Sven – As with any journey, whether it’s a transformational one or another Journey, knowing your starting point is crucial for your Cloud migration journey. It seems this holds particularly true for organisations starting with an SAP HCM solution. This is mainly because the typical(!) SAP HCM customer is very different from a typical(!) first generation cloud customer. The emphasis here is on typical, obviously there are always exceptions. Those early cloud customers, who may have found very lean early versions of could HR solutions sufficient, typically came from rather simple solutions with little integration. Being used to a very comprehensive system that allows customers huge flexibility (often more than is good for them) creates a quite peculiar starting position regarding the level of automation, process variation, tolerance for exceptions and data complexity as well as expectations and mindsets.

Does that mean that you need to toss away everything you learned about OnPremise implementations?

Sven – Not at all. The opposite is the case, really. Whilst you need to understand the cloud solution and methodology very well, you also need to understand the technology, process and most notably the mindset each customer is coming from. Applying experience mainly based on customers coming from very simple solutions to this scenario of Migration SAP HCM has created a lot of frustration and left customers disappointed even though having chosen excellent solutions (in most cases SAP SuccessFactors) and very experienced consultants.

In your experience, which are the most important points of failure in a HR cloud migration?

Sven – As I experienced the most important points of failure, when migrating from a more complex environment as you’d typically find with SAP HCM customers, are data migration, integration, payroll and different expectations about what “simplification” really means. Whilst SAP SuccessFactors offers better tools for integration and migration than most others, there’s still a lot of disappointment, because the expectations are also higher. And the tools don’t help, if the implementation partner doesn’t understand the starting point the customers are coming from.

Does this mean that customers should look for SAP HCM consultants to migrate to SuccessFactors?

Sven – Certainly not! Those customers, who don’t trust cloud consultants and use old methodologies with old school consultants, who often promise them they don’t have to change the way they work, they usually fail even bigger. So, you certainly need to understand the goal as well as the starting point to plan and make the journey. I guess the message in a nutshell is: whilst you need to change a lot and learn a lot of new things, ignoring the past completely usually doesn’t work either.

Which consultants should SAP HCM customers be looking for, when migrating to the cloud?

Sven – As many consultants with an SAP HCM background have by now qualified as SuccessFactors consultants and gained significant experience since, there should be a number of suitable implementation partners. For other target solutions than SAP SuccessFactors, this can still a big issue and customers should avoid implementation partners, who are too proud to take experts in the legacy solution on board for the journey.

People interested it the topic and looking for more information, what can they expect from you? What are you publishing next and where can we find it?

Sven – I will be publishing an extensive blog on the migration from SAP HCM to cloud HR Information Systems (HRIS), with a lot of personal insight and perspective on the matter. You will find it on our blogs.

Luc – Well, I am looking forward to read this. Thank you for joining and thanks to all for being with us on this Podcast. Stay tuned and bye for now.

Sven – Thank you, bye


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