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SAP SuccessFactors Cloud Transformation: Who’s Directing Your Journey?

SAP SuccessFactors Cloud Transformation: Who's Directing Your Journey?

SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics Employee Experience should go hand in hand

The other day, an SAP HCM customer told me they loved, what they’ve seen of Qualtrics EX (Employee Experience), but they are just about to embark on their HR Cloud Transformation journey from SAP HCM (on-premise) to SAP SuccessFactors (Upgrade2Success) and that will block all their resources for the foreseeable future. So, they can’t invest time and budget into Qualtrics or a similar solution at the same and will implement it after their HR Cloud Transformation has been completed.

Let’s take a step back: What is Qualtrics EX?

It’s a leading solution to collect data for insights into Employee Experience using a variety of survey and feedback mechanisms combined with powerful analytics and role based interactive dashboards to allow stakeholders (line managers, HR, board) to get the insights they need quickly and easily and turn them into actions. So, it’s THE go-to tool to understand how your employees feel about, well, being your employees.

So, the statement in the first paragraph sounds sensible at first sight, but what would you say about his hypothetical statement from a hotel chain: “We have seen this market research tool that would give us much better insights in customer expectations and their experience with new offerings and services as we position them in the market and as they evolve. Unfortunately, we are just about to build a few new hotels, so can’t invest in market research at the same time.” In this context it sounds completely ludicrous, doesn’t it? Why would you not want to benefit from much improved customer experience insights, before and during the roll-out of new services? It doesn’t make sense, when you look at it from a customer point of view.

Employee Experience is the HR department’s Customer Experience

Hold on a second! Who do they say is HR’s customer? Employees and line managers, right? So, aren’t insights into Employee Experience as important for HR (and actually way beyond HR) as Customer Experience data is for marketing or product/service development?

Aren’t we seeing all or many of the following objectives on the list for any HR Cloud transformation, whether it’s “Upgrade2Success” (transition from, SAP HCM to SAP SuccessFactors) or whether it’s migrating from Workday to SuccessFactors:

  • Improved talent attraction
  • Better talent retention
  • Stronger employee engagement
  • Better employee satisfaction
  • Stronger employer brand
  • Better employee experience
  • Improved employee well being
  • Empowerment of line managers and employees

And to be clear: all this is not just about making employees feel good, while using your HR system – that is far too a narrow view typically held by HR systems professionals. This is about changing the Employee Experience across the board with both systems being enablers. You don’t want to embark on this project being effectively blind and deaf, as you have no or little feedback from your target group, do you?

How will improved Employee Experience look like?

So, if you want to improve various aspects of Employee Experience, you should know how your workforce feels about the experience of being employed in your organisation, what they expect to improve and, most importantly, measure your progress towards your target as you go along.


Think of these examples:

  • You know there is a lack of communication leading to poor goal achievement rates, so you set up a process and system with very elaborately described goals incl. milestone plans, measurement etc. But then it turns out this doesn’t improve things at all, because what employees really need is not more detail at the beginning, but more guidance and feedback as they go along – something you can achieve using the Continuous Performance Management tool in SuccessFactors.
  • As you are rolling this out, you see poor adoption and you stop the roll-out, because you don’t know that employees are just missing the mobile solution you didn’t allow for and that it’s no good for them to request feedback only from line managers, when they need it from project managers and peers. So, easily fixed in the system, once you know it.
  • You change your time and attendance policies to allow for more flexible working and to encourage part time work. Then you are surprised by the low adoption, because you are not realising that a full time culture and pressure from full time colleagues demanding 9-to-5 on-site availability are poisoning the otherwise good offering.

There are plenty of examples like this, where up to date experience data can point you into the right direction at the start of the HR Cloud Transformation and help you fine tune your journey as you go along.

SAP SuccessFactors is the brain of your HR Cloud Transformation – let Qualtrics EX be your senses

Therefore, whilst SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics can be used independently from each other very well, given the opportunity you should implement them together (or maybe Qualtrics even a bit earlier during the decision making stages) and let them evolve in parallel. Think about SAP SuccessFactors being the brain of your HR Transformation project and Qualtrics your eyes, ears, nose and touch without which the brain would not have the information needed to make the right decisions.

No, Qualtrics is not a SuccessFactors implementation tool!

Didn’t I imply just that? Nope! But maybe I wasn’t clear enough: I’m not advocating the use of Qualtrics to improve your SuccessFactors implementation. Whilst that could add some value, it’s far too narrow a focus. What I’m saying is: both SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics are great tools to drive a transformation process and they are best used together. It’s like making a cake. SuccessFactors are your flour, milk, egg, sugar etc. and Qualtrics is your baking soda. It’s no use to bake the cake without baking soda and then sprinkle it on top later, when the failed cake comes out of the oven, right?

Ok, but still: where do I find the time?

Well, you just need to start with a manageable scope. Qualtrics as a tool is not that complicated to implement, as long as you start easy and evolve. Starting with a simple setup for an engagement survey to get a baseline and maybe adding a couple of life cycle surveys to get feedback on particular moment in employees journeys can be quick. If you start today (4th July) you can have your first survey results in and dashboards shared before end of September. Our Qualtrics team at Adessa also offers easy deployment packages to integrate Qualtrics with SAP HCM to use it before the SuccessFactors go life. Plus the same packages to integrate with SuccessFactors to monitor progress after go live.

Important factors for success and to reduce resource requirements are:

  • start small and evolve
  • only ask questions you are prepared to act on
  • keep improving: it’s a listening exercise and you’ll learn to listen and to ask the right questions

And you’ll have to ask these questions anyway to direct your transformation process. With Qualtrics EX you are just adding the tool to make this more effective, comprehensive and efficient plus analytics to get better insights.

So, if you want some help in planning your journey and find out, if Qualtrics can support this, feel free to reach out:

Post by Sven Ringling – SAP HCM solutions expert


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