Discuss business intelligence, integration, compliance and a host of other SAP-related topics – implementation, best practices and resources to negotiate the world of SAP better!

May 4, 2016

Compensation challenges and how SAP SuccessFactors' Compensation and Variable pay solution can help

Posted on behalf of Srinivasa Rao Edara, Principal - Enterprise Applications, Infosys

Are you a busy compensation manager executive looking for a new state of the art compensation solution to help you with your compensation challenges? Or maybe you're looking for a compensation solution which is flexible, intuitive and easy to use. In either case, SAP's cloud-based SuccessFactors compensation platform, partnered with Infosys, has the tools you need to successfully roll out your short term and long term compensation plans.

Continue reading " Compensation challenges and how SAP SuccessFactors' Compensation and Variable pay solution can help " »

Infosys invites you to SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference 2016

Posted on behalf of Dinesh Rao, Senior Vice President & Head - Enterprise Application Services

On behalf of Infosys, I invite you to attend SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference (May 17-19) being held at Orlando, FL. Do attend our joint speaking sessions with clients, experience our solutions and connect with our experts in Booth # 410 and understand how they can help you jumpstart your digital journey.

Watch this video in which I cover some key elements of Infosys' participation at this year's event.

Continue reading " Infosys invites you to SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference 2016 " »

January 12, 2016

The S/4 Moment of Truth

A few days back, I had the S/4 moment of truth. S/4HANA revealed first hand ! Coming out of the exclusive Partner Enablement Workshop at SAP Walldorf has left me excited about what lies ahead. A series of conversations with the makers of the next generation enterprise solutions gave an exquisite insider perspective on where not only SAP but also the entire ecosystem around is moving and moving briskly.

It is evident that SAP must have taken strategic, radical and bold decisions while making S/4 Enterprise Management as the new product. A few key ones starkly visible - HANA is a must. Converge in the Core. Invest in User Interface. Cloud First. Instead of just be ready for the future, rather create the future. In this blog would like to articulate these briefly.

Firstly, going forward HANA platform is a must for all the innovations from SAP. Levering the Power of HANA, all the new improvements are being designed and developed in the Appliance model of homogenous database and application. This is the foundation of making S/4HANA lighter in terms of data model, data footprint; capable to perform OLAP apart from OLTP in real-time and capable to talk to the Digital World of Big Data, IoT, and off course, everything faster !

Call it  Super ERP, the new Digital Core not only covers classic ERP processes but also offers more functionalities that were so far available only in the satellite SAP products or in the Industry Solution versions of the vanilla ERP - SRM, BI, SCM and DIMP IS to name a few. One of the benefits of this move for customers is to run erstwhile extended processes within one system and reduce investment on multiple SAP solutions. BI for ERP processes is an example of such low hanging fruit. Operational as well as Management reporting and Analytics based on the SAP ERP processes can be in the same system real time and thus obviates the need of a separate BW box.

You can now relieve your personal memory from the series of transaction codes. Fiori Apps can take care of it. A long time due area of making SAP system interface truly user-friendly is now addressed well by SAP with the out of the box Fiori apps that work on PCs, Tablets and mobiles alike.  Each process area will now have transactional and analytical apps classified as per business roles. Sales Order cockpit a great example of innovation with Fiori. Instead of looking at Incomplete Order, Open Deliveries and Sales Invoices not posted to accounting yet with over 5 transaction codes, here comes a single window of the process flow with suggested next steps per line item.

Now Cloud is overtaking the ground. A completely new product space for and from SAP, we now have S/4HANA Cloud Edition with distinct functionality scope as ready-to-run suite. All the custom extensions and bespoke applications SAP now recommends to do on HANA Cloud platform with seamless connectivity to the On-Premise S/4HANA Edition. Also a key to make cloud first, all the new innovations/ improved and new functionalities with come to Cloud edition first on a quarterly basis compared to annual for On Premise edition.

Well, there are lot more interesting and must-do aspects of this journey of transforming the globally spread-out ERP landscape into the next generation S/4HANA Enterprise Management. It calls for many more blogs and interactions ranging from business value to cutover planning. Surely as a decision maker or a system user or a Consultant or as any integral part of the SAP ecosystem, you have your own view and questions. Happy to answer anything that makes your journey easier.

August 28, 2015

Measuring Effectiveness of Procurement Solutions and Processes

"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."
                                                                      - Peter Drucker

It takes lot of time and effort in implementing procurement solutions.But after doing all the hard work, how often we check if we are getting the bang for the buck invested in implementing all this. Often there is lack of clarity on measuring criteria for such solutions. Here is a proposed framework of metrics that can be used to measure effectiveness of procurement solutions.

Broadly speaking there are four categories for e-procurement solutions

1. Analysis and planning
2. Strategic Sourcing and ontracting
3. Requisition to Pay
4. Supplier life cycle management

Analysis and planning - This is where you carry out purchasing volumes and supplier analysis. Savings opportunities can be identified and a Sourcing strategy is created here.

Strategic Sourcing and Contracting - At this stage negotiation process happens based on defined sourcing strategy. Finally a contract is created for the negotiated price and terms.

Requisition to Pay - This is where rubber meets the road and negotiated price and contract terms are put into usage through day to day requisitioning and ordering process.

Supplier Life cycle management - This essentially touches all the above three processes. SLC is now a mature solution area encompassing entire spectrum of supplier lifecycle from on-boarding to phase out. It deals with monitoring various dimensions like performance, risk, sustainability etc. Suppliers are also put through development process in case performance is not as per target level.

In order to devise an approach to measure effectiveness for these different areas, we need to focus on two unique characteristics of these processes - Transaction volume and Strategic team involvement.

For high Strategic team involvement, focus should be on dollar savings, whereas for high transaction volume, focus should be on improving process efficiency.
















Based on above approach, following KPI framework can be used to measure the effectiveness of implemented solution.














Analysis and Planning:
Savings opportunity identification - % value of Savings opportunities identified out of total spend
Budgeted vs Actual Spend variance - % difference of budgeted spend and actual spend

Strategic Sourcing and Contracting:
Negotiation Performance - % Price reductions
Contract Performance - % Value from negotiated clauses like Payment terms, price escalation etc.

Requisition to Pay:
Touch less order rate - Percentage of Requisitions/orders created without intervention from purchasers
Contract compliance - Percentage of orders created with contract reference
Cycle time for PO - Average lead time for sending out PO to suppliers

Supplier Lifecycle Management:
Supplier Onboarding cycle time- Average lead time to onboard new supplier
Supplier base efficiency - % of suppliers covering 80% of spend (pareto principle)
Supplier Improvement - % of suppliers above benchmark performance

It might be initially challenging to measure these KPIs, however the vital part is getting started. Once started, these can be further refined to reflect the actual effectiveness of processes and solutions.







August 6, 2015

Effectively deploying massive open online courses...continue


My Colleague Ritesh Singhvi explained in his blog "Effectively deploying massive open online courses" about configuring MOOC. I will continue with that blog and explain how we will be assigning these courses to User and how they will be completing MOOC within SuccessFactors LMS.


How to access MOOC content?


Partners like Lynda.com offers AICC course tracking, thus single sign-on (SSO) can be utilized when users login through SuccessFactors HCM. Bookmarking progress and record completion can happen automatically.


For other partners like Coursera, Udacity, and OpenHPI, users will need to log in first at the partner site before accessing the course. All commerce functionality is handled outside the application for external courses. All courses are set to "No Charge" upon import.


Launching an external course


Post executing the APM, the references of all the available courses respective to the partners will be made available within SuccessFactors Learning. The courses can then be searched in the Items management, searching the items classification as External-Course, as displayed in the below screen shot, where courses from OPENHPI partner are displayed.



In Action menu, click assign to assign this course to a user. Once it is assigned, the course will be displayed under "My Learning Assignments" tile at user side.



Once user clicks on start course, user will be redirected to the OPENHPI website where user can login and complete the course.



Post successful completion of the course, it will be automatically recorded in SuccessFactors Learning and will be made available under the learning history.


Additionally the courses can be added to a catalog from where users can self-assign and complete the course, as shown in the below screen shot.





While learning is usually criticized for low productivity, increasing costs, and inefficient use of technology, MOOCs provide viable alternatives of high productivity, scalability, low cost (or free), and utilization of leading edge technology. With availability of subscription based learning programs, MOOC will bring in a new a wave of change in the learning arena.

August 5, 2015

Effectively deploying massive open online courses

While we are in the process of implementing SuccessFactors LMS for a prestigious client, there have been several requests to connect to third-party learning systems which they have subscribed to. I believe that clients would certainly love to access to freeware and subscription-based content hosted by trusted third-party vendors. Furthermore with the standardization of learning courses for various industries, there is a reduced need to have high-priced custom developed training programs. Clients are opening up to the idea of utilizing available courses which suit their needs. While SuccessFactors does not provide delivered integrations to all third-party learning systems, it does offer MOOC capabilities.

What is a MOOC?

A Massive Open Online Course is exactly what it sounds like. This is a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limit on attendance and open access via the web. Customers can easily access latest content at a reduced cost through Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs).

SuccessFactors Integration with MOOC:

The delivered SuccessFactors functionality allows a seamless integration with the MOOC websites through the Open Content Network (OCN), a functionality which is inbuilt with SuccessFactors. The Open Content Network partners with lynda.com, Coursera, Udacity, Open Sesame, and OpenHPI. The partner's catalogs comprising of varied courses can be made available within SuccessFactors, either via the catalogs, programs, and curriculum or can be assigned directly to the users by the admins or by supervisors.

MOOC Integration during a SuccessFactors Implementation:

To enable MOOC functionality, configure the selected partner in SuccessFactors LMS. As an example, here I have configured partner as "HPI Provider"

Navigation: System Admin > Configuration > System Configuration> Open Content Network


After enabling the selected partner, execute the APM (Automatic Process) "Open Content Network Content Synchronization". This pulls all the course references within Learning as external courses. The screenshots below elaborate the required steps.

Navigate as below in SuccessFactors Learning to execute the APM.

System admin > APM > Open Content Network Content Synchronization

Under Learning navigate to Search for the available courses: Learning>Content Network

You can assign the external courses to users as follows

  1. Directly assign the courses to the users
  2. Place the Courses in a catalog within Learning, so that users can self-assign them
  3. Place the Courses in a curriculum and assign to the respective users

When users launch an OCN course from their learning plan, they will be routed to the respective provider's site to take up the course, which is outside of SuccessFactors Learning.

Now that I have completed configuration of MOOC in SuccessFactors LMS, my Colleague Aylwin Jerome will be explaining in his blog, how we can assign these courses to users & they can complete it in SuccessFactors LMS.

Conclusion: Personally I have always believed in learning based on open content. Thus I believe MOOCs will bring a new perspective to traditional learning.

August 3, 2015

Improving Training Efficiency with Mobile Learning - Enable the Learning App

As a technical consultant I have been through numerous trainings both in classrooms and online. But the recent wave of online learning programs has swept the market. Even better learning programs can be accessed over smartphones thus eliminating the need for employees to be restricted to rooms or cubicles.  With newer innovations, learning management has become more reliable and the demand for mobile ready learning options has increased in the recent years. I can now access and undergo required learning programs from the comfort of my home and also while I am on the move. It's refreshing to know that I can connect from wherever I am, thanks to the constant evolution of mobile technology and the internet being made available to everyone.

Adopting newer learning practices is a better way to increase business efficiency. With mobile learning, the resources are shared in centralized place thus making the latest versions available to everyone. SuccessFactors has also enhanced their learning solution to meet the mobile learning needs of clients. Simpler methods to access the learning has translated to higher usage.

Mobile Learning:

C-level executives who are frequently on the move, complain of their inability to undergo trainings at their desk. Likewise sales and marketing folks would also love to be able to undergo newer learning programs over their mobile devices.  Mobile learning solutions can provide not only right training to right people, but also without time and place restrictions. SuccessFactors mobile app integrates with the base LMS application giving the user a snapshot of the learning plan.

Another example of how it helps managers is in case of approvals. Certain training programs which need approvals can be approved by managers/leaders even when they are on vacation or at a place where they cannot access the laptop. Using the mobile app, they can access learning from mobile provide approvals as required. Not only is it helpful for managers, even regular users can access their training from mobile devices and can complete the entire training. Mobile learning can be accessed via Android devices, iPhone, and iPad.

Enabling the SuccessFactors App on mobile devices

On the Mobile Device

  • To download the mobile app, go to Play store/App Store and search for SuccessFactors. Download and install this app.
  • Open the app and you will see a welcome screen with Activation Button. Click on Activation button and you will get a screen with continue button. Do not Click on the continue button. Here are some tips to activate the app. 
  • By default the app is mapped with real time servers/Production server. If you are going to use this app for your demo system, you have to make some changes in server point before you click on continue button.
  • To make changes, you have to tap at the following places on the screen of your mobile device in the exact same sequence- top left, top right and top center. Once you do this, you will get a new screen to change the server point to sales demo server. Select the appropriate server and go back to continue screens & click on Continue button.
  • Once you have clicked on Continue button, you will get option to select the type of account SuccessFactors or JAM. Select SuccessFactors & you will get activation code on the app screen.


On the Laptop

  • Login to BizX using laptop and navigate to Options menu from Home Page.
  • Select mobile option and add Activation code and device name & Save it.


On the Mobile Device

Now login to mobile app and click next and you will be on the Home page of SuccessFactors Mobile app.


Below are the screen shots for each steps we followed above.



Social Learning

In today's world, what quality and social accessibility is of utmost importance. Team work & collaboration are driving both the learning process as well as application of knowledge gained. Today's workforce largely relies reaching out to people for support and help. Therefore social interaction is key to success.

With SuccessFactors JAM platform and its seamless integration with LMS, you can assign tasks, training documents, materials to focus groups. This can be effectively utilized as a social collaboration portal where your employees can have regular discussions regarding trainings.


Many organizations utilize JAM to deliver compliance based training. Furthermore for new hires, specific process documentation can be uploaded on JAM for quicker onboarding and updates. This reduces time & effort to explain employee policies using a document.


Virtual Learning:

Most organizations still don't think of utilizing virtual conference software likes WebEx and Adobe Connect for training. When it is impossible to get 5 regional VPs together for training and we don't want to just send them a PDF to read, virtual mediums are just the right solution for training. Many other LMS vendors do not provide integration with virtual conferencing, however SuccessFactors LMS has introduced the virtual add-ons to integrate virtual learning conference services.

Instructors and admins can have their WebEx sessions created when they create Schedule offerings. On registering for a scheduled offering, users can access the "Join Session" link from the learning plan to launch virtual session. The advantage of virtual learning is the ability to allow recording of attendance automatically.


In our busy world of today, the convenience aspect of mobile learning encourages people to learn better and quickly whether we are on the move or stationed at our desks. The ease with which learning can be accessed over mobile devices makes it a NO-BRAINER.

Continue reading " Improving Training Efficiency with Mobile Learning - Enable the Learning App " »

July 27, 2015

Building A HCM Roadmap for Existing SAP HCM Customers Part 3 (Final)

Example of a Roadmap for an existing SAP HCM On-premise customer

Current Customer Background

XYZ divides its services into three service portfolios; Infrastructure, Applications, and Business Process Outsourcing. Infrastructure services includes maintaining the operation of part or all of a client's computer and communications infrastructure, such as networks, mainframes, "midrange" and Web servers, desktops and Laptops, and printers. Applications services involves the developing, integrating, and/or maintaining of applications software for clients. Business process outsourcing includes performing a business function for a client, like payroll, call centers, insurance claims processing, and so forth.

Continue reading " Building A HCM Roadmap for Existing SAP HCM Customers Part 3 (Final) " »

July 20, 2015

Building A HCM Roadmap for Existing SAP HCM Customers Part 2

In order for HR to truly deliver on the promise of being "business partners," it needs to tell the story of business scenarios that are predicted to happen in the future, across all levels of the organization, which they do not already know about, and then provide recommendations on how to fix or exploit those scenarios.

Continue reading " Building A HCM Roadmap for Existing SAP HCM Customers Part 2 " »

July 15, 2015

Building A HCM Roadmap for Existing SAP HCM Customers Part 1

For the last five years, human resource (HR) departments across the globe have been challenged to remain relevant and up-to-date with their HCM processes and technologies. This trend shows no sign of abating. The HCM marketplace has seen an extraordinary amount of acquisition and consolidation activity in the last couple of years. Since the time SAP purchased SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion (app. 10 times of the SuccessFactors 2011 revenue) towards the end of 2011. Others like Oracle jumped into the fray two weeks later by spending $1.9 billion to acquire HCM solution provider Taleo. 

Continue reading " Building A HCM Roadmap for Existing SAP HCM Customers Part 1 " »

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