Simple Sophistication at #SuccessConnect 2014

successconnectMore than 2,500 people converged in Las Vegas this week to partake in SAP SuccessFactors’ Annual SuccessConnect Conference held at The Mirage.

Attendees were exposed to – and engaged in — healthy debate and disruptive thinking about how to attract, engage, and retain top talent with what many claimed to be the very best of HR and Talent technology solutions – SAP SuccessFactors.

To date, the SAP SuccessFactors solution has had a robust and what might be labeled a leading evolution of functionality inclusive of:

  • Core HR functionality
  • Goal management
  • Succession management
  • Learning
  • Social and extended network tools
  • Workforce planning

This week, we heard more about the platform’s newer capabilities in real-time workforce analytics, mobile accessibility, vendor management and contingent workforce management via SAP’s recent Fieldglass acquisition, cloud deployment (versus on-premise only), new content packages and social collaboration rooms (e.g. the Sales Deal Room) on Jam, and employee and manager self-service functionality.

Dmitri Krakovsky, SVP Global Product Management, described today’s collective functionality as a “configurable simple to run, simple to use” solution. Seemed to me that missing in that line-up was the Career OnDemand functionality  — I was hoping to hear more about that. Did I miss it among all the other healthy buzz that was happening in The Mirage this week?

Simplicity wasn’t the only message that was whirled up in the minds of conference-goers. The SAP Executives and other conference thought leaders provided emphatic reminders that HR teams are expected to execute on the influence that their “seat at the table” now affords them. Today’s HR organizations have been rebranded and CEOs everywhere expect the CHRO and team to leverage the power of the organization’s people to achieve and accelerate business results in ways that before were only talked about.

One way to harness that power is through a “simple to run, simple to use” technology solution.

Mike Ettling, president of SAP SuccessFactors, offered compelling remarks about the power of a simple user experience and the business-driven role HR leaders must play to optimize today’s diverse and millennial workforce. And CEO Peter Sheahan of Change l Labs (with clients such as Apple, IBM, Hilton and other marquee names), followed up Ettling’s message by assuring attendees that the skills that made them winners in the past will not work any longer. He cited first-hand examples of his present day dealings with Millennials and how deploying the “right people in the right positions at the right price” will be critical ingredients in modern-day talent strategies and technology implementation decisions.

Krakovsky jump-started Thursday morning’s opening keynote by giving a demo on his mobile of the very “simple to run, simple to use” applications that have been spotlighted during the week. As usual, the crowd was eager to hear Dmitry and applauded two additional announcements he offered up:

  • Release Notes will now be provided at least 60 days ahead
  • Test and production will be separated by 1 month

And if all of that wasn’t enough to get Conference participants wondering just how to take some next steps to optimize the value of their HCM and talent technology, SAP SuccessFactors’ clients (Coca-Cola, Gap, Inc., Honeywell, Nordstrom, Sun Communities, White Lodging and many others) shared their personal stories of success (and, at times, challenge!) in getting the SAP SuccessFactors solution implemented and making and enabling a global and enterprise-wise talent strategy that makes a real business difference.

So, at least this time, I challenge you to make sure that what you learned in Vegas this week, doesn’t stay in Vegas! On your return home, make a plan to broadly discuss your lessons learned and ah-ha’s with your executives, your colleagues, your peers, and most importantly, take a stand to optimize your SAP SuccessFactors deployment or consider the solution if you are in buying mode. And, by all means, begin – if you have not started already – to hold your HR leaders accountable for acting as true internal strategic consultants.

I would love to hear about your personal experiences and learnings, likes and dislikes regarding SuccessConnect 2014. What is the single greatest actionable item that you will change or implement about your talent technology because of your investment this week in SuccessConnect?

Until next time….

Laci Loew, Vice President and Principal Analyst,
Talent Management Practice, Brandon Hall Group

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