Is it time for a change?


 
At the end of every year, we hear people talk about their New Year’s resolution(s) – whether it works or not, or is just a fad, it still consumes many conversations and sometimes leaves people in despair when they cannot keep them.
 
New Year’s resolutions for companies may yet be a good thing. I’ve often wondered how companies could benefit, if employees who are empowered to spend company money made a conscious decision to review spending habits, looking for greater returns and benefits for their companies. Imagine if these employees exercised the same (or greater) caution and demanded similar or greater value for money, as they do when spending their own wages/salaries – could it make companies more profitable and less vulnerable to cash flow issues?
 
It would require complete transparency and willingness to celebrate successes (note I used the plural here as I’m hoping there is more than 1 of these), admit failures or shortcomings and to objectively look at spending patterns and habits. What would they do differently, having the benefit of the 2016 learnings? Should they stick with existing relationships or forge new ones? Should they seek a better return on investment (ROI) or accept the returns of 2016 whether good or bad? Would they be bold and brave enough to admit that some spends did not realise the expected ROI.
 
Now I’m not expecting employees to eagerly put their hands up and say that they ‘wasted’ or ‘badly used’ company money (I do not doubt there are many honest employees). 2016 saw many failed projects, many projects overrunning budgets and some projects even being cancelled or restarted. I know of many companies that were brave enough to suspend projects and write off their ‘investments’ in favour of a replacement project that was delivered quicker and for less money than the cancelled project.
 

 
Company money is like any other asset, when it’s used wisely it brings benefits, but when it’s not, it can be regarded as negligence. So, while 2016 may have raised many conversations between interacting parties (suppliers, companies, employees), will companies settle for ’same old same old’ or will they actively look to increase profitability via change? The old adage ‘Better the Devil you know’ comes to mind – but who wants to work with the devil? I know there are ‘angels’ out there that just have to be found. My consulting colleagues’ talk of projects that required clean-up or rescuing and we have done a few of these activities in 2016. This ultimately costs companies more – and not just financially.
 
So as you start 2017, maybe this IS a good time to:
 

  • Review past business relationships and their ROI
  • Consider changing relationships for better ROI
  • Look at future spend and decide to go wider in sourcing
  • Seek advice from peers and competitors (if they will share it)
  • Read more informative material to help make the right decisions
  • Look at engaging ‘help/advisory’ services to ensure projects are delivered well

 
Whatever 2017 holds, every employee has a moral obligation to treat company assets as their own and to aggressively seek the best ROI on spend. As I reflect on 2016, I can certainly see areas where I can do things differently.
 
Question is: Am I going to act on them sooner rather than later or not at all?
 
Calvin
KALTech CEO

This entry was posted on January 12th, 2017.

New Fiori Style Homepage

As SuccessFactors continues to evolve, enhancements to the UX are released and made available to SuccessFactors instances globally. One of the most visible pages is the home page. This is the default ‘dashboard’ that customers will see when they login to SuccessFactors, although the default page can be changed to better suit a user’s requirement.
 
Being a page of such high visibility it is great that the new Fiori style template can be used to enhance the user experience of the homepage. It’s a design that mimics the windows 8 and 10 ‘metro’ user interface. Something that many users will be familiar with. It replaces the old tile based design (pictured below).
 
An example of the standard SFSF homepage

An example of the standard SFSF homepage

 
The new Fiori style homepage

The new Fiori style homepage

 
Like the standard homepage, tiles can be moved by the user to customise the position and accessibility of the homepage. A new ‘personalize homepage’ option has been added to the menu and only displays when the user is on the home page. This allows the user to have greater control over their home page. Everything is customised via a drag and drop menu making it easy for users to personalise their experience without any formal training. Easy to use interfaces usually drive up user adoption so this is a positive aspect. Users can also pin or unpin tiles to their home page – essentially turning them on or off as desired.
 
Users can pin and unpin tiles to personalise their home page experience

Users can pin and unpin tiles to personalise their home page experience

 
As normal, an administrator can add custom tiles and personalise the default layout for users. Just as before an editor function is still provided so companies like KALTech who are skilled in HTML can make these tiles completely unique to every customer with the addition of youtube videos, pictures, links, colour schemes and more. Would you like your employees to have a link on their home page to company policies or portals? This is easily achieved now.
 
The ‘Manage Home Page’ screen enables admins to customise the content of the home page for the company.

The ‘Manage Home Page’ screen enables admins to customise the content of the home page for the company.

 
This new ‘Manage Home Page’ user interface makes things simpler for admins and consultants.
 
Overall I feel the new Fiorised home page is a definite improvement. However there are some downsides to the new look. For example, to click on a link on the old homepage it was just one simple click. Now you need to first click on the links tile and then click the appropriate link. I also believe there is a little more wasted space as the ‘ToDo’ section takes up space especially when only a single tile is being utilised. These are minor issues to me and I feel that the new look is still better over the old look and feel. This new home page is also much easier to edit and change.
 
The Fiori look is also starting to be utilised in other modules. Eventually the entire SuccessFactors UI will become unified providing even easier adoption by users. This is something I certainly am looking forward to.
 
What do you think about the new look and feel? Leave a comment below on your thoughts and experience.
 
Ben
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on December 9th, 2016.

SAP Metadata Framework Centre (MDF)

The Metadata Framework, or MDF as it is popularly known, is SAP SuccessFactors’ solution to build custom applications and custom objects. MDF is a UI-based configuration and extension framework that provides creation, modification, maintenance, and deletion of custom objects (called Generic Objects) within the SuccessFactors BizX suite.
 
The current way of creating Generic Objects is a multi-step process and can sometimes be cumbersome, even for a seasoned consultant. The MDF Extension Centre is the latest feature that has been released in version 1608 to simplify the process of building Generic Objects. The MDF Extension Centre can be visualised as a one-stop-shop for custom objects and picklists.
 
In my blog, I’d like to compare these two methods.
 

Old way of doing things

 
The current way of creating objects is displayed below with the following images:
 

 

 

 

 

The New way

 
Before the MDF Extension Centre can be accessed the feature needs to be turned on in Provisioning. The following images show the steps involved to active MDF:
 

 

 
The UI is pretty cool and aids in searching for existing objects or creating new ones. The objects counter on the left is a great utility for developers.
 
The MDF Extension Centre UI is neatly laid out making it user friendly.
 

 
The various properties associated with an object – fields, relationships, workflows etc. – are easily accessible from a single screen (refer image above) without having to navigate multiple screens.
 

 

 
Steps 3 and 4 are common to both methods.
 

To summarise:

 

 
The new feature has the following benefits:

  • Enhanced UI
  • Reduced number of navigation steps

 
Hopefully this information gives you a better understanding of the MDF Extension Centre. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact KALTech for all of your SuccessFactors solutions.
 
Pramod
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on November 10th, 2016.

From HCI to HCP

If you haven’t already heard, SAP has renamed Hana Cloud Integration (HCI) to Hana Cloud Platform (HCP). So it’s a good opportunity to talk about how HCP can enhance your SuccessFactors experience.
 
One of the main advantages of cloud based software, such as SuccessFactors, is the ability to access the system anytime on any device. It is likely that SuccessFactors isn’t the only system your company is running. One common example we’ve found is that companies run a separate system for their payroll. However, the number of different systems a company runs could be vast. This creates a problem – data is now segregated, residing on different systems. Some data may even still be on your on-premises systems.
 

 
This is where HCP comes into its own. HCP is designed to communicate via API’s with both 3rd party on-premises and cloud based programs to synchronise data. It is designed to work with industry standard protocols such as SOAP and SFTP. It comes with standard API’s to allow SFSF to communicate with many major 3rd party systems.
 

Designing with HCP

 
So what if no API has been created for your 3rd party system? Luckily, HCP allows the creation of integration processes specific to your scenario. These processes can be simple (like translation from OData to JSON or Atom) or much more complex processes. Furthermore both asynchronous and synchronous processes can be created.
 

(Here we see an example of content based routing)
 
For example, we could create an export file from a 3rd party payroll system every week to define the user master data and upload that file to an SFTP server. SFSF would then poll that server at certain designated times and with mappings, it would translate the payroll fields into a format that would reflect correctly in the SFSF Foundation component. The data doesn’t have to be maintained in 2 places by the payroll team, just maintained once and updated in the secondary system. Of course, we could do it the other direction as well – Translate data from a SFSF format to a layout that could then be uploaded into the 3rd party system’s native format. This newly created process integrator could then be modified in the future to keep up with dynamic company requirements.
 

Integration is the key

 
Although data may need to be stored in different systems for different reasons, the best way to leverage the power out of a cloud system is to cross-reference as much data as possible. The first step is to determine how to bring your systems together (integrate), so that they can talk to each another seamlessly.
 

 

Cost Effectiveness

 
HCP facilitates communication between systems when cost is an issue. Not every company may be able to afford all modules of SuccessFactors. Some would prefer to use specialist software for certain modules only or they may already have functionality in place. HCP caters for these scenarios with the bonus of having all the different systems communicating with each other even if this capability isn’t within the native capability of the products.
Talk to KALTech to see how we can help integrate your systems with SuccessFactors.
 
Ben
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on August 10th, 2016.

Successfactors May 2016 Release – Simplified

This release, strengthens the mobility and user experiences, with other tweaks to ensure SuccessFactors continues to provide the best support to HR and payroll professionals based on past experience and expectations. As a SuccessFactors consultant at KALTech, I personally experienced print issues and other consulting challenges. I’m pleased to announce that this release has addressed many of those shortcomings and improved functionality. After a system upgrade, every customer can leverage the innovations and keep themselves engaged with Successfactors. It’s about loving work again.
 
The Q2 Release focuses on platform and applications integration, mobility, workforce analytics, intelligent services, pay and rewards. Here is my insight based on release notes, customer reactions and consulting experience.
 

Mobility

 
‘One device one profile’ has changed now. Multiple profiles can be accessed on android devices and users can now share devices and switch profiles in the test and production environment. Customers can save on device costs and drive better user adoption.
 
SuccessFactors May Release
 
People Profile V3 is now supported on iPad and new performance improvements in personal profile loads information faster than before.
 
With Team View, managers can now view team summaries, competency gaps and locations while actioning requests by sending a message or place a phone call to their team from their profile.
 
Mobile activation can now be done via a QR code on Android and iOS devices. The device camera can be used to scan the QR code making long activation codes are a thing of the past – and I bet I’ll hear loud applause to that.
 

Goals and Performance Management

 
Mobility
The new responsive design is based on Fiori. It gives users a personalised experience on multiple devices. These enhancements are available for both android and iOS. the Goal Management UI is unified with other UI’s such as Employee Central and EC data is now visible in Goals. In my opinion, this will certainly improve the overall mobile experience and allow for greater appreciation of the data in the system.
 
PDF Printing issues
In the past PDF printing issues were experienced in PM forms. Previously the page orientation was defaulting to landscape, page set up settings weren’t working to name a few of the old issues. As a SFSF consultant I’ve run into these problems on several occasions so I’m glad this issue has been addressed and resolved.
 
Intelligent Services new additions
Intelligent Services simplifies complex HR processes – reducing time, cost and effort to manually update multiple systems. It aims at transforming self-services into “Intelligent Services”. It consolidates transactions and processes based on employee events and further guides users through screens to make recommendations though processes. This will certainly help in ensuring users proxy others when going on leave amongst other things.
 
Example
Intelligent Services consolidates HR transactions when a Global Relocation event is initiated and related actions are triggered like a mail notification sent to employee, the new location is updated in the master data and change is made in payroll. This leads to greater efficiency in travel booking and expense reimbursement. With an aim to improve user experience, this feature will go a long way in fulfilling complex views from my experience to date.
 
SuccessFactors May Release
 

Employee Central

 
Country specific localisation capability extends to 77 countries with Cambodia and Sri Lanka amongst the new inclusions. EC Payroll has increased to 36 countries with Qatar, Thailand and South Africa being the new inclusions.
 
New hire data has to be manually entered by admins. The new hire wizard can be saved as draft and retrieved later. Also, admins can now mask confidential data like date of birth, TFN etc.
 

Recruitment and Onboarding

 
SAP Signature Management application by DocuSign can now be used for all electronic signatures. This will be extensively used in Recruitment and Onboarding and manual signatures will soon be a thing of the past.
 
In recruitment, dynamic multimedia components can be embedded in job pages e.g. videos. This makes candidate communication more effective.
 
At KALTech we are guiding our customers onto these cutting edge new functionalities. It is indeed about loving work again!!!!!
 
Shwetha
SAP SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on June 29th, 2016.

Working with SAP Launch

There doesn’t seem to be much out there regarding managing and executing SAP SuccessFactors projects. Although the overarching project management principles largely remain the same across various software implementations, I felt that this might be a good opportunity to share some information based on some of my initial SuccessFactors project experience through KALTech.
 
Most of my project experience has been related to the SAP on premises HR module. The most commonly used methodology has been the traditional ASAP methodology or a variant of it.
 
sap-launch-01
 
While ASAP has been evolving over time, working on SuccessFactors has now introduced me to the SAP Launch methodology. SAP Launch is the implementation methodology that is applied universally across all of SAP’s SaaS implementations. It lists out the implementation activities that need to be performed and the resulting deliverables. It is quite clear that this methodology and its toolkits have been designed specifically keeping in mind the individualities and requirements of SAP’s cloud based products. That said, SAP Launch is also aligned with ASAP for hybrid projects.
 
sap-launch-02
 
SAP Launch has four phases. At the end of each of these phases, checkpoints called Quality Gates (or Q-Gates) exist. These Q-Gates are official sign-off stages that are used to track the high-level progress of the implementation.
 
With KALTech Group being a SuccessFactors partner, I’ve been able to access various SAP Launch toolkits and templates on the HCM cloud partner services website. I feel that SAP has done rather well in this area. Never before have I had a repository of all the tools and templates needed for an end to end project all located in one place. The documents are well designed and fit for purpose.
 
sap-launch-03
 
The templates that I’ve been most impressed with are the kickoff and project plan templates. The project plan notably has been exceptionally helpful on a recent LMS implementation. The phases and Q-Gates are aligned to SAP Launch and provide a good starting point for planning the project. Of course, I’ve had to download and modify the plan to align it with the overall project expectations and apply the 3 iteration A.K.A. KALTech’s 70-20-10 rule that I’ve written about earlier in a separate blog. Overall this methodology seems capable of providing an ideal launchpad for dealing with the rigors and speed of a SuccessFactors implementation.
 
At KALTech Group we found this process to be extremely valuable and we have adopted this methodology on all of our SuccessFactors implementations. Our clients see tangible benefits and we too have excellent control at any stage of the project.
 
While finalising this blog, it has come to my attention that the SAP Launch Methodology which replaced the BizX Methodology is now going to be replaced by the SAP Activate Methodology. The wheels of change are moving rather quickly in this area. I could swear that this is the third change to SAP’s cloud methodology of choice in the period of a single year. My understanding is that the newly crowned SAP Activate, is largely based on SAP Launch. I look forward to reviewing and working with SAP Activate soon. For the time being though I’m going to stick with SAP Launch for managing my ongoing LMS project.
 
Talk to us at KALTech Group about your next SuccessFactors implementation and experience The KALTech Difference!
 
Sanchit
SAP HCM and SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on June 23rd, 2016.