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.

SuccessFactors 1608 release login page enhancements

A customised login page for KALTech
A login page customised with the new options from release 1608
 
I have a background in HTML and design so to me user experience is one of the key metrics I look at when evaluating the system. An engaged user is a happy user. A bored user will spend less time using the systems an organisation has in place. That’s why I’m happy to explore the new login page customisation options available in release 1608.
 
SuccessFactors already had the ability to customise the login page through HTML/CSS which is the option that will give clients the most amount of flexibility. KALTech implemented this solution at multiple customers who are very satisfied. However customising the login page in this way is best reserved for those with knowledge of HTML and CSS as well as a basic understanding of responsive design.
 
As of release 1608 SuccessFactors provides a basic set of options to customise the login page. Please note that the standard login screen has also changed in 1608.
 
Theme manager navigation
 
Here are a list of the options defined in the “theme manager” section of the “admin center”:
 

Login Background

 
Do not change settings – Doesn’t change any settings (default).
Use this theme’s settings – Use settings defined in other parts of the active theme.
Use solid colour – Choose using the colour picker or a hex code.
Upload an image
Repeat – Whether or not the image should repeat on the x, y or both axis.
Position – Position of the image.
*Note that the image does not scale
 
Overlay option – add either a black or white layer at a given opacity. A black (dark) layer at 83% will darken the image considerably. A white (light) layer at 15% will lighten the image slightly.
Background type – colour of the background text in either dark or light.
 

Login logo

 
Use your company logo – Not recommended due to resolution issues.
Use SucessFactors logo – Use the SFSF logo on the login page.
Upload a logo – The most common option (I recommend this).
 

Login button

 
Do not change settings – Default settings.
Use this theme’s settings – Use theme settings.
New style settings – configure the below options.
Text colour – Text of the login button.
Text colour hover – Text colour on hover.
Background colour – Background colour of the button.
Background colour hover – Background colour when hovered.
Disabled text colour – Changes disabled text colour.
Disabled background colour – Changes disabled text colour background.
 

Login Footer

 
Colour scheme – Changes the footer text to either white (light) or black (dark).
 

Issues

 
There are a few issues with this option though.
 
Flash of default background – The default background loads, then the custom background loads. This looks unprofessional to me.
 
Lack of customisation – Things like a simple hover transition or making the background image scale to the page are impossible without using the custom login page option.
 
HTML version
An example of a fully customised login page. Note that there are very few limits to this type of design.
 
Despite the issues that this new feature presents, it is a great option to have none the less. I imagine this will keep many customers happy until a fully customised solution can be tailored to their needs.
 
Feel free to contact KALTech to understand how we can create a custom look and feel to your SuccessFactors instance.
 
Ben
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on October 5th, 2016.

Sneak peek into Job Profile Builder

Job Profile Builder is a platform component, it encompasses Job Families, Roles, Competencies and Job Codes. In my experience existing customers can upgrade to JPB for increased capability and new customers can leverage this across talent management modules. In this blog I wish to explain the significance of JPB for organisational growth and its relationship to other modules.
 
Job Profile Builder is a flexible and intuitive tool for recording elements of a job shared across Recruitment, Performance Management and Learning Management System. It allows customers to identify right skills, experiences, competencies and behaviors required for each role within the organisation.
 
Job Profile Builder is a replacement for legacy Job Families, Roles & Competencies framework. It expands beyond to allow customers to build complete Job Profiles with multiple content types.
 
Job Profile Builder from SAP
Job Profile Builder from SAP
 

Job Profile Builder in Employee Profile

 
Employee profile is what I would call an online resume summary as it provides a snapshot of employee skills, education, certificates and licences etc on a single screen. With JPB employee skills can be stored in a portlet and searched by Single, Multiple Skill and use “Find Someone Like” functionality to ensure the best fit possible. This functionality allows employees, managers and the organisation to tap talent easily.
 
In addition, position descriptions stored in JPB can be accessed through employee profile as seen in the image below:
 
Job Profile Builder in Employee Profile
 
Also SuccessFactors comes with an out-of-the-box, ready to use Job Profile library. This is industry verified content with 13K+ skills in 250+ pre-defined Job Families, each with 4-7 Job Roles with skills pre-mapped and each with 5 levels of proficiency.
 

Job Profile Builder in Recruitment

 
In Recruitment, we’ve seen that customers can store job descriptions, skills, qualifications, required experience, education, certifications, competencies and behaviours for every position in the organisation. JPB helps in identifying suitable candidates and uses Job Profile builder data for promotions, career advancement and development opportunities among employees.
 

Job Profile Builder in Performance Management

 
Competencies and associated behaviours stored in JPB can be integrated into Performance Review, in the competency section. PM forms competencies, writing assistant descriptors and behaviours come from JPB.
 
Job Profile Builder in Performance Management
 

Job Profile Builder in Succession

 
Planners, Managers and employees can search skills from the company directory, allowing them to search and find people with particular skillsets for requirements. Position profiles allow users to manage profiles by position instead of only by role as skills, competencies etc.
 

Job Profile Builder in Career Development

 
In Career Worksheet, users can view development skills and job profiles.
 

Why is JPB valuable to organisations?

 

  • Centralised management of job descriptions, competencies and standardised job descriptions for all the positons in the organisations.
  • Job Requisitions can be pre filled based on description, competencies, skills and interview questions etc.
  • JPB allows employees to view their skills and assess their need for training and development. Managers can assess and have an inventory of those same skills.
  • Addresses the threat of underqualified staff while developing the skills the organisation requires.
  • Allows visibility into a talent pool so it can be better mobilized to capitalise on growth opportunities.
  • Provides consistent job references for nuanced headcount planning and thoughtful workforce planning.

 
Talk to us at KALTech about JPB – we can assist you to migrate or implement JPB so you too can experience the KALTech difference.
 
Shwetha
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on September 20th, 2016.

SuccessFactors LMS iContent Configuration

SuccessFactors LMS
 
While studying for my SuccessFactors Learning Management Systems (LMS) certification, I often came across the term ‘iContent’. Throughout the course I got the distinct feeling that iContent was a complex creation of the ‘SAP gods’ and was sent as a blessing to SuccessFactors LMS users and consultants alike.
 
The role of iContent with SFSF LMS
The screen above is SAP’s official explanation around the term iContent


Here’s a screen from SAP and the official text around iContent:
‘iContent is intended to uniquely solve some of the toughest e-learning issues you may face, including storage, maintenance and assured delivery. With Content-as-a-Service (CaaS), we handle the storage, infrastructure, bandwidth and delivery, management, security and updates. You as the customer gets an easy, efficient user experience. I’m generally one to shy away from jargon. So I wasn’t surprised when (true to nature) I went back to my reference study notes and found that I had defined iContent simply and possibly naively as ‘25gigs of free SFTP storage space’. Although I’ve found that definition to work for me, please don’t quote me on that.
 
This blog is my attempt to demystify iContent for you using some research that I carried out on a recent LMS implementation. Listed here are the 4 process steps required.
 
Step 1: Getting SAP to provide you with an iContent location
At times I felt that this was the most difficult step of the process. For some reason, SAP hadn’t provided/set up a deployment location when the customer instance was set up. So we had to raise an incident on the SAP launchpad to get this going. This took us close to 2 weeks with updates shuttling between SAP and KALTech Group.
 
Step 2: Creating your own deployment location
Think of a deployment location as a folder on iContent. I’d suggest setting up a short folder structure to logically group content at a high level. Use the provided path and create your own deployment location. ‘LMS Admin ➜ Content ➜ Deployment Location ➜ Add New’.
 
Note: SAP or the implementation partner needs to provide some of these settings.
 
LMS configuration settings example
 
Step 3: Import content into your Deployment location
Let’s assume that you have your SCORM content readily zipped in a file to be uploaded. Use the steps under ‘Content ➜ Tools ➜ Import Content’ to import the content into the folder path that was set up in step 2.
 
Import content in LMS
 
Note: Once the content has been successfully uploaded, log into your allocated iContent server with the credentials provided by SAP to validate the successful upload.
 
Step 4: iContent validation and Launch
Use the path ‘Content ➜ Content Objects ➜ Search’, to find and validate the settings for your content object. To test your settings you can now go ahead and assign the content object to an item and subsequently to a user.
 

 
An additional tip here is to use the job aids/admin guides on community hub to get a better understanding of the steps illustrated above.
 
Hopefully this information gives you a better understanding of iContent with SuccessFactors LMS. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact KALTech for all of your SuccessFactors solutions.
 
Sanchit
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on September 7th, 2016.