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.

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.

Customer Service – quality trumps speed

Businesspeople in meeting
Having worked in a service environment within IT for many years, I always have my antennae tuned in regarding service – whether received or delivered. Having been on both sides of the table, I have a complete picture of expectations and reality.
 
Customer Service should not be a foreign or optional concept. Consumers often revisit retailers or do repeat business with service companies based on how they are treated before, during and after the transaction is finalised. For some consumers, their decision is based on price whilst for many others it is a combination of price and service.
 
In an IT environment, every consultant should see themselves as having a personal brand, then as a service provider – but not as just another resource working for the company. At KALTech we nurture this practice and encourage our staff to develop their personal brand. If one is proud of one’s personal brand and takes pleasure in delivering it through one’s skillset, then the corporate brand takes care of itself. We do pride ourselves on service delivery at KALTech. It should never be about making a quick buck. Reputation, Integrity and Customer Satisfaction are integral in this triangle. Solutions are never rushed, thus ensuring that the correct resolution is implemented efficiently. In many cases this has also resulted in client’s seeing things differently, which eventually ensures expectations are realised for long term benefit.
 
Businesswoman wearing headset, looking at computer, smiling
 

The customer is King. The customer is always Right.

 
These ideologies are not something that should haunt a relationship or be abused either, but rather encourage and influence the experience. Under commit and over deliver is a safety net many service providers use – however honesty, integrity and efficiency pay dividends.
 
Delivering efficient customer service demands quality – sometimes this results in a slightly longer timespan but it’s worth the sacrifice in that the job is done and done well in the first instance. Many IT companies are in firefighting mode – extinguishing issues with under-thought make shift solutions, which end up being temporary, having to be revisited, and thus attracting more costs.
 
KALTech’s consulting principle ensures that we are transparent when agreeing expectations and delivery. With our extensive technical, functional and operational experience, we fully understand customer pain points and expectations and strive to achieve satisfactory outcomes with quality customer service. Our industry reputation supports this, both from a client and a partner relationship.
 
More haste, less speed is certainly something that doesn’t exist in our organisation but we don’t do things slowly – we do them effectively and efficiently.
 
Talk to us and experience The KALTech Difference!!
 
Collin
Consulting Manager

This entry was posted on August 1st, 2016.

Mobile First

The way data is consumed has changed. Many people who travel to work on public transport are now updating themselves with all the relevant news from their mobile devices. Whilst complex programs will probably always require a larger screen with more options, providing users with applications/websites that are accessible through a mobile device will ensure the greatest potential to reach everyone and anyone.
 
This change in the market trend means that a change must be made in the mindset of businesses everywhere to ensure that the maximum amount of users will engage with your company. For the first time, Google has said that searches from mobile devices have now overtaken desktops in more than 10 countries. This is a trend that will only grow. Therefore we must have a mobile first mentality when designing and thinking about solutions. Of course we at KALTech have also seen this trend in cloud vs on-premises computing. One of the driving factors for cloud computing is the ability to update or view data anytime and anywhere. Mobile isn’t the future anymore, it’s the present.
 
Mobile vs Desktop
 

Mobile first design

 
Once upon a time, a secondary site would be created for mobile users and a primary site for the “mainstream” users. The more accepted practice now is to design apps and websites for mobiles first and use responsive design to scale for tablet, laptop and desktop users. Mobile users don’t wish to have their content restricted because their screen dimensions are smaller but they do expect that information will be well laid out and easy to access. Some companies are utilising an approach ensuring that tasks can be completed with just a thumb. Consider this when building a website or purchasing software for your company.
 

Change your on-premises mindset

 
Over the past few years, KALTech has completely re-aligned focus from on-premises to being a cloud focused company. One of the major reasons for the high adoption rates of the cloud has been the need to consume data anywhere, anytime and on any device. And why shouldn’t we expect this level of service? After all, our mobile phones now come with more features than our laptops/desktops. GPS has changed the way we track fleets, sms has changed the way we communicate and full featured browsers on mobile phones have changed the way we surf the web. Some of us even ask Siri for any answers daily. There is room in the market for both on-premises and cloud and not everyone needs a cloud system to succeed. Whatever way your company is structured, it would be wise to notice the trends and prepare to adopt mobility as a part of your strategy in the near future.
 
Your data needs to be accessed anywhere at faster speeds than before
 

Rapid deployment Solutions

 
With the uptake of cloud solutions becoming so high, the turnaround time to implement these solutions are becoming faster and faster. Talk with us to find out how we deployed SuccessFactors in just 17 days. These solutions are just one example of how a mobile first mindset is helping businesses accelerate growth and capability.
 

The old limitations are gone

 
With a revolution in hardware and software development, the old limitations are no longer valid. Mobiles are faster than ever before and certainly more capable. Not to mention that new lines of dialog with customers and employees are now open thanks to these pocket-sized devices. Understand the advantages for customers and employees and work out a strategy to leverage these new opportunities. Consider the importance and benefit of real time data ‘in your hand’.
 

Talk to the experts

 
Talk to us at KALTech for ideas on how you can move your business towards a mobile first mindset. Whilst we understand that this new technology won’t benefit everyone equally, having a conversation to understand the benefits may enable your company to reap hidden rewards. KALTech is not a one trick pony and thus we can customise solutions specific to your pain points.
 
Benjamin Perrin
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on July 8th, 2016.

Extending the cloud – with SAP SuccessFactors

Extending the cloud

The world has been slowly shifting away from an on-premises mindset by migrating systems and processes to the cloud. It’s a model that allows for real-time analytics and connectivity across continents. It enables KPI’s to be analysed and action to be taken faster than before. Although initial concerns around security are slowly subsiding, a cloud based model will by nature, present a different set of challenges to an on-premises environment. For example with on-premises software it will take months or even years to prepare for a go-live event. Software updates are often slow to release and often require extensive testing to ensure compatibility is maintained. However, an advantage of on-premises software is that it will be custom tailored to suit the workflows of your company. These workflows may just be an advantage your company holds over the competition.

 
Cloud based software however utilises the modern method of faster (quarterly) release cycles with less features per cycle in general. Testing is conducted by SuccessFactors rather than an internal team and all companies run the same release. The technical resource you used to create custom processes is no longer needed for a cloud based model. The cloud model is far less flexible than many companies have been used to. The solution to this lack of flexibility is extensions. Much like plugins for software, SuccessFactors enables apps written by the community to extend the functionality and give a little more control back to the user. So, you can have your cake and eat it too.
 
Cloud vs On-Premises
(On-Premises vs Cloud)
 
Before diving deeper into extension options let me explain that a limited amount of customisation is already possible with SuccessFactors. A customised login page can be utilised (not likely to be used if sso is enabled), home page tiles can be added or changed and permissioned, urls added to the navigation bar, company logo and themes applied. All these enhance the user interface and will help incorporate the existing look and feel of your company. Below is an example of a login screen that was custom built By KALTech for a customer to unify their SuccessFactors login screen to their website.
 
Standard SuccessFactors Login Page
(Standard login page)
 
Customised SuccessFactors Login Page
(Example of a custom login page)
 
Extensions, what are they?
Extensions are essentially plugins for your SuccessFactors system. They could provide surface level changes like a change to the UI that goes beyond standard SuccessFactors configurations, or add more substantial functionality. Utilising the skills of KALTech, we can assist you with a custom solution. SAP has already provided a store for partners to publish extensions. As the popularity of SuccessFactors increases, the number of extensions will increase.
 
Extensions
(SFSF extension architecture)
 
The benefits of cloud are clear to the many companies that have made the switch. That doesn’t mean that the downsides have to be a thorn in your side. Contact KALTech today to see how SuccessFactors extensions can benefit you.
 
Ben
KALTech SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on March 10th, 2016.

Enhancing the user experience

For a long time now companies have looked to the power of a digitised environment to help organise and streamline company processes. Not only have we sped up our processes with IT but we’ve also collected data and been able to analyse our businesses like never before. These tools have helped businesses succeed through financial turmoil in the market and have also saved money for many in so many areas. However as companies start to rely more and more on statistics and reports the market has been dictating a move towards a more simplified workflow due to the wide adoption of the smartphone. The introduction of the smartphone and the bevvy of apps available taught an entire generation to be efficient at using a simplistic layout with only 1 physical button. Whilst the smartphone has certainly changed the way we use mobile devices it has also changed the way the traditional desktop computing experience is consumed and the expectation set by the end user.
 
The end user is more important than ever
As times change we are learning that people are also having different expectations for software. We now expect things to be easy and intuitive like a smartphone experience. Our team at KALTech recognises this shift and continue to help businesses address this need. We have come across organisations who feel that user experience may not be important just as long as tasks are delivered within time constraints. This is why we recommend that the following should be taken into consideration when deciding on user experiences.
 
User adoption increases when the user experience is good
This means more users will actually be using the software that costs so much for companies to purchase
 
ux1
 
Training costs decrease
Studies show that with a tool like SAP Screen Personas training costs can be reduced on average by 40-60%. Team members can be using the software faster with less time seeking help or watching a training presentation.
 
Improve efficiency
With a streamlined interface efficiency can be improved by 50-200%. This has an added bonus.
 
ux2
 
Reduce user errors
By automating processes at an end user level users can view an interface specifically for them which reduces clicks for processes that are run on a regular basis. By automating as much of the process as possible and reducing the input fields required, we’ll see a reduction in user errors and an increase in data integrity.
 
Make it mobile
Need that approval ASAP but the responsible party is in meetings all day? Make the process mobile so a desktop/laptop isn’t needed to complete easier tasks.
 
Conclusion
Over the course of our projects we have noticed that by establishing a positive and simplified environment for ones workforce, the organisation can increase user adoption, participation and gain a streamlined process for everyone’s benefit. There will be less complaints and increased willingness for users to add value to the company. We understand that business needs are far more complex than a single mobile experience can provide and business processes can be far more complex. This is where an experienced KALTech consultant can streamline and enhance the experience. Just because a task is complex doesn’t mean it can’t be streamlined. Speak to KALTech to see how your user experience can be enriched.
 
Ben
KALTech UX Consultant

This entry was posted on June 25th, 2015.