Webinar takes deep dive into SAP SuccessFactors


Experts explore the transformational journey of HCM tech implementations.

CHRO SA recently hosted a webinar on how to execute new HR technology implementations, focusing on the experience of financial services company Sanlam, which embarked on an SAP SuccessFactors implementation in 2017.

Ronel Pfotenhauer, business owner for SuccessFactors within the Sanlam Group, spoke about how the initial mindset was one of system replacement, but as the roll-out began, it soon became apparent that the data insights delivered by a powerful tech suite would transform the talent function.

“The important takeaway is that it’s not a race. It’s a journey of transformation,” said Ronel, adding that there were three key objectives for their HR transformation as a result of implementing SA SuccessFactors. They wanted to overhaul the employee experience, they wanted data analytics to drive decision-making, not only within the HR function but throughout the organisation, and they wanted to streamline the digital environment so that everyone was using the same tools and interfaces.

Sanlam has approximately 105,000 employees across 44 countries, but when the company implemented SuccessFactors in the first part of its digital transformation journey, it started with only 14,500 people in South Africa and Namibia. Phase two will see them going into the remaining countries: “We decided to implement SuccessFactors because we were already using SAP for our payroll. One of the other important considerations was that we really wanted an integrated solution,” said Ronel.

“The modules we have already implemented are Recruitment Central, Recruitment Management and Marketing, Onboarding, Performance and Goals, Succession and Development, Learning and, next year we will introduce the Compensation module.”

Liezl van Rensburg, the customer engagement executive at SAP SuccessFactors, spoke about how software implementation can change the culture of an organisation and influence the behaviour of employees for the better. She highlighted the transformational functionality of software solutions like SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Concur in helping HR to go far beyond just achieving its goals. She also agreed with Ronel, saying that when organisations prepare for massive technology implementations, it’s important to recognise that the technology itself is only a small part of the process.

Said Liezl: “At the end of the day, it’s about the transformation of the business, which requires behavioural change. Sometimes we get people who will implement something but still continue to rehash their existing processes. It’s also important to ensure that everybody in the organisation is on board with introducing the new technology solution and that they know the required outcome to enhance the employee experience. You have to engage employees and drive the behavioural change that you want by making sure that you build in the experience part of the transformation.”

Bruno Bianchi, the strategic advisor at SAP SuccessFactors, provided examples of various companies in different industries who had accelerated their adoption of HR technologies because of the pandemic and were now moving faster along their respective HR digitalisation roadmaps. He spoke about one particular service that was delivering a lot of value for their clients: SAP Jam. This can be integrated with SuccessFactors and is a platform to collaborate, engage, re-train staff and enable business processes that impact value and tangible outcomes.

“One organisation had to create new services around deep cleaning and therefore had to undergo extensive reskilling while also hiring en masse to match the need for such cleaning services in a Covid-19 world. That's where SuccessFactors becomes very valuable, because it allows you to do things in a qualitative manner but also upscale it to a huge degree,” said Bruno.

“We also had a client that was able to execute 12 million learnings within a year. They did it through social learning where subject matter experts within the organisation were creating learning content. Instead of one learning team curating content, they leveraged the power of their network by allowing field experts who knew exactly what they're talking about to teach the organisation about the right way to do things.”

Overall the webinar provided a fantastic overview of how SAP SuccessFactors has enabled companies to support talent flow during Covid-19, when snap decisions needed to be made about the redeployment of people within organisations.

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