Finding the right SuccessFactors partner is as important as the initial choice for the platform itself. A bad implementation can take away all the benefits as do more harm than good. So, you may be wondering how do I find the best partner for my organization? Am I going with the partner my SuccessFactors Rep recommends or should I do my own due diligence?
Most companies only consider price, reputation, and experience. Read further for other criteria which you should consider.
1. What are my high-level requirements?
First, know your requirements well. They will determine the right partner. Are you merely looking to digitize existing HR processes, or are you looking for an HR transformation and design new processes by using best practices? This will ask a different skill-set and expertise.
Complexity is an important factor as well. Implementing a single talent module in one country is relatively easy and most partners will get the job done. Implementing Employee Central or Payroll on a Global scale requires not only global experience and familiarity with local regulations, but also experience with different roll-out strategies and a strong technical team for all the integrations.
2. The organization
SAP has currently 1700 partners worldwide… Yes, that’s a lot. They are grouped into three large categories:
- Sales: VARs, distributors, resellers of the SAP Business ByDesign solution, and partners in the field of business process outsourcing
- Service: system integrators and training and education partners
- Product: software partners, technology partners, and infrastructure partners
SAP rewards partner achievement, among other things, by the partner’s status – bronze, silver, or gold – which is based on a system of points. This normally consists of the number of certified consultants and experience to bring you to silver and the selling SAP’s products to get to gold. Smaller implementations of one or two modules can be done by bronze partners, larger global implementations ideally by silver or higher. Read more here.
And what about the size of the partner? Should a large company choose a large partner? Bigger is better? Not actually the case. According to Raven Intel, “Measured by the number of employees at the partner consulting firm, customer satisfaction is all over the map. If anything, customer satisfaction is more consistently high with smaller firms than large ones.”
Other areas to consider is the differentiators partners have developed which can help your specific challenges. Some of these examples include SAP certified packaged solutions, which can help with specific industry challenges and HR best practices, or accelerators like moving from SAP on-prem to the cloud.
SAP also classifies partners with different levels. SAP Recognized Expertise is awarded by SAP to partners for their excellence in specific solution areas or industries that recognizes the skills and competencies of SAP partners, as well as their track record of customer success and satisfaction. The requirements include having trained and certified individuals with a successful project resume in their focus area or industry. This award helps partners to distinguish themselves in the market.
3. The people make the difference
The people working on a project are what determines the rate and success of the project. Exaserv understands that you will want the best people for your team and to make the project a success. As you investigate potential partners, things to consider are:
- Who will be working on your projects?
- Are all the consultants certified?
While certifications are not necessarily the be all/end all of an individual’s work quality, they can tell you about a potential partner’s experiences. There are two distinct levels of SuccessFactors certification to look out for:
- A “Certified Professional” has finished the SuccessFactors training and successfully led two projects to completion.
- A “Certified Associate” has completed the SuccessFactors training but has yet to lead a project to completion.
When considering an individual’s credentials, ensure that you are looking at the different areas of their previous projects and if those areas match with your organization’s expertise.
4. Cloud implementations have changed demographics
In the past, candidates have been limited by geographic location: a SuccessFactors partner had to be close enough to an organization to be on-site for work, a factor that can balloon expenses with travel budgets and eliminates many talented potential partners merely due to zip codes. The travel time and distance would play a role in whether a partner could do the project or not. Cloud implementations now allow us to search and hire the right person for the job no matter where that person (or that job) might be. Thanks to cloud technologies, you’ll get the best fit no matter where your business might be. Although, you will still want to have the project manager and lead consultants on site for the kick-off, iterations, and UAT. Support consultants can join remotely. You can expect travel cost to be 5-15% of the total cost of your implementation.
5. Check partner references
Part of doing your due diligence is to check in on the candidate’s references. References can tell you so much more about a candidate’s fit than a paper resume. When considering references, consider these factors:
- Are the partner’s references speaking to the SuccessFactors modules that you intend to take advantage of?
- Was the client’s project delivered on time and within budget?
- Was there enough executive presence throughout the course of the project?
- What tips would a previous client have for someone looking to work with this partner in the future?
It is always optimal to be able to speak with a reference. A happy former client should be able to give you some of their valuable time as you vet potential partners. Remember to prepare your questions carefully for a reference call. Make sure you’re asking the things that will help you get to the heart of the partner’s skills and experiences. Read our blog on the do’s and don’t to referencing here.
6. Think about the long term
Implementing SuccessFactors is an investment for many years to come. As a result, you want to make certain that the implementation is not rushed. Take the time to carefully plan and set realistic timelines for architecting the strongest, most robust infrastructure and processes. Your partner should be able to guide you in the long run. SuccessFactors cloud solutions will give you four releases every year, and your partner should know the best way to leverage this for success in your future projects. Having a qualified partner which can also support your organization post-go-live will help long and short term when fixing and developing your system.
As for success in your future projects, consider if you would like to handle these new releases by yourself, or if you would like to consult with your partner every quarter. Check if the same consultants will be working on future support or upgrades, or if that duty is shifted to your partner’s support department. The most important thing to remember about selecting a SuccessFactors partner is that you are looking at the long haul. This is not about one week, one year, or one project; it’s about the long-term future of your organization. It is important to think about these factors in preventing you from making costly decisions in the short term and help you build the most robust system that will have a long-lasting impact on your organization.
There are many things to consider for an effective support partner. At Exaserv, we offer different types of support services for SuccessFactors, all performed by Senior and Medior Consultants. From classic support with a bucket of hours for break/fix to fully customized program. Exaserv will assist you in keeping your solution evolving with your organization. Exaserv’s focus on continuous improvement includes on-going training, key user guidance, new release management and assistance with reporting. View more about our support services here.