It’s Time to Love On-Premise Customers Again

Sherryanne Meyer
Sherryanne Meyer in Community Advocates, Human Resources May 10, 2017

I had the good fortune to join some of the country’s most talented analysts, consultants, and knowledgeexperts in Half Moon Bay, California the week of April 17. Much of what we saw and heard was under NDA (non-disclosure). Here’s what I can talk about.You can see the tweets in my Storify, “The Perfect Blend, SAP SuccessFactors, HR, IT and Finance.”

On the shores of Half Moon Bay, SAP® SuccessFactors® revealed the vision and realities of its cloud and onpremise strategies to influencers. We created our own wine blends ― not intentionally symbolic, but symbolic nonetheless ― of the integrated enterprise achievable with SAP.

Perhaps the most interesting announcement came from Mike Ettling, former president of SAP SuccessFactors, as he announced, “It’s time to love on-premise customers again!” This was met with knowing nods and smiles from all of us in the room. What was less clear, however, was how exactly SAP will demonstrate that love.

What we did see was a great deal of advancement in cloud technology ― some of it only in very early stages and not available for public consumption. It was clear that on-premise customers could be missing out on a lot of innovation. SAP continues to be both an on-premise and cloud company; but the new stuff is largely happening in cloud.

So, if you’re not moving to cloud, you will continue to have a solid HR platform on-premise; but you won’t realize many of the nifty innovations underway and soon to be revealed.

Things You'll Love

Organizational visualization is embedded in Employee Central now. And you know how difficult it was to see an entire organization on your screen? The screen isn’t the limit now. Project it on a wall, if you want.

Imagine simpler search with strong results. While SAP continues to improve active search, they are also adding capabilities to talk to your SAP SuccessFactors system to find the answers you want. Imagine Siri or Alexa finding benefit plan or department headcount without you touching the keyboard. Just use your voice and ask the question in a natural way.

The goal of Professional Services is that you won’t need them. This is a lofty objective ― but one which SAP seems committed to reach.

Collaboration with Apple has resulted in new SAP SuccessFactors iOS mobile apps built using Apple Human Interface guidelines. Be sure to check these out at SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference.

Things You Might Not Be Too Sure About

SAP SuccessFactors continues to look for ways to make releases easier. As a result, “opting-out” of change will become the norm more than “opting-in.” SAP hopes this helps customers to remain more current with the latest available functionality.

Reducing implementation times is a key objective. And SAP promises less hand-holding will be needed to implement. Still, the need for effective management of change upfront remains critical in the fight to shorten timelines.

Security really is becoming a significant cloud advantage ― at least where servers are concerned. SAP can provide multiple data centers to meet country-specific data privacy requirements. For public sector, SAP is currently in trial with a new way of managing encryption on the customer end. And SAP has a huge stake in doing it right. Handling data properly worldwide for customers is their top priority.

Getting Smart

SAP is truly taking business beyond bias ― which they initially announced to some skepticism at SuccessConnect 2016. Using machine learning embedded in cloud, customers can analyze and find patterns in data and transactions. This learning can be used to change the way HR works ― for job descriptions, performance reviews, and more ― to eliminate biases that are typically inherent in these practices.

Piecing It All Together

SAP is putting people at the heart of the enterprise. As you can see in the diagram below, a clear value proposition for working with SAP for total cloud enterprise resource planning is unfolding.

Where it all really comes together is in SAP S/4HANA. As Thomas Otter announced, “Our primary focus for integration is SAP S/4HANA.” Take a look at what can happen with an integrated platform. In SAP’s Digital Boardroom, shown below, HR data can be combined with line of business data in real time.


SAP is working to blend their solutions to create a new vision for business and for HR. The cloud technology is exciting ― with so many ways to change the way we work. The question is this: if you’re not ready for all this change, if your business just can’t make the investment or manage the change, if you remain on-premise ― how is SAP going to love you back?