Top tips: Unlock the value in Upgrades to SuccessFactors Q2 Release

by Raul Camacho

With June comes the arrival of the 1605-Q2 2016 maintenance update. There are more than 50 upgrades to the SuccessFactors HR platform this quarter. Many of these reflect a shift in the way we manage HR processes as well as the technology which enhances the efficiency of these processes.

As always, some are vital, and others are Opt-In, but all require planning and integration. Your mindful steps ensure there’s no degradation in the performance of SuccessFactors and its modules, or the back-office applications.

What to expect from upgrades to SuccessFactors

Coming soon is the second release from SuccessFactors this year. What’s in store for you? Well, for starters, in the latest upgrades to SuccessFactors, you’ll find greater platform and applications integration, user mobility, workforce analytics, data intelligence, people management, and pay and rewards.

And while some might expect major surprises, many of the minor features in this release are a giant step forward in terms of efficiency gains. These gains will make a difference for HR professionals who use the SuccessFactors platform. Read below to learn about the most significant changes to impact SuccesFactors users..

1. Leading from the front

One of the first things you’ll notice is how SuccessFactors added more SAP Fiori style throughout Employee Central and its modules. Primarily, this affects the user interface but functionality remains the same. However, you’ll see exciting new features grace the home page. Keep an eye out for the org chart and analytics.

2. Extended global reach

Next to extend global reach, Employee Central added localization for Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Going forward, this allows organizations operating in these countries to keep country specific employee data. As a matter of fact, this extends capability to 77 countries.

Employee Central Payroll adds three new countries to the mix, Qatar, Thailand and South Africa- taking this total to 36.

Additional new localization features include the ability to generate forms specific to particular payroll regulations. For instance, users gain access to forms for Dependents Declaration for Income Tax Discount for Brazil and the ADV-1 insurance form for Russia.

3. Integrated document management

SuccessFactors integrates with content management tools including PeopleDoc and Box, automatically and in real-time.

So you can expect enhanced storage and management of uploaded documents. More specifically, it impacts employee profiles, career development plans, and performance management documents. Also beyond the standard SuccessFactors Attachment Framework,  they introduced an added layer of back-up and compliance.

4. Added logic

The rules logic advanced within the suite. Watch for two employment attributes to distinguish between home-and-host employment. Have you wished for data available for use with eligibility rules.? Well, this offers a simplified way to factor employees in or out of tasks or processes quickly. Furthermore, this prevents salary overspend and cuts the time and cost of manual processing.

5. Admin efficiencies

The new save function eliminates the high risk of data loss when inputting new hires. At the same time, it reduces frustration of records being lost during the data entry process.

In addition, the Q2 release brings the option to hide or mask sensitive information. For instance, dates of birth and Social Security Numbers don’t need to populate inpop-ups. As a result, confidentiality increases. Likewise, efficiency improves by cutting out manual admin processes.

6. Escalated workflows

To stop workflows from stalling, an automatic escalation path has been added. Within set parameters, an action will be moved forward to the next specified person. This saves time, maintains process and productivity. But perhaps most importantly, this ensures a better employee experience.

This is an Admin Opt-In function.

7. Employee Central Workbench

This is now the main administering time and attendance admin tool. All processes relating to time and payments, including illness and absences, are created and edited in the Workbench.

Continuing this theme of enhanced people administration, Apprentice Management includes a calendar. It shows where and when each apprentice has been allocated.

Another smart feature is ‘name format support’. This standardizes the name formats used in each country as records are added to Employee Central. Look for this update in People Profiles and the User Directory in a common format. SAP proves again that simple changes add marked efficiencies to multiple processes.

8. Advanced side panel for Position Management

Once again, focused on better planning and data management, the advanced side panel for Position Management provides at-a-glance insights. In fact, the most valuable employee related data for each position on the org chart.

There are several sections within this such as position details, history, incumbent details, hierarchical, and recruiting information. Keep in mind, a universal, Admin Opt-In change is required. Therefore, as you can see, integration plans are critical.

9. Recruiting integration

Finally, with use of the Position Management panel, recruiting integration is now based on common object APIs. Any position created this way will load all job profile related information into the requisition. This is another time saving option. And one that’s ideal for standardization of roles across an organization.

This is an Admin Opt-In item and will require any previous integration APIs to be switched off.

Performance Management

10. New looks

Performance Management has seen a number of usability enhancements, and has been SAP Fiori switch enabled. This introduces the option for a personalized, responsive and simple user experience across the user’s choice of devices and deployment options.

11. Unified looks

You’ll be happy to see the Goal Management UI aligns with the rest of Employee Central.  But also, it now provides users with visibility of Continuous Performance Management via a setting in the Administration Center.

12. More efficiency gains

‘Out of Turn Access’ prevents bottlenecks by allowing process reviews to occur out of sequence. Certainly, this is critical for reviewing shared and matrix documents. At the same time, a safety catch ensures no processes are missed.

The Performance Form Tabs UI is redesigned for the Performance Goals, Development Goals and Competency sections on the PM form. Two columns of data now replace one, and the number of lines of data shown can be pre-set. These functions cut the time it takes to scroll through records and reduce the margins for error.

‘Print and PDF’ issues on the Performance Form have been fixed, and formatting issues in Goals allow you to delete consecutive competencies on a PM Form.

13. Intelligence services

Other minor changes include replacing the Performance Form based on an EC job change framework.  Instead, Intelligent Services event, and Mass Route Forms, allow a .csv file, to be selected and routed backwards or forwards to simplify mapping between source field and destination values in look-up tables. There are now 32 intelligence services in SuccessFactors.

14. Mobility

The focus on mobility is strong. We receive continual user feedback to praise mobile access to HR tools from any device as a huge win in the administration of HR. And this is especially true for self-service employee admin processes which improve engagement.

15. One device. Multiple users

Development for Android devices now matches that for Apple devices, making SuccessFactors equally compatible across all common mobile platforms. Now, it’s more mobile-friendly than ever.

It’s not an issue if employees don’t have their own device.  With the Q2 release ‘kiosk-style’ access to multiple personal profiles, data and information on SuccessFactors can be set-up. This is ideal for environments where employees are in non-office based roles such as manufacturing, retail and healthcare.

16. QR codes

QR code access to SuccessFactors via mobile camera functions can now replace the 8-digit activation code.

17. P2P Integration between EC and ECPay

The new P2P integration is the worst kept secret in this release, and it is a major innovation.

New adopters of SuccessFactors no longer need middleware, such as Boomi or HCI to integrate Employee Central with Employee Central Payroll. It’s much more seamless, making it quicker to provision the core HR system.

For existing users, there is no need to migrate immediately, but in the future, some functionalities will only be available with P2P.

For more clarity on this, and details on how you might be affected, please feel free to contact one of our SuccessFactors experts.  They’ll talk you through your options.

18. Analytics

The new single click “analytics panel” in SuccessFactors HCM offers immediate insight and guidance to HR and managers.

This feature increases productivity by helping managers clearly understand each situation. In addition, greater ease of use saves time. An analytics panel minimizes the need to navigate multiple screens to find the informationneed to determine action. Also this frees up HR, IT and support resources from having to address routine inquiries, especially during peak periods.

19. Learning

A number of design changes freshen the look and feel of the training module. The long-awaited unified API is added to both BizX and Learning roles. This introduces the option for a Learning Administrator role to be assigned. New role-based permissions mean external learners can now have access to SuccessFactors. This is big news for organizations with a strong learning culture.

Up to five custom landing pages can be set-up by admins to reduce the amount of information on each page. User experience is drastically improved. For example, admins aren’t only the ones able to create learning collections. Now all registered users can collate, build and recommend their own collections. This all adds to the self-service and collaborative learning environment so many businesses seek for the future.

20. Recruiting & Marketing

Again, efficiency and practicalities make this a highly anticipated update. Interview time zones are now default to the time zone of the organizer unless otherwise set.

The introduction of event subscriptions, a new option for Employee Short/Long Term Disability and Leave of Absence, means processes aren’t stalled if an approver is not available. The Career Site Builder is now a standalone. Because of this, three is no need to log-in to supporting systems to gain access.

What are Your Next Steps…?

All upgrades from the b1605 release are available beginning on June 3,  2016. What do you need to do?

End of life

Be aware that SuccessFactors phases out some features and functions.

Most notably, as we welcome the Q4 2016 SuccessFactors, say farewell to Dashboards 1.0 which will cease to exist. For this reason,  you must maintain the dashboard updates.

For more information on upcoming phaseouts, or for support with the integration of the most recent updates, please contact a SuccessFactors specialist. They’ll be happy to advise you on how to benefit from the upgrades.