The Side by Side HCM Deployment Model

Some SAP and SuccessFactors customers have chosen a deployment model where they adopt a Core HR system, i.e., SuccessFactors Employee Central, in the cloud while retaining SAP ERP HCM as the Core HR system for a subset of their employee population. This is not a recommended deployment model for all customers. However, there are specific situations where this model becomes viable, even attractive for some customers.

For example, there are many customers who use multiple core HR systems to administer employees. I recently wrote about a customer who has 8 core HR systems. I have spoken to customers who have more than 20 Core HR systems. Each system represented a specific legal entity or geographical region and followed its own processes and protocols. Using multiple core HR systems to administer employees has a number of problems.

1. Administrators and executives do not have a unified view of information about the entire workforce.
2. Managers who have direct reports in multiple regions or legal entities have to go to multiple systems.
3. Employees will not be able to access information about co-workers.
4. Business systems that require employee data will have to connect to multiple systems to get that data.

Customers have been addressing the above problems by building data stores that combine all this data in one place before sharing them with other talent and business systems. They then go on an build an HR analytics system to bring all the HR data together in one place to perform Workforce planning and analytics activities.These solutions solve the problem pretty effectively but at a high cost and with limited functionality, Such custom implementations, while effective, also require personnel with specific skills to maintain and update them.

My colleagues from integration product management and engineering looked into these scenarios and came up with the Side-by-Side deployment model to address some of these problems. They also designed the Side-by-Side HCM deployment model as a stepping stone to the Full Cloud HCM deployment model so that the investment here is not thrown away when and if customers choose to move all Core HR systems to the cloud.

The Side by Side HCM Deployment Model

Here are a few scenarios that my product management colleague Wolfgang Dittrich talked about recently in the SAP HR Inside 2014 conference.

Scenario 1 : Integrating an Acquired Company
A Global company acquires another company with employees in multiple countries. As a consequence HR data is not globally consolidated any more. The acquired company currently uses an on-premise core HR system. Re-implementing SAP ERP HCM for that company could be time consuming and expensive.

Possible Solution : This company could move employees from the acquired company to SuccessFactors Employee Central rather than implement SAP ERP HCM for Core HR. In this landscape, all employees will be in a single talent management system, while Core HR processes will be handled by two different systems, one in the cloud and one on-premise.

Executives can view employee information about the entire workforce in one place. HR professionals can performance workforce planning and analytics activities on one consolidated set of data. Managers can access employee information about all direct reports in one place. Employees can access information about each other and find each other on one system.

Scenario 2 : Employee Central as an Employee Data Consolidation System
A global company has multiple Core HR systems for different countries and legal entities. They neither have a single view of their workforce nor a consistent talent management process across all regions and legal entities. A typical IT solution for such organizations is to invest in an on-premise data consolidation layer at high costs but finite benefits.

Possible Solution
Organizations with such a landscape can use Employee Central as a data consolidation layer. All talent systems, analytics systems and business systems can access employee data from one single system. The same benefits that apply to Scenario 1 will apply here as well. While the cost of such an approach might be similar to the costs of a data consolidation layer on-premise, the benefits are more than those provided by a data store. This approach not only solves the problem of data consolidation but also acts as a stepping stone for the eventual move of all employees to Core HR in the cloud, thus saving time and money for the organization while providing better agility to the IT organizations and better employee engagement for the business.

Scenario 3 : Phased Cloud Transition Of Employees In Select Countries or Legal Entities
A global company runs SAP ERP HCM for Core HR and uses SuccessFactors for talent management solutions. Some subsidiaries or geographical regions are using a home grown system or a very outdated HR system on-premise. The global company wants to move Core HR to the cloud. But they are not in a position to move all employees to a cloud based core HR system for business reasons or budget reasons.

Possible Solution
This company can move those employees from subsidiaries running home grown HR systems or outdated HR systems to Core HR in the cloud.

Scenario 4 : Rest of The World
In some organizations, the home country employee information is consolidated in SAP ERP HCM. But employee administration for the rest of the world is managed by country specific Core HR systems.

Possible Solution
In such cases the organization can choose to consolidate Core HR for the rest of the world in the cloud with Employee Central.