Is Your Cloud Healthy?

By Sharon Cook

One of the great benefits of Cloud HCM solutions is the speed of implementation.  Human Resources is now able to roll out software solutions in record time.  For those of us in the SAP world, we now experience full suites of robust software (thank you, SuccessFactors!) implemented in just a few months or even weeks, versus the years that many of us have endured during the long laborious ERP implementations of SAP days past.  Yet when I talk to organizations that stood up their Cloud solutions quickly, I continue to hear mixed reviews of overall satisfaction.  Now don’t get me wrong; there are many Cloud solution customers who are extremely pleased with the success they have experienced moving to the Cloud and the positive impact their solutions had on their organizations.  Hoorah for those organizations; success has been achieved!  But - what about those organizations that can’t lay claim to that success? 

I have the opportunity to talk to many organizations through my work with the hyperCision team.  We meet online, at conferences, through professional referrals and via hits to the company website.  Quite a few of those organizations are in that ‘winning with the Cloud’ category and those organizations are typically looking for advice and support on the implementation of their next module.   Other organizations want to talk about improvements to their existing Cloud solutions.   They need to understand why they have less than stellar results with the completion of the Cloud implementation.  That’s one of the places our team is happy to step in and help with a System Health Check.  A System Health Check provides you an overview of where things are going right, where things could be optimized, and provides a go forward path with quick-wins, next-step solutions, and a long-term road-map.

When should an organization be concerned about the health of their SuccessFactors implementation?

Here are some common signs that indicate a need for a System Health Check:

  • You have an ongoing list of issues – many of which don’t seem to get fully resolved
  • Functionality you expected in your solution hasn’t been realized
  • Manual process still exist where systemic solutions should be present
  • Users won’t use the system or don’t know how to use the system
  • Quarterly upgrades haven’t been activated and there is no process in place to get them activated
  • Administrator questions are numerous - and your Admin team sees no place to get the answers they seek
  • You experience inconsistent responses from the solution
  • Reports/Dashboards reflect inaccurate information and you’re not sure why

What does a System Health Check entail?

A System Health Check is an assessment that compares the features, functionality and capabilities in your system against currently available functionality.  Health Checks are typically performed by a team of Certified SuccessFactors consultants with the ability to review settings in provisioning.  System Health Checks look at a number of key areas in your implementation, identifying the pain points that are driving your team’s concerns and dissatisfaction with the solution.   We commonly include the following activities in the System Health Check:

  • Evaluation of your use of available capability
    • A review of your current system capabilities and functionality against your business requirements.
    • A comparison of your business requirements and system usage against the functionality currently available (as well as what’s coming down the pipeline.)
  • Quality of Implementation
    • An assessment of configuration quality, feature activation, requirements met, functionality QA, etc.
    • An examination of process alignment with the implementation.
  • Strength of the Foundation
    • An appraisal of the following: Are upgrades applied? Are business needs met? Is the system optimized?
    • A review of the underlying foundation: Do the data models and functionality support expansion into additional modules.
  • Fit to Organization Need
    • Does the solution align with business drivers and requirements?
  • Organization Readiness for Use
    • Does your team know how to use the tool?  Are there process/system conflicts? Have change management steps been followed?

The result of the System Health Check is a full report of Findings and Recommendations on the health of the system, including recommended action items.  Indication of system limitations, corrective actions, and recommendations that include systemic as well as process improvements are documented in the report.  We provide a roadmap to help you optimize your solution, based on your solution and process goals and then work with you to tailor the roadmap, considering any resource and budget constraints your team has identified as well as your future implementation goals.

We have found that there are some common themes to what has been discovered during our System Health Check efforts.  We often see the following causing system pain:

Prepare and Launch Phases: Often, a rapid implementation may impact an organization’s ability to perform due diligence during these phases.  We often hear: “If I knew then what I know now…initial configuration decisions would have been different; …planning steps and details would have been carried out in a more robust fashion; …PTO training would have been more diligently attended.” Our Health Check allows you to review these decisions with knowledge in hand and optimize your solution as a result.

As we review the activities that took place during these phases, we also find that process identification, streamlining and mapping may not have been completed thoroughly enough to support significant system changes.  As a result of this, we may recommend configuration changes or integration optimizations and we make sure to review and incorporate considerations for resulting data conversions or migrations.  

Verify Phase: We also find that system testing was often not as robust as it should have been.  Many times, we learn that a testing plan was not incorporated into the project planning activities and planning for testing was left to the business stakeholders.  In addition, to meet the rapid implementation timeline, stakeholders were unable to provide knowledgeable and committed resources to QA the system and minor fixes were missed.  Often, issues caused by rapid system testing are ‘low hanging fruit’ that can be resolved quickly. 

Launch Phase: Data cleansing, change management and support are the final areas that are often impacted by a rapid implementation and, as a result, cause system health issues.  For any implementation, regardless of the technology, it is imperative that data migration planning begin early on – both migrations and integrations can cause pain points during cutover and after launch if enough care was not provided during the project.  It’s also important to ensure that there are knowledgeable resources and champions to support cutover, change, and launch and ongoing support.  We can talk to you about successful strategies for managing this support on an ongoing basis and putting the right champions in place.  

If you aren’t sure you can give your SuccessFactors implementation a clean bill of health, give us a call.  hyperCision System Health Check consultants are always happy to help.