SAP® launched its Intelligent Enterprise initiative at Sapphire Now 2018 in Orlando, and last week at SuccessConnect in Berlin it pegged SAP SuccessFactors® as the heart of its intelligent suite. That’s a play on the well-known heart branding associated with SuccessFactors, but it means more than that.
“Every company needs to be a people-oriented business,” said Adaire Fox-Martin, SAP executive board member, during SuccessConnect’s opening keynote last week.
Employee engagement determines a company’s ultimate success, she added. The digital experience is now central to that engagement, and Fox-Martin says if employees can’t engage they will be less likely to advocate for the organization.
Building digital experiences that encourage employee use means better and more complete HR data. That information is what will ultimately make a business operate more intelligently.
How SAP is Making Its Software Intelligent
The phrase “Intelligent Enterprise” likely conjures up thoughts of machine learning and artificial intelligence—but that’s not what SAP is getting at here. Instead. SAP intends to make its applications more intelligent by connecting them via the same underlying data models on the same platform—SAP HANA.
SAP is making that happen across all its major cloud products. For example, solutions such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP FIeldglass, SAP Ariba®, and SAP Concur® will be connected with common data objects, enabling data sets across applications to be leveraged together.
Additionally, SAP plans to unify the user experience across all these offerings—meaning an employee flipping between S/4HANA and SuccessFactors won’t necessarily know the difference.
Where SuccessFactors Fits in the Intelligent Enterprise
How can the people data in SuccessFactors drive a more intelligent enterprise? Fox-Martin said the connection of HR and financial information provides scenarios that allow HR to support the business beyond its own department. She provides one unnamed customer example of the potential fallout when a store manager leaves a business.
In Fox-Martin’s illustration, the departure of a store manager impacted employee morale, which then impacted employee turnover and impacted store revenue. That effect compounded onto other stores that offered up their own managers to fill in while a permanent replacement was recruited. Information from the HR system helped provide a solution to this ongoing issue.
The combination of HR, financial, and operational data demonstrated to the company that it was actually more cost effective to the business to hire what they defined as floating managers—minimizing the impact a more permanently located manager’s departure may have.
“This was only achieved by being able to bring together operations, financial and HR data,” said Fox-Martin.
Keeping People in Mind Matters
That customer example ultimately came down to how data affected the bottom line—but it is important to keep in mind that it was the employee experience that was having a real financial impact. Turnover is tough to deal with—not only for the knowledge loss but for the mental well-being of employees.
“Nobody comes to work in abstencia of their humanity,” said Fox-Martin.
Delivering data-driven decisions that keep people in mind can’t be done without the HCM software piece of the equation, and that’s why SAP is putting SuccessFactors at the heart of its Intelligent Enterprise.