This release was the first biannual release following the previously quarterly releases. With it comes a new way of finding out more about each of the changes, in the form of the “SAP SuccessFactors What’s New Viewer”. I really like this feature which allows you to filter, search and view more details on all changes. Many even have a pre-recorded demo to bring them to life too. Another change in the release strategy is that theinternal release readiness (IRR) webinars have stopped and been replaced by Q&A sessions instead.
Based on my analysis, using this new tool, it seems that there isn’t quite twice the number of new features you might expect from a half–yearly release: 278 in H1 vs an average of ~200 per quarter in 2019. However, it is worth noting that there are also over 780 notable fixes in this release too. We’ll have to wait to see if this is a pattern or whether COVID-19 impacted the development lifecycle so that some features just didn’t make the cut due to resource/time pressures.
Digging a bit deeper, I do find it interesting to note that there are roughly two–quarters worth of features that need some kind of action from customers to “Opt–in” to. In contrast, the number of “Universal” features included is more akin to the amount found in a quarterly release.
As always, core HR continues to strengthen with a large number of new features (81) across Employee Central, Time Management, Benefits, Service Center, and integration topics, to name just a few!
After over a year of limited change, the Learning module finally has some welcome features to shout about. In particular, the new Administrator interface (removing its prior Flash dependency). This redevelopment has been a while coming but is a big step forward as yet another module that originated from an acquisition is now managed under a common admin interface making it feel more part of the suite! It is worth noting that all of the Learning updates will be yours to enjoy without the requirement to carry out any activation steps.
Other modules where new capability has been developed in recent releases continue to evolve: check out the 14 new features in Onboarding 2.0 and the five new features in Continuous Performance Management. There’s plenty of change across the entire Talent suite.
And with all this change, it seems worth a gentle reminder that SAP provides SuccessFactors Test Cases (S-User required) for many of the changes. In general, I think the standard of documentation is improving too – both in terms of quality and accessibility.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic is still sweeping across our global communities, it seems naïve to think that “business as usual” won’t be affected. Our families, colleagues and business associates are all affected, which in turn means in our working lives that our employers, partners and customers are affected. As part of the management team for our UK business, we’ve already had to adapt, introduce new offerings, reassure staff, support individuals and plan new strategies as a result of COVID-19. Like many businesses, we’ve enacted some business continuity steps as well as run surveys and stepped up communications. SAP has been doing the same, also making (free) offerings to customers and providing support for partners. Our day-to-day working is impacted, and our future ways of working will no doubt change too. Will we see a change in product development or release strategy? Will product development slow down? Will customers move more/quicker to the Cloud? Without a doubt, 2020 will be filled with changes, challenges and opportunities that we’ll work through together.
I hope you have enjoyed our series of posts on the H1 2020 release of SAP SuccessFactors. If you haven’t read the other posts yet, I encourage you to go back and see which areas spark your interest. Also, please keep an eye on our website and our social media accounts on LinkedIn or Twitter for this release’s eBook covering all the articles – it will be free to download, and you are welcome to share it with your colleagues.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my #teamZalaris colleagues across the world for their hard work in bringing you their insights. I also hope that the broader SAP SuccessFactors community has found them useful too. We would love to hear your feedback! (by email or via our social channels on Twitter and LinkedIn).
Preview instances of SuccessFactors were updated on 10 April 2020, and the production instances are due to be updated on 5 June 2020.
We will be back for H2 2020 (16 October 2020 to Preview, 20 November 2020 to Production) later this year!