10 Things a New Customer Should Know Before Implementing SuccessFactors LMS

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Posted by Vivian Reynecke, Sr Consultant at Hula Partners


This document is not intended to be a step-by-step guide on how to implement SuccessFactors LMS. Rather, it is a document with tips on how to make your implementation easier and avoid the pitfalls that so many clients fall into. I’ve written this based on lessons learnt by multiple people over multiple projects.


1. Roles and Responsibilities 

When I say “Roles and Responsibilities”, I am not referring to the security roles in the system – I am referring to the project team roles (Core- as well as Extended Teams).

It is important to define the roles for each team member on the project right from the start. Ensure that each team member understands their part in the project. Do a four week look-ahead and involve anyone with a task in that four-week period in the weekly status meetings so that they know what is coming up. It helps to add specific names to the project plan and make it accessible to anyone that is going to be working on the project.

This is even more critical when dealing with an LMS implementation because the lines can often be blurred when dealing with centralized vs de-centralized learning environments and the split between content management and LMS administration/configuration.

2. Pre-project Training

The Success Academy has created training specifically to prepare your team for the upcoming project. It is called Project Team Orientation or PTO. This is intended to help prepare your team for configuration discussions with your implementation consultant. The PTO is conducted in conjunction with the project kick off. It is designed for your organization’s major stakeholders who are responsible for implementing the SuccessFactors system. The Project team typically consist of several roles from your organization, including:

  • Project Managers
  • IT professionals
  • HR Business Analysts
  • Executive Sponsors

Project Team Orientation sessions are led by Success Academy’s instructors, who facilitate knowledge transfer on SuccessFactors’ core, out-of-the box functionality. Participants in these sessions will be fully prepared to make the best decisions for a successful SuccessFactors implementation.

For additional information on PTO and other training and materials available please visit the following website:

3. Resource Availability 

When you start planning the project, take into consideration any other projects that might be running consecutively. Consider when people are taking vacation, any scheduled maintenance of systems or scheduled downtime that could affect your project timeline. Consider anything that will take your resources away from the project.

Another item for consideration when determining project timelines is the fact that resources are not always dedicated to the project – they still have their day-to-day job activities so they are only assigned to the project a percentage of their 40-hour workweek.

Always have a back-up available. Life happens and you need to be prepared for any event. Include the back-up’s in the kick-off meeting so that they have an overview of the project.

You are implementing a LMS system, so select a go-live date that will cause the least disruption to the regular schedule. Try to set your go-live to the period when the least number of people will need to be trained/re-trained if possible. I realize that for some companies there is no down time due to the nature of their business, but, if this is at all possible, consider this. You do not want to cause people to be out of compliance due to implementing a new LMS system.

4. Content

This is one of the most important steps. Determine early what content that will be required by go-live. There are multiple questions that will have to be answered:

1. How many content objects are you planning on bringing into the new system?

2. Where are the Source Files located for each of the content objects that needs to be imported into LMS? If the source files cannot be located, you will most likely have to re-create the course if it is still needed.

3. It is a good practice to test 100% of the content in the test system that is going to be used in Production. Determine early who the testers will be and if Temps are going to be required, ensure that you have provided for these resources in your project plan/estimates.

4. Are all of your courses AICC and/or the supported SCORM versions compliant? If not, what is the plan to get the courses compliant?


Know the limitations of the system:

– PowerPoint does not launch in presentation mode

– An AICC Wrapper works best when converted to PDF

– AICC Wrapper is only provided as a courtesy and is not supported by SuccessFactors

– Etc.

5. Non-Employees

Will non-employees (this could include Contractors, Vendors, Customers) need access to your LMS system? If yes, are they currently in your system of record? If no, you will need to find out where they are stored. Are they in a single database or in multiple databases or are they only in your legacy learning system? If in multiple databases, is the format consistent? Do you have SSO turned on? How does an external user gain access to the LMS system today and how does their user accounts get create?

6. Consistency of Data

Ensure that data is consistent across modules and also across systems. For example, if an employee is your legacy system is defined as active when they are on a leave-of-absence, ensure that same rule applies when an employee is loaded into LMS. There is a lot of room for error if the rules are not consistent and standardize across all system and for all locations/facilities.

7. Data Conversion

      7.1 Historical Data:

Every client is different so it is hard to come up with a standard rule that will apply to everyone. Here is a list of questions that can help you with Historical Data conversion:

– What are the legal requirements for converting data?

– Do you have the options for dumping data into a database for reporting purposes only?

– If you do decide to convert all historical data, will it be for active employees only or for all employee?

– Do you currently maintain data for contractors/vendors/customers and if so, will this data be converted?

– For courses that has changed names through the years, how are you going to maintain that in the new system and will this satisfy any legal requirements?

      7.2 Other Data

There are tools available in LMS that will assist you in converting your data. First of all, ask your consultant what templates are available to load data and what data will be manually entered. Make decisions on whether classes/schedule offerings will be converted or whether they will be manually created during cutover by the LMS/Training Administrators.

Will you freeze the legacy system at a certain point in time or will you continue using it until the cut-over date? If there is not freeze date, how will you handle the conversion of delta data?

8. Translations

The system has been translated into multiple languages already so what I am referring to here are any dropdown entries that you are adding, any label changes that you are making, custom notifications, custom completion certificates, course evaluations, quizzes and any custom field that you are adding. The closed you stay to the standard, the less you will have to translate. If you have already implemented other SuccessFactors modules, you most likely already have a list of the languages that you will have to translate to. If not, determine early the number of languages are you required to translate these item into.

In addition to the items listed above, you will also have to decide whether you are planning on translating content. If so, your translation effort has significantly increased and you will have to start the translation process for content much earlier than after the Final Workbook has been completed.

9. Standardize Processes

Set the expectation very early on with the stakeholders and also with Change Management that all processes will be standardized as part of the project. You do not want any surprises. Give everyone the opportunity to discuss legal requirements so that they can be incorporated as you design/adjust your processes.

10. Face-to-face Meeting(s)

It is important for people to feel like part of a team. It will be beneficial for you to bring the extended global team into a central location at least once at the project kickoff, not only so they can get an overview of the system, but also so that they can feel like their input is valued. They are a part of the success of the project even if they are located halfway across the world.

For User Acceptance Testing (UAT) it might again help to bring the team together for the first week of testing. It will also make sense for the project team to be on-site to help answer any question or assist in any one-on-one training that is required.

In Closing

Remember to communicate early and often to the Stakeholders and End Users explaining that processes will need to change to adopt the delivered functionality. Establish a change agent network which includes representatives (project champions) in the various business units. The more the users know up front the easier the transition will be. Ask the right questions so that you implement the best possible system that works for everyone.


Reference List:
b1602 Learning Configuration Workbook
Document by Clint Corley: SuccessFactors Risk & Mitigation


You can contact Vivian at or contact Hula Partners directly.

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