SuccessFactors Remediation: Our How-to-Guide for Optimizing SuccessFactors

Posted by Vivian Reynecke, Sr Consultant at Hula Partners


Do you have a SuccessFactors implementation that is outdated and that no longer does what you need it to do?  Why spend money on a new system when you can update your existing system and make it work like new?

Here are some steps that you can take to set this in motion.

1.     Preview Instances:

Some older clients (prior to the SAP/SuccessFactors acquisition) do not have a Preview instance.  If this is the case for you, make sure that you have a test system of some sort and bring that test/preview instance fully in line with your production instance as a baseline.  This may take some time so be sure to start early.

During the environment synchronization process, you should create the Configuration Workbook(s) with current configuration as a baseline for all modules already implemented – ask your SAP SuccessFactors Implementation Partner (referred to only as Partner for the remainder of this document) for assistance if needed.

2.     “You don’t know what you don’t know”:  

Have the Partner take you through a full demo of a best practice system and let them show you what is available and why it could be beneficial to you.  If possible, try to have some of the original decision makers in the demo to explain why some functionality was implemented and not others.  There might have been specific business reasons that the Partner needs to be aware of so that they do not make recommendations that contradict business practices.

3.     DEFINE success: 

What do you expect from the project and how will you measure this?  What is the threshold for success?

4.     Break the work up into manageable sections:

a)     Evaluate & Prioritize:

Evaluate your current system and understand the issues that you are experiencing today.  Work with your Partner and for each issue, consider the impact, the solution and the effort to resolve.  In addition to existing changes required, also consider any additional functionality that you would like to add.  Once all of that is known, set the priorities.


–   Roadmap outlining all phases of the project

* Consider internal resource availability

* Understand your budget

*  If you are not sure of future updates, add a ballpark timeline, for example Q1/2018.  If you don’t, these changes may never happen.

* Consider implementing SuccessFactors quarterly updates in Preview and Production system

–   Update Configuration Workbook(s) (created in (1) above) if needed

–   Project Plan

–   Statement of Work

b)     Phase X Implementation: (X = Phase #)

–   Upgrade:  Through the Upgrade Center, install the upgrade(s) that are relevant for this phase of the project

–   Correct/Add Functionality: Correct issues & add new functionality as defined in the Roadmap

–   Test: Test functionality very well in the test system and remember to document test results.  If you do not already have test scripts for regression testing, this is a good opportunity to create them.  It is very important to always do regression testing to ensure that the upgrades/changes that were implemented do not affect your day-to-day activities or other system processes.  This also applies to the quarterly updates from SAP.  Add any defects to the Defect Log.

–   Defect Resolution:  The Partner and/or client representative will resolve each defect and refer it back for re-testing.

–   Update Configuration Workbook(s): Update the configuration workbook(s) with all changed or added functionality so that it always reflects the latest system configuration.

–   Consider Recommendations:  Based on the configuration that was done for this phase, the Partner may have some additional recommendations to make that are not in the current roadmap.  You will need to determine if they need to be included and update the roadmap accordingly.

–   Sign-off:  Once all of the success criteria have been met, you will sign-off on Phase X and refer to the roadmap to determine next steps.

–   Production Updates: Once signed off, the changes need to be implemented in your production system.  Include all of the steps in the project plan.


–   Configuration Workbook(s)

–   Test Scripts with Results

–   Defect Log

–   Customer sign-off

–   Communication & Training Plan

5.     Use a Change Agent:  

The project scope might not be big, but if the impact on end-users is significant, it will make sense to bring in a Change Management Agent to assist with the communication and potential training needs of end-users.  The Partner that you are working with should be able to provide the necessary resources, should they be required.

6.     Have a plan in place to support the system:  

To ensure that the system does not get out of sync again, have a Partner support plan in place that can provide additional coverage until your internal resources are comfortable supporting the system.  A proper on-going support plan should include incident ticket reporting and tracking, quarterly release management and an environment synchronization process. Due to the short implementation time of remediation projects, it is sometimes difficult to do adequate knowledge transfer so it is advisable to have a continue support and knowledge transfer or have a contingency plan in place in case you need it.

7.     Training:

Training does not have to refer to formal classroom-type training.  It can be you sitting with the Partner and working with them as they configure the system – or you configure the system with their assistance.  The more involved you are in updating the system, the sooner you will be self-sufficient and the less time you will need from the Partner.

If formal training was included to train-the-trainer, remember the following:

* Allow time in the plan for the Partner to create training material that will be very specific to your users to assist them to support your system.

* Allow enough time in the plan for setting up test data corresponding to the training materials.

Remember, this is your system.  The sooner your users understand the ins and outs of the system, the sooner they will become self-sufficient and the sooner you can transfer ownership to them.

8.     Statement of Work:

Obtain a Statement of Work from the Partner based on the roadmap determined above.  This needs to be very specific to what is included in each phase.  It will be in your own interest to have a separate SOW for each phase as the scope might change with additional recommendations coming out of each phase.

9.     Your Project Plan:

Have a very detailed Project Plan.  The projects are typically very short in nature and everyone needs to know exactly where they fit into this plan, what they need to do, when to do it and who to notify when their task(s) are complete.

10.  Communication:

Be in constant communication.  Have a short (30-minute maximum) status meeting every two or three days.  Send status reports to all parties involved, including stakeholders that might not be involved in the project itself.  Everyone needs to stay informed so there are no surprises.  Do a “look forward” – at least until the next status meeting so that everyone knows what tasks are coming up.  Make the project plan available to everyone.

It is very important to decide where you want to be at the end of your optimization project.  Set clear goals for each phase and make sure that everyone understands what the endgame is.  Communication is key to the success of any project.  Let people know what is coming their way and present it in a way that makes everyone excited about the upcoming changes.  Make sure that you have a proper on-going support plan defined and adhere to it.


Reference List:
1.     John Bestgen, Consultant, Hula Partners LLC –