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Should You Make the Switch to SuccessFactors Onboarding 2.0?

Sap Successfactors Onboarding 2 3861961

The long-awaited SuccessFactors Onboarding 2.0 was released in the last quarter of 2019 and being “lucky” enough to have a client keen and willing to implement immediately, I’ve been able to explore the solution in detail. While it’s a step forward in user experience, there's a lot more to consider, here’s the key points that customers should be aware of when deciding whether to switch.

Overall, how does it rate?

Improvements Compared to Onboarding 1.0

  • Now part of the SuccessFactors platform, no need for user/ permission/ foundation data syncs, data mapping is simplified, use of To Do tile tasks.
  • Uses platform permission roles and groups; unified security setup.
  • Consistent user experience; what your onboardee sees prior to starting is the same as they’ll see once they are an active employee.
  • Continual change is being rolled out, meaning the product will only continue to improve, unlike Onboarding 1.0 which will remain pretty static.
  • On/Offboarding Dashboards to view all tasks in one place and flexibility in assigning those tasks to different user groups.
  • Utilises much of the same configuration as Employee Central, which is good for client system administrators.
  • More flexibility in process steps used.
  • Continues to support DocuSign or SAP e-Signature for form signatures.
  • All UI screens built to be mobile-responsive.

Future Improvements/Features

  • Reporting is only available with SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) People Analytics Embedded Edition, requiring customers to upgrade to SAC and implement SAP Identity Authentication Services  (IAS/IPS). While IAS/IPS doesn't currently support Onboarding 2.0 this is scheduled to be delivered early in June (dates may change). Also be aware that People Analytics will be rolled out to the Australian Production data centre in July 2020.
  • External user type isn’t picked up in the standard sync to SuccessFactors Learning, so learning items aren’t available until the onboardee’s start date. 
  • No migration tools currently available for Onboarding 1.0 to 2.0, requires new build.
  • As for Onboarding 1.0, currently no support for Contingent Workforce Management.
  • Limited email notification functionality and loss of workflow ability for equipment tasks.
  • AU/UK compliance forms available with 1H 2020 release (in Production 5th June).
  • SuccessFactors Employee Central is a prerequisite until 1H 2020.

The first 2 above could be showstoppers for some clients, at least until a timeline to deliver these features is provided by SAP. 

However, if your Employee Central configuration is already bedded down and working for you, then Onboarding 2.0 can leverage off your existing solution to improve the end-user experience - both internally and externally. Particularly if you're not trying to recreate numerous complex processes, and already have plans to implement People Analytics, then put Onboarding 2.0 on your near-future radar.

If you’re about to start an implementation then I wouldn’t even consider Onboarding 1.0, you will be provisioned with 2.0 by default and that is SAP’s direction forward. Would you buy Apple’s iPad from 2 releases ago, or would you buy the latest version, knowing that it’s been updated and built with the latest technology? 

While Onboarding 1.0 will continue to be available for existing customers for quite some time to come, dropping the clunky integration and sync jobs for a new build would be my recommendation unless you have a compelling use-case otherwise.

The flow is quite similar to Onboarding 1.0, with flexibility to create your own processes, or skip steps as needed. I’ll go into more detail in my next post about each step and what it looks like, as well as some of the issues and limitations I’ve encountered along the way.

Key points to consider before implementing

If you’re keen to move ahead with the new product, you need to be prepared to accept the current limitations, as it's very much still under development. 

As yet there’s no migration path so it’s a new implementation, with migration tools on the SuccessFactors Roadmap for some time in the next 24 months. If you’re willing to commit to another project and keen for the changes, then go ahead and implement Onboarding 2.0 without those tools.

However, take this as your opportunity to re-look at your processes and simplify them. Don’t expect 100% parity between what you have now in Onboarding 1.0, and what Onboarding 2.0 provides. If you want to implement soon, don’t try to replicate exactly what you have currently. Keep it simple and approach it with an open mind as if you were implementing a new module/process. Because that is exactly what you’re doing. 

Also consider your future plans for reporting. As mentioned previously, Onboarding 2.0 reporting is provided in SuccessFactors People Analytics Embedded Edition and this isn’t just a case of flicking the upgrade switch and having it working.

You’ll need to implement  SAP Identity Authentication Services (IAS/IPS) as well, even if you already have an identity management system authenticating single sign on (SSO) to your SuccessFactors instance. The catch is this product currently doesn’t support Onboarding 2.0, however a fix is tentatively planned for June (fingers crossed!). 

SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding 2.0

Is it worthwhile despite this?

What you WILL gain is a solution that fits much more with the rest of SuccessFactors, both in user experience and integration between modules. And as I’ve previously mentioned, it IS still undergoing development, which means new features and improvements will be rolling out continuously. Unlike Onboarding 1.0 which is unlikely to change much now, except for compliance updates/general fixes. 

One of the major showstoppers for many organisations has been the lack of compliance forms in the initial 2.0 release. However as of the First Half 2020 release, due in Production now on 5th June, Australian compliance forms will be available for the Tax File Declaration and Superannuation forms.

You will also now be able to integrate with an external HRIS, though you will need a “miniature” SuccessFactors Employee Central configuration and some data syncing in order for this to work. With the core configuration for Onboarding 2.0 relying on the Employee Central data model, this may be more than just minimal in my opinion. 

How are existing Employee Central customers impacted?

If you already have Employee Central, then implementing 2.0 means that your data model is going to require changes. Similar to implementing Contingent Worker, we create a Person Type for “Onboardee” and replicate the configuration, depending on what data is required to be captured for Onboardee versus Employee (or Contingent Worker). This will likely require some tweaking of fields and business rules in the hire and ensuring relevant data is mapped from Recruiting.

Leading me to Contingent Workforce functionality; there’s still no integration between CWF and Onboarding. This is on the SuccessFactors Roadmap for sometime in the next 24 months. So while you can recruit a contractor or agency staff via SuccessFactors Recruiting Management and put them through the Onboarding process, they will all end up in Manage Pending Recruits instead of Add Contingent Worker. 

Discovery have previously developed a custom solution for customers so that these types of hires are removed from Manage Pending Recruits and created automatically as contingent workers, so as not to impact the customer’s licensing. Looks like we’ll keep doing this for a while yet!

Also factor in that for existing clients, role-based permission roles and groups will need re-work, expect and allow for testing to ensure everything is working as expected.

What needs to improve?

One area I’d like to see significantly improved is the Email Services functionality. Preconfigured email templates are provided and while you can personalise the texts, we can’t yet use custom tokens, only the standard set provided - which is very limited. 

We also can’t configure custom triggers, so while we can create custom notifications, we don’t get a lot of choice about when in the process they are triggered. 

From my experience so far, this functionality seems very buggy, and with no specific updates delivered in 1H2020, I really hope that this improves via patches.

Existing customers with very customised notifications will really feel the pain of this one, there’s just not the flexibility we are used to in Onboarding 1.0 for generating notifications and workflows for equipment, IT and systems provisioning, etc.

Final thoughts

One other area I’d love to see SAP give more focus to is the interaction between the business and the onboardee, prior to their start date. Many customers are looking for this to be more conversational and interactive, rather than just pushing out a bunch of emails and forms, they want to better engage with their new hire. Expecting them to download the SuccessFactors app and login prior to their start date so that we can share a few nice tiles just isn’t enough in this competitive market for HCM solutions.

This might look like the hiring manager sending an SMS to ask about their new team member’s favourite coffee or tea and letting them know where the best local cafe is before they start. They might like to record a quick video and send it, without having to upload to the system and create a tile to link it. They might ask for 3 fun facts to share with the rest of their team members.

These are all actual requirements from customers and not something we can currently cater for in the way clients really want. Not everyone reads the many emails we send them and we have to recognise that different age demographics respond better to some communication methods than others.

Once Onboarding 2.0 is more settled, it’s time to consider the new hire’s experience just as much as the business need to streamline a data-driven paperwork process. Please put the "experience" in HXM!

Next steps

In my next post I'll go through the process steps and features in more detail, including screenshots. Meanwhile, get in touch and arrange a demo and a chat about the new Onboarding 2.0 solution to help you decide if you should make the switch.

Angela Wheeler
Angela Wheeler
Driving initiatives to enhance employee experience and candidate engagement | HR | Recruitment | Onboarding | Cloud | SAP | HXM | RX | ONB
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