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SuccessFactors re-launched Professional Certification about 2.5 years ago, which has a requirement of two projects as lead and customer references to be able to qualify, and as of October 25, 2017 only 49% of official SuccessFactors partners currently have at least one consultant with it across any the 11 certifications. It is crazy to me that more than half of the of the 191 SuccessFactors Service/Implementation Partners do not have at least one consultant with Professional Certification in any of the 11 modules. Here is the information on the 94 SuccessFactors Partners that meet this criteria by region by module of certification.

When you look deeper into the numbers you can see the following information by module which becomes more troubling:

  1. 79% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified Employee Central Consultant
  2. 79% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified Recruiting Management Consultant
  3. 91% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified Recruiting Marketing Consultant
  4. 99% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified Career Development Planning Consultant
  5. 81% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified SuccessFactors Compensation Consultant
  6. 80% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified SuccessFactors Learning Consultant
  7. 95% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified SuccessFactors Onboarding Consultant
  8. 63% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified SuccessFactors Performance & Goal Consultant
  9. 86% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified SuccessFactors Succession Consultant
  10. 96% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified SuccessFactors Variable Pay Consultant
  11. 98% of SuccessFactors Partners do not even have 1 Professionally Certified SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics/Planning Consultant

So long story short, customers should realize they only have a 1% to 37% chance of engaging with a partner that even has one consultant that has two projects as a lead and two happy customers (i.e Professional Certification) depending on the SuccessFactors modules they are implementing and even then what are the odds that consultant is going to be assigned to your project.

Brandon Toombs (who is professionally certified by the way) had a great idea is why cant SAP SuccessFactors provide a list of who is professionally certified by Partner as it should be easy for SAP to have consultants opt if they want to be part of the program.

Just because one of the consulting firms above has at least one Professionally Certified consultant that doest mean that you as a customer are going to get that person or they are certified in the SuccessFactors module you are implementing or that they even still work at consulting firm as there is a lot of turnover in our industry. Luke Marson does a very good job of outlining this program in this blog that was written almost 2 years ago if you are unfamiliar with it.

Prospective SuccessFactors customers need to be very diligent on choosing a SI and choosing each consultant as it is still the "wild west" out there and there is very good chance if you do not, you will end up with a consultant/s that are not qualified to lead your implementation as two projects as a lead + customer references is not really a lot in the whole scheme of things (I have 40 in SAP/SF Payroll for example) :-) To put in perspective we have SuccessFactors endorsed partners looking for SuccessFactors "Developers", SuccessFactors endorsed partners looking for contractors to help them get certified, SuccessFactors endorsed partners winning work without the key skilled resources to deliver project, 19 partners considered "recognized experts" but some of them don't even have any Professionally Certified Consultants, have customers answering their own SuccessFactors endorsed partners questions and SuccessFactors endorsed partners offering "free" Employee Central implementations (with all the details murky) plus a lot more that happens behind the scenes that most customers never see.

Why this is so important is that experienced and well trained consultants can often be the difference between good and bad implementations, happy and referenceable customers, and will be important if SuccessFactors ever starts sharing customer satisfaction information publicly like their competitors. Successful implementations are a win/win/win for customers, partners and SuccessFactors as happy customers can be the best sales advocate in the marketplace. This was a key topic that Bill Kutik, Luke Marson and myself talked about in our "SI Tricks of Trade" video released two years ago and it is often discussed in the Global SAP and SuccessFactors Linkedin Group as well.

I have had several calls with SAP recommending that SuccessFactors step up and truly start to police and monitor the partner ecosystem over the past year. The first step will be to really reduce the number of official partners (they have 191 Service Partners and Workday for example has 36) especially since many are not qualified to do an implementation to start with and given how many there are vs the volume of work lead to some very shady go-to-market practices by some of these "official" partners. SuccessFactors should also ensure that every project has at least one professionally certified consultant in each module of the SuccessFactors implementation. Again all Professionally Certified means is two projects as a lead and a customer reference which should be the bare minimum customers deserve especially given the dollars they pay consulting firms and the trust they are putting with SAP SuccessFactors.

SuccessFactors says "Please note that the posted list of Professional Certified Partners may not be representative of Partners' current level of experience. Since this program is new, we have many Partners that qualify for Professional Certification but have not formally applied" which is interesting on several fronts. They consider a program launched over 2.5 years ago "new" and they appear to be "hoping" that partners apply and are okay with customers living in the "grey" area of not having the proper information vs mandating that projects have to have SuccessFactors Professionally certified consultants which would definitely nudge those that haven't formally applied (if they are really out there). Transparency is extremely important in the cloud and the above response is not acceptable in my opinion and important to note that even Denis Tournesac who is Senior Vice President of Global Partner Operations agrees:

Sadly to date SuccessFactors seems to be following the old school SAP Partner playbook which Vinnie Mirchandani does a great job of outlining in SAP Nation where many customers are getting inexperienced consultants that just passed their multiple choice Associate Certification and are showing up to learn on the job at the clients expense. Customers should be able to easily look up by Partner, by Module the individual consultants, their certification and the projects they have worked on. Status Quo is no longer acceptable as Brian Sommer outlines in this very good article, and part of customers getting the full value of the cloud and on-time, on-budget implementations is having good partners that are vetted, trained, certified and monitored by their cloud vendor.

November 7 - Update

Some great insights from Venki Krishamoorthy (who has multiple SuccessFactors Professional Certifications) and Naomi Bloom who is a long time HR Technology Industry Experts that is very relevant to this conversation.

The 15th Annual SAP HR2016 Conference will be held in Las Vegas from February 23 - 26 at the Las Vegas Wynn hotel. It is regularly considered, along with SuccessConnect, one of premier events for SAP and SuccessFactors professionals, consultants and customers. There are more than 130 sessions, 50 exhibitors, 20 case studies, 32 hours of educational sessions and 115 speakers. I will be attending this year and be available during the Ask-the-Experts sessions if you would like to meet or customers can ping me in advance and we can schedule some one on one time. I am also very happy to announce that the HR Insider team has given me a special one of a kind promotion code, which will provide a $450 discount for my customers, readers, Linkedin group members and followers up until the show starts. If you are still on the fence I thought I would outline my top three reasons to go to the HR2016 conference.


HR Technology – It is very obvious that we are in the early innings of the multi year shift from client server OnPremise software (i.e. SAP HCM, Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft) to the next generation cloud based offerings (i.e. SuccessFactors, Workday, Oracle Fusion) which is fully supported by all of excellent customer research Stacey Harris does in her annual HR System SurveyAt the end of the day, smart customers make smart decisions, buy the right software, hire the right consulting firms, put the right internal people on the team and have successful projects. There is no doubt in my mind that going to HR2016 will make you and your team smarter. It is one of the topics I talk about in this video I recorded with Bill Kutik and Luke Marson earlier in the year called Dirty Consulting Secrets and Tips to be a smart customer.


Speakers Amy Thistle, Gargi Chakrabarty, and the entire HR Insider team does a great job of selecting speakers for the conference and they include SAP HCM and SuccessFactors Industry Experts, SAP Mentors, SAP Press Authors, HR Expert authors and thought leaders.  Each year when I pull together The Future of SAP HCM and SuccessFactors Consulting I chose people I have a lot of respect for professionally such as Steve Bogner, Luke Marson, Jeremy Masters, Amy Grubb, Brandon Toombs, Jyoti Sharma and Sharon Newton and this year I was not surprised they have a combined 25 sessions at HR2016. Folks such as Mike Timm, Danielle Larocca, Donna Leong-Cohen, Justin Morgalis, David Ludlow, Steven Hunt, Joachim Foerderer, AJ Whalen, Ralf Wagner, Paul Rose, Mark Brandau, Rebbeca Murray, Brandon Webb, Greg Robinette, Mick Collins and Parvathy Sankar always do a great job on the “conference circuit” and would highly recommend their sessions as well.  Here is the brochure that outlines all the sessions and there is something for everyone.


Networking One of the underrated parts of any technology conference and something I outlined in my Valuable Lessons to Make the Most of your SAP Career is networking. The HR2016 event is a great opportunity to network with peers, meet new people and for customers to share learning’s and experiences with fellow customers. The who’s who of the SAP HCM and SuccessFactors industry will be at this event, looking to swap war stories and business cards, connect on LinkedIn and Twitter and share information. I would highly recommend the Ask the Experts Sessions and Speed Networking, as both are great ways to meet new people. Please stop me to say hi if you see me walking around and if you can’t attend make sure to join twitter and follow hashtag #HR2016 and of course SAP_Jarret :-). I would also highly recommend joining the over 25,000 members in my SuccessFactors and SAP and SAP and SuccessFactors LinkedIn Groups.


Hopefully I have outlined why you should attend the HR2016 conference and if you are an SAP HCM or SuccessFactors professional this is one event that you won’t want to miss and don’t forget to sign up via this one of a kind promotion code, which will provide a $450 discount up until the show as it is the best deal that will be made available.