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An SAP SuccessFactors Implementation Partner Selection Guide

By September 30, 2023March 10th, 2024No Comments


An SAP SuccessFactors Implementation Partner Selection Guide

RESOURCES  > WHITEPAPER > An SAP SuccessFactors Implementation Partner Selection Guide

Given the sophistication of enterprise software like SAP SuccessFactors, it is almost a given that users will appoint an implementation partner to support them in the installation, setup and configuration of the software. Besides tailoring SAP SuccessFactors to your unique environment and to support any required customisation and integration works, they would also conduct the necessary training to get your users up to speed on the new software to get the most out of it.

A seasoned SAP SuccessFactors implementation partner has most likely seen it all. They’ve worked with every size and type of business and a wide range of industries and systems. This experience lays the groundwork for a smooth implementation. Instead of being a guinea pig, you’ll profit from other companies’ mistakes and avoid unnecessary risks. With that, an implementation partner can help you navigate those dark corners and hidden features to make the most of them, given their understanding of the system’s full range of capabilities. This allows you to extract every precious drop from your investment.

Another critical element falls onto the users who just prefer familiarity over new changes. Thus, if SAP SuccessFactors is supposed to be the new replacement, you want to ensure high adoption. That can only be done by careful change management and expertly addressing users’ concerns which a seasoned implementation partner would have the know-how to do.

Common Implementation Roadblocks

If you choose the right implementation partner, your implementation project will likely succeed. On the flip side, the wrong implementation partner is often cited as one of the primary reasons such projects fail. Don’t let your company become another statistic. Here are some frustrating and frightening outcomes that await you if you do not choose your partner wisely.

Unrealistic Expectations

A gleaming new SAP SuccessFactors system is useless if it lacks the necessary capabilities. For example, suppose your implementation partner rushes through the software selection process without first learning about your needs, goals, and business processes. In that case, you’ll end up with a poorly fitting solution, or worse, one you can’t use.

Delays The desire to implement SAP SuccessFactors is usually motivated by an urgent need for change. Perhaps your company is experiencing unprecedented growth or business is being affected by existing complex and timeconsuming processes. In either case, you can only afford to save time.


The desire to implement SAP SuccessFactors is usually motivated by an urgent need for change. Perhaps your company is experiencing unprecedented growth or business is being affected by existing complex and timeconsuming processes. In either case, you can only afford to save time.

If you choose the wrong partner, particularly one whose team lacks the resources to take on another client or the expertise required to complete your project, you will face delays. These are not only aggravating, but they also reduce the ROI of your system by the day.

Poor User Adoption

What good is your brand-new SAP SuccessFactors if your employees refuse to use it or don’t want to because they don’t see the benefits? Users will be left flailing and struggling to learn on the fly if proper training is not provided. They’ll eventually give up and revert to their old ways. As a result, the software you worked so hard to implement becomes the next white elephant.

Employee Attrition

Major projects are stressful for everyone involved. They’re especially stressful for your IT team, which must collaborate with your SAP SuccessFactors partner to ensure everything works. They’re stressful for the management team given their responsibilities for selecting the system, hiring an implementation partner, and overseeing the project from start to finish. The stress extends beyond those directly involved in implementation, affecting employees at all levels who must change how they’ve done their jobs for years, if not decades. 

SAP SuccessFactors projects that are mismanaged can easily be hit with cost overruns, delays, and inadequate training and support, amplifying these stresses tenfold. This intense pressure frequently causes employees to resign along the way.

Sunk Cost

The worse part is that one is forced to use the system despite the poor implementations because you already spent so much on it. Even if it may perform worse than what you had before things got started, you might just have to make do given the sunk costs.

What to Look Out for in Good SAP SuccessFactors Implementation Partner

Track Record

A successful implementation partner should have a long and documented track record. Sure, talented freelance consultants or new firms may be able to realise your goals and objectives cheaply. However, especially for large projects like implementing expensive software like SAP SuccessFactors, it is safer to go with an established implementation partner who has been in the field for years.

Technical Knowledge

When looking for an implementation partner, selecting one who is well-versed in your software is critical, but technical expertise goes beyond. They must also envision how the new software will integrate with your existing processes and systems and have a rational plan to ensure that everything works seamlessly together.

HR Domain Expertise

The implementation partner should have a dedicated HR Tech practice, a well-structured SAP SuccessFactors-tailored implementation methodology and change management that they can demonstrate to the customer succinctly by providing practical examples.


Remember that you will be working with them on the initial project for months, if not years. However, the relationship does not end there. The ideal partner will provide prompt, consistent, and knowledgeable support for years to come. So, before you sign on the dotted line, ensure your partner is someone you’ll enjoy working with and who will respect you, your team, and your project.

Another critical compatibility issue that needs to be addressed is how they solve problems. For example, is their method of resolving conflicts compatible with yours? Otherwise, keep looking.

Interview Questions to Your Shortlisted Implementation Partners

Here is a list to help you get started.

General Questions

What is your project’s timeline?
What is the estimated cost?
How much experience does your team have in putting this software in place?
What is the implementation procedure like?
Whom will we be collaborating with?
What will you require from our team?
Do you provide post-implementation assistance? How?
Do you provide user training (via phone, email, or person)? How much is it? Is there an additional charge for this?

Culture Questions

What are the most crucial factors in whether a client’s implementation project succeeds or fails?
What factors contribute to the success of your implementation process?
Is it part of your process to help clients with change management?
Why should I pick you over your competitors?

Questions About Setting Expectations

Our primary goals for this SAP SuccessFactors project are [insert goals here]. Can you assist us in achieving them?
What is the cost of adding new users and/or keeping our software up to date?
How frequently do your projects run over budget? What suggestions do you have to help us avoid this?
How do you handle a client’s implementation project over budget?
We may require [insert feature] that is not included with the software. Can you assist us in obtaining it?
How would you go about doing that?
How can our company help our project succeed?
How will the project’s success be defined and measured?

Questions About Their Expertise

How long have you been in operation?
How many years has your company worked with SAP SuccessFactors?
Have you previously worked with companies in our industry?
Can you provide us with client references from our industry?
How can SAP SuccessFactors help us address some of the current challenges in our industry?

Signs of a Bad Fit

Their responses to your questions may give out signs if there are a good fit or not.

For a start, spot the red flags by paying particular attention when you hear the following:

“Don’t worry about the little things. We’ll do everything.”

Despite the rationale that the vendor should do the heavy lifting, it is prudent to be involved in the processes so you know what is going on. A good implementation partner will work alongside the users to ensure alignment every step of the way

“It is impossible to know how well the implementation works.”

You can measure how well your SAP SuccessFactors works, which you must do. There are a lot of KPIs that can tell you how well it works and how it helps your business. Here are a few of them:

  • Productivity
  • Employee Satisfaction Score
  • Employee Experience

“We don’t have a set implementation process.”

Years of practice have allowed experienced implementation partners to fine-tune their processes. Expect clear and documented standards to govern every step of their approach, which will include:

  • Gathering requirements
  • Design and creation of any required customisations/adjustments
  • Phases of implementation
  • Change management training
  • Support
  • Policies for dealing with budget and time constraints
  • Strategies for dealing with implementation challenges unique to your industry
  • Measurement Guidelines for Implementation Success

“Any of our consultants can handle this.” 

You will only receive the necessary support if a potential implementation partner is willing to think strategically about whom they assign to your SAP SuccessFactors project.

Each consultant on your team should be industrysavvy, understand your business processes, and have extensive experience implementing your specific solution. Make sure that you will have clear and direct communication with your team. You should anticipate them responding to your needs and concerns and assisting you with change management, training, and ongoing support.

Final Thoughts

Finding a suitable SAP SuccessFactors partner can seem like a daunting task because it is critical to the success of your SAP SuccessFactors project, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you follow these pieces of advice, you’ll be well on establishing a long and fruitful relationship with an implementation partner. Someone who not only understands your business but can also guide you to a solution that works for you now and in the future.

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