Tag Archives: influence

SuccessConnect 2019

Just some very brief highlights and musings from the lounge in LAX whilst I wait for my flight home to Melbourne.

This was the eXperience SuccessConnect, there were X’s everywhere! The amount of airtime that Qualtrics and experience management got may well have equalled the amount of time that the SuccessFactors product was discussed.

My SuccessConnect really kicked off with  the Monday partner briefing and meeting up with Sylvie Otten and introduced to Micheal Grimm from Ingentis. Was good to start off the event with a good moan about the state of CF vs Neo when it came to SuccessFactors extensions. Sorry Sylvie РI earned my namesake.

At least she was smiling in the photo!

 

Next up was the partner briefing – after having made the mistake of sitting near the front last year at it being the most boring multiple hours of the conference, I sat at the back so I could sneak out rather than pass out with boredom.

I was wrong.

David Ludlow completely creamed it with his update on roadmap and recent changes. That was probably the best 20mins of the entire conference. Wish I had sat nearer the front! Although have discovered that taking photos of slides in SAP’s newly preferred dark theme really doesn’t come out well, the black comes out browny grey – doesn’t look so cool… ūüôĀ But I got the slide deck – gold!

There were many cool things in there, but the new UI being proposed for the user landing page was probably the most exciting bit – which is why David didn’t say much about it, but left that for Amy the next day at the keynote.

Lots of debate about this new conversational AI based UI. With the biggest one being, there better still be menus and some way i can add a link to view my payslips, and apply for leave¬† with one click without having to type in “view my payslip”.

We’ll see how it develops as looks like planned delivery 2020 – but I’ll bet on it not being GA before next SuccessConnect. Perhaps beta with a couple of customers… lets see next year.

After David’s excellent presentation I got to catch up with the team of analysts and media folk who’d had a briefing that day. Josh Greenbaum was holding court and had some interesting comments around SAP’s strategy with payroll, but the wine and food was excellent and I left with some of the folks there to go to the exhibition show floor and do what I was supposed to be at the conference for (not chin wagging with analysts!)

I was here at SuccessConnect to sell a SAP CP extension for SuccessFactors that me and my team have built – it provides EHS functionality embedded into SuccessFactors. It’s pretty cool! But I would say that!

 

I have discovered that I sell much better with a glass of wine in my hand…

After that it was to Jewel nightclub to the Kronos and Rizing party (not sure I really should have continued drinking, next day was hard work!) But did get to meet up with Sherryanne Meyer which was nice.

 

The next day was lots of water and the keynote.

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Have to say, I love the moments that matter idea. as in consider where you are putting your effort in making certain processes work better. It’s probably much more important that the initial day one experience for an employee is better than the process they have to use to apply for leave. They might apply for leave hundreds of times, but they only have one day one and it will be a much bigger impact. Think about the return to work process for return from parental leave, make that a great experience don’t worry so much about timesheet entry….

However I heard the term FAR too over used during the conference and used outside of the context i just described.

And then the keynote just went to “eXperience”. It was wow, everything was about HXM or Human eXperience Management, not Human Capital Management. Look, I dislike the HCM idea of treating employees as “Capital”, that’s not what we try to do, but still there is a whole bunch more the the successful running of employees in a business than just looking after their experience!

I observed cynically to someone (the night club from night before possibly didn’t help my mood) that it seemed¬† that the SuccessFactors exec team had all been given bigger KPIs to sell Qualtrics than they had to sell SuccessFactors.

 

After the keynote were lots of general sessions including loads of roadmap sessions! The conference team really listened to the customer desire for roadmap sessions and most were repeated at least one. Even better the sessions were short on presentation and long on questions. This is why people come to conferences rather than reading the slides at home (and without having to fly stupid distances around the world). So SUPER KUDOS to the SuccessFactors team, your roadmap sessions were AWESOME! I had lots of fun in one run by Mark McCawley who I meet for the first time and leaked some news that I’m hoping we can reveal soon that will make many customers very happy!

Saw mention that instance sync tool will allow copy back of employee data from prod to non-prod systems (without full system refresh) allowing for trouble shooting of issues in test environments – this is awesome and will be a huge benefit for customers. When you look at the list price that Accenture were/are charging for a SAP CP tool that does similar thing, you can see how customers were really wanting this functionality!

Talking of the SAP App Store and SAP CP extensions, they were highly visible this year on the show floor and customers were clearly interested!

Final keynote was more eXperience Qualtrics puff along with 3 partner add on solutions, and a strange plug for SAP.io which I’m pretty sure the audience didn’t care about. Much disappointment that non of the partners on the stage with SuccessFactors add ons were using SAP Cloud Platform – a real lost opportunity to showcase the power and benefit of having extensions that look like they are just additional modules of SuccessFactors, a functionality that SuccessFactors has that is unique – I’m afraid integration to ServiceNow isn’t really that unique…

Last day and the team:

went to the golf driving range, where I discovered I’m not terrible at this golf lark, but not good at it either. Was fun!

Anyway – flight about to be called.

Was great to be at SuccessConnect, think it would be good for the SuccessFactors exec team to perhaps take a moment to listen to the SAP Mentor feedback – perhaps we can arrange something for next year?

If all I hear are benefits, either you aren’t thinking or you are in sales

I just read

http://scn.sap.com/community/cloud/blog/2014/08/04/moving-to-the-cloud–what-the-hell-is-cloud-computing¬†by¬†@Kunal_Pandya

It’s a good piece about the benefits of cloud. And it does a great job of explaining some terminology. However, I came across one bit that I just couldn’t let go.

“What % of your customers are on the latest version of your software?”.¬†

If the answer is less than 100%, it is not multi-tenant.

Four times a year SuccessFactors would answer less than 100%. Why? Because some companies have paid to be upgraded slightly later than others so as to ensure that if they are any issues, they are less likely to see them.

Also within SuccessFactors¬†customers, many would not be using the latest tools. Why? Because they have opted not to run those areas, as change management is costly and they don’t see the need, yet. Are they running the latest version – arguably yes and no, they have access to it, but certainly they are multi-tenant within the data centre.

Within the HANA Cloud Platform, one has the option to run an application/database without downtime for 6 months – it will continue to run on the version of the software that was released at the time the application was started. However, the platform is updated every 2 weeks. Bounce your application and it will pick up the newest runtime. Clearly not every customer is using the latest version of the solution. Is the solution multi-tenant? This is perhaps a harder one to answer as even within the same data centre there are different versions. However, all these versions are running within containers that are provided by the same software. So perhaps it is multi-tenant? I’d suggest that it is, but it fails the 100% on one version test.

My points here are 1) it is dangerous to make sweeping generalisations and 2) that whilst there are large benefits to moving to multi-tenant solutions, there is also a real business demand expressed in $$$ to ensure stability of solution, which is a real risk of a “true” multi-tenant solution.

The diagrams of Sven in¬†SaaS and PaaS: a symbiotic relationship delivering enterprise value¬†do well to show the immense value of cloud solutions over traditional onPremise model but don’t hide the downsides either.

I think it’s worth while to show two sides of an argument. When trying to convince someone to buy an apple rather than an orange, point out that the orange is juicier, but perhaps the apple has less risk of spilling juice down your shirt front when biting in to it.

I think it is imperative that if we are to be trusted as advisers to those that claim that they¬†don’t understand #cloud (and probably those that do too) we should probably discuss the downsides too.

Perhaps that’s bad practise in sales, to point out the bad sides of your product? Perhaps why sales people are consistently rated untrustworthy? Me I’d rather not have someone accuse me of being in sales. ūüėČ

Reader’s Digest Poll – Trusted People 2014

Gallop Poll –¬†Honesty/Ethics in Professions

 

Twitter tightrope

Influence this you <removed>

Walking on a tightrope with the birds

Recently I passed the completely arbitrary mark of 1000 twitter followers. Yeah! Woohoo! Well done me! (Please note points with exclamation mark are meant to be dripping with sarcasm.)

And around the same time, I unfollowed – shock horror – two folks I had been following for quite some time. Now, I know I’m not the social media guru who can use twitter perfectly with lots of lists, following back people and then analysing where the links in my post have been successful and all that bs. But, I stopped to think about what I was doing, why I was doing it, and whether the same could/should be done to me by the wonderful bunch of idiots people that follow my twitter handle.

Unfollow 1 – Where is my personal space?

The first person I unfollowed, is great at sharing interesting content, and has some really useful things to say about some stuff that I’m interested in. However, they also have a LOT to say about politics. It might even be a political view that I agree with and sometimes I’ve had fun following some of those links. However, sometimes it went beyond fun and started getting nasty. Now, I strongly support people’s right to have a political viewpoint (I have one) however, if I’m going to include you in my feed of people that I want to listen to, please don’t make me uncomfortable by going all extreme on me, regularly.

Unfollow 2 – Wake me up to smell the coffee!

The second person I unfollowed was the polar opposite. They tweeted some interesting stuff occasionally. But generally their sharing of info was following the company line so intently that I never had the view that the stuff they were sharing was more than their company’s carefully edited press releases. I decided that in balance, press releases disguised as personal viewpoints was just a bit too boring, and I didn’t really want them in my timeline.

Walking a tightrope

Clearly, being too extreme is bad, but being too timid, is just as bad. So where one earth does one go? And this is the tightrope I guess that we walk. I’m certainly not pretending to know the answer and if one analyses the question it’s clear I’ve made some perhaps unsupportable assumptions. Is it really that bad if your audience is tightly aligned your viewpoints? If you’re gaining kudos in the eyes of your employer, is that a bad thing?

From my POV

I think in the end, the tightrope you walk is the one of your own making. It’s the choices that you make to go in the direction you want to go and associate with the people that you want to associate with. So for me, that means being slightly (but hopefully not offensively) irreverent, and keeping a T-shaped focus on the stuff I share. What it also means to me is that some things that I do care quite deeply about, for example climate change and the way that our generation is screwing the planet for my kids, I’m probably a LOT quieter about that I sometimes wish I was. Self censoring is a pain in the butt, however, it might just get me along the tightrope I want to walk. Just grab me after a few beers, and then I’ll tell you what I really think. ūüôā