LAS VEGAS – When it comes to running a partner program for SuccessFactors, Mike Ettling, president of HR at SAP doesn’t mince words.
“You have to run a dictatorship with partners, you can’t run a democracy,” he says at the SuccessConnect conference. That means controlled certifications of partners and not being afraid to fire underperformers.
For Ettling, being a good partner to SuccessFactors means a buy-in to the cloud-first approach. Not just taking an on-premises approach to implementing a solution and making it work with a cloud service, but working in a way that makes sense when deploying to the cloud.
“Our partners are split into two groups. There are the ones who get it and the ones who don’t get it,” he says. “We’ve seen partners try to squeeze the on-premise margin out to the end. It’s just not there anymore.”
Deloitte is one partner that must be in the group that “gets it.” Working as a value-added reseller for SuccessFactors, the IT services and consultant firm was awarded the Partner of the Year award on stage at SuccessConnect. It won the honour on the basis of a case study submitted featuring client Amkor Technology, a Tempe, Ariz.-based semiconductor packaging and testing firm.
Being a successful partner with SuccessFactors is about understanding the differences between a cloud-first approach and an on premise deployment, confirms Katie Tyler, a partner with Deloitte and the firm’s national SuccessFactors leader for Canada.
It’s about “getting out of the on premise mindset,” she says. “We’ve transformed our methodology. We actually bring an industry best-practice solution ready to go.”
Whereas on premise solutions could be heavily customized to suit the needs of each individual business, that’s not the case with cloud software, Tyler explains. Instead you have to help a business change its processes to prepare to adopt the solution.
“You need to invest in change management, and it has to be from the very beginning of the program,” she says. “If you’re going to implement five modules, then roll out four and use that extra money for change management… too often our clients bite off more than they can chew.”
Deloitte has an established record of recognition with SuccessFactors, having twice won its Pinnacle Award. To maintain the quality that SAP bosses like Ettling demand, Deloitte focuses on guiding its clients based on what has been successful in other companies.
“You need to have strong governance and project management on these programs,” Tyler says. “We are very passionate that our consultants are process-first consultants.”
Those consultants also take a hands-on approach with clients, she says, spending time on site and assisting directly with project deployment and adoption. It’s an approach that can be more costly, she acknowledges, but it proves successful.
More details about SuccessFactors partner program can be found on its website.