The Speridian Advantage Podcast S1E1
Speridian Technologies Expands Popular SAP SuccessFactors Service to North America
Karen Franse: Hello and welcome to The Speridian Advantage Podcast. I’m your host, Karen Franse. And my guest today is Gregory J. Turner, SAP’s SuccessFactors Practice Lead for Speridian Technologies. Greg, welcome to the podcast.
Gregory J. Turner: Thank you, Karen.
Karen Franse: So, the news we want to discuss today is the expansion of Speridian Technologies Speridian Advantage for SAP SuccessFactors managed service and the fact that it has been expanded throughout all of North America. Before we delve into the expansion though, can you give our listeners a brief overview of the solution you’re offering?
Gregory J. Turner: Karen, it’s already popular in other parts of the world. Today, Speridian provides 24-by-7 SAP SuccessFactors managed services. And it’s for the complete human resources organizations that have already implemented SuccessFactors, but it was done with a predictable, very cost-efficient managed service platform to help maximize their SuccessFactors deployment.
Karen Franse: So, what kind of clients will be most interested in this kind of managed service? And what kinds of things happen that make people realize that a managed services relationship is something they need?
Gregory J. Turner: Great question. Primarily, most people are interested in the Speridian Advantage when we’re dealing with HR organizations faced with making on-the-fly dynamic business and regulatory changes that are so often required in, really, any HXM or HCM deployment but, specifically, in the SAP SuccessFactors world. Changes in industry regulations can quickly result in liability issues if they are not properly captured and integrated into the SuccessFactors platform.
Gregory J. Turner: So, an example, recently because of COVID-19, the US Government offered to have a program by which people would get sick time if they were paid sick leave if they were infected with COVID-19. That may be a change to company payroll programs and so forth because some organizations just offer PTO time, regardless of whether it’s for sick or for personal vacation time. And so, this is a change by law that required companies, organizations to pay their employees if, in fact, they were sick with COVID-19.
Gregory J. Turner: An example like that is really challenging because you’ve got to make the changes in a system, whether it’d be SAP SuccessFactors or something else. And then, you have to test to make sure you didn’t screw something else up or you didn’t knock something else out of whack. And so, it’s not only understanding the law and how it affects your organization, but then understanding how those changes to your existing platform and configuration are going to have an impact on how people are paid, and compensated, and receiving benefits. And so, that’s why people turn to organizations like Speridian Technologies to help them support these platforms.
Karen Franse: So, when people implement SuccessFactors, do they automatically know they’re going to need a managed service providers assistance, or do they assume that they can do this themselves?
Gregory J. Turner: I think in most cases, organizations like to try to do things themselves and for a good reason. There’s some cost savings, you learn the system, you’re self-sufficient. But at the same time, what they understand is that there is a lot of complexity in the HR payroll, and HR benefits, and talent management areas. And so, to really be able to have an expertise in that area, and then to have a skill set that is knowledgeable in the platform itself and be able to make those changes.
Gregory J. Turner: Well, sometimes that falls to the IT department, the technology group in your organization. And those individuals are very sharp, very smart people, but they’re not necessarily experts in HR, and they don’t necessarily understand the relationships of all of these human resource type changes, or payroll type changes, or benefit type changes. And so, it really does become through experience, you recognize that I really need to get a skilled resource that’s both knowledgeable in HR and payroll matters, as well as has a really good handle on how to support and manage an application system like SAP SuccessFactors.
Gregory J. Turner: And so, generally, it’s when they come through that experience, and going through examples like I already gave in terms of payroll changes or sick time changes, that all of a sudden, they realize, “Hey, we’re probably better off if we got somebody else in here to do that for us.”
Karen Franse: So, if you had to name them, what would you say are the top three pain points that a company might experience that would lead an HR department or an HR organization, for example, to really be ready to spend money on a managed service provider to assist them with their SuccessFactors implementation?
Gregory J. Turner: I think the three things are probably potential liability, the overhead required to manage success factors on their own, and growth within their own organization. So, starting with potential liability, when companies who don’t have the in-house expertise to make these regulatory or on-the-fly changes, and they try to do it in-house to save money, sometimes they make a mistake, and that can expose them to potential liability.
Gregory J. Turner: So, anytime you have, especially with union workforces, the risk of making a mistake could come up into a labor relation dispute issue that could then have bargaining agreement impacts, and so forth. And so, all of a sudden, you’re now faced with a liability as to an organization just because we didn’t really capture the change properly.
Gregory J. Turner: It’s hard today working in the world, especially with things like COVID-19. And your workforce is now distributed across multiple locations, and it’s tough to stay in contact with people, and to really understand how well they’re doing. And now, to add something to it that might create some kind of feeling of, “Man, I’m getting gypped out of my payroll, out of my paycheck,” and all of a sudden, having employee dissatisfaction, that would be a real issue.
Gregory J. Turner: So, not only the potential liability but the fact that you might be doing something because you did it on-the-fly and didn’t have the right expertise, you might actually be affecting the satisfaction of your own employees, which then leads to being able to retain the best and the brightest in a very competitive labor market. And so, I think that’s a combination of factors, that potential liability.
Gregory J. Turner: Another example has to do with managing overhead. SuccessFactors is a software-as-a-service platform. And many organizations mistakenly think that they won’t need a lot of IT support or other support to manage it because it’s all up in the cloud. As a result, they adopt SuccessFactors, but their staff is too lean to properly manage it. When these dynamic changes come up, they simply don’t have enough people to get the job done. They usually contact us needing an extra set of hands, so to speak, or some extra people to get them through a hurdle because the work is adding up.
Gregory J. Turner: These changes, as I mentioned, sometimes are time sensitive. And even if you make the change retroactive, you still need to be calculating it correctly over a period of time. So, you run the risk of being out of compliance if it’s not done properly. And so, this lack of resource can end up causing quite a problem for companies who aren’t prepared to manage the changes as they are rolled out.
Gregory J. Turner: And the third area is growth. As organizations acquire subsidiaries and just natural expansion, they want the SuccessFactors platform to grow with them, but there could be some work involved in doing that: Adding new business units, adding new employee types when you acquire a company. If you were a non-unionized workforce but then acquire a company that has unionized workers, that’s a completely different employee type. And so, those changes that growth can create support issues. And so, I think this is another good reason that people look to organizations like Speridian Technologies to help them through that. “Hey, we’re growing. Our business is growing. We’re adding new employees. We want to do it the right way.”
Karen Franse: Well, that all makes perfect sense. What are some of the key things that you actually do for clients or that you have done for clients that can help them in this way?
Gregory J. Turner: Oh, absolutely. So, the key area is just day-to-day application support. So, an employee wants to update their vacation schedule, or they want to check their balances for how much PTO time they’ve accumulated, maybe they just want to check their payroll calculation. And so, it’s a how-to question. And so, very simply, we provide that application support. We have help desk services. We have web-enabled platforms for our customers, our clients. The employees can reach out to us and say, “Hey, how do you do this?” So, very simple basic application support services is one of the areas.
Gregory J. Turner: Another area is your talent – and we all hear about it in HR – it is really your number one asset of your corporation. Well, understanding all of the key business drivers of your resources and understanding how that is actively engaged in the operation of the business on a daily basis. So, sometimes, organizations like to use reporting or dashboards. In the old days, we used to call it reporting. People would simply create a report, a static report, submit it to some kind of job control language, and it would run on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
Gregory J. Turner: Obviously, today with technology, reporting is on demand. And in many cases, reporting is through a dashboard with sort of like infographics, so I can see quickly this is the number of employees that are out sick on this day. And I can see that instantly, and I can drill down and see it by department and location. And so, dashboard creation, we certainly help them support, as well as just maintaining it if they want to make changes to the dashboard in the reporting concepts.
Gregory J. Turner: Another area, as we mentioned, are those statutory configuration changes. So, things usually happen on an annual basis. There are a number of laws that are changed every year to reflect changes to the tax codes and dealing with employees and employee benefits, health care, and so forth. And so, those changes usually have to be made and have to be made before the next start of the payroll cycle of the new fiscal year or calendar year. And so, we certainly can support organizations and help them with those changes.
Gregory J. Turner: But there are also configuration changes and statutory changes that happen on-the-fly. And we’ve seen that in a number of cases. One was with Obamacare back in 2012-2013 timeframe, and that created a number of legislations that changed how healthcare was managed in the United States. And that, also, is reflected in benefits packages and configuration changes. Today, we have COVID-19 that’s creating quite a number of changes, and probably a dozen or so changes that affect almost every organization in the United States today on how they manage their employees in payroll, and benefits, and sick time, and so forth. And so, those changes are those areas that we would help support.
Gregory J. Turner: And then, patches, and updates, and license renewals. That’s kind of a basic thing in a SaaS or software-as-a-service platform. The updates aren’t necessarily the same as when it was running on your own server and your data center, but there are some things that might change that we want to make sure that your configuration is not affected by the changes that are being pushed out to all SAP SuccessFactors clients. And so, it’s just a quality assurance measure of checking when we’re doing patch updates and so forth.
Gregory J. Turner: And then, license renewals. So, when you subscribe as a software as a service, there’s a period of time. So, it may be three years, maybe a year, maybe longer. And we want to make sure that your license renewals are being properly managed, and so that you’re never out of compliance with SAP support.
Gregory J. Turner: And then, lastly, just performance monitoring. No matter what goes on if the end user, whether it’s somebody in the HR department or an employee just trying to look up their own PTO balance and so forth, if they’re having trouble accessing the system or if they’re having trouble getting a response, then that’s an issue, and that creates dissatisfaction, and it creates maybe some downstream problems for the organization. So, always, we want to be on top of performance monitoring of the system, how well people are getting their work done, how well they’re able to access the system. And those are the things that Speridian Technologies Speridian Advantage for SAP SuccessFactors really addresses.
Karen Franse: I can absolutely see why people would turn to Speridian with a long list of skills and capabilities like that. But I think one of the things that really sets Speridian apart from other managed service providers in the SuccessFactors space is your consumption-based pricing model. Can you explain that?
Gregory J. Turner: Yes, I can. And thank you for asking that question because I think it’s really a competitive advantage for Speridian Technologies. What makes our unique offering very popular is that it allows us to support a sophisticated and robust environment of an HCM/HXM solution like SAP SuccessFactors at a surprisingly affordable per seat fixed monthly price, regardless of the level of complexity involved and the support request.
Gregory J. Turner: And so, in competitors today, they often establish what we call blocks of time for support. And so, if you have a very large request, making configuration changes might be an example of that, you may consume 50%, 60%, 70% of your block agreement just to support that one request; and thereby, not having the hours or the dedicated resources to support things like application support. The 24-by-7 help desk to do helping with the reports and dashboard management creation or performance monitoring. So, all of those other areas would be sacrificed to respond to this one large request.
Gregory J. Turner: With Speridian Technologies and our consumption-based pricing model, we have a fixed fee per employee per month. And it doesn’t matter whether you have a hundred requests for configuration changes or many, many help desk calls, or whatever volume of activity, we’re supporting you with excellent service 24 by 7 with guaranteed service level agreements across the board for a fixed price. And it’s very scalable based on your growth of your organization. Or if you have reductions enforced due to economic changes, it also reduces with that.
Karen Franse: So, Greg, can you go a little bit more in-depth for me of when the consumption-based pricing actually works?
Gregory J. Turner: Yes. So, we take the number of employees in the employee central module and we use a fixed fee based on what we feel is the relative support for an SAP SuccessFactors’ platform. And we think this model works very well for multiple reasons. One, CFOs tend to love this. CFOs really don’t want you having extraordinary cost models, project-based, or other things that are going to come in and disrupt their working capital. And also, because we’re using an employee-based costs model for support, it’s a cost structure that is directly allocated to the departments that require the services. So, if you have a hundred people in your department, then your cost is directly attributed to your HXM support model.
Gregory J. Turner: And direct cost allocation is always the best method of allocating costs versus trying to do some kind of indirect cost allocation or activity-based cost allocation. If I can directly attribute an activity to the cost, that’s the best model. And so, the solution consumption base really allows you as you grow, you’re going to spend more, but as you subtract or reduce, you’ll spend less. But in each case, your costs are completely allocated across the entire organization to the right amounts, to the right departments, the right cost centers throughout your organization. And so, CFOs love that.
Gregory J. Turner: And the support model can be deployed very quickly. And one of the things that also gives us a competitive advantage is we believe we can deploy the solution in about two weeks’ time. And we are willing – and this is not an offer that will expire next week, or next month, or next year, but we will always offer a 30-day free trial. So, therefore, if we don’t meet or exceed your expectations after 30 days of support, you don’t owe us any money. And so, it’s guaranteed, if you can think of it that way, and you have guaranteed service levels and you have a consumption-based pricing model.
Karen Franse: That really is a big difference. And that’s probably why Speridian calls itself the WOW Support Team. Can you explain for our listeners what WOW means?
Gregory J. Turner: I can. WOW is a term, I think, I’ve heard many years ago that means without worry. And that’s really the experience that we’re trying to create for the Human Experience Management solution. It’s to let the organization know that this platform is one of the best. It’s got best practices built into it. It’s been designed and engineered just to incredible standards by SAP. And now, you’re being supported by top-flight professionals with incredible credentialed expertise and certifications in SAP. So, you literally will have nothing to worry about and with a very affordable consumption-based cost model, it really is a WOW agreement and without worry.
Karen Franse: So, Greg, with that in mind, why would somebody want to choose Speridian specifically? Is there anything we haven’t heard today that you think is important for our listeners to know?
Gregory J. Turner: I think one of the biggest reasons is that Speridian is willing to take on risks; where our competitors have consistently sold black-tie service such as a thousand hours at a time, use them or lose them. We will give you that fixed rate very affordable per employee cost, and we will provide you with free month of service up front, so you have no risk, and you can just give us a try. And Speridian has been around for over 20 years, has incredible credentialed experience in all kinds of systems development, systems integration, digital transformation, cloud solutions.
Gregory J. Turner: And so, with systems like HCM and HXM, the Human Experience Management platforms like SuccessFactors, Speridian has some of the best skilled resources and best experiences and credentials in the business. And so, when you combine our skills, experience, innovation and cost savings – and I am remiss in not mentioning about our innovation, we developed our own virtual assistant to support our clients and help desk services for that application support framework of our Speridian Advantage Services. And so, when you combine all of that, innovation and cost savings, with our skills and experience, and with guaranteed service in the first month, there is no one that can compete with us. And I think that’s why you should choose Speridian.
Karen Franse: Well said, Greg. Well said. And I think that probably concludes our podcast for today. And Greg, thank you so much for your time.
Gregory J. Turner: Thank you, Karen. And thanks for having us. And at Speridian, we really appreciate your help. And thank you for this program.
Karen Franse: You’re welcome. And for Speridian Advantage, I’m Karen Franse.