SuccessConnect 2014: How Admins can positively influence User Adoption

I visited SuccessConnect 2014 in Las Vegas from September 9th to 11th, the biggest Line of Business HR event from SAP.

In addition to the interesting keynotes from Mike Ettling and Dmitri Krakosky which focused on the strategic positioning of SuccessFactors and the latest product innovations, I visited several breakout sessions which focused on user adoption. (A brief explanation of the term user adoption can be found here.)

I attended presentations on “Customer Success Stories” as well as the SuccessFactors admin panel discussion.

You can find an overview and videos of all breakout sessions here.

The common goal of these sessions was to identify methods for admins to ensure and even increase user adoption. To make things more hands-on five SuccessFactors admins presented their personal experience and answered many audience questions. On an intercultural side note: The exchange and community spirit was by far more open and active in the US compared to similar session in Europe. However, challenges are pretty much the same on an international level with regards to user adoption. So what were the three key take aways for SuccessFactors admins to proactively support user adoption (and not wait until the board ask questions on the level of adoption)?

#1: Admins are responsible for constant testing of the SuccessFactors HCM Suite.

  • Situation: A user logs onto the SuccessFactors HCM Suite and after a few clicks an error occurs and the system crashes.
  • Solution: The admins main responsibility is the upgrade to new releases (which come out every quarter). As a consequence of this admins should not only upgrade but think about testing very extensively. To support testing SuccessFactors HCM Suite is delivering two separate system instances – one for testing and one for production. Most companies would typically do heavy User Acceptance Testing (UAT) during the initial implementation, but upgrades require the same level of attention especially if there is re-configuration because of new features coming in. And those might even have interdependencies to other modules or third-party applications.

#2: Admins not only implement new features but have to ensure internal communication.

  • Situation: A user logs onto the SuccessFactors HCM Suite and surprise - everything looks different. The user is lost and blames it on the application.
  • Solution: Admins are typically the only people within an organization who know and understand user requirements and can therefore decide which quarterly product innovations make sense and which audience those new features would affect. So choose wisely which updates will add value. Additionally admins need to ensure that users will be informed on time (as well as in the application itself) to guarantee a smooth user experience.

#3: Admins should use their power.

  • Situation: In many organizations, SuccessFactors admins are responsible for user support; therefore they know if users are not satisfied with the application and because of what. This is extremely valuable information as a basis to increase user adoption.
  • Solution: Admins should select new features or enhancements that increase user satisfaction which would increase user adoption. One example: Admins often get requests from managers regarding better reporting. So putting the most important KPIs on a dashboard on the home screen will certainly reduce those requests. Just a minor change but with big impact.


SuccessFactors admins are able to make a big impact on higher user adoption. They should really engage in that process and should also engage in a company-wide and pro-active discussion with other SuccessFactors admins. That would leverage joint know-how. The same is true when tapping into the SuccessFactors community.