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SAP SuccessFactors – talent management re-imagined

Focus on employees

SAP SuccessFactors – talent management re-imagined

Reason for leaving: no development opportunities. Turnover is high, employees are working remotely and job requirements are changing at an unprecedented rate. Businesses are having to make more and more of an effort to support people, retrain them, or offer them new development opportunities. What is required to counteract this and, as an HR department and company, to overcome the current and future challenges in terms of a labour shortage? The latest flash of inspiration from SAP SuccessFactors is called “Opportunity Marketplace” and will redirect the management of development opportunities - towards employees.

On the one hand, a rethink is required and on the other, sensible technology to support the new direction. The focus should be on employees. Assuming that the company no longer develops employees, but offers opportunities for them to advance and organise themselves, three things are required: an awareness of their abilities, motivation and transparency. Employees must have access to all the potential development opportunities, in other words to learning opportunities, coaching, mentoring programmes, projects, groups of experts, job vacancies and job-sharing offers.

Imagine that your company wants to use an agile team to develop a new customer product or service. The project manager needs a small team of experts – sales, marketing, product development and IT specialists. Finding these people and getting them lined up for the project in question is often lengthy and complicated. As a result, the company often looks outside for new people and brings them into the company for the relevant project. 

How about if the project manager had the option of easily and quickly finding interested experts, with the right qualifications and resources available, in-house, thereby connecting people with their opportunities for development? In a certain sense this would mean the end of “integrated talent management” and the emergence of “intelligent talent management”, determined by the company’s dynamic requirements, employees’ abilities and motivation and more flexible organisation of work.

What is in the new SAP SuccessFactors product?

SAP SuccessFactors, a platform originally developed for integrated talent management, proactively addresses this shift to intelligent talent management with a series of innovations. At the heart of the latest release is the SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace. Instead of offering people mere “career paths” or “jobs”, the platform uses the new SAP Skills Ontology to recommend projects, jobs, part-time work and mentors, as well as learning and development opportunities and even special interest groups, with the help of artificial intelligence. This new product, which is currently in the pilot phase, will offer SuccessFactors customers a comprehensive solution for in-house mobility and career development.



On the one hand, SAP is introducing the “Whole Self Model” (a profile that manages and identifies preferences, working styles and personality) in combination with the SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace. On the other, a connection to Microsoft Graph is being developed in order to understand work relationships and content, and to be able to make intelligent suggestions based on this for employees with regard to skills, as well as development opportunities (projects, mentoring, learning courses, etc.). The individual customer skills database / skills ontology has also been rethought and dynamically structured. The world’s leading skills databases (such as ESCO) are linked directly to SuccessFactors and facilitate a dynamic, constantly up-to-date selection of skills for the employee profile.



SAP has acknowledged the complexity of skills and developed a complete model that takes account of “all employees’ wishes and abilities”, not just the “deduced skills” that ensue from education and training qualifications or learning content. And SAP goes even further in terms of dynamic teams: in addition to team composition, the project manager is provided with a range of tools for managing agile, short-term teams. These include OKR-based performance management, team coordination and a range of partner APIs for cooperation with project management, document management and other collaborative tools. If you are therefore trying to put together a team for a new project, SuccessFactors can show you who is qualified, who is interested and who should assume which role. You can then specify the objectives (OKRs or others) and manage the team within the platform.

This provides the company with intelligent talent management by on the one hand, creating a culture of trust in which employees assume responsibility for their personal development and continuous learning is promoted. On the other, collaboration is encouraged. Employees thus become a kind of connecting node in a decentralised network. This in turn increases employee loyalty and internal mobility, and ultimately creates and recognises new development opportunities, always with the goal of having happier employees.

Sources: (21.09.2022) (21.09.2022)

Published: 10. November 2022

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