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Finding the right SAP SuccessFactors partner is a lot like finding the right significant other. Think about it. You spend a considerable amount of time searching for them, getting your close friends and family to sign off on them, and once you’ve decided they’re the one, you hope you never have to go through the process again.

You can say the same for finding an SAP SuccessFactors partner. Hear us out.

You ask your SAP Account Executive or CEE to suggest a partner to work with, if you haven’t already exhausted the internet and/or met them at a social event (oh, SuccessConnect!). Once you’ve whittled down the partner pool to one, you need to have “parental units” aka the procurement and legal departments approve your match, and once that’s done, it’s D O N E. The process you endured was so painful and laborious, neither one of you want to experience it again. And so, you just tolerate each other until the end of time. Kidding, of course, but you get the drift.

Marriage Meme

Entering an SAP SuccessFactors partnership can be compared to entering a long-term relationship. But with any “marriage,” no matter how painful the courtship process was, it’s always good to check-in with yourself and the partnership to ensure both entities are holding up their end of the agreement. After all, relationships require continuous work, and often end if both parties can’t see eye to eye.

If you are still in the honeymoon phase, this might seem like a far cry, but we’ve acquired clients over the years due to other partners not holding up their end of the bargain. For various reasons, our clients have found themselves in the partner dating pool, looking for a new match. We’ve compiled the most common reasons organizations break-up with their existing partner, so you can watch for signs of trouble in paradise.

You’re Experiencing a Revolving Door of Resources

Ever start a project with an assigned team and have that team change mid-way through implementation? We would venture to say most SAP SuccessFactors implementation partners do everything in their power to avoid this situation, but unfortunately, turnover happens, and sometimes it can be a bit messy.

The average length of tenure for an SAP SuccessFactors consultant can range from 2-4 years depending on where the consultant is at in their career. While 1.5 to 2 years may seem short to some, there are common drivers for consultants to pursue new opportunities.

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If a consultant joins an organization with little to no experience, they will typically want to advance to the next level and be looking for opportunities within 1-2 years. Once a consultant is certified and has a few projects under their belt, they may leave to seek higher profile implementations, roles that offer more responsibility or the opportunity to manage a team, etc.

Regardless of the reason why a consultant departs your project or partnership, it leaves you with a void. Normal churn is to be expected and accepted as the norm, but high turnover and what may feel like a revolving door of consultants can be cause for concern.

When turnover happens, the client often bears the burden of bringing new consultants up to speed on history, background, and process. If this is happening frequently, you may need to consider other options (and inquire about turnover rate upfront to get the low down on what to expect).

They’re Not Responsive

While there may be some debate on what the appropriate response time should be when it comes to email follow up, we can certainly agree that no response is no good. They say it takes two to tango, so if your attempt to send smoke signals, Morse Code, or the basic email are falling on deaf ears, it may be time to find a partner that can meet you halfway.

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Partners will often offer various means of communication and adopt the mode you’re most comfortable with. Whether it’s email, text, phone, or an online tool, communication should be responsive from both sides.

It’s Like Pulling Teeth to Get Meaningful Answers

Does your current partner:

  • Offer best practices?
  • Share experiences from similar clients?
  • Have experienced consultants?
  • Take the time to understand your problem and offer the right solution/approach?
  • Tell you the implications of your decisions?

If you answered no to most of these questions, you may need to re-consider the value of your partnership. A meaningful partnership is built on knowledge sharing. After all, you hired them for their expertise and likely don’t have the time to research it on your own, so if they’re not dropping knowledge on you, what ARE they doing?

Pulling Teeth Meme

A proactive partner will pour into you and your team, so that you can make the most educated decisions. They should listen, ask the right questions, offer viable solutions based on best practices and a recommended approach so that you can navigate how to move forward. They should also remind you of any implications of your decisions. Our clients don’t always take our advice, and that’s okay. However, it’s our duty to remind them what may be impacted if they don’t proceed with our recommended approach.

You’re Getting Slammed with Change Orders

Have you ever embarked on a project only to get midway through and feel like you keep getting hit with change orders? Change orders are necessary at times, but they shouldn’t be frequent if a full scoping session is performed prior to the start of the project. We’ve heard of vendors winning projects due to their cost-effective bid, but the flipside of that is often multiple change orders because they had to cut scope to get the cost down. Ultimately, you’ll end up paying the original cost (or more in some cases) to have the project completed to your satisfaction. Our advice? Allocate enough to your project budget to avoid such a scenario and ask the right questions regarding scope. If it feels like it’s too good to be true, it just might be – especially when the first change order hits!

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They Cost Too Much

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, businesses scrambled to shift their budgets or paused spending to determine overall impact. As we slowly return to operating at full capacity and HR/IT leaders are free to spend their allocated budgets, we are finding that it’s even more critical to reduce the overall spend on projects and support – aka businesses are faced with making the budget stretch even farther than previous years.

Treat Yo Self Meme

While we understand that long-standing partnerships offer a comfortability, sometimes that comes at a cost. Your partner may be phenomenal, but at the end of the day, if they cannot meet your budgetary restraints, you may be forced to look at other options. Luckily, the SAP ecosystem offers a wide variety of SAP SuccessFactors partners ranging in size and expertise. It’s no secret that the larger partners come with a larger cost. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate a niche partner that can offer a personalized approach without the sticker shock.

They Got Acquired

Acquisitions happen. It’s the nature of our industry. Smaller boutique firms get acquired by the larger SI’s to gain a competitive advantage and offer comprehensive solutions. While acquisitions can be beneficial for both organizations and their customers – sometimes there are growing pains and you, the customer, are along for the ride.

Unfortunately, not all acquisitions pan out the way you expect them to. Intentions to keep everything status quo are there, but eventually, people and processes are blended and synergy between your partner and the new organization may not be what you’ve grown accustomed to. You may experience new resources that aren’t up to speed on your processes, lack the proper skillset(s) or even mesh with your culture. It’s possible that your account is no longer getting the attention it once received because you’re just another account in the sea of accounts. If that’s the case, it may be time to evaluate a partner that can give you time and dedication you desire.

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Relationships aren’t easy. As with anything in life, there are ups and downs, but when both parties put in the work, the relationship blossoms and grows stronger. You may think it’s silly to compare the partnership with your SAP SuccessFactors partner to a relationship, but the way you nurture the partnership and communicate is similar. Listen, you’ve got to kiss a couple of frogs before you find your match. If you’ve experienced any of these red flags, there’s no harm in seeing what other options you have. As they say, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and you deserve a partnership that’s built on communication, constructive and honest feedback, and responsiveness. Anything less, and you’re settling!

Looking for a new SAP SuccessFactors partner? Hear what our client, Wilton Brands, has to say about working with the AltaFlux team. Ready to explore a partnership with us? Schedule a time to meet with our team.

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