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SuccessFactors System Administrators (Admins) face many challenges. We have identified the top five (5) along with ideas to help overcome those challenges.

1) Rapidly Changing Technology and Implementing New Releases

SAP SuccessFactors admins are challenged to keep up with ever-changing technology. Managing two release cycles, testing to ensure there are no downstream impacts from universal features, deciding what opt-in features your organization can utilize and rolling those out before it’s time for the next release. We know – it’s exhausting!

For many admins, this is a challenge because in addition to “admin” responsibilities, many have an entirely separate workload requiring their attention. It can be difficult to juggle all those things competing for your time. It’s easy to be tempted to put testing and investigating new features on the back burner, but beware, doing so frequently can lead you down a road in which you are constantly playing catch up.

Instead, make a workable plan in which you can implement quick wins, stay on top of the latest and greatest features, and have a strategy to roll-out features that may require a little more testing and planning. Always keep a record of what you do not enable and know why your organization decided not to enable them. The time will inevitably come when you will need to revisit those enhancements and enable them or speak to why you have chosen not to turn them on.

2) Educating and Preparing Users for Success

Many admins are constantly educating users whether it be on new features and processes or providing guidance and training to new team members. Depending on the size of your organization, this can be a huge time commitment. How and when education is offered can be key.

For instance, training a new recruiter on the in’s and out’s of the Recruiting module may not make sense on Day 1 because key details about your tool may not be digested without more context on internal processes. On the other hand, educating teams on newly released enhancements, functionality and features may best be done before those are enabled in your production environment.

Many admins find themselves answering the same question or fixing the same issue for their team members over and over again because they want to provide excellent service to their team; after all, “it’s just a quick question” or “just a small issue” – how long could it take? We’ve all heard the saying “give a man fish and feed him for today; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime” but it holds true in this situation. Rather than performing the quick fixes repeatedly, empowering them to take charge could prove to be more efficient.

So, how do you empower your team so that they become self-sufficient? Know your audience and their processes. How will they best absorb what they need to know? Perhaps it’s periodic webinars, or videos they can watch at their own pace, FAQ documents or job aids. No matter the channel, find a way to make these tools accessible and it will save you time and help your teams be more successful.

3) Issue Resolution

Resolving technical issues can be one of the most challenging and frustrating parts of being a system admin, especially if you cannot remedy the problem yourself and it requires escalation to support (whether SAP or third-party partner). It’s difficult to be the “middle-man” and many times the admin takes on the stress of knowing something needs to be resolved as quickly as possible but it’s just out of their hands. Have no fear, there are a couple of things you can do.

First, be sure you have properly used your resources by checking Knowledge Based Articles (KBA’s) on the SAP Help Portal, review product documentation to ensure you have a true issue and are not experiencing something that is actually expected behavior, check the SAP Customer Community to see if anyone else is experiencing a similar issue.

Second, if you are experiencing a true technical issue that requires support, you can alleviate some of the stress by maintaining good communication with your team. Provide routine updates (depending on the severity of the problem). Sometimes resolving issues take time but managing your team’s expectations may prevent your issues from managing you!

4) Not Engaging in HR Strategy

System admins have a wealth of knowledge that can span across various teams and processes and are extremely valuable resources. The challenge here, is many times they don’t have the time or the opportunity to engage in some of the more strategic discussions especially as it relates to the technology they support. This may cause new process or changes in the technology that may not be necessary or cause issues down the line.  It’s not always possible but being involved at a more strategic level prior to a decision being made is a benefit to all. Engage when you can, it can help you be more knowledgeable and become a better admin.  

5) Knowing Your Product and Keeping a Fresh Perspective

Keeping your knowledge and skills current as an admin can certainly be a challenge when it already feels like there’s not enough time in the day. It’s easy to focus on managing day to day activities and neglect investing in yourself as an admin and ensuring you know the products you support. It’s equally as easy to get tunnel vision and miss the opportunity to stay up to date on how others are using their SuccessFactors product.

What can you as an admin do to stay relevant in this space? From an education perspective, complete the SuccessFactors Expert Accreditation (SFX). It will help you gain foundational knowledge of your product. Also, engage in the Customer Community and join user groups that may be in your area; keeping a fresh perspective can help you stay relevant in your area(s) of expertise.

What is your experience as an admin? Have you faced any or all of these challenges? It’s certainly not an all-inclusive list but hopefully you can take away strategies to help you navigate these situations now or in the future.

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