Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vishal Uses A Picture To Explain His Strategy And Architecture

SAP Executive Board member and head of products Vishal Sikka used a drawing rather than PowerPoint slides for his keynote at TechEd. It was much more effective than the usual PowerPoint approach that all my colleagues use.

The tool he used is Autodesk Sketch Book Pro. It is also available as an app for tablets. I use the tablet version to not only create my diagrams but also for my illustrations

Monday, October 28, 2013

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) For SAP HANA Cloud Platform

As a learning management product manager, I always thought that learning management systems were (are) too cumbersome for learners. Anyone designing a learning system today should not try to mimic the learning management systems of the past. Instead they should try and emulate the design used by Massive Open Online Course providers.

I am pleased to say that SAP is now following that model and has made a few courses, including one on the HANA Cloud Platform, available. The SAP HANA Cloud Platform course starts today. You can enroll for the course here.

openSAP is based on a research project by university students. I look forward to this type of learning systems to evolve within organizations. I also look forward to learning more about the HANA Cloud Platform.

On a different note, if you are a product team trying to build a learning management system in the cloud today (you know who you are), please do not copy existing learning management systems. Try and do something innovative. Do not just move on-premise designs to the cloud.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Transform - How Leading Companies are Winning with Social Technology

I have ordered the book, Transform - How Leading Companies are Winning with Social Technology by Chris Morace of Jive Software. I look forward to reading the book and understanding the point of view of Chris and learn from the over 800 deployments of Jive Software, that he has overseen. SAP's Customer community is powered by Jive and I use it every time I post on SCN.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Growth Vs Fixed Mindset

I participated in an event organized by the India Literacy Project team, which has a goal of 100% literacy in India. My solution management colleagues Viji Doraiswamy and Sumita Jayaraman volunteer in that organization and are doing some very meaningful work making a difference in educating children.

One of the guest speakers was Prasad Setty, Vice President of People Analytics at Google. He talked about the need to promote a growth mindset among children. He pointed out that at Google, as the head of people analytics, he focuses more on measuring effort and learning than measuring performance.

Here is a good video on growth mindset Vs  fixed mindset.

There is a full 23 minute lecture on this topic by Prof. Carol Dweck of Stanford University here.

On my drive back home, I came away wondering what people management software can do to enable organizations that want to foster a growth mindset in employees. Perhaps learning and collaboration tools can play a role in enabling such a mindset. Perhaps performance management tools and peer feedback tools can nudge employees to try new things and work on areas other than their comfort zones.

My mother accompanied me to this event and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the work ILP does. She is a retired college professor who, among other things, runs a home that takes care of food and education for forty children between the age of 5 and 17. She said that she came away with some ideas too. She is 70 and still learning.

Integration Is A Business Issue Says Bersin

Bersin just published a report on SAP SuccessFactors integration strategy. Bersin says "The research bulletin is an attempt at clarifying the many questions our members ask about the “how-tos” of application integration, focusing on the SuccessFactors integration strategy, especially with SAP HCM.".

I read the report. It is written in a question answer format and attempts to answer the most important questions that customers have in their mind today about moving to the cloud. A good read for customers considering SuccessFactors cloud products.

We are in the process of getting distribution rights for the report. if you are a Bersin member, you can get the report here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Best American Infographics 2013

I listened to the author of the book "The Best American Infographics 2013" today on radio and checked out the book out of curiosity. I like it. Since I am in the business of conveying information via pictures and stories, I want to understand the history of infographics and how it influenced the thinking of key decision makers. In the radio program I listened to, the author of the book discussed this infographic that depicts slavery in the American South and how President Abraham Lincoln studied it to make key decisions.

10 Sessions On SAP HANA Cloud Platform At TechEd 2013 Las Vegas

There are 10 sessions on developing applications using the HANA Cloud Platform. Three of them are about extending SuccessFactors using SAP HANA Cloud Platform. If you are a SuccessFactors customer, partner or consultant, do not miss these sessions. I have highlighted the sessions that will be useful for SuccessFactors customers in red.

16 Integration Sessions At SAP TechEd 2013 Las Vegas

SAP and SuccessFactors customers and partners planning to be at SAP TechEd Las Vegas from Oct 21 to Oct 25 will find the following sessions very useful.

There are over 16 sessions on integration technology, mostly on the HANA Cloud Integration platform. There are two hands on workshops on integrating with SuccessFactors.

SAP Cost Center Integration With SuccessFactors Employee Central

SAP customers maintain cost center information in SAP ERP Financials. Cost centers are required for various reasons in Employee Administration applications. For customers moving their people management applications to the cloud by choosing SuccessFactors Employee Central, there is a packaged integration available to integrate cost centers from SAP ERP Financials with Employee Central.

My colleagues from the demo and product management teams created this demo that shows this integration.

SuccessFactors Employee Central Integration With SAP ERP Workflow

SuccessFactors Employee Central is used by customers who go for the Full Cloud HCM deployment model, where all people management applications reside in the cloud. Employee data from the cloud is made available to on-premise ERP applications so that on-premise applications can use the data for business operations such as workflow.

Here is a video of a demo created by my colleagues in the SAP Demo team and Integration product management team. This demo shows the value of this standard integration.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The HR Generalist Story For The SuccessFactors Seminar Series

After taking ten days off from work, I am back putting the finishing touches on the "Guided Tour Of SuccessFactors applications" presentation and demos for the SuccessFactors Seminar series starting next month with help from my editor Bette Ferris. I am very pleased with the focus on the HR Generalist in this session. I have included a story told from the point of view of the HR Generalist and how she can use the SuccessFactors Home page, Employee Central and other Talent Management applications to empower executives and employees. The story also reflects our reasonably good understanding of the role of an HR Generalist in an organization.

If you are a customer or a partner thinking about moving core HR to the cloud, this session might be worth attending. If you have budget constraints, please leave a comment or send me a message. I will check if I can get you a special price from the seminar producers. This seminar series will be a smaller gathering compared to SuccessConnect and SAP HR Insider. It is designed that way to enable closer collaboration and conversation.

Nancy handles mass changes with ease

Nancy tells a story to her executives using talent data
This part of the session is going to be interesting. Darrell Lew is going to be there showing the live product and telling the HR Generalist story. He is among the best at SAP and SuccessFactors when it comes to telling the HR Generalist story. The script of this story is his idea.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How Localized Is Employee Central?

Overview of Employee Central Localization.

Employee Central Overview

A good short video on Employee Central. Easy to share with colleagues and customers who want to understand what it is and how it looks.

Beauty Is A Product Requirement

Beauty and elegance are product requirements in SuccessFactors products. These attributes are particularly evident in the home page of SuccessFactors,the new onboarding module and the mobile goals product.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

SAP HANA Cloud Extensions For SuccessFactors Sample App

A demo of a sample application created using the HANA Cloud Platform Extensions for SuccessFactors. You will get to see examples of

1. How a user launches an app created using the HANA Cloud Platform Extensions for SuccessFactors,
2. How an application created using HANA Cloud Platform can post to SAP Jam.
3. How an administrator can configure the app from the SuccessFactors admin screen.

You can read more about the HANA Cloud Platform for SuccessFactors announcement here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Panda, Bambi And Puppy

I am taking some time off and staying away from work and email for personal reasons. My two year old niece asked me to hang around with her while she was playing with her stuffed animals, Panda, Bambi and Puppy. I drew a picture of them for her. Stuffed animals are easier to draw, because they have clean lines and in many cases have been sketched by someone before.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Person Behind The Persona

In 2012, when my colleagues and I were researching the role of the HR Generalist, as part of the people management trends research project, we spoke to tens of HR professionals. many of whom were working moms. When we asked them about the areas people management software should focus on they asked us to build software that did not waste their time. They said that HR administration is only one of the things in their life. Many of them were taking care of kids and caring for aging parents at the same time. My colleague Anke Doerzaph created the video below several months back, to capture the expectations of working moms from the tools they use at work. She picked the HR Specialist role to explain the findings. We wanted to understand the person behind the persona and build tools for that person.

Many members of this research team along with the development team went on to build SuccessFactors Employee Central. I decided to build on this research and use the persona for the SuccessFactors Employee Central story. In the upcoming seminar series on SuccessFactors, I will be telling the Employee Central story from this point of view. My colleagues Darrell Lew and Joe Chance will be there to highlight the ease of use and mobility in Employee Central among other things.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Precision Matters In Presentation Layouts

When positioning images in your PowerPoint slides, there is a simple trick that can make all your slides look uniform and professional. When you position images on screen right click on the image and use the "Size and Position" dialog box to decide on the length and width of an image and the X and Y coordinates of the image. The audience may not know why a presentation is pleasing to look at, but they will feel it when they see a meticulously created presentation..

Doing such things is boring. But the most creative among us are those who also do the boring things meticulously. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

SuccessFactors Headlines Helps You Tell A Story With Your Data

As a product manager who has designed and rolled out products, I used to spend a lot of time thinking about how to convey the value of analytics tools in my products and the insight they provide. While reports and analytics are critical for any business, it takes time, effort and skill to access the data, analyze the information, understand the trend and convey the story to the decision makers or others whom you want to influence.

The SuccessFactors Headlines product, designed by my colleagues Tony Ashton, Philip Haine and their talented teams, addresses this problem by surfacing the story rather than just the trend or data. I am building an HR generalist story where I highlight this.

I will be talking about this in the upcoming SuccessFactors seminar series. My colleagues Darrel Lew and Joe Chance will elaborate on this topic, share their experiences and show live demos of the product. 
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