Why Microsoft Picked SAP SuccessFactors for Its HCM Needs

Microsoft and SAP are longtime business partners. So the two company's say it's not that exceptional that Microsoft decided to implement the SAP SucessFactors Human Capital Management suite.

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SAP's cloud-based human capital management scored a major new customer recently. Last week, German business software giant announced that Microsoft had selected its SuccessFactors HCM Suite to help manage the latter's workforce.

Microsoft will use the SuccessFactors HCM Suite to provide human resources (HR) services and improve employee engagement among its 114,000 full-time employees. eWEEK asked why the Redmond, Wash. software maker turned to SAP instead of using homegrown solutions like its own Dynamics AX HRM capabilities.

"While Dynamics 365 has a robust enterprise offering, key modules in [the] scope of the implementation, including succession planning and learning, are not part of our current offering," replied Vivan Mirchandani, senior director, Business Operations at Microsoft. "Given Microsoft's business needs and requirements, it makes sense to partner with a company that extends our cloud platform and integrates with our ecosystem."

Mike Ettling, president of SAP SuccessFactors, reminded eWeek that Microsoft and SAP already enjoy a cozy relationship.

"This announcement is a continuation of a longstanding partnership between SAP and Microsoft, including the recent news that SAP has selected Microsoft Azure as a preferred public cloud service for SAP SuccessFactors solutions," he said, referring to his company's decision last month to break from tradition and offer the HCM software on a third-party cloud. Over the next five years, SuccessFactors will be available to joint customers using Microsoft's public cloud infrastructure.

Furthermore, many of SAP's offerings are already compatible with several Microsoft technologies.

"The history of the SAP-Microsoft partnership includes integrations between Office 365 and SAP SuccessFactors, as well as SAP Fieldglass, SAP Ariba and Concur, broad support for the SAP HANA platform on Azure, and hardware configurations specifically designed for the largest and most demanding SAP workloads," Ettling added.

SAP acquired SuccessFactors in early 2012 for an estimated $3.4 billion. In February, the company added new continuous performance management capabilities to its SuccessFactors Performance & Goals, the platform's talent management component.

In the spring, the company tackled workplace bias with machine-learning and text-mining technologies that enable customers to uncover the often inadvertent signs that bias and patterns of exclusion have taken root in their organizations.

More than 6,000 companies use SAP SuccessFactors, including the over 1,350 customers like Microsoft who are also using SuccessFactors Employee Central, a companion collection of HR apps. Ettling said Microsoft's needs mirrored those of other big multinational corporations seeking "global capabilities, flexibility, extensibility and [an] open platform strategy."

Notably, the solution also aligns with Microsoft's own cloud- and analytics-focused approach to business software.

"Employee Central goes beyond automation to help businesses manage global workforces more efficiently in the cloud, adding intelligence and insight to the most demanding business priorities," said Ettling. "We're excited that 114,000 people at Microsoft join the community of 45 million users benefiting from our HCM solutions in the cloud, and we look forward to working with Microsoft to help transform how it manages and engages its workforce for business success."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...