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Archive for the category “News, Articles, Analysis, Random thoughts…”

ROI or No ROI?

I was experimenting with D11 conference app on my iPhone and accidentally published this blog much sooner. I liked the basic tenet of Elon Musk’s point.

Tom Krazit 7:48:38 pm
This wasn’t an ROI thing, Musk said. “Starting an electric car company is one of the dumbest things you can do on that scale,” he jokes. But obviously it’s worked out for Tesla at this point: the company’s market cap is high and even though “people regarded it as stupid, insane, or both” Musk is pleased.

There will be projects that you decide on expected ROI AND there will be projects that you are passionate about and you ‘just do it’.


With the advent of cloud computing, what’s the future of SAP HCM consultants? Part 3 (Final)

I have talked to many SAP HCM consultants. Most of them are aware of the changes and confused. SAP has always been about integration but now we hear about hybrid solutions. For example: store the core employee data in SAP HCM and interface with SuccessFactors’ functionality of on-boarding, talent management, compensation management. Some companies integrate SAP  finance, production planning, material management, human resources and other functions but what will be the impact of hybrid HR solution. There are many thoughtful questions but few good answers as things are still evolving. Cloud computing is a disrupting technology and has changed HR solutions and in turn the SAP HCM consulting. The consultants need to keep calm, carry on with their current work and understand the new normal proactively

  1. Networking – provides a good way to stay connected to your contacts. Your connections can offer insight and information that can help you. You can also reciprocate the same.
  2. Learning –,, and other sites have a lot of information. You can follow industry experts and companies to learn about the trends as well as new detailed information.
  3. Certification – Certification is not always required but it can come in handy. Though it might not always be obvious how useful they might be, there is definitely no harm in getting certified.

SAP HCM Consultants (Functional)

The good news is that there are many transferable skills.

  1. Leadership, Team work and communication These skills are transferable.
  2. Project management This is also transferable with some knowledge of the new system that you are implementing.
  3. Documentation and testing These skills are transferable though a little system knowledge might be helpful.
  4. Business analysis – This skill is transferable. Cloud solution also requires HR processes analysis and requirements gathering.
  5. Gap analysis and configuration – This requires the knowledge of the new system. Understanding the cloud based solution is the key. If you plan to switch to the cloud, then you should take up some training or be a part of a cloud project. There are no courses available to public and training is only provided to the vendors/ system integrators.

SAP HCM Consultants (Technical)

There are specific challenges to this role as the cloud solution grows but it provides big opportunities. There will be a lot of work in transition and upgrade projects. But as more and more technical work is outsourced, technical consultants might need to add skills (though this might be a boon to technical consultant where the outsource work is going).

  1. Leadership, Team work and communication These skills are transferable.
  2. Project management This is also transferable with some knowledge of the new system that you are implementing.
  3. Documentation and testing These skills are transferable though a little system knowledge might be helpful.
  4. Development (Programming): Though the basic programming concepts might be transferable, the detailed coding will not. ABAP programming is SAP’s proprietary language.
    • You can move to other SAP module if you would like to continue within SAP environment
    • You can also pursue other upcoming SAP technologies like SAP Mobility and SAP HANA.
    • You can move to cloud solutions and learn the new system by getting trained or being part of a cloud project. There are no courses available to public and training is only provided to the vendors/ system integrators
    • You can learn more by following people and companies on twitter/ LinkedIn. I have a twitter list that might help to get your started

If you have any feedback, please feel free to give your comments here or email I wish you all the best.

With the advent of cloud computing, what’s the future of SAP HCM consultants? Part 2

Cloud computing/ Software-as-a-Service is the new source of revenue for the IT industry. is one of the phenomenal success stories in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) area.’s tag line is ‘No hardware. No software. No Boundaries’. In HR systems area, it is a very inviting and exciting proposition to the customer. Every software company is touting that it has a ‘cloud’ based HR solution. Customers have the tough task of determining which solution will fit in their strategy. Even when the existing on-premise solution works fine, customer will evaluate ‘cloud’ option and transition benefits. The cloud computing buzz is getting stronger, and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. How does it impact the SAP HCM and SAP HCM consultants? Existing implementation, new implementation and transition projects will need SAP HCM consultants for the following 5 years.

Supporting existing implementation:

SAP HCM consultants (functional as well as technical) will have steady work in support organization. If SAP Payroll is on the same instance, changing from SAP HCM to other solution would require a higher budget and longer duration. For the next 5 years (till around 2017), there will be a steady demand for SAP HCM consultants for support roles. Within the Support organization, upgrade projects will still need SAP HCM consultants. The pace of upgrade projects might accelerate to ensure that customers are ready to transition to a newer version that might support ‘cloud’ solutions.

New Project implementation:

Cloud computing will adversely impact the decision to select SAP HCM. Companies who have already started the implementation will find it difficult to stop the implementation and reevaluate cloud options. They will need the SAP HCM consultants to take them live while ‘cloud’ strategies mature. There are some questions that customers are grappling with: – What do they ‘own’? – What is the exit strategy? – What are the options if the vendor cannot support their requirements in the future? – What happens if their vendor files for bankruptcy? If cloud solutions gain more acceptances, SAP HCM consultants demand will decrease.

Transition projects:

The customer decides that they want to transition from existing SAP HCM solution to new cloud based solution. These projects will be the most interesting ones and will need SAP HCM consultants to enable the smooth transition.

All this change is outside SAP HCM consultant’s control. What should SAP HCM consultant do that is within their power and the skills they need to acquire for the future?

To be continued…

With the advent of cloud computing, what’s the future of SAP HCM consultants? Part 1

There is a lot of excitement and speculation about ‘cloud’ solutions and how it will change the business. I started to think about how it will change the future of SAP HCM consultants and started putting the pieces together. Please feel free to share your experiences and comments.

SAP R/3 (along with HCM module) has led enterprise solution for almost 20 years when it adopted the cutting-edge client-server architecture. The reason for rethinking HCM solution is due to the paradigm shift from client-server to cloud computing.

Cloud-based Solution
Cloud-based Solution, in our context, means that the solution provider hosts the software, builds the solution template (their intellectual property), configures it for the client and maintains it (ideally for eternity) for the client. The client doesn’t own any part of the solution. They pay for the service they receive. In simple terms, the client uses and pays for services like Personal data changes (e.g. Employee Name Change, Employee Address Change), Employee transactions (e.g. Hiring, Promotion), Analytical reports, etc…
Workday and SuccessFactors are examples of cloud-based solutions.

On-Premise Solution
What do we call the existing solutions and differentiate it from ‘Cloud computing’? The current model where the client buys/owns the licenses, hosts the software on their own servers, configures and customize it to their requirements, maintains it themselves is now called ‘On-Premise’ solution. The client owns the complete solution.
SAP HCM and PeopleSoft are examples of On-premise solutions.

What are the factors that have generated interest in cloud-based solution now?
– Cloud-based solution need high-speed and reliable internet connectivity. In the US and many other parts of the world, high-speed & reliable internet connection has become the norm.
– HR wants cutting-edge technology to enable employee engagement, talent management and other critical initiatives but don’t necessarily have the budget for it. Cloud solutions come enabled with built-in mobile solutions so HR doesn’t need to spend trying to design and develop them with their own IT departments.
– HR wants to keep their system up-to-date and compliant but might not have enough resources to do it in timely fashion. Cloud solution providers keep the system up and complaint. Workday even has a social media inspired community where clients vote for the features they want in the next release
– HR wants employee and managers to have better user experience and use more self-service but they might be on the ‘high priority’ list of their IT departments. Cloud solutions are able to give state-of-the-art user experiences and update it regularly.

Cloud solution provider:
– provide same services to multiple clients (employee name change, employee address change, etc…)
– have same hardware setup for all clients (scalable hardware at low-cost)
– upgrade software for all clients at the same time (less maintenance of different versions/ old versions)
– assign resources to features that most clients vote for

To be continued…

If you are thinking about taking HR to cloud…

I have thought a lot about cloud and HR. I find a similar theme of ‘look before you leap’ in most of the articles. One more article that might be of interest to the knowledge seeker.


“Why do I have to do everything but he gets away by doing nothing?”

You hear this many times on the project: ‘Why do I have to do everything but he gets away doing nothing?’ I recently read a research article in Project Management Journal. Though it’s very detailed and the language is very research oriented, I think it covers some of the things that every project manager thinks. It doesn’t offer concrete answers but validates many of the reasons related to free-riding.

Counteracting FreeRiding With Team Morale—An Experimental Study He 2012 Project Management Journal Wiley Online Library.

Definition of Free-riding

Free-riding, also labeled as a social trap (Platt, 1973), commons problem (Edney, 1980), commons dilemma (Dawes, McTavish, & Shaklee, 1977), assurance problem (Runge, 1984), social loafing (Karau & Williams, 1993; Orbell & Dawes, 1981), and moral hazard in teams (Anesi, 2009), refers to an undesired behavior in which a member of a group obtains benefits from group membership but does not bear a proportional share of the costs of providing the benefits (Albanese & Van Fleet, 1985). Free-riding deteriorates team productivity by tempting team members to be free-riders and shirk from collective actions.


Provider: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Content:text/plain; charset=”UTF-8″

AU  – He, Jun
TI  – Counteracting Free-Riding With Team Morale—An Experimental Study
JO  – Project Management Journal
JA  – Proj Mgmt Jrnl
VL  – 43
IS  – 3
PB  – Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
SN  – 1938-9507
UR  –
DO  – 10.1002/pmj.21272
SP  – 62
EP  – 75
KW  – free-riding
KW  – organizational citizenship behavior
KW  – team cognition
KW  – team morale
KW  – team performance
PY  – 2012
AB  – This study focuses on a behavioral perspective to examine the detrimental effects of free-riding on team performance, and investigates team morale as a key factor that counteracts the tendency of free-riding among team members. Results of the empirical test imply that enhancing team morale can effectively reduce the scale of free-riding behavior in project teams; in addition, controlling team size also provides help to constrain the undesired behavior. The two means can be carefully applied to project management during early stages of project development before the commitment of significant resources. Implications for both research and team practices are discussed.
ER  –

HR Access controls- fire fighters, superusers, …

Compliance and controls are important. It should start as soon as the project starts and shouldn’t wait till the end.

SAP has Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) module to help in this effort. Follow the link, SAP GRC AC 5.3 Integrated Project Plan in MS Project, for a good starting point for Access Control.

Can I know who is speaking?

I have spend a lot of time on global projects. It translates into many hours on conference calls with people from different countries working in different time zones. The corporate headquarters normally moderates the meeting and try to rotate the timing to make it convinient for their teams. The following guidelines might be helpful to keep the team members on the calls engaged:

  1. Conference call details along with international connect numbers and toll free numbers should be provided. It would be great to have a small verification call to ensure that they work for the participants.
  2. Good audio conferenceing equipment should be used so that people on the conference call feel part of the discussion going on in the conference room
  3. If there is a side bar conversation, the moderator should summarize and repeat the same for the audience on the conference call
  4. Every participant should tell their names before speaking.
  5. There should be web conference that simaltenously displays what’s being presented in conference room.
  6. If offline documents are referred, the moderator should regularly inform where they are on the document.
  7. Moderator should ask for questions from the audience on the conference calls at the end of each section to ensure getting the feedback
  8. Whenever possible, the moderator should denote where they are on the agenda and time.

These are just a few that I realized when I was not at the moderating end but on the receiveing end… Let me know what your experience has been.

Why I changed the title?

When I started, I thought ‘Human Capital’ was a good title. As I started to blog, I realized that I had to post my blogs based on the topic I wrote. This is becoming a little inconvinient to me. I am hoping to use this space to write all my blogs.

Gathering business requirements

Business requirements are the starting point of any project. Progressively it becomes difficult to keep up traceability from business requirements to delivered system functionality. Sometimes it becomes too late the see the gaps or too expensive to bridge the gap.

We lose a clear trace to business requirements since they are captured in a Microsoft Word document. Word is not an ideal way to track requirements.  I would suggest that a database should manage and maintain all the business requirements.

It would be good to have each need numbered. All tasks, information, build should be assigned to a requirement number. Consistently tracking what we build and getting the business users involved, will lead to better results. is a place you can start the exploring a structured way to list all requirements.

Additionally, I had come across a small template that could be a good start to design the requirements. You can find more info at

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