As with every year, the first conference in the calendar is always exciting for us. And that too as an exhibitor. The HR 2014 conference in Orlando held was the first scheduled conference for us. And needless to add, we were planning for this with so much fervor and eagerness, during the past couple of months leading up to the conference. Ingentis GmbH, our partners, were also with us at the conference and we had a great time in Orlando for a week. The below is a quick recap of my experiences from the conference both as an SAP HCM practitioner and as an Exhibitor.
As an SAP HCM practitioner
SAP, after the acquisition of SuccessFactors has definitely been very aggressive in pushing cloud HR solutions in the last year or so. But since the penetration of on-premise SAP HCM has been pretty deep already, it has been and will continue to be a challenge for SAP to get every customer onboard with cloud. They have been reasonably successful till now, in getting all their customers’ ears, but what is also true is that many of the customers are probably doing this, merely because they don’t know how else to react. Having said that, I believe that SAP on-premise solutions will continue to dominate in the near future, while more and more customers, for the fear of being left out and also due to peer pressure in the industry, will simply purchase SuccessFactors Employee Central and start playing around with the landscape it offers. I for one, expect more discussions in the marketplace and perhaps some confusion as to what is the right strategy for every customer. This also means, some consultants will be busier than the rest, while the general overall HCM consulting landscape will continue to dwindle. In this context, for me, as an SAP HCM practitioner, this conference was particularly interesting to see what kind of mindset customers were in and how the conference & the many educational sessions were going to help them answer some of their questions. I did talk to many customers and I also had some knowledge exchange discussions with fellow HCM practitioners in the market. I met with some companies with interesting new solutions to augment HR systems, much like what Cogent IBS and Ingentis are doing.
Here are my takeaways:
- There is lot of angst amongst customers
- The options available for a regular SAP HCM customer are too many that it is not very clear what the best option is for someone at a given point of time
- There is more acceptance of cloud for HR than a couple of years ago
- Majority of the customers have either already bought SuccessFactors or are going to in the near future. But how far they will use EC and ECP is an unknown
- From a consulting standpoint, many established consultants are very optimistic with these changes while some are not, but the universal consensus is that SAP HR consulting will never be the same and the net monetary effect on the consulting industry will actually be negative
- SuccessFactors has come a long way from being a standalone Talent Management solution to being the center of the HR universe
- In about 24 months, we will know if SAP’s SuccessFactors bet actually worked or not
As an Exhibitor
Alright. Now, to the more interesting aspect for me in this blog post, that is to share our experiences as an Exhibitor. If you were part of the mailing list, you would have received some of our pre-conference campaigns and you would have noticed that our concept for HR 2014 was “HR Anywhere”. Our main objective was to showcase our mPower HCM suite of apps – mPower mD, mPower mE, mPower mM, DynaMeet and Ingentis org.manager & distribution.list. In addition, we were also trying to highlight our Mobility consulting and HCM consulting services.
On Monday, the Cogent-Ingentis team (Ganpy, Sean, XP and Markos) finished setting up the booth. And on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of the conference (March 11, 12 and 13 2014), we were there bright and early at the venue, to get things started.
The below are some pictures from our booth.
Day 1 was certainly the busiest, as we met several customers and other conference attendees stop by. As the conference continued to gain some momentum, we were able to get the attention we wanted to and bring some traffic to the booth.
Overall, here are some takeaways from the conference as an exhibitor:
- The general interest for highly easy to use HR Mobile solutions is high
- In spite of several HR apps being available in the mobile marketplace, there is no single app that gives user experience the importance it deserves
- Our mE (ESS) and mM (MSS) apps certainly got the most attention
- There were at least 5 or 6 potential customers who showed particular interest in these mE apps and we hope to follow up with them in the coming weeks
- There were some interesting leads for Ingentis as well (for org.manager)
- mPower mD as an augmented solution for Ingentis org.manager probably was not messaged well during this conference but we hope to do a better job of that in the next conference
- The idea of selling a standalone Mobile Directory was a bit of a challenge in an SAP conference. But interestingly there were customers who wanted to hear a bit more about Employee Engagement, when we brought that up. As our mD solution continues to evolve, I am sure this is something we will keep in mind
After we dismantled our booth and packed our booth materials on Day 3, we couldn’t help but agree that the conference went by too fast. We had ups and downs throughout the conference and the kind of team we had made it all worth. There were probably a few things that the conference organizers could have done differently to accommodate more exhibitor friendly schedules, but there is never a perfect schedule in such conferences.
So, Thanks to the wonderful team from Wispubs/SAP Insider for putting together a great conference.
We should also acknowledge and thank our partners from Ingentis, especially Markos, for all the help & support they provided for the conference.
Now that we are back at our home bases, we hope to carry forward the momentum we gathered at HR 2014, Orlando.
The next stop will be Nice, France. See you soon! Oui. Oui.