Clash of the HCM Titans: SAP’s SuccessFactors vs Oracle HCM Cloud

One of the greatest challenges for any company is managing its employees. For a small mom and pop corner store, this may be as simple as telling your lazy son to man the cash register. For a large multinational corporation, this might require a sizable HR department. Most companies are somewhere in the middle. Whatever your company’s circumstances, your employees are both your biggest asset and liability. Without proper employee management, you’re preventing your company from achieving the growth and marketplace share it deserves.

SAP’s SuccessFactors (SAP acquired SuccessFactors in 2012) and Oracle’s HCM Cloud are both substantial programs that provide a tremendous amount of assistance to the HR professional. They fill slightly different niches. Do you want a souped-up street racer or a dependable factory model? Do you want a Corinthian leather interior or the more sensible cloth? How do these programs stack up?

Here, I will compare the user experience of SAP’s SuccessFactors and Oracle’s HCM.

Transcending clutter

SuccessFactors comes with an updated interface, with a comfortable amount of space between buttons and navigation tools, creating a clear eyeflow that doesn’t overwhelm the user with extraneous graphics and information. And its feedback solicitation tool flattens the relationship between executives and employees, both by soliciting employee feedback from various stakeholders and by providing up to date information about candidates, all with one click.

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Oracle HCM Cloud has a number of features that enhance usability. The ‘smart card’ view makes it easy to accept and reject new candidates as well as to add comments to said prospects. This makes requisitioning an easy process. And the Headcount Budget displays an easily accessible employee headcount, with an option to begin a requisition if a department is short-staffed.  Additionally, the dashboard now features a performance tracker that shows where users are relative to their career goals, making performance reviews less of a cold bucket of water to the face.

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Sweet Simplicity

Oracle HCM Cloud gets high points for the simplicity of its interface. The HCM interface has an intuitive layout that lets the user spend less time with the program and more time with the desired task. The individual modules are all one click away from the front page. For the frequent user, this adds up to significant time savings over the long term. And taking attendance is easy: users can use sick days or vacation days and put them directly into the office calendar, cutting down on sudden disappearances and miscommunications. Oracle has cut down on clutter, moving toward a Glance-Scan-Commit design style that is sparse, minimal, and easy to read.

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SuccessFactors has responded to user requests for offline data upload, a valuable feature that well serves mobile sales representatives. Previously, an employee outside the office had to risk using an insecure Wi-Fi connection.

Perhaps worse than that, they could have been stuck doing nothing at all. Now, these figurative Willy Lomans can upload their data from a subway tunnel or at cruising altitude, and sync it when they go online. In the right situation, this is a big time save.

Without coding, you can make basic changes to the logic and structure of the application, through the MetaData Framework. The rules engine within SuccessFactors allows users to fast-track the configuration of system functionality and behaviors and create company-specific validations and rules.

And all of this is through SAP’s trademark HANA engine.

The Appeal to the Senses

SuccessFactors has moved its interface forward, incorporating social media-like profiles for employees that give it a fun and modern feel. It’s very heavy on graphics and icons, which is a remarkable change from SAP’s traditional look, although some may find it tacky.

The visual organization chart provides a clean graphic overview of the organization, which makes it easy to keep track of remote and traveling employees. This also makes it easy to do a headcount and cut chaff from the payroll. However, its lack of drop down menus and clumsy submenus feel somewhat unfinished.

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Oracle HCM Cloud has some unusual design choices that significantly affect its look. Its RGB graphics have a certain retro/vaporwave feel that contrasts significantly with the slick, modern dashboard. Oracle HCM Cloud is not heavily open to customization, aside from a couple of personal objectives and branding icons. If your users prefer to use a program as is, straight out of the box, it will meet your needs. But if they’re the kind of people who like to open the hood, they might get frustrated.

The Search for Speed

Every bit of SuccessFactors is built off the HANA base, from the modules to the functionality extensions. This holistic approach means strong performance, and SucccessFactors runs faster than most of its marketplace competition. The powerful SAP codebase is still intact, meaning that the processor capacity of the user’s computer is the only real bottleneck. SuccessFactors definitely shines when it comes to speed. That being said, customization can be a lengthy process, and it can overwhelm or alienate new users.

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Oracle HCM Cloud has a unique feature that aids its performance: cascading updates and databases. When the user changes an object or updates a field, Oracle HCM  Cloud automatically updates the relevant tasks and data and notifies the stakeholders. This automation of what could be a tedious task cuts down on the room for human error and delay, speeding up the day to day minutia. However, the lack of customization means that users won’t be able to build their own hacks and shortcuts.

 

So which program is right for your company? For a large company with a lot of heads to keep track of, either program would be acceptable. It depends on your personal needs and preferences. Use this information to help guide your decision.