Vegas has way of making people, how do you say it, exuberant. On one day there was the CHRO of SAP, Stefan Reis presenting to the press corps about moving his workforce systems to the cloud to manage the giant 90,000+ global employee base. The next day he is in god-awful trousers with planet Mars props on stage handing out “HR punks” t-shirts to everyone and taking potshots at competitors like Workday. But he redeemed himself with poignant moderating of guests like Adriana Marais who has signed up for a one-way ticket to Mars and Michael J. Fox who moved the audience to tears sharing the joys of life even as he fights Parkinson’s.
Fox was one of many “feel good” moments at the SuccessFactors event in Las Vegas last week as I wrote here. But from a product perspective, the event was muted, especially compared to the announcements coming out of HRTech event which was being held a couple of blocks away.
The most glitzy announcement was the Digital Assistant, an Alexa for the enterprise which applies machine learning to guide and recommend actions through processes such as onboarding. It leverages the CoPilot bot framework that SAP has been showcasing in other non-HCM scenarios for over a year.
Most customers I talked you were more excited about the analytical tools like Collaborative Planning which SAP and SuccessFactors keep maturing. Others were more interested in the redesigned Android app in collaboration with Google.
Several analysts were impressed with lady execs like Athena Karp, CEO & Founder, HiredScore and Caitlin MacGregor, CEO & Co-Founder, Plum on a panel in the media room. That showcased a new community SAP is fostering which is focused on emerging HCM hot buttons like well-being, pay equity and unbiased recruiting.
The customers I talked to were ok with the modest level of new product announcements. Several told me they can barely keep up with the existing 4 releases a year. Indeed David Ludlow, GVP told me in a one on one “we are being asked to make it easy to consume features we already have through multiple channels like chatbots.”
Makes sense. Just don’t slow down the flow of “feel good” moments.