SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management 360 v2.0 – progress, yes, but will history repeat itself?

SAP SuccessFactors just announced the launch of the Bèta version of the long-awaited Performance management 360° feedback v 2.0 solution.

Long overdue, since it’s announcement at SuccessConnect 2018, the update of the 360 Review is finally there.

The release announcement is very clear: this is (only) a Bèta release with limited functionalities, not yet meeting functional parity with the 360 v1. SAP recommends using this Bèta release for testing only, adding that the solution “might be enough to support simple processes”.

Déjà vu? SuccessFactors users, who have been around long enough to remember the launch of Performance Management V12, will know that this is a dangerous moment.

Lessons from the past …

Back in 2013, SAP launched Performance Management (PM) v12, as the evolution from PM v11. SAP SuccessFactors put a lot of effort in it, with a new version of PM, starting completely from scratch on the architecture level. While the layout was new and several new functionalities were present, the main disadvantage of PM v12 was that it did not have all the features of PM v11.

This was the start of a very challenging period, with SuccessFactors promised to close the functional gap asap, as clients did not want to go backwards on their current processes. So, a little over one year after the launch of PM v12, SAP tried to address this gap, by launching PM v12 Acceleration (PMV12A) in the 1408 release. This version was again built on the same code base as PM v11, but with the new look and feel of PM v12. This led to a somewhat “confusing period” with 3 versions of Performance and Goals active simultaneously.

It was not until the 1508 release, more than 2 years after the launch of the successor of PM v11, that all major functional gaps were closed and that PM v12 Acceleration could cover all functionalities of the old PM v11 version.

So, this begs the question: will the mistakes of the previous SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management version be avoided with the 360 v2.0?

Granted, it is 100% clear that the 360 Review is in an urgent need of an update. The look and feel of the 360° Feedback solution has not received a major update in more than 7 years.

However, what customers want from a V2.0 version is not just a modern look, but also new functionalities to the tool, such as more flexibility in the detailed report or better support for projects. Customers definitively don’t want to go backwards in functionalities.

What customers are getting now with this Bèta release, is this new look, but with less functionalities compared to the old version of 360° feedback. Furthermore, the detailed report which comes with it, will still be the legacy version. No visual update will be given at this point in time, nor any timeline on when it will be delivered.

Let’s just hope that SuccessFactors has learnt from the past and that we are not at the start of a long period with functional gaps and a solution that is looking better, but with less functionalities.

The jury is out on this one.

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