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Will SuccessFactors eliminate the need for a functional consultant?

It is wonderful to know what an administrator can do in terms of supporting their SuccessFactors Employee Central application using their roles & permissions granted.

It is amazing. I was surprised that an administrator can change the layout of webpage showing the Job information of employees without editing the XML file for Succession Data Model. All they need is Business Configuration User Interface (BCUI) provisioned in their SuccessFactors instance.

This will give them the power to

  • Change the label of element /field
  • Change or add translations for the label of element /field
  • Disable or enable element /field
  • Add a PickList to a field
  • Mark a field as required
  • Change the visibility of a field
  • Change the sequence of fields within an HRIS element
  • Assign a (custom) field to a specific section
  • Assign a country-specific field to a specific section
  • Make global field available only in a specific country
  • Use custom field with different attributes in different countries
  • Create a specific address format for a country

Note: BCUI can only configure Succession Data Model.

All of this they can perform without depending on a consultant or without the need of knowing/ editing XML files.


Every quarter, SuccessFactors comes up with upgrades that empowers the role (consultant-like) of admin.

Eventually, the requirement of a functional consultant will only be for provisioning the instance.

Should the consultants start worrying about this situation?

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  • Best Answer
    Posted on May 14, 2015 at 02:34 AM

    Interesting. Your "question" almost comes across as a statement on all the many reason why "functional" consultants will no longer be needed. Yet, your list is really just product features. And THAT is where I disagree with you. Any "functional" consultant worth their salt is not simply a "product consultant" but a process/strategy consultant who should have experience either across many industries or deeply into one (to a scary degrree at times! haha). They know how to make the "tool" meet the needs of the client.....and THAT will never go away. A good functional consultant will have accumulated a wealth of industry experience (either directly or through on-going education) that will make their knowledge always of value.

    If you are talking about a "certified" consultant, then that is a different animal....one that can be usually described better as a "certified switch flipper"....they typically know they ins and outs of a product/tool...NOT an industry. This of course isn't to say that a truly knowledgeable consultant can't be a certified consultant as well, but is just that that population of consultants usually do not find any additional value in getting "certified" on a product over their accumulated experience (not to mention the cost of that piece of paper).

    Now is that to say that "pre-packaged, pre-configured" solutions will not attempt at lessen the need of these specialists? No. This happens....and if you are old enough and get to live through enough of these cycles, you will find that this is par for the course......very specialized systems one day become out of favor for and "generic" one size fits all systems come into vogue for a bit until of course, customers decided that their differentiators are their customization of processes again. It is all just cycles. This one is no different than any before.

    So make your own conclusions...but the very nature of your question sounds like you already have your own.

    (*and for the record, I am a "techy" with enough functional knowledge to make me dangerous at best....so no "skin in the game" here)

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    • Agree very much with Chris. The original post referred to config experts rather than what I would see as a functional consultant, who should be able to discuss processes with a client and the do the config - or specify what to do (though ease of config makes it less and less efficient to have a hand over here).

      As for "certified". There was a time, when certification was our main selection criteria, when we had loads of applications for SAP HR: candidates with certification were rejected immediately for the reasons Chris mentioned above.

      Different in SF, were certification is mandatory to touch provisioning.

  • Posted on May 13, 2015 at 02:08 PM

    Hi Shankar,

    I have been in HRIS business for 20+ years now, and can say based on my experience that this is a recurrent question with each new generation of software.

    When R/3 started, schemas and rules replaced programming languages such as Cobol.

    We could acheive more with less efforts, so we were asked to deliver more (extend our scope and responsibilities, deliver faster, etc...).

    With SuccessFactors configuration process and MetaDataFramework, consultant will probably be expected to extend their functional coverage (EC but also Recuiting, Onboarding, etc...) and master integration points. Integration with other cloud solutions and onpremise as well. Integration of processes but integration technologies as well.

    Finally, extensions with HCP is another area where consultants will be expected to advise.

    So consultants still have a future in my opinion, but probably less people will be needed.

    Any other opinion?

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