Organised by SAP SuccessFactors, and held on 15 November 2016, SuccessConnect Singapore 2016 is a SAP flagship event designed to offer innovative takeaways for HR audience across South East Asia region. Themed ‘Success is simply human’, the messaging is about focusing on employees to drive success as they are the heartbeat of any organisation and the key is to enable every ‘human’ and related aspects to thrive in a digital age.

The event agenda consisted of 20 breakout sessions covering the entire suite of SAP SuccessFactors' solutions as well as thought leadership trends and customers’ transformational case studies. Attendees were also treated to best-of-breed solutions showcase and numerous networking opportunities to gain valuable insights through the experience and knowledge of their HR peers, industry thought leaders and subject matter experts.

The opening address was delivered by Scott Russell, president and managing director of SAP Southeast Asia, who said: “SuccessConnect is about a digital conversation that we’ve have been having for some time within SAP and outside of SAP.”

He added: “We’ve been having it with our partners - talking about how we can connect to each other and do business better. We’ve been talking about it with customers, and how we can connect using digital technology, to make it easier to do business with their customers.”

With the stage set, the event went straight into a jointly-presented keynote on transforming HR strategies in a world of digital disruption, featuring Kerry Sain, SAP SuccessFactors’ chief revenue officer and David Ludlow, group vice president of solution management at SAP SuccessFactors.

Sain began by sharing her perspectives “HR is becoming more of an enabler of the CEO and business strategy. By doing that, it is not only providing a greater consumer experience for the employees, but also a way for us to drive the bottom line of the business through these engaged employees.”

To add on, Sain spoke of this development as an opportunity and a journey for SAP SuccessFactors to bring its partners and clients along. “The journey of transformation to the destination is as important, if not more important, than the destination. If you get that journey wrong, the end result will not be there,” she opined. “We can help be your partner in this journey or meet you wherever in the journey you are.”

Ludlow made the case for making digital more than a buzzword, citing that digital winners are one-and-a half times more likely to leverage technology to reach business goals, and 75% more likely to provide up-to-date technology to employees. “To talk about it being more than a buzzword, is that it is more than a corporate strategy,” he said.

That, in his view, implies the delivery of modern technology, and the empowerment and enablement of the employees using that technology. “It’s about turning the buzzword into culture,” he affirmed.

Supporting this, Sain said: “What this means is that in order to meet demands of today, HR teams have to reform and transform themselves.”

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However, transformation, when done incorrectly, can do more harm than good. On the topic of transforming HR in the digital world, one of the breakout sessions saw Stephan Amling, senior vice president SAP SuccessFactors Asia Pacific Japan and Greater China imparting the secrets to avoiding a failed HR transformation.

Referring to the adage that people join organisations and leave managers, he pointed out that HR transformation is not about the HR function. “We need to think about our employees as the centre of the transformation, and think about what drives them,” he revealed. To the crowd’s concurrence, he added, “Technology is a powerful enabler of the transformation. But an HR transformation is not about the technology itself.”

He went on to highlight the importance of differentiating the business case from the case for change. “The business case is very often understood as comparing the cost of investment against the return. The case for change is much broader - it is about answering as an organisation, why you are changing the thing you change,” he clarified.

You can ask this question in several ways, he said, you can ask it as what problem you want to solve or what do you want to be better at - “at the end of the day, it is the question of why.”

He cautioned: “Don’t try and answer the question in the back office of the HR department, go out into the business. It should be enterprise transformation of the people-related capabilities, and not HR transformation.”

And on that anecdotal note, SAP’s SuccessConnect Singapore 2016 achieved what it set out for - insight, inspiration, and confidence for delegates to lead great change in their organisations where HR’s agenda and the business agenda will truly become one.

This content has been sponsored by SAP SuccessFactors.

Photo / SAP SuccessFactors