SAP SuccessFactors Transformation Starts with a Move to SAP HANA and the Hyperscale Cloud with Microsoft Azure


When SAP acquired SuccessFactors in 2012, it had 3,500 global customers with 15 million users, making it one of the largest cloud companies in the world.

As expected, SAP SuccessFactors has experienced explosive growth since that time. We’ve nearly doubled our customer base and now process 1 billion transactions daily for 125 million users. Every payroll run, performance review, and background check, every job certification and training – these crucial human resources (HR) processes must run on our systems 24/7 with the security, performance, and reliability our customers require to successfully manage their businesses.

As we prepare for future growth and the delivery of new market-leading solutions, SAP SuccessFactors has kicked off a multi-year journey to digitally transform our infrastructure. This starts with migrating our customers to SAP HANA – which we completed earlier this year – and moving to the hyperscale cloud. These crucial first steps to a full-scale SAP SuccessFactors transformation will enable us to deliver a superior service with secure, fast, and always-on performance.

Move to SAP HANA and Accelerating Journey to the Hyperscale Cloud on Azure

When we successfully migrated our customers from a legacy database to SAP HANA in March of 2019, it was a crucial milestone that now enables us to simplify data models, offer advanced analytics capabilities, and accelerate innovation.

As part of the migration, we moved thousands of customers and more than one petabyte of customer data. This included database design modifications and migrating more than 90,000 custom reports. But the work doesn’t stop there. Now it’s about continuing to optimize our solutions with the powerful analytics capabilities of SAP HANA so we can offer customers more advanced real-time insights into their businesses.

Along with the completion of our move to SAP HANA, we have also worked closely with Microsoft to help ensure that SAP HANA workloads are fully supported and certified for Azure. These combined efforts served as the catalyst for provisioning Microsoft on its own instance of SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central on Azure in late 2018 and successfully bringing new SAP SuccessFactors customers in North America onto Azure earlier this month. We will now proceed with a phased migration of existing customers starting in the second quarter of 2020.

By offering our entire cloud-based SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite in the hyperscale environment, customers will be able to take advantage of a powerful data platform that gives significant additional capacity to run operational workloads. It will also extend our geographic reach and continue to improve the scalability and availability of our solutions to support our service delivery needs today and in the future.

We also recognize there may be some customers that require choice or may not want their data to reside in the public cloud. We will work with them directly to provide an effective business solution that most effectively meets their needs, and we will utilize converged cloud data centers as an option.

Leading an HR Transformation with Customers

The SAP SuccessFactors story is not unlike the journeys of many of our customers. Rapid growth combined with equally-as-fast technological advancements and other macro trends have created a complex business environment with unique problems to solve.

SAP is making bold moves to prepare for a future that looks and feels vastly different from what it does today. With the SAP SuccessFactors migration to SAP HANA now complete, and the steps ahead of us to move our customers to the hyperscale cloud clear, we are confident these are the right decisions for our customers.

We also know that as we successfully lead our own transformation, we are in the best position to help our customers make their own shifts in HR to effectively place their people at the center of their business and drive meaningful business results.

Greg Tomb is president of SAP SuccessFactors.