SAP HR Connect 2024: The future of HR for companies of all sizes

How can SAP SuccessFactors help companies of all sizes to optimize their HR processes? This question was the focus during HR Connect, held on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, at DeFabrique in Utrecht. In an atmospheric and industrial venue, SAP focused on the future with innovations such as AI, to help companies become future proof. In this blog, we look back on an inspiring day.


Authentic yet modern—that is DeFabrique in Utrecht. This former oil mill has been transformed into a charming event location. The old silos and structures of the former factory still stand and form the characteristic heart of the venue.


Maintaining your unique character and atmosphere while being prepared for the future. That is the challenge many midsize companies face. That’s why HR Connect 2024 was so important for them, said Sanne Noordam, Head of SAP SuccessFactors Netherlands, during her opening speech. “The great thing about midsize companies is that they are relatively small. This often results in a strong, close-knit company culture and a wonderful dynamic. You really work together towards a goal. Because even though the organization is small, the ambitions are often big.”


Midsize companies using SAP

No less than 80 percent of SAP’s customers are midsize companies. The modular approach of SAP SuccessFactors makes this suite particularly suitable for relatively small and ambitious organizations, said Jan Duthoo, Chief Revenue Officer SAP SuccessFactors EMEA.


“SAP SuccessFactors doesn’t have a fixed starting point,” he explained. “The suite includes various modules that can help your organization throughout the entire HR process, from hire to retire. Which module you start with, and how you build on it, is entirely up to you. Our partners play an important role in this. With their industry-specific knowledge, they help your organization make the right choice at the right time.”


The best user experience is no user experience

A shortage of personnel is a major challenge for many midsized companies. Therefore, it is important to get more out of your employees. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is indispensable in this regard. “Thanks to AI, your employees work more efficiently and spend less time on administrative processes,” said Rebecca Miller, Head of SuccessFactors Solution Advisory NL & Nordics, during her keynote.


Miller explained and showed how AI helps companies to become future proof. “For 25 years, we have been providing the solid foundations for HR. Our focus remains on what HR leaders want. And thanks to AI, we are now taking it a step further. Our goal is to improve your organization’s productivity and efficiency. Today and tomorrow. Our vision is to develop software that utilizes AI, aiming to address current and future challenges.”


One example is SAP Joule, a chatbot. “Organizations want to offer their employees the best user experience. But the best user experience is no user experience. Thanks to SAP Joule, you sometimes don’t even need to open SAP SuccessFactors. For example, I work a lot in Microsoft Teams. In Teams, I can ask a question to SAP Joule. I get an immediate answer, leading to a concrete action. SAP Joule performs this action for me in SAP SuccessFactors without me having to open the application.”


Easy implementation, optimized workflow

More productivity, more efficiency. These are the main benefits of SAP SuccessFactors. These are also the reasons why organizations like Schiphol, Riedel Communications, and Vandewiele chose SAP SuccessFactors. During a plenary customer panel, they shared their experiences.


Riedel is active in Formula 1, and amongst others ensuring that drivers on the track can communicate optimally with team members in the pits. “Riedel has 1,000 employees across more than 30 locations. This makes our organization complex,” said Christian Rath, Director People and Organization. Riedel wanted a single HR approach for all these locations. “We wanted to move away from the Excel files our HR people were working with. SAP SuccessFactors seamlessly integrates with our SAP ERP system, is easy to implement, and optimizes our workflow. Our HR data is now in one place, linked to the language and compliance of each country or location.”


Adding modules step by step

Schiphol Airport also recently implemented SAP SuccessFactors. “Schiphol has over 4,000 employees,” says Milou Wesdijk, Senior Manager HR Strategy & People Analytics. “SAP SuccessFactors offers us the possibilities and flexibility we need. Thanks to our partner McCoy, we are now exploring step by step which modules we can implement and where our priorities lie. This process is ongoing. Even after the go-live, we continue to work together. We are continually looking at new modules to improve our process.”


Vandewiele, a Belgian company specializing in developing and implementing innovative textile systems, is pleased that thanks to SAP SuccessFactors, it can look to the future with confidence. “We are a family business,” says HR Manager Marc Delepierre. “We have about 4,100 employees, spread across various countries and entities. These entities each have their own expertise. SAP SuccessFactors covers the HR processes for all these different people and locations. It perfectly meets the needs of each location.”


Human behavior and change

Change, such as a digital transformation, always causes some discomfort. Ayca Szapora, neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist, discussed this during her closing keynote. In a fascinating session, she explained how the human brain works, especially when making choices. “The basic reactions of our brain are based on a sense of safety, pleasure, and the goal. If you want to change, keep that in mind. It’s about the implementation intention. Make concrete plans for where and how you will achieve a goal. This makes change easier.”


Being open to change. Being open to innovation. That was the focus of HR Connect 2024. But above all, it was about gaining experiences. By listening to specialists and industry peers. HR Connect offered plenty of opportunities to connect with each other and to inspire each other. During the sessions, but also while networking. Onward to a new future of HR.


Did you miss SAP HR Connect 2024 and are you curious about how SAP SuccessFactors solutions can help your organization? Or do you want to know more about the AI innovations in SAP SuccessFactors? Our specialists will be happy to help you. Please contact Marjolein de Wit by sending an email to marjolein.de.wit@sap.com.