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lukemarson
Active Contributor
72,390

*This blog was published in December 2013 and is no longer accurate. Please refer to the blog SuccessFactors Training and Certification FAQ: 2015 Edition*

I have recently received and read a lot of questions around getting trained in SuccessFactors and there has been some confusion with consultants who are expecting to be able to take traditional classroom training to make the transition to SuccessFactors. SuccessFactors training differs from traditional SAP training and certification and has many activities that are extremely different for SAP Consultants who have undertaken SAP HCM training. In this FAQ I will answer a number of questions that I commonly get from aspiring SuccessFactors consultants. In addition, I would recommend watching Becoming an HCM SaaS Consultant part 1 and part 2 for some additional insights [added in January 2015].

How do I get trained on SuccessFactors?

Only employees of official SuccessFactors partners are eligible for training. This is because there are a number of systems required to undertake SuccessFactors training and access to these are part of the Partner agreement between SuccessFactors and the partner. These systems include the SuccessFactors LMS, SAP Jam, SuccessFactors Partner Portal, and a SuccessFactors demo system.

What level of trainings are there?

SuccessFactors offers what they call a “Mastery” course for each of their solutions, such as Employee Central or Performance & Goals. Before you can take a Mastery course, you have to complete the Introduction to Mastery course. Since December 12th, 2013 it is no longer a prerequisite to complete the Introduction to Mastery course to gain Provisioning access. However, taking a Mastery course is not optional for implementing a specific module.

What courses do SuccessFactors offer?

SuccessFactors offers the following courses:

  • Introduction to Mastery
  • Employee Central Mastery
  • Compensation Mastery
  • Learning Management System Mastery
  • Performance and Goals: Core Topics Mastery
  • Performance and Goals: Additional Topics Mastery
  • Recruiting Management Mastery
  • Recruiting Marketing Mastery
  • Succession Mastery
  • Variable Pay Mastery
  • Workforce Analytics and Planning Mastery
  • SAP Jam Mastery

It is worth noting that the Development module – often called Career Development Planning (CDP) – is not covered under any Mastery training, although there is a self-learning course available in the SuccessFactors LMS. Metadata Framework is covered in Employee Central Mastery. SuccessFactors Onboarding Mastery will be offered from Q1 2014.

How does the training work?

Training is delivered virtually and is focused around self-learning. There is also a strong emphasis on collaborative learning via SAP Jam and you will be expected to record one to three demonstration videos in the SAP Jam group. SuccessFactors holds regular check-in meetings via WebEx. For Introduction to Mastery these are every day, but for a Mastery course they are often two or three times weekly. In the Mastery course, there is an exercise that must be completed and passed at the end of the first week in order to progress to the second week which then often involves completing a final exercise in which you are provided a sample customer workbook and have to set up the system based on these requirements.

Are there any prerequisites to take the training?

As mentioned above, to undertake a Mastery course you must complete the Introduction to Mastery course. The prerequisites for taking any training course are access to:

  • SuccessFactors Learning (LMS)
  • SuccessFactors Partner Portal
  • SAP Jam

What sort of experience do I need?

There is no particular experience required, but it does help to be familiar with the module you are taking and to have knowledge of XML. Business process experience is not required for the training, but it helps to understand the various functions of the application that you are training on.

Can I just take a course with SAP or a 3rd party instead?

At present only SuccessFactors offer trainings although some of the trainers are employed by SuccessFactors Partners. Trainings offered by any other providers are not official and will not mean that you will be given Provisioning access or have a customer instance linked to your Provisioning account so you will be unable to do many traditional consulting tasks/responsibilities. If a Partner has completed the “Train the Trainer” program then they can provide SuccessFactors training in-house and it will hold the same weight as the training offered by SuccessFactors.

Do I need training? Can't I just learn on the Job?

Although this practice does occur with SAP HCM, without taking the training it is not possible to get Provisioning access or to have the customer instance mapped to your Provisioning account. In addition, there are many nuances to each solution that would not be known without taking official training.

What does a course entail?

The length and content of each SuccessFactors course can vary. Each course assumes 8 hours of study per day and it is strongly advised to schedule no other work during the course time as this impedes the ability to learn the content and pass the course. The length of each course is listed below.

The following courses are 5-day, 40-hour courses:

  • Introduction to Mastery
  • Recruiting Marketing Mastery
  • Performance & Goals: Additional Topics Mastery
  • Workforce Analytics and Planning Mastery

The following courses are 9-day, 80-hour courses:

  • Compensation Mastery

The following courses are 10-day, 80-hour courses:

  • Learning Management System Mastery
  • Performance and Goals: Core Topics Mastery
  • Succession Mastery
  • Variable Pay Mastery

The following course is a 12-day, 96-hour course:

  • Recruiting Management Mastery

The following courses is a 15-day, 120-hour course:

  • Employee Central Mastery

The following is a self-taught course in the SuccessFactors LMS:

  • SAP Jam Mastery

Generally each 5-day course has a 2-hour check-in meeting each day. Each 10-day course generally has 5x 3-hour check-in meetings. There will be 3 meetings in the first week – which includes the introductory meeting on the first day of the course – and 2 meetings in the second week. The Employee Central Mastery course has an additional 2 check-in meetings in the third week. The check-in meetings enable the trainer to cover a number of topics, test the participants on their learning and request demonstrations, track progress, and answer any questions.

The course materials include: video packages with quizzes, workbooks of activities to complete, and other materials required to complete the activities (e.g. XML configuration files or implementation Workbooks). Some activities require posts within the course’s SAP Jam group. The demonstration videos are recorded in the course’s SAP Jam group.

The exception to all of this is the SAP Jam Mastery. The SAP Jam Mastery is a self-taught course the SuccessFactors LMS and can be done at your own pace. Although there is a final exam, to earn Mastery you need to schedule a SuccessFactors consultant to shadow you on an implementation.

Detailed information about each course can be found in the Mastery Course Catalog on the SuccessFactors Partner Portal.

Why are only employees of SuccessFactors partners allowed to take training?

As mentioned above, there are a number of different systems required to take training and it can be difficult to provide access to non-partners. I am hopeful that this will change over time once the sheer demand for training subsides but in the interim think it is smart to limit it to ensure that unauthorized training centers don’t open up as this has historically been a problem in the SAP ecosystem. At present, there is a huge demand for training from existing partners and courses fill up quickly.

How much does it cost?

The cost of courses vary, especially if your organization buys courses in bulk but in general they are between $1,500 and $4,500 depending on the course. Your company should contact their SuccessFactors Alliances manager to find out more. The current list prices can be found in the SuccessFactors Partner Portal.

What about certification?

In the past, a consultant had to complete the Introduction to Mastery, a Mastery course, and complete 2 full projects as the lead consultant to obtain official SuccessFactors certification.

It was announced at SuccessConnect 2013 that going forward SuccessFactors wants to better align their Certification Program with SAP, so they will be announcing some changes to their Consultant Certification Program. They are introducing 2 levels of certifications in different SuccessFactors product tracks:

  • SuccessFactors Certified Associate
    • Requires successful completion of relevant product Mastery
  • SuccessFactors Certified Professional
    • Requires successful completion of relevant product Mastery Training and requires successful completion of customer project implementations in relevant products

Is training all I need to implement SuccessFactors?

SuccessFactors training equips you with the fundamentals of each application, but much of the real learning happens on projects so it is advised to shadow an experienced consultant on your first few projects. Like with any software, there are many nuances and caveats that you cannot learn in a training course and there is no substitute for experience.

Customers need to understand that it is the Wild West out there right now and it is important to follow some of the tips in Jarret Pazahanick’s Seven Tips to ensure you hire the Right Consultant as well ensure that your SuccessFactors Consultant has the appropriate training, certifications, and experience as without it they are not going to be able to help you sufficiently.

Do Customers Need to Hire Certified Consultants

I have heard from several recruiters that their customers have said that they “don’t need their SuccessFactors Consultants to be certified”, but as you can see from above the basic Associate Certification for a solution (e.g. Employee Central) there is no value that an uncertified consultant can offer. As a bare minimum customers should be looking for experienced and trained consultants and once the new certification program is announced then Associate Certified consultants. Customers should ask consultants to provide a copy of their course certificate as it is provided once they have successfully passed a course.

Will SuccessFactors ever offer training via MOOC?

For those that don’t know MOOC is a new mode of training where training is delivered via online collaboration and the learner can complete the curriculum at their own pace. The great news is that SuccessFactors tentatively has plans to offer Introduction to Mastery for official SuccessFactors Partners via the massive online open course (MOOC) delivery method.  Some of the advantages for Partners are the following:

  • Never sit on a waiting list again!
  • Schedule training when it works best for you
  • Self paced learning with instructor help when needed
  • Increased access to deeper expertise
  • Get credit for your expertise

Disclaimer

It's important for me to point that Mastery courses are updated quarterly and that course modality, duration, and titles are subject to change based on business demand. Anything I have written here is subject to change at any point by SuccessFactors!

Key resources

There are some key resources that you can use to help learn about SuccessFactors and SuccessFactors training:

Summary

Much like SuccessFactors in general, SuccessFactors training and certification is not the same as what SAP HCM consultants will be used to. There are different methods and formats required and the outcomes are different. While training is only open to SuccessFactors partners, I expect this to change in future as the ecosystem stabilizes.

To stay current on this topic and SuccessFactors in general I would highly recommend joining the over 8,000 members in the SAP and SuccessFactors Linkedin Group.

112 Comments
ChrisSolomon
Active Contributor
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...but past that, they can't really verify that it is THAT employee on the system doing the work? So there could be a non-certified person(s) working on it using the info and/or being "shadowed" by the actual certified person? Of course, I can see the penalty if a company/person were caught doing this, but I can also see some seedy types doing it "until caught" as well.

lukemarson
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

No you can't. But that's not different from SAP :razz:

ChrisSolomon
Active Contributor
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But SAP doesn't require certification (ie.$$$) to have access to the IMG. :wink:

Matt_Fraser
Active Contributor
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Not to mention, but this is a typical way that new SAP customers bring their in-house support staff up to speed during an implementation, by having the consultants shadow the in-house employees while the employees do the work. It doesn't always work this way, but it's pretty common. We pretty much require this in my shop, because we are highly independent and actually don't hire consultants much (a significant percentage of the support staff are ex-consultants). So, can customers get provisioning access for their own employees if they send the employees to training? Or is this basically geared to ensuring that customers must always hire consultants every time they want to configure something?

Just curious, because we have no plans to implement SF any time soon.

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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My understanding is that anyone taking training can get a Provisioning login, but not everyone will be able to have customer instances linked to it. I don't think it has anything to do with ensuring that customers hire consultants, rather that Provisioning is designed in such a way that any feature can be enabled irrespective of what has been licensed.

Matt_Fraser
Active Contributor
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Ok, so if my employer sends me to training, I should then have the access, and as an employee associated with my company's installation, I probably then would have our customer instance linked to my provisioning ID. Does that seem like the way it will probably go? If so, that would work out for us, if and when we ever go down this path.

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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That is how I expect it to go, but right now there's no way to tell if it will go that way or not.

Former Member
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that is not how it will go. per sap - notes for course c_thr81_1405 - sap certified application associate - sap hcm cloud employee central.

the notes state - only registered sap partner consultants will be provided with provisioning rights once they have been certified. independent consultants, even if certified, will not be provided with provisioning rights. there are no exceptions to this policy

RANT ON - to sf. thanks for thinking of your customers as second class citizens. this policy is absolute b***s***. so matt you and all other sf clients are s*** out of luck. you have to pay to get anything done and before anyone says provisioning is just switching on functionality that is total bs. this reminds me of a monopoly. customers are very very very very angry with this approach. so to any potential sf customer look at wday. I have heard this is another reason why sap has lost out. wd is more friendly in allowing customers to configure their systems. we had an incident where we could not even change some colors on a form - what the f***??? I hope sf goes straight to HELL. f*** off and don't let the door hit you on the way out when your potential customers pick WD - RANT OFF

Former Member
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oops!!!  The provisioning ID access note comes a a shocker to me. I was planning to take up SF training and certification at my own expense. Now I have no choice but to drop the plan if no Provisioning ID is provided.

And I dont get his point from SF, what will an independent consultnat do without provisioning access and only with certification??? SUPER!!!

Former Member
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Why you want to drop your plan to go for training and certification? as your both objectives can be fulfilled by doing that and that training followed by certification will make difference and you are more preferable over those who are not trained.

As ID will come when you will be working at Partner end or you can use the SF at client end......just first have a goal what you want to achieve by doing training?.........Knowledge is power...

As in SAP ERP modules certification as well once the training is over, any independent consultant can't access the SAP GUI unless you are at Partner or client end, one can access service market place.....

As SF is in demand so if you have proactively decided to go for it then you should............ just for the ID don't come back............SAP is leader in ERP, and going forward this training will be of much importance.............and hopefully any solution to this will be devised by SAP, as you can see from the history of SAP................

rest the decision is your's.........

Kind regards,

Farzana Mushtaq

ChrisSolomon
Active Contributor
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@Farzana ....I have to agree with G.Hari here.....for an independent, this is a "show stopper". No point in paying out the money to get certified if you can't actually get on projects. It is VERY different from the "classic" SAP world where people might have had experience either through working for a customer or consulting company and then go on their own. Because of their experience, they can get onto projects and work as an independent. With SF, it is a Catch-22. It's not the same with SF. You can't get that level of experience (Provisioning) without first being certified, second working on projects via a SF Partner, third being granted a Provisioning ID tied to the customer directly, and lastly you need the SF access for continuous updates/information/etc. So you won't have a chance to get (and keep up!) experience unless you continue working with/via a SF Partner and their best interest is NOT to work/subcontract to independents when they can place their own folks...which for SF projects, only takes a VERY small team compared to traditional SAP projects. jarret.pazahanick can explain the trials and tribulations (as well as most recent obstacles put in place) of this as he IS one of those independents that has given it a go.

Former Member
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Thanks Luke...exactly what I was looking for :smile:

Former Member
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Hello there everyone. I got to work today, with an email concerning SF and Cloud training in general. What is your take on this news? What changed, really?

I went through my documentation on training, and some of the things appear to have to been changed, but I think they might still be catching up on some of their official documentation, so my understanding gets a little blurred.

One of my issues is with the timeline: does this change take effect as of now, or it goes live in Q1 2015?

There are still courses scheduled to this month and i was wondering how they would work: Are they delivered with the new methodology?

Looking forward to your takes on this,

Very kind regards, and wishes of a great holiday season.

Pedro Mendes

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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Hi Pedro,

The main changes - that take affect on January 1st 2015 - are:

  • Course names have changed (Mastery > Academy)
  • Training is now delivered exclusively through SAP Learning Hub
  • Core exam and Delta exams are now a compulsory part of certification

The model of the courses have already changed. For example, the case study-based examination has been replaced by a multiple-choice examination.

Best regards,

Luke

ChrisSolomon
Active Contributor
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"case study-based examination has been replaced by a multiple-choice examination"....ugg, seriously?

Former Member
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But the multiple choice examination is still an integrated part of the course? Or is it like an activity you need to go through after you complete the course?

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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It is a separate thing, but you need to complete it to get certified. You can't get certified by just taking the training.

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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Yeah I know...

Former Member
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But then, theoretically one might pass the examination with no course? Oh my word, that is not a good prospect. 

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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Theoretically, but from what I've seen that could be quite tough.

0 Kudos

Hi Luke,

I have been reading the blog and other comments. I am SAP HCM consultant with 10 years of experience and looking forward to learn SF on my own. There isn't much clarity as to how this is shaping up, can you please help with following doubts

1. Can I take a training within the organization (in-house) and then apply for certification, is there are set criteria to attain few years of experience before applying for certification.

2. If I complete my certification in SF can I work for clients like working in classic SAP.

3. Will need any additional access from SF before starting my work

4. I am interested in Payroll - do you think I should wait for some time before getting into it.

Regards

Sanjay

Former Member
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I beg to differ on this one, Pedro.

A certification test that would really be able to check your proficiency with the solution and deployments methods (if at all possible) would be brilliant and I would expect experienced top-quality consultants to pass it without taking a course first.

This one is the opposite: it relly tests you in the course material incl marketing lines on other SAP products not even related to SF. So, having SF experience pre-course may help a bit, but not much.

Knowing the buzzwords from the course is what you need to pass.

As a friend recently said (might even have been Luke): shame customer projects don't come as multiple choice questions. 😉

Former Member
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Yeah Sven, I understand. But my main complain is with the test. Always looked with some bias towards multiple choice tests. In Portuguese we have a saying: " A sorte protege os audazes", that translates roughly into "Luck (or fate) protecs those who dare". And there lies my issue, and I have seen it multiple times. People who have no understanding of some subjects tend to go "all-in" on these kind of tests and they get rewarded by statistics and cheer luck.

The case study that was included in the courses, seemed to me a better filter because you would have to understand how things work. But hey, if you look at some of the requested training to sell SF you would be hardly press to find references to SF itself, because the training treats Cloud Solutions as a whole, and if you have half a brain, and half an understanding of how Cloud work, you could extrapolate most of the information during the assessment .

That said, totally understand your point on knowing buzzwords. It is about 50% of your "grade" on this assessments.

Former Member
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Totally agree. Would have much preferred to do a case study!

Former Member
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Hi Luke,

SAP background is mandatory or any ERP experience (like PeopleSoft) candidates also can do SF Employe Central Certification?

Thanks,

Seshu Chunduri

Former Member
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Hi Luke et al,

this will be available to independents when it is fully transitioned to the SAP program.

Best regards

Sue

Former Member
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Hi Sue, thanks for your input. Can i/we go for SF EC certification directly without enrolling SAP SF Training program?

If Yes, could you please let me know the process to get certified.

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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Hi Seshu,

Any ERP background can be useful when taking Employee Central training.

Best regards,

Luke

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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Hi Sue,

Thanks for commenting and clarifying this - it's much appreciated by all.

Best regards,

Luke

Former Member
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Hi Sue,

In SAP Learning Hub, there is note which says "C_THR81_1405 - Only registered SAP Partner consultants will be provided with provisioning rights once they have been certified.  Independent consultants, even if certified, will not be provided with provisioning rights.  There are no exceptions to this policy."

So, let us take this situation, I'm an Independent participant who invests $XXXX to get SF certification and clears it. But I wont be provided with Provisioning rights as i'm not partner consultant. If I get a job in a partner company by showing my SF certification:

1) Will I be getting a Provisioning ID and what is the process for the same?

2) Should I undergo the certification process again as I need to get Provisioning ID?

3) Will my certification still hold good?

Kindly throw some light on this.

Regards,

Hari

Former Member
0 Kudos

SF is making us confused. 

lukemarson
Active Contributor
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Hi Hari,

1) All partner consultants are entitled get a Provisioning ID if they have taken training, irrespective of whether training was taken with that partner (i.e. training is linked to an individual but Provisioning access is linked to a partner company)

2) No

3) Yes

Best regards,

Luke

ChrisSolomon
Active Contributor
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Luke...you might want to throw a caveat on #3.....how long is "certification still hold good"?

Pazahanick_Jarr
Active Contributor
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@Chris - As long as individuals stay current on their Delta Certification which must be done within 6 months of being released.  For many we are about to embark on cycle of certification and delta exams if we want to "play" in the cloud consulting world 🙂

ChrisSolomon
Active Contributor
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....not to mention embarking on a cycle of large payments made to SAP. :razz:

Former Member
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Thanks Luke... But my understanding is Provisioning ID will be required at the time of undergoing training and certifications. How will an independent participant get the best out of training and cert without provisioning id? Correct me if i'm wrong.

Regards,

Hari

Pazahanick_Jarr
Active Contributor
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Hi All

Last week luke.marson, jon.reed and I recorded this two part series that I would recommend to anyone considering making the jump from SAP HCM to SuccessFactors including certification or OnPremise to Cloud based consulting.   We also talk about what customers should be on the lookout for.

Becoming a HCM SaaS Consultant

Becoming a SuccessFactors SaaS Consultant - Deeper Dive

For those of you who like to read here is an article that outlines the content in the first video shown above.

The Pitfalls of becoming a HCM SaaS Consultant

Would love to get everyones thoughts and continue the dialog.

Best Regards,

Jarret

Former Member
0 Kudos


Hi Luke,

Seasons Greetings!

Thank you so much for sharing all of it, will obviously help all the SF aspirants.

Request you also to share few posts  or documents on RCM & RMK ( Recruiting Management & Recruiting Marketing) as well.

Regards,

Sree

lukemarson
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

Hi Hari,

As far as I know a Provisioning ID is *not* required for either training or certification. It is only needed for implementation.

Best regards,

Luke

0 Kudos

Hi Luke,

Your blog was one of the best sources of information about SF trainings. However, since 2015.01.01 many things have been changed, namely prices, course titles, training place, etc.

The links that you post in your blog for courses and price list do not work. The article is no longer as informative as it was. It rather confuses a new user.

Have you considered of writing a new piece of blog to update everybody on the changes?

Regards,

Egle

lukemarson
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

Hi Egle,

You are right that many things have changed and it might be time to update the blog. I haven't had the time to look at it in detail, but I will aim to do it in the coming weeks. Thanks for your suggestions.

Best regards,

Luke

ChrisSolomon
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

Luke, just write a new one and reference back the "old" one. I would love for you to leave it as is.....would be an interesting comparison years from now. "My how things have changed" :lol:

lukemarson
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

That is the plan. I have added a note at the top, which essentially says "Don't bother reading this blog!"

I think more people should do that for blogs that become outdated. I'll look at a new blog soon.

ChrisSolomon
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

haha Luke....that's the SF difference eh? PLENTY of SAP on-premise customers refuse to upgrade for years and years...so even the "old" stuff is still relevant for them. :lol:

former_member50965
Participant
0 Kudos

Hi Luke, today I received the 'Technology News@SCN' newsletter and this includes a reference to this outdated blog....

So also your SAP colleagues expect an update soon :wink:

Former Member
0 Kudos

Hi,

I am working as a Business Analyst to SuccessFactors system in our company cover all SF modules. Are we privileged to do certification?

Br,

Ashok

Former Member
0 Kudos

Hi Luke et al,

For more current Information on certification please visit my blog which is updated regularly

Exciting Changes for SAP Cloud Certification since March 2015

lukemarson
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

Yes, I was very surprised to see it included. It was originally published in 2013.

lukemarson
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

Thanks Sue.

Former Member
0 Kudos

Hi, I am in SAP HCM Consultant and have 10 years of experience. Now I wish to learn success factors. Now my company is not SF partner, how do I still get trained and certified? (Please provide links where I can enroll for training or certification. )

What training options do I have? And where do I start from? I know earlier there was a mandatory course as introduction to mastery and then mastery certificate. Is my understanding still correct or it has changed?

Shai

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