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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

With offices located in Houston and San Diego, Hula Partners is a fast growth HCM strategic solutions and consultancy firm.  Their leadership team brings over 80 years’ collective experience in providing global transformation services to oil and gas, aerospace and defense, and other industries along with a rich history of creating custom solutions.  This experience has enabled them to quickly become a successful SAP service partner.  In this interview, Carolyn Horiel from the SAP’s Cloud Global Partner Operations team spoke with Shad Adair, Managing Partner at Hula Partners who currently serves as the head of sales, marketing, and strategic alliances.  Shad explains how his company became an SAP Cloud Partner, the benefits resulted and upcoming SAPPHIRE NOW plans.

Can you tell us the meaning behind your firm’s name? 

We wanted a simple, easy to remember name that was representative of the type of personalities that represented the company culture.  We created a company value system that is both professional, yet easy going.  Although we put in tremendous effort, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we are all about creating long term, close relationships.  Hula is a Hawaiian dance with the purpose of entertaining, educating and informing.  Typically, the hula is symbolic of getting people together for celebration.  It just felt representative of who we are as an organization.

What prompted you to decide to become an SAP Cloud Service Partner? 

We all have a shared passion for pushing technology to improve HCM business processes through all aspects of business operations.  Our team shares a lot of experience with SAP ERP, HCM, and Payroll so when we decided to move to the cloud, partnering with SAP rather than another cloud solution provider made sense for us for two reasons:   First, our founding partners have worked with SAP for an average of 18 years each, so they know the software well and understand the value it can bring to customers.  Second, SAP cloud software allows us to meet the unique demands of our customers.

Impressive on-premise enterprise experience, but did you have to transform your organization to effectively deliver cloud solutions?

We formed the company to be a cloud solutions provider.  Although we already had nearly two decades of industry experience, we accelerated our growth by bringing in new talent to help us deliver a range of cloud solutions.  We quickly identified some of the best people in the field and brought them on board. All those individuals are still with us today, helping us to realize our dream of being the leader in the SAP on-premise and HR cloud service space.

With the partnership with SAP, how has this impacted customer value?

Customers are looking to upgrade their ageing core HR system and incorporate HR cloud software in a hybrid approach without having to “rip and replace” their existing on-premise solutions.  We want to help and address challenges that many customers face when migrating to the cloud to ensure a smooth transition.  We focus on the service part of Software as a Service (SaaS) - this is important to us.  We aim to support customers in an ongoing relationship, so they come back to us over and over again. The number of referrals we get from satisfied customers demonstrates that we are getting the balance right.

What’s next in your cloud business objective planning?

Hula Partners is launching Kahuna, a workforce application dedicated to competency management.  The app is designed to be used by the people in charge of day-to-day operations within heavily regulated industries with built in compliance and workforce development in mind.  Kahuna will ensure the right worker is placed in the right job at the right time for safe, smooth and successful operations.  Industry analyst response has been excellent and we anticipate it will be a top selling solution that can extend further value to SAP clients.  

Given SAPPHIRE NOW is less than two weeks away, how is Hula Partners participating?

Luke Marson, Chief Cloud HCM Architect at Hula Partners will be speaking at SAPPHIRE NOW Luke and fellow ASUG volunteers will be on a panel discussion with Mike Ettling, President HR Line of Business at SAP following his keynote at the ASUG Annual Conference on Tuesday, May 4th from 11:00 a.m. to noon in room S320.  Luke will also join other industry experts discussing how to “Transform Your Organization with Cloud-Based HR Solutions" on Wednesday, May 5th from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Theater 4.  Discover how to invest in HR technology to support your business transformation.  We can’t wait to see everyone in Orlando!

Shad, thank you for your time today.  With your organizations extensive experience and service approach to business, Hula Partners is on the right course to become one of the premier cloud players in the market.  Mahalo!

For more information on Hula Partners, visit their website (