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*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


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:


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.

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