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SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central: Implementation Project Success Criteria

The Number One Reason for Timeline Extensions during Employee Central Implementations

Fotolia_115048365_XS.jpgCombined, the 3D Results Employee Central (EC) team has completed over 40 end-to-end EC implementations. These implementations include a range of organizations from global, large-scale, and highly complex to smaller, North American firms. No matter the size or complexity of the project, we’ve observed a common thread that causes projects to exceed their planned schedule and budget. 

The typical timeline for an EC implementation varies and depends on a number of factors, but will generally range from 30 to 52 weeks. Yet, regardless of the length of the project, the common thread that affects schedule remains the same. In each situation that a timeline was extended, we were able to point to client resource constraints. 

Client Resources

Employee Central is a powerful solution with many moving parts that require attention and focus. Administrators need to be fully engaged during the implementation to make configuration decisions. In fact, the implementation process is the most valuable time for system administrators to learn the system, understand the processes they’ll need to manage, and become a source of knowledge and information for the team going forward. It’s an opportunity that only comes once.

A common misconception is that the implementation partner is largely responsible for the decisions around requirements and configurations, and the client’s time investment is minimal. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is vitally important that client implementation team members invest the recommended amount of time throughout the project and be fully supported and empowered to do so.

Unfortunately, what we’ve often found is that key project members are still expected to maintain their day-to-day responsibilities while the EC implementation gets added to their already-busy workload. We strongly recommend that existing workload be taken into consideration when designing your project team and timeline. While it may seem difficult or impossible to free up one or more resources to focus on the implementation, you’ll avoid more problems down the road with the right time investments up front.

The chart below describes the issues and outcomes caused by resource constraints. We’ve seen clients experience each of these, and they could have been avoided.



 Resource is expected to also do their “day job”

  • Other pressing priorities result in missed deadlines
  • Poor decisions are made by the wrong people when the resource is unavailable

·Limited availability causes knowledge gaps

  • Difficulty absorbing new information because base concepts were never learned
  • Poor decisions based on a lack of understanding of product functionality cause rework later on

·Resource is involved with multiple projects

  • Other projects could take priority over EC implementation
  • Decisions might rely on the status of competing project

·Project has aggressive timeline

  • Overlapping tasks add to workload
  • Certain tasks get put off until later and end up causing delays


The lack of focused client resources on a project team is the common factor that we’ve observed causes project delays. Rework and extension of the timeline always mean added expenses, so be careful when staffing your project team. Ask your implementation partner to provide the resource allocation guidelines prior to setting up your project team. This will give you a clearer understanding of the level of effort required. Then, pick the team and allow them to focus on the project. The end result will far exceed your expectations when the right resources are able to apply the right level of dedication and effort to the project.

For more information, Contact Us

Read my previous post, part 1, here.


Lori Marra

Lori Marra is Service Director, Employee Central at 3D Results. Lori oversees all aspects of the Employee Central practice area. She has over 15 years of experience as an HR systems professional focused on project management, process improvement, and software implementations.

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