Wer liebt schon HR-System-Implementierungen?

Who’s honestly a fan of HR system implementations?

“Everything old is new again” seems an appropriate saying as we step into the new year. While it is true that nothing is as constant as change, particularly in the HR IT world, now seems like a good time to mull over a few fundamental aspects. Anita Kosa, Frederik Quade und Jan Herrmann decided to cast our minds back and our imaginations forward regarding system implementation and the progressive evolution of the market. We also discussed why tts – a comparatively small company by HR software implementation standards – is performing at least as well as, if not better, than its larger counterparts.

Julia: Hi everyone, how are you feeling as we wave goodbye to the old year and enter the new?

Anita: Positive!

Frederik: Optimistic!

Jan: Realistic! Although, my answer ties in with the two previous responses.

Julia: Let’s look back far beyond the past year. What do you think has changed in consultancy over the past ten to fifteen years?

Frederik: Difficult question. Things are perhaps moving at a somewhat quicker pace, with faster project cycles, shorter timelines in terms of new features ... particularly in the context of SuccessFactors implementations. Stability seems to have become more desirable, too …

Anita: Definitely! Although in the past few years, greater depth has also started to be incorporated into projects, for example in talent management. It’s becoming more important to offer something for everyone in the company, particularly in the field of staff development.

Julia: Did things use to be different?

Jan: To a certain extent, yes. My first talent management projects focused on the absolute basics – managing qualifications, mapping seminar programs …

Frederik: The good old SAP LSO …

Jan: Even event management as well! But, yes. On the customer’s side, the kick-off meeting involved one representative each from the IT and technical departments – in that order – in addition to one or two key users, and the project leader on the consultancy firm’s side. Then a blueprint would first be drawn up. That would be approved, any gaps in the software’s scope identified, and after around 10 to 12 months, you’d then have a solution ready for testing.

Not seeing the software for months on end doesn’t make much sense. That is why we bring a preconfigured system and best practices into the project early on.

Anita Kosa

Julia: The classic waterfall method …

Jan: Precisely. In principle, there’s still nothing wrong with having appropriate quality gates, for example …

Anita: But let’s be honest – not seeing the software for months on end doesn’t make much sense. That is why we bring a preconfigured system and best practices into the project early on, particularly when the client wants a fast implementation turnaround, so we can develop the best possible solution together with the users from the technical department.

Frederik: And that, in turn, is only possible if you have the right experience …

Julia: What kind of experience do you mean exactly?

Frederik: HR Core remains the solid basis of current hybrid system landscapes – 80 to 90% of the time in our environment, that means staff administration, and organization, payroll and time management based on SAP on-premise. You need to be familiar with that to drive forward staff development in the following stages. Especially if you’re a consultant.

Julia: So IT consultants alone are not enough? After all, this is “just” about rolling out a software solution.

Jan: Yes and no. You need an understanding of both areas, and we often try to represent that in one individual in the project and program management role, among other things. The customer is the priority, not the software.

Anita: And tts began adopting that mindset very early on.

Jan: I remember our SuccessFactors task force four weeks after the announcement of the acquisition by SAP in St. Anton. Legendary!

Frederik: Absolutely, that was pretty much the first agile workshop weekend of my career. By the by, we took over this approach from the time before the SAP and SuccessFactors Consulting division was even founded. The people are the focal point.

The good aspects of the old stuff, paired with new methods. The key term “quality gates” has already been mentioned … a strong focus on processes and the customer, in addition to a preconfigured system in the early scoping phase if required …

Jan Herrmann

Julia: I see. And how does tts achieve that?

Anita: Internally? Primarily through organic growth. Rather than using PDFs, we train in projects.

Jan: Regarding the transfer to the market, this involves pursuing the “Implementation by tts” approach – and we can do that in our relatively wide niche of HR IT consulting independently of other stakeholders from a huge corporation.

Frederik: Although it also has to be said that we recently threw our hat into the ring in precisely this market environment. With more than 350 staff members in total and well over 100 consultants, we are a “big hitter” in our sector in terms of (wo)manpower.

Julia: And what makes our implementation approach so special?

Jan: The good aspects of the old stuff, paired with new methods. The key term “quality gates” has already been mentioned … a strong focus on processes and the customer, in addition to a preconfigured system in the early scoping phase if required …

Anita: Process and system design involving agile methods such as personas and user stories, iterative implementation and testing cycles following the scrum approach.

Frederik: Rounded off with specific cut-over and go-live support and, if desired, setting up and supporting professional application management subject to ongoing validation.

Jan: Just to be clear – anyone not fond of this project approach can also use our QuickStart solution for a fixed price to get the ball rolling.

Anita: As the basis for further processes and roll-outs, absolutely. We always start by looking at which approach would be best.

There are three pillars, each tailored to the customer: incident management, change request management, and business support.

Frederik Quade

Julia: What is involved in “application management”?

Frederik: Basically, there are three pillars, each tailored to the customer: incident management, change request management, and business support. All of this is embedded and coordinated in the HR and release calendar of our customers and SAP, i.e. SuccessFactors. You can take this from the project, too. So besides having a dedicated “support crew”, all our application managers are certified consultants – and possess ‘global delivery’ experience.

Julia: You can tell you’re passionate about this topic!

Frederik: I really am. We got involved in this area by chance. Nowadays, it already accounts for well over 10 % of our consulting revenue.

Anita: I can confirm the level of dedication. Our colleagues are not just involved in application management, but also continue to work on specific projects, including in this operational phase. That strengthens our growing knowledge base.

Julia: It seems to be paying off. Is there something specific these achievements can be linked to?

Jan: Yes, I would say so. We were the first partner in the German-speaking market to obtain all relevant SuccessFactors Recognised Expertise certifications. You cannot buy these certificates. The verifications come from our customers, who remain productive year after year with new solutions. Being able to work this way and getting something in return is a whole lot of fun.

Anita and Frederik (in unison): And we won the SAP Diamond Initiative!

Julia: That’s an excellent note to end on, for now. There were lots of new things there – despite or perhaps because of what has gone before. Thank you! 


Anita Kosa, Managing Consultant

Anita has been a part of the tts consulting family for over 7 years now. She focuses on Talent Management, also in multi-project management approaches.

Anita is especially passionate about continuous feedback, calibration and performance management. The most recent success is the participation in a standardized and integrated skill & competence management for the consulting area across all SuccessFactors modules.

Frederik Quade, Managing Director tts Austria / Head of Central & Eastern Europe

Frederik has 15 years of experience in HR transformation and HR consulting, with a focus on business processes and system implementations of SAP solutions, combined with deep technical knowledge in connecting SAP and 3rd party systems. 

He leads the tts consulting team in Austria and is also a member of the global tts consulting management board. In addition, Frederik is responsible for delivering tts consulting and implementation services with SAP SuccessFactors, combining tts best practice approaches with local guidelines. 

Jan Herrmann, Senior Managing Consultant / tts Project Management Best-Practice Lead 

Jan is active in HR IT consulting since 2001. For about 8 years now, he has put aside his skepticism towards cloud solutions and accompanies and leads projects in the environment of HR core and talent management.

Internally, Jan Herrmann is responsible for a team in the consulting area, whereby he expressly regards the mix of tasks of customer proximity and leadership experienced at tts as an enrichment.

Jan is a business economist with a passion for social psychology and history. He is firmly convinced that IT solutions should not be introduced for their own sake, but should be integrated in a meaningful way.