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Whitaker-Taylor Insights

SuccessFactors Quarterly Release Process

Sep 12, 2016 2:00:00 PM / by Angelo Van Stijn

SuccessFactors ReleasesWe know that many administrators around the world struggle to keep up with SuccessFactors Quarterly Releases. In this blog, I will highlight the quarterly release process in an effort to help administrators understand the various components and to empower them to better manage this important set of events in the SuccessFactors ecosystem.

We all know that technology evolves quickly, and SuccessFactors is no exception. SuccessFactors releases fixes or patches to existing functionally and introduces new functionality through quarterly releases. Before each release, the product team for each SuccessFactors module offers both a webinar and detailed documentation about what is coming in the update.

Each release is divided into two release dates. The first one is released in the Early Test Environments and the second updates are released in the Production Environments. The Early Test Environments are released one month before Production Environments. During this month, customers and partners can test new features and options to make sure everything is working fine.

Below are the different types of updates:

  • Universal Updates

Universal updates are applied to all customers and contain mostly legal updates, small enhancements, user interface changes and some types of extensions.

  • Opt-in Admin Updates

Opt-in admin updates can be installed via the Upgrade Center and/or can be configured directly in the Admin Center.

  • Opt-in Provisioning Updates

Opt-in Provisioning updates have to be done by SuccessFactors Support, or a SuccessFactors Partner (like Whitaker-Taylor) because they require Provisioning access (SuccessFactors back end). Each administrator can decide whether or not they want to apply the update to the system.

  • Opt-Out Updates

Opt-out updates are applied to all customers, but as the name suggests, you have the option to ”turn it off” and continue to use the previous version. Also this is where you can think about small enhancements or extensions.


Release Communication

Communication is an important part of the release process. Quarterly releases will be communicated to partners in several ways.

  • Release Highlights:  This short document gives a high-level overview intended for the decision makers in your organization.
  • Release Information Summary: The summary provides an overview of new features and enhancements in greater detail. It is divided by module and useful for the admin user.
  • Release Information Details - This document gives even more details about each update or module and is useful for Administrators and Super Users involved with each module.
  • Release Information Webinars:  Webinars are hosted by the product team of each module.  They explain what is coming in the release and provide an opportunity for the the customer to ask questions.


Whitaker-Taylor and Release Updates

Whitaker-Taylor consultants are certified and experienced in all SuccessFactors modules on a global level. We understand in detail the release notes for each module and maintain a direct relationship with the product team. We understand your SuccessFactors system and processes and can recommend the new features and functionalities that will benefit your organization the most. Here is how we approach quarterly releases:

We send you a document highlighting every new feature and functionality for all modules, with a recommendation of what we believe could add value to your existing system and processes.

  • You have the opportunity to review and highlight the ones that might interest you (after our recommendation), and ask us for more information and/or a demo.
  • We demo the new functionality in Whitaker-Taylor’s systems and answer any questions.
  • Based on your feedback, we help get the new features and functionality in your system.

For clients arouund the world, we have implemented a support module in which the release upgrades were an important piece. If you would like to learn more about our experience and approach, please feel free to contact us.


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Angelo Van Stijn
Written by: Angelo Van Stijn

Angelo van Stijn is a proactive, energetic and principle centered person. He has more than 15 years of global consulting and project management experience with HR System Implementations and HR Transformation Programs. Angelo has worked in various industries, including aviation, banking, chemicals and consumer products.