What You Should Know:
– A new report from KLAS finds that several midsize and large healthcare customers have broadly adopted SAP’s platform and appreciate how robust the tools can be.
– Customer feedback around the tools’ usability, however, is mixed; some report high satisfaction and praise the systems’ configurability, while others report frustration with complex interfaces and the number of clicks. In general, respondents see their SAP tools as well integrated and able to achieve what they are intended to do.
A Broad Look At a Cross-Industry Player With a Growing Healthcare Focus
SAP is an established name in healthcare and has been measured by KLAS for years in individual market segments (specifically analytics and talent management). This report is a first comprehensive look at the SAP platform and the experiences of customers, particularly those using multiple solutions to execute their financial, staffing, and operational strategies.
Key insights from the report are as follows:
Most Customers Report Middle-of-the-Road Experience, with Robust Technology but Limited Usability
Several midsize and large healthcare customers have broadly adopted SAP’s platform and appreciate how robust the tools can be. Customer feedback around the tools’ usability, however, is mixed; some report high satisfaction and praise the systems’ configurability, while others report frustration with complex interfaces and the number of clicks. In general, respondents see their SAP tools as well integrated and able to achieve what they are intended to do. Highlights include the report-building, governance, and performance management capabilities. Respondents who are most satisfied with SAP’s technology and development strategy (mainly organizations with 500–2,000 beds) also express enthusiasm about the number of modules available, specifically for recruitment, learning management, and financial literacy. The largest customers (>2,000 beds) appreciate the breadth of SAP tools but say the rules engine and workflow configuration are not as robust as they would like, though their larger IT teams help them overcome usability challenges.
Achieving Hoped-For Outcomes Is Often Difficult; Strong Talent Management Tools and Automations Drive Benefits
Overall, SAP has significant room for improvement in driving tangible outcomes. Some respondents note difficulty getting actionable data from their systems. The solutions’ usefulness is also limited by the need for significant investment in support by the organization, along with some tools not meeting healthcare needs out of the box (e.g., scheduling and timekeeping). In some cases, this stems from SAP overpromising during the sales cycle. When outcomes are achieved, they are often related to enhanced HR and finance functionality and data reliability. The most common outcome is a better employee experience—specifically, streamlined employee goal setting, career planning, and ongoing training management. A few customers that report workflow improvements cite technical expertise at their organization, which allows them to create automations that smooth workflows and reduce manual work.
Broad, Functional Portfolio and Integration Stand Out as SAP Strengths; Training, Implementation, and Development Are Challenges
SAP products generally work as expected for customers, though it often takes additional work to get them to a highly functional state. Integration is a particular strength for SAP, and customers using multiple products tend to rate this metric even higher. Newer cloud technology is described as robust and well-integrated, though it also requires extra work to be successful. Training, implementation, and development are areas where respondents—across on-premises and cloud deployments—report significant challenges. They cite the need for more help from SAP with use-case and rules testing and change management, and they also want better training materials, especially for ongoing training to support new users. A few organizations report having a more positive implementation and training experience because they leveraged third-party firms for help; these organizations credit their firms’ proactivity, healthcare expertise, and guidance around workflow configuration. SAP respondents also want the vendor to deliver on development promises faster and want more communication and visibility regarding the product road map and the timing of releases.
Customers Look Forward to Leveraging SAP’s Cloud-Based Talent Management and ERP Capabilities to Combat Staffing Shortages
Most interviewed customers using multiple SAP solutions plan to deepen their use of the vendor’s cloud-based technology to take advantage of the latest features, including upgrading to the cloud-based S/4HANA ERP solution and implementing new talent management technology in SuccessFactors. Respondents are excited about new development and expect some of these tools to enable better career planning and make ongoing training and development smoother—all of which should help ameliorate industry-wide staffing issues. To date, only a few customers are live on SAP’s cloud solutions. Organizations not planning to fully leverage SAP’s product suite mostly plan to keep certain pieces (especially HR and costing tools) and replace others (mostly ERP and analytics tools). More-established customers often feel that replacing SAP’s platform after years of refining their workflows would not be worth the cost and difficulty.
SAP Sees Comparatively Less Purchase Energy; Those That Select Cite Prior Experience, Portfolio Breadth, and Current Adoption
SAP is garnering increased market interest but still receives less consideration than Workday, Oracle, and Infor in the US provider market. Most adoption of their new technology is from existing clients upgrading to S/4HANA for ERP or moving to cloud-based versions of other solutions. These organizations choose SAP because they have invested significantly in existing SAP technology, often achieving strong outcomes as a result. They also say switching vendors would be too costly or difficult, and many users have years of experience with the SAP platform. Another factor is the desire to consolidate more technology under fewer vendors; in these cases, SAP’s comprehensive platform gains them consideration.