Q3 2019 : SuccessFactors Mobile - Quarterly Review

SuccessFactors mobile holds a special place in our quarterly reviews as unlike other areas; it isn’t exactly matched to the quarterly release cycle. Instead, the iOS and Android mobile apps are released on a monthly cycle, and so we have a look back at recent updates and forward to pending and upcoming ones. This quarter though we have a mixture as some of the features are ones that happen behind the scenes and will be accessible to apps as soon as the core functionality is updated in the quarterly release.

But before we begin looking at new and updated features, we need to look at some platform-related changes that SAP is introducing.

Platform Support

Android OS 5.0 (also known as ‘Android Lollipop’) was released in November 2014 and support ended in the July SuccessFactors release. Regardless of SuccessFactors application needs, it would be well worth reviewing migrating anyone in your organisation off that version and onto a much more recent one. Security issues with older versions of mobile operating systems are rife, and organisations should be mindful of the risks associated with running such old operating systems on their mobile devices.

iOS 11 was released in September 2017 and support for that will be suspended with the December 2019 SuccessFactors mobile app release. Again, organisations are encouraged to update to more a recent iOS version before this date to receive further app updates and support.

For Android users in China, a further change is taking place. From November, the SuccessFactors app will no longer be available from the Greater China Amazon App Store. Instead, the SuccessFactors mobile app will be made available via the Tencent App Store.

Recent Updates

It’s worth taking a few moments to recap on updates covered previously that have come into effect since the last quarterly release. Before you start looking ahead to upcoming enhancements, make sure you have also taken advantage of updates that have recently been made available to mobile users.

May Release

  • Android.
    • Received the continuous performance management updates aimed at improving the application navigation and reducing the amount of data entry the user would have to perform.
  • iOS.
    • View feedback requests and status used in Continuous Performance.
    • Deep linking to learning history and surveys to allow for quick access from e-mails, etc.

June Release

  • iOS & Android.
    • Recruiting Marketing scenarios now support push notifications for candidate assessment requests, job requisition approvals and job offer approvals.
  • Android.
    • Further continuous performance management related updates.
    • Timesheet approval availability allowing managers to approve, decline or delegate timesheet related actions and processes on the go.
    • Deep linking to learning history and surveys, as per iOS (May).

July Release

  • iOS & Android.
    • Comments can now be added to timesheets at submission and approvers can similarly comment when approving or rejecting the timesheet.
  • Android.
    • View feedback requests and status.
  • iOS.
    • Download mobile-enabled learning items directly from the item details screen.

New and Upcoming Updates

Following on from those updates that were covered in previous quarterly reviews, it’s time to look a little deeper into what else SAP is doing with SuccessFactors mobile.

Building on earlier releases deep link additions, the August release will support links to registration details. Deep linking simply allows users to utilise hyperlinks to jump straight into a location within an app, thus making the navigation process seamless.

August - Time Sheet Amendments and Balance (Android & iOS)

Following up on timesheet approvals and comment updates from June and July is the ability to amend timesheets which can then be re-submitted for approval. The balance view has also been updated to include information such as the balance on the time account and the bookable period. Once again, this is expanding what users can manage on their mobile devices and is a step further to full parity with the web versions.

September - Learning Content Structure Page (iOS)

The content structure page for learning items is being updated, but the updates will be piecemeal. The intention is to better tailor the experience to mobile and to make it easier to use for mobile users. SAP has noted that the following scenarios will not be supported in this first release:

  • Learning items incorporating both instructor lead and online content; blended items.
  • Learning items utilising SCORM 2004 content.
  • Learning items with commercial aspects that are not purchased via we or distributed charges.
  • Learning items utilising eSignatures.
  • Learning items being accessed by external (non-native SuccessFactors) users.
  • Learning items being accessed by users with no catalogue access.

September - Job Requisitions (iOS)

Organisations using Recruitment can expect some improvements around job requisitions. Before the September update, access for job requisitions is read-only. With the September release, authorised fields will be available for editing and approvers will be able to approve/decline/delegate from within the app.

September - Disable Device Activation via Proxy

This update is unusual in that it isn’t a mobile app update but is an update to the core SuccessFactors system that affects the permissions for using mobile apps, on any platform.

SuccessFactors has a feature known as proxying whereby a user with appropriate permissions, usually an administrator, can temporarily assume the identity in the system of someone else. This is useful in several situations where the “real” user may not be available, and at the same time it is a very powerful feature that must be carefully controlled, or else it could be open to abuse.

When a user is proxying as someone else, they can navigate to that user’s options and access the mobile settings. Those settings are the ones that allow the user to set-up a user profile in their SuccessFactors mobile app. The issue is that for most organisations’ proxy-enabled users, setting up this profile while proxying is undesirable.

Consider a scenario where an administrator leaves the organisation. Their user account is disabled, and so everyone assumes they no longer have access. But what if they put another administrator’s profile on a mobile device while proxying as them? That administrator has access, and so the administrator who has now left the organisation still in effect has mobile access via the profile that they set-up on their mobile device.

In this release, a proxy management option is included that allows a permission to be toggled that determines whether to show the mobile settings when proxying as someone. This addresses the security issue at the source.

September - Learning Enhanced Content Renderer

Curiously it seems we have a few back end driven enhancements queued up in this Q3 release. The enhanced content renderer that has been available for use for a little while now will become active by default in the September release. It has resolved practically all mobile content rendering issues clients have been reporting, and so SAP has decided it’s time for mandatory enablement. Do keep an eye out for when this goes live, just in case you do experience any unintended consequences.

Conclusion

As ever, mobile is marching ahead with the aim of creating a mobile experience with parity across all platforms. While most of the things I’ve highlighted are straight forward feature enhancements, I would just like to finish by urging anyone responsible for SuccessFactors mobile in your organisation to check the following three things.

  1. That the limitations around platforms I outlined at the start are fully accounted for in your mobile estate and training.
  2. Consideration is given to who, if anyone, should be able to set mobile profiles up when proxying.
  3. How the updated rendering engine performs for any complex or perhaps uniquely constructed mobile content.
Author: Stephen Millard
Tags: | successfactors | zalaris |

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