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Workday vs SAP SuccessFactors Comparison 2021

by Arthur Zuckerman

Workday and SAP SuccessFactors are both topnotch human capital management (HCM) software solutions that feature a wide range of HR functions. Some of them include compensation, learning, recruiting, and payroll solutions. Both of them also primarily targets medium-scale companies and large enterprises.

These are the two products we’ll be tackling in this article. This Workday vs SAP SuccessFactors comparison seeks to help businesses such as yours in making the right choice on which HCM product to invest on. But before comparing their features in detail, let’s first see what they do in general.

What is Workday?

Founded in 2005, Workday has become one of the leading HCM solutions in the market. It’s one of the best HR software today. It’s an intuitive on-demand application that houses features for managing both HR and finance data. This greatly improves transparency in key business aspects. The solution caters to mid-sized companies and large corporations. More specifically, however, it’s ideal for organizations with a global workforce because it helps them in better planning everything related to their employees. It’s available by quote.

Workday dashboard

Workday is an intuitive HCM solution offering end-to-end features for medium-sized companies and large corporations.

What is SAP SuccessFactors?

SAP SuccessFactors is an online HCM solution that offers a modular approach to human capital management. Being one of the top HRIS software on the market, it sports adaptable core features for every HR-related process. Three of these are the major components for controlling central HR operations. These are Employees Central, Employees Central Service Center, and Employees Central Payroll. Aside from those, the system also offers handy miscellaneous modules, including ones for learning, compensation, and recruiting. You can contact the vendor to request a quotation fit for your business.

SAP SuccessFactors dashboard

SAP SuccessFactors is a modular HCM platform that can handle basic and advanced HR requirements.

Workday vs SAP SuccessFactors


Workday has an extensive set of HCM features, including talent management, recruiting, learning, workforce planning, attendance, benefits, payroll, and more. You can also customize some of its aspects to make the system adapt to your business’ unique needs. For instance, if you have offices in different countries, the software will support multiple currencies as well.

Aside from those, Workday also features tools for analyzing your workforce, such as the labor cost for each project and which positions need new talents. There are highly customizable dashboards as well, which provides essential HCM-related status at a glance. These include specific metrics, in-depth reports, and recommendations.

SAP SuccessFactors, on the other hand, offers a modular solution for your HR needs. There are three major core modules that you can mix and match with others to fit your business’ needs. Some of the said features include onboarding, recruiting, performance, goals, attendance, learning, analytics, and more. Moreover, the system provides cross-suite solutions, such as total workforce management, which enhances the engagement level of the employees in your organization.

In conclusion, both the products provide the same HR features but offer them in different ways. Take onboarding, for instance. Workday bundles it in the talent management module together with the succession-planning and performance management features. Meanwhile, SAP SuccessFactors offers it as a standalone module. It’s ultimately up to you to decide which architecture is better.


Both of these HCM solutions are available only upon request. Thus, you must contact their respective vendors to get a quote that’s in line with your needs and goals. With that said, however, SAP SuccessFactors is more price-friendly for smaller businesses. That’s because it offers a rich set of features for a pricing plan that’s within the budget of SMBs.


Workday’s deployment strategy heavily relies on its partner network. The exact process of implementation is dependent on your unique needs and requirements. However, we can say that it generally follows a five-step process. That is project assessment, integration approach review, prototype configuration, testing, and final configuration. The timeline before you can utilize the software across your organization may vary from others, but it’s usually achievable within a year.

Meanwhile, SAP SuccessFactors offers a series of implementation services, including prepackaged deployment plans and fully customized solutions. To determine which implementation service suits your business, the platform’s Advisory Services personnel will meet with you and discuss all important factors. With the information you provide them, they can craft an ideal deployment strategy for your business. The vendor will also send its integration delivery team to help you in connecting SuccessFactors with the other products that you use.

The bottom line is that both vendors offer general implementation strategies. This means that they take the unique factors of your business to determine the most effective deployment method to use. The main difference between those two is that Workday outsources its services while SAP uses its in-house resources. The latter is typically more favored by many.

Customer Support

Workday offers Customer Success Management as its premium customer support service. This will provide you with a dedicated customer support manager for the long-term benefits of using the software. The scope of this includes a regular review of how you use Workday. You’ll also get training recommendations that will help you with your troubleshooting issues.

Premium customer care aside, you can also contact the regular support team for any question or issue regarding the system. If you do that, you’ll get a confirmation email and a case number, together with status updates. The customer support will route your concern to the appropriate customer service representative. Workday has a vibrant community as well, which you can use as an additional source of knowledge.

On the other hand, SAP SuccessFactors has an enterprise support package with a variety of services to offer. This includes an active community where you can communicate with fellow users and exchange ideas on how to solve particular issues. There’s a support portal too where you can watch helpful videos, read articles, and submit support requests. SAP also hosts webinars and answers queries through live chats.

Moreover, SAP SuccessFactors offers excellent customer support called SAP Preferred Care, where you’ll be hooked up with a dedicated support manager. The manager provides you with the best practices for reporting support issues.

You may have noticed that they both offer free and premium support services. They also provide a dedicated customer support manager that helps you with your issue-related concerns. However, we’ll give this one to SAP SuccessFactors because it offers more ways for you to connect with their customer support, such as through live chat.


Workday has various training methods, including on-demand training, virtual classrooms, self-service online training, and classroom training. You can also take advantage of the videos, marketing materials, and job aids in the system’s adoption toolkit.

As for SAP SuccessFactors, training is done through its SAP Education tool. With this, you can avail of its specialized training led by certified instructors. You can also apply for certification programs for different SuccessFactors modules. There’s also a subscription-based training called SAP Learning Hub, where users can access all the training contents of any SAP product.

As you can see, they each have their way of training you to effectively use their products. As far as training services are concerned, they seem to be on par with each other.


Workday is designed for mid-sized and large organizations. Thus, small businesses with less than a hundred employees won’t find it the most accommodating HCM product. Its user interface is also reportedly hard to understand at times. The UI is not optimized as well since various simple processes, like report generation, require several clicks to accomplish.

Meanwhile, SAP SuccessFactors seems to have limits in its integration capability. For instance, you can only connect its scheduling module to MS Outlook. Additionally, many of its users also complain about how hard it is to intuitively use the system because of its interface.

While these two are undeniably good at what they do, they still lack in some areas. One of the most common issues they seem to both possess is how they’re not easy-to-use tools. This is why you should make sure to properly check the training services they offer.

Which is the Best HCM Software?

You might have noticed in this Workday vs SAP SuccessFactors comparison that both products are at the top of HCM fields and, thus, have very similar HRMS offerings. The main difference between them is how they offer their features. SAP SuccessFactors is more modular and bundles a variety of features in a module, while Workday seems to prefer offering them independently. Budget-wise, SAP SuccessFactors architecture might be friendlier. SuccessFactors also seem to provide a more diverse channel for customer support.

If we’re going to weigh them very precisely, then SAP SuccessFactors might be the winner. Not by a big margin, though. For that reason, you must take into account your business’ requirements and goals while looking at each feature. It’s also more beneficial for you if you take the time to evaluate the vendors themselves.

You can also check out our ADP Workforce Now vs Workday comparison to check which software is more suitable for your business.

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