Workday HCM vs. SAP SuccessFactors: Compare Core HRMS Capabilities and More

Workday HCM and SAP SuccessFactors are two human capital management (HCM) solutions that provide a wide range of HR features, such as recruiting, payroll, compensation and learning. In this post, we’ll compare each software on various factors to help businesses make the right purchasing decision. 

What is the Difference Between Workday HCM and SAP SuccessFactors?

  • Although both solutions have similar HR features, Workday HCM focuses on helping companies streamline tasks and retain talent, while SAP SuccessFactors’ HXM Suite empowers companies to provide their employees tools for maintaining a positive work experience.
  • Workday prefers to provide a custom quote, while SAP SuccessFactors has a starting list price for specific modules.

Product Overviews

The following excerpts from our Workday HCM and SAP SuccessFactors reviews summarize each software solution:

Workday HCM

Workday HCM is a cloud-based all-in-one package intended for mid-size and large organizations with global employees. It includes all of the essential HR functions in one system, so companies won’t need to purchase multiple software solutions. Workday HCM also streamlines manual tasks, so HR staff can focus on strategy and other initiatives.

SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite is a cloud-based Human Experience Management (HXM) suite that empowers small and midsize businesses to successfully improve employee engagement. HXM is a new category that is completely designed around employee experiences – what they need, how they work and what motivates them.

The HXM Suite is broken down into five categories:

  • Core HR and Payroll
  • Talent Management
  • Employee Experience Management (SAP Qualtrics)
  • HR Analytics & Workforce Planning
  • Sales Performance Management

Features Comparisons

Recruiting/Talent Acquisition

Workday HCM

Workday’s Recruiting solution has a personalized hub that lets recruiters access important tasks from a single screen. It streamlines hiring tasks with automated workflows, such as sending mass emails to applicants or moving candidates forward in the recruiting pipeline. Workday Recruiting integrates with social media platforms, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Outlook and Gmail for easier job posting, interview scheduling and collaboration.

Companies can set up a custom career site and allow applicants to submit resumes directly to them. The software’s machine learning capability captures specific data points (e.g., keywords on skills or experience) from an applicant’s resume and then provides recommendations of specific jobs the applicant can put in for. In addition, applicants can get real-time updates on their applications and pick from a schedule of times for interview slots. Other Workday Recruiting features include job sourcing and requisitions, referrals and endorsements, offer management and onboarding.

SAP SuccessFactors

The SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting solution includes robust features for streamlining the hiring process. It accommodates up to 46 languages, and recruiters can set up a global career site that span multiple brands and languages. The software also includes intelligent technology to help companies eliminate hiring bias and make fair and equitable decisions. Additional features include application management and candidate relationship management.

There’s a separate Onboarding solution that supports onboarding, offboarding and cross-boarding tasks. New hires can get a personalized onboarding portal that introduces them to their new colleagues and role.

Bottom Line

Both software solutions have similar recruiting features. However, Workday Recruiting focuses on in-house recruiters, whereas SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting has candidate relationship management and other tools for staffing firms. Also, Workday has prebuilt integration with Slack, while SAP SucessFactors can integrate with Slack via a third-party company.


Workday HCM

Workday HCM supports multiple payroll calculations and flexible earnings and deductions. It also allows companies to run payroll for their locations within the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and France, but companies in other countries would need to access Workday’s Cloud Connect for Third-Party Payroll. Workday partners with other third-party payroll companies, so users can use the local payroll service in their desired country, yet still access payroll data via Workday HCM.

The software monitors changes within the federal, state and local tax structures and automatically updates those changes, so companies stay in compliance. Users can also monitor any tax changes via their dashboard.

Within Workday HCM, employees can see their paystubs, make changes to their withholding elections and access tax documents. Finally, there’s the Pay On-Demand feature that lets employees receive their pay if their needs arise outside of the normal pay cycle.

SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors’ Employee Central Payroll solution includes embedded localization that supports more than 45 countries. It also provides automated payroll calculations, employee self-service, tax compliance and integration with other HRIS and time management systems.

Bottom Line

Workday’s payroll features only support specific countries, while SAP SuccessFactors accommodates more than 45 countries.


Workday HCM

Companies can manage their benefits plan with Workday’s benefits solution, which links to a variety of health insurance, retirement and other providers via its Cloud Connect for Benefits. The Cloud Connect for Benefits include a pre-built integration catalog with over 300 providers, and it automatically takes employee information data from Workday HCM to reduce manual entry. It also automatically updates any change in employee status – all the user has to do is schedule the updates. There’s also the Affordable Care Act (ACA) dashboard, where users can monitor key benefits details to stay in compliance like the number of full-time employees or the number of employees enrolled in benefits programs.

SAP SuccessFactors

A main feature within the Employee Central module, SAP SuccessFactors’ benefits management lets companies manage their open enrollment across global locations by aligning practices with country-specific requirements. It also guides employees with step-by-step instructions for completing open enrollment paperwork. The software can update any benefits changes automatically and then notifies employees of those changes.  U.S.-based companies that need advanced benefits management functionality can purchase the SAP U.S. Benefits Administration application by Benefitfocus, which includes features like Affordable Care Act (ACA) management and compliance, healthcare utilization analytics and employee communication management.

Bottom Line

Although Workday and SuccessFactors offers similar benefits management features, SAP SuccessFactors requires companies purchase a separate software if they want ACA compliance functionality.

Time and Attendance

Workday HCM

The Workday Time Tracking solution includes real-time calculations, automated mass approvals and exceptions, and configurable time and attendance compliance rules. Employees can clock in and out via the web or their mobile devices as the software includes geofencing capability that captures time accurately. They can also get clock-in/clock-out reminders and submit time-off requests by text or voice. Managers can approve all time requests for their team at once, and they can also monitor labor trends with the dashboard and reporting feature.

SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors’ Time Tracking module has personalized user experience where employees can clock in or out via a computer, mobile device or an external clock. The software has configuration features that support specific company requirements and local regulations. Managers can monitor and approve employee work hours with dashboards, and they can get alerts if an employee is at the risk of going overtime or has too many late arrivals. Finally, company executives can measure overtime, productivity and other labor costs with analytics and reporting tools.

Bottom Line

Workday HCM allows employees to send time-off request by voice, while SAP SuccessFactors doesn’t offer this.

Reporting and Analytics

Workday HCM

The Workday People Analytics solution provides insights in six key areas: key performance indicators (KPIs), diversity and inclusion, organization composition (e.g., head count), retention and attrition, hiring and talent, and performance. It uses machine learning to search through the data and provide insights through stories. Users can drill down into the data for further analysis, compare current and historical data side by side for context and save data as a slide for collaboration. Workday has another separate solution that can integrate with the People Analytics module and other Workday HCM solutions called Workday Adapative Planning. Workday Adaptive Planning helps organizations make efficient workplace planning decisions.

SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors has three solutions to enable organizations to analyze their people data to manage operational headcounts, participate in strategic planning initiatives and make better business decisions. Firstly, the Workplace Analytics solution includes a standard metrics catalog of over 2,000 HR and talent metrics and includes guidance to users on interpreting the data. It also has interactive dashboards and reports, and users can drill down into specific data (e.g., diversity, turnover) with the data exploration tool.

Then, there’s the SAP Digital Boardroom tool that gives the C-level executives real-time context into their business data, and they can create ad-hoc or what-if analysis for further insights. Finally, HR leaders can engage in strategic workforce planning methods with the SAP Analytics Cloud. It combines business intelligence, enterprise planning and augmented analytics capabilities, and some of its features are interactive visualizations with drilling/filtering functionalities, natural language processing, data cleansing, predictive forecasting and collaboration.

Bottom Line

While Workday HCM has robust people analytics features, SAP SuccessFactors offers additional solutions that specifically targets top executives.


Workday HCM

Workday doesn’t publicly release its pricing information. Prospects will need to contact the vendor for a quote.

SAP SuccessFactors

The SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite consists of numerous solutions. As examples, we’ve listed starting prices for some of the solutions that use a per-user, per-month strategy. The SAP website has prices listed, but please contact SAP SuccessFactors directly for a custom quote.

Core HR & Payroll

  • SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central starts at $6.30 per user, per month
  • SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll starts at $8.15 per user, per month

Talent Management

  • SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting starts at $2.66 per user, per month
  • SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding starts at $1.18 per user, per month

HR Analytics & Workforce Planning

  • SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics starts at $2.79 per user, per month

Bottom Line

Workday prefers to provide prospects with a personalized quote, while SAP SuccessFactors lists a starting price for specific solutions. Prospects should reach out to either vendor for a quote and keep in mind that additional costs, such as implementation, may need to be factored into the price quote.

Customer Support

Workday HCM

Workday’s support team, Workday Support, provides answers and resolutions to questions or issues. The customer can submit a request via the online Workday Customer Center. They’ll then receive a case number and a confirmation email, as well as status updates. The request then gets routed to the appropriate customer service representative.

In addition, customers can access Workday Community to see product documentation, get information on new features and communicate with other customers.

Workday also offers premium support via its subscription-based Success Plans. There are three tiers:

Enhanced – The Enhanced tier includes feature release reviews, on-demand training tutorials, 10% discount on Workday Customer Enablement Services, registration fee waiver for the Workday Pro event, alignment meetings, feature adoption planning, an Ask the Expert and other services.

Guided – The Guided tier includes all of the features of the Enhanced tier, plus a 20% discount on Workday Customer Enablement Services, working sessions on support models framework, an additional standard implementation tenant, a governance plan and a Feature Accelerator (self-guided materials with personalized coaching).

Guided with Elevated Support – The Guided with Elevated Support tier includes all of the features of the Guided tier, plus an incident management specialist, operational reviews, Service Level Agreement (SLA) reviews and system health insights.

SAP SuccessFactors

The SAP Enterprise support package includes a variety of offerings for users. First, there is the customer community for users to communicate and share ideas on issues with the software or on general HR topics. There is also a support portal for browsing through articles and videos and submitting support requests. Users can also reach out to support via live chat. And users can learn more about SAP SuccessFactors via webinars. 

There’s also the SAP Preferred Success option for clients that want to work with a dedicated support manager. It provides mission-critical support and best practice for escalating support issues. For example, a priority 4 support (low priority support) response time would be within eight hours rather than two business days that SAP Enterprise support provides. The customer support manager also provides guidance in scaling up or down the solution, as well as help in navigating new product releases.

Bottom Line

While both vendors provide similar standard support, Workday clients get a dedicated customer success manager, while this service is available in SAP’s Preferred Success option.


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