Kathy Gibson is at SAP SuccessConnect in Berlin – SAP SuccessFactors will soon be available on Microsoft Azure platforms.

This is the word from Greg Tomb, president of SAP SuccessFactors, who explains that the cloud-based HR system currently runs on SAP’s own data centres.

“However, in the next six months we will move to the public cloud with Microsoft Azure,” he says. “This will allows us to scale better and move to new countries as well.”

The first markets that will get SuccessFactors on Azure will be North America and Singapore, with other markets to follow thereafter.

This move will help to support the massive growth SAP SuccessFactors is currently experiencing, Tomb says. “We have seen growth of 25% in new customers around the world.

“We need to make sure we have an additional focus from an operational perspective so that we can support these volumes. So we are investing well ahead of the curve.”

A major theme for SAP – indeed, for most companies – is he concept of the intelligent enterprise. SAP SuccessFactors will play an important role in the development of the intelligent enterprise, says Amy Wilson, head of product at SAP SuccessFactors.

To this end, SuccessFactors is set to become the enterprisewise data repository for all people data, across the whole SAP suite.

“We are taking what we were already starting to do with the employee central data store, and making that the master across all of SAP,” she says.

“All information from an employee, worker or people perspective will start with the SuccessFactors domain model. We are partnering with our colleagues in S4 and other systems to fill out our domain model as the master for people.”

This ties into the increasing use of data analytics within the HR function, and how it relates to the broader business.

“A lot of what we used to talk about machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) was theoretical and concerned with answering the big questions,” Wilson says. “I am excited about how we are taking this intelligence and applying it to practical problems.”

By the same token, a lot of organisations are struggling with agility, Tomb adds.

Globalisation and the ability to stay compliant is one of these issues. “It is hard to keep up with regulations around the world, and compliance is a big headache.

“Which is why SAP takes this off your shoulders and puts it on to ours. We have 94 countries that we localise for.”

James Harvey, head of engineering and cloud operations at SAP SuccessFactors, concurs. “When I joined SAP, it was a surprise to me the investment we make into localisation and compliance.

“Before, I could never understand why SAP was so good, but now I know it is the investment we make in it.”