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Sting will not be singing at the HR-XML Spring Technical Meeting in the US this week – unlike the SAP SAPPHIRE conference next week, where he is performing! But the HR-XML specifications are starting to achieve “bite”, and what is happening within HR-XML will interest those in the HCM/HR field within the SAP ecosystem. 

HR-XML logo

HR-XML ( is an independent consortium that defines XML schemas used within the HR world. It’s been established for 10 years and SAP are prominent members.  Andreas Elkeles, a senior architect at SAP, and the person who headed up SAP’s original US payroll product development, is on the HR-XML board of directors. The purpose of HR-XML is to create an environment to provide integration and interoperability standards between HR systems. Oracle along with 60 or so other companies including my company, the assessment management system vendor, Questionmark, are also members.

HR-XML have recently upgraded their schemas to be consistent with the OAGIS architecture, and there is a huge range of schemas available, shown in the diagram below. 

HR-XML schemas

There are significant business benefits to HR-XML.

  • If you are designing a data model for your company or your product, it’s worth learning from the HR-XML specification for your data models. The consortium have thought through the issues, it’s like a crowd-sourced design pattern to provide a ready to go model.
  • As you source new systems that integrate with SAP to provide or consume HR data, it’s worth asking vendors if they support HR-XML or if you can import/export using HR-XML. Open data models help you integrate and deploy systems and are less expensive than proprietary or even worse undocumented formats.
  • Lastly you can connect systems for less. If you need to build interfaces between HR systems, then if you use HR-XML, you only need to build one interface to each system. Job boards, background screening companies, assessment management systems and applicant tracking systems can benefit greatly. Everything goes via one HR-XML format of XML, rather than through many proprietary interfaces.

 How standards help

The meeting happening this week is likely to progress and extend the specifications and help people focus on reducing technical debt and gaining business benefit from HR-XML. It’ll be a useful step towards making HR systems more interoperable and so more useful to us all.

The HR-XML specs are available for free download. When working within SAP, you can use PI (previously XI) to map SAP eSOA services to HR-XML schemas, and so use it for integration with other systems.

I hope this spotlight on HR-XML interests you. Questionmark has benefited from supporting HR-XML, we find it’s an organization that has “bite”. For more information and to get involved, see


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    1. Soni Harshal

      Hello Guillaume,

      I am resurrecting an old thread here, but I wanted to know if you were able to leverage HR-XML from SAP without using PI?

      Thank you in advance for your response.


      1. John Kleeman Post author


        HR-XML is XML schemas that allow interoperation with other systems that also support XML. I am not an SAP developer, but if you can read/write XML without PI then you could do so.


  1. Former Member

    Is this possible to leverage HR-XML from the ERP without using PI.
    Thanks in advance for your insights.

    Best regards,

    1. Holger Stumm
      As far as I have seen, the definitions are all schemas.
      So you can use it with all interface systems that are xml schema based, like the business connector for example or biztalk or PI. 
  2. Holger Stumm
    By coincidence, I am part of a worldwide unification project of a big SAP HR customer.
    ( I am doing the SAP PI Interface part)
    This sounds very promising.
    I will definitely look into the offered definitions. Maybe the customer is interested

    Thanks so much for sharing..


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