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Author's profile photo Luke Marson

Realizing the benefits of Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN)

I’ve seen plenty of times over the last couple of years how people really don’t understand or have the vision to see the benefits an organization can reap from using Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN). So in this blog I’m going to try and tell you why.

The SAP Org Visualization by Nakisa (SOVN) suite really helps build the foundations for sound data and processes used by a variety of different applications and processes within SAP, including workflows, OM, PA, Talent Management, Time and Attendance and – last but far from least – Payroll.

While SOVN is about enabling better HCM processes and better data to support these processes, SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa (STVN) really helps to support the added value delivery of processes for sustainable Talent Management and Leadership development programmes within organizations.

One thing I always find is overlooked is supplying adequate hardware. More often than not the IT department will supply a low-end server for DEV/QAS and sometimes for PRD, which often means that performance is affected and, ultimately, user acceptance of the solutions. Generally it is best to get a better than required machine for QAS and PRD to provide a solid and efficient platform for testing and operation while also allowing room for organizational expansion.

Why choose Visualization Solutions by Nakisa?

There are many visualization solutions available for SAP HCM on the marketplace. I wanted to highlight some of the reasons why I think customers should choose VSN:

  • It is an SAP product
  • Co-developed by Nakisa and SAP and aligned with EhP releases
  • Has to go through SAP’s Premium Qualification program and is tested for SAP’s strict security, performance, supportability, accessibility and documentation requirements
  • Fully integrated with SAP ECC like no other competitor product
  • Highly configurable and customizable
  • The functionality is based on the best practices that SAP have discovered from their own customers
  • Highly intuitive and very easy to use
  • Leverages existing investment in SAP HCM and provides greater ROI
  • Thin web-client, meaning easy roll-out across the organization
  • Requires no SAP knowledge to use
  • Supported by SAP
  • Used by SAP!


In order to make this balanced I’m going to put some reasons why I think customers might not want to choose VSN:

  • The licences can be expensive
  • The knowledge in VSN is extremely limited and based mainly in North America and APAC
  • The products generally contain many bugs when first released (although this is a big focus of Nakisa right now)


Customers that have implemented VSN include (but are not limited to):

  • Arcelor Mittal
  • Merck
  • Coca-Cola
  • BBC
  • Disney
  • Nissan
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Phillips
  • Lego
  • Wrigley
  • Statoil
  • Thames Water
  • Australia Post
  • Polinter
  • SAP
  • Kohler
  • JTI
  • Lubrizol
  • Arca


Right, now I’m going to look at some of the application and the benefits they can bring to end users and organizations.

SOVN OrgChart

A lot of people know something about OrgChart and that it visualizes your SAP org structure in a pretty way – but other than this, what does it really offer?

  • Visibility
    • Shows org structure in a way that makes sense to users
    • Helps HR and Managers identify errors and anomalies in the structure – even through casual use or solution demonstrations!
    • Allows HR and Managers to get quick and logical access to key organizational data in a secure manner
    • Provides data to give better insight into organization and workforce, thus aiding better decision making
    • Enables the organization to easily understand and manage HR Data
  • Usability
    • Easy-to-use, intuitive interface that beats the SAP gui hands down
    • …and therefore no need to use PPOME anymore!
    • Logical UI and grouping of object data
    • Accessibility mode (for users with visual impairments)
  • Processes
    • Streamlines processes by providing HR, Managers and key users with business critical data quickly, easily and secured to them in the same way as in SAP
    • Enables new org structures to be built and verified quickly and clearly
    • Gives non-SAP users access to key SAP data that they need for their regular or everyday tasks
    • Better data means better and fully operational workflows
  • Productivity and Collaboration
    • Remove wasted and time-consuming effort used to create and maintain manual, unaligned orgcharts… especially when the data already exists in SAP!
    • Provide Employees across the organization with access to contact information for their colleagues
    • Directory module provides search and display functionality to allow quick and easy finding of the right person
    • SocialLink module supplies Employee Self-Service functionality so Employees can maintain a profile – and users across the organization can search on this data to find the best matches for talented individuals


SOVN DataQualityConsole

Described by Dawn Crew, Vice President, Solution Management focused on HCM portfolio, as “an unsung hero in the SOVN offering” and I have to agree. This tool offers only a few benefits, but really they are pretty significant benefits.

  • Integrity
    • Provides automated data audits and error tracking to find technical and business errors in SAP HCM data
    • Detect data inconsistencies, such as missing data and data conflicts, using pre-configured business rules
    • Helps organizations to take preventative rather than reactive action to maintaining and ensuring data quality
    • Along with OrgChart it provides a solid platform for accurate data, the platform for  many business processes and workflows
  • Usability
    • Data audits can be automated
    • User face is highly intuitive (see SOVN OrgChart)
    • Graphs and charts give an easy overview of various data error reports


SOVN OrgManager

This solution is designed to offer data maintenance capabilities to non-SAP Power Users, which obviously has significant benefits:

  • Usability
    • Non-SAP users, such as Managers, Business Partners or Shared Services staff, can maintain SAP HCM data easily and quickly through an intuitive interface
    • Removes reliance on HR or Shared Services for simple data maintenance
    • Eliminates data entry errors caused by poor information exchange, misunderstanding, miscommunication and lack of information about the data being entered
    • Objects can be found easily and quickly in the powerful searches
    • All data for an object, such as Position or Employee, can be maintained in one single screen
    • Any SAP infotype can be maintained
    • Data and objects can be created, edited or delimited as required


STVN CareerPlanning

This is a new solution from Nakisa and is an employee-focused solution.

  • Empowerment
    • Provides employees with the ability to make choices about their career
    • Logical 3-step approach to formulating a development plan
    • Profile Match allows employees to find the best matched jobs for them
    • Gap analysis functionality between the competencies of the employee and the requirements of a specific job gives employees information about what they required development
  • Sustainability
    • Fosters retention and engagement
    • Aligns aspirations of employees with the organization’s strategic objectives
    • Integrates with STVN SuccessionPlanning
  • Usability
    • Like all the solutions, it provides end users with an easy-to-use interface to perform tasks
    • The 3 screens provide a logical workflow for decision making
    • Colorful profile match and gap analysis functionality makes it easy for employees to measure information


STVN SuccessionPlanning

STVN SuccessionPlanning is SAP’s solution for Succession Planning. It contains a whole host of functionality, although I am going to concentrate on business benefits rather than functionality.

  • Data and process
    • All data stored in SAP system – no need for unaligned, unsecured Excel spreadsheets and Word documents located on various computers around the organization
    • Provides a framework that can easily aligns with strategy and process while minimizing business risk
    • Mitigate the risks and costs associated with losing and replacing the organization’s best talent
    • Mark positions as key and create succession plans for them
    • 9-Box Grid and Profile Match enhance the processes for identifying talent, successors and matching talent supply and talent demand
    • Global talent KPIs can be visualized and monitored in the integrated analytics dashboard to transform your SAP ERP HCM data into strategic business knowledge.
    • Talent can be matched to organizational competency needs
    • A reliable, risk-based bench-strength can be established to ensure critical positions are covered
    • Trigger development and growth planning for newly assigned successors using the position v competency gap analysis
    • Manage Talent Groups and Succession Pools
    • Maintain competency assignments and Position attributes, such as Career Paths
    • View positions and talents side-by-side
    • Analyze successor ranking to assume top roles and assign competencies to positions
    • Bring objectivity to the succession candidate selection process (using profile match)
    • Allows users to set criteria to guide succession planning
    • Opens up the scope of available successors beyond those who the user might know
  • Usability
    • Provides a platform to view large amounts of talent and succession data for the Talent Management Specialist’s area of responsibility
    • All key Position and talent data available in one central location
    • Powerful searches with a lot of pre-configured criteria to find data quickly and easily
    • Integrated analytics dashboard for deep insight into the “state of play” of the Talent Management Specialist’s area of responsibility
  • Security
    • No more unsecured documents
    • Strong SAP authorizations and specific Talent Management security concept from ECC6 EhP4



There are lots of benefits to organizations from each of the solutions, depending on their current business needs and organizational strategy. Usability is a big factor here, although the process-based benefits of using OrgChart or SuccessionPlanning add real business value.

Thanks to Brandon Toombs for his inspiration in creating this Blog.

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      Author's profile photo Christopher Solomon
      Christopher Solomon
      Thanks for the info! I have been keeping an eye on the Nakisa/SAP offering/plan for a while now without jumping in whole heartedly....for many of the reasons you mentioned. This is a good summarization though. Thanks for the time and effort. Hope others appreciate it. Keep blogging!
      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson
      Blog Post Author
      Thanks for your comments Christopher. I sure will keep blogging! 🙂

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Jarret Pazahanick
      Jarret Pazahanick
      Excellent article and would be great to see one of these in each of the areas of SAP HCM.  I will try to pull together an EIC or Payroll one over the next few months.

      Chris - Pressure may be on for an HCM P&F one 🙂

      Author's profile photo Christopher Solomon
      Christopher Solomon
      Experiencing the "fun" of Adobe licensing issues with HCM Processes & Forms firsthand (and still!!!), I am real hesitant to jump onto/behind Nikasa just yet. I have kept my eye on it (especially, with your past blogs Jarret) but in my opinion, the jury is still out. =)
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      What are the competitors in this space? I know only of Acquire which is pretty good
      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Walter,

      There are 3 or 4 competitors, although none of them offer the full business benefits or advantages that the VSN suite do. SAP recognised this when they partnered with Nakisa and have also helped to enhance the suite futher. They also plan to help Nakisa enhance it further in the future.

      The major competitors to SAP/Nakisa are Acquire, Ingentis, Taleo, Successfactors and HumanConcepts. There are some other minor players in the marketplace too, but their solutions don't really compare in any way.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson
      Blog Post Author
      Thanks Jarret. I would also like to see something for other areas of SAP HCM. I might write one for Succession Management.

      I would have liked to put more detail in, but time is precious at the moment! Still, I might also write an expanded one at some point.

      I look forward to your blogs 🙂

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Found the article very helpful. Just had a question with respect to SAP authorization within SOVN OrgChart ?
      Just curious, can it restrict structure/object changes outside of one's own org ?


      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Ravikumar,

      If you are using Live then our authorizations are controlled by SAP so of course you can restrict this. 🙂

      If you are using Staged, then this is more difficult but can also be achieved and I have done similar things with clients before.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Luke,
      Nice briefing over the tools. Thanks for that.
      The question is where do we find the latest documentation on DQC. Is it available on SMP! Under which version of STVN.


      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson
      Blog Post Author
      Thanks Mohammad. VSN3.0 SP2 was released last week and it has an updated build and documentation for DQC. It is available on SMP in the same place as previous releases.

      Best regards,