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Hello HCM experts,

Recently, SAP delivered additional integration functionally for the SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics (WFA) solution, which I want to highlight.

Before we get into the details about what’s new, however, let’s first explore the history of this solution. When it was first developed, the solution was called Infohrm and it was one of the first cloud-based offerings for HR analytics. Customers only needed Internet access and a subscription to use the software. One of the things customers really found valuable in this application was the ability to load data from various sources, regardless of vendor.

SuccessFactors, which is now an SAP company, acquired Inform Business Impact, the company that built Infohrm. Even to this day, the solution, which has since been renamed SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics, continues to be vendor agnostic when it comes to data loading. This is highly beneficial to a lot of SAP customers because they have system landscapes that have technology from numerous vendors. Because of the ability to get deep, collective insights into data from various sources, HR analytics has become a significant differentiator for many companies.

Comparative Data Key to HR Analytics

The original Infohrm solution provided other valuable functionality as well, including a benchmarking library. Because this was – and is – a cloud-based solution, the software could pull in benchmark data from Infohrm customers into a centralized database to fill the benchmark library. The cloud environment allowed each customer’s data to be protected by a dedicated data cube that kept their data securely isolated from others, but an aggregated abstract to be used for benchmarking purposes. This is an opt-out option for all customers

The benchmarking database gave customers whose data was in the library access to aggregated extracts, which provided them with highly informative data analyses. Customers not only gained insight into their own HR performance, but they were also able to see also how their company performed against others in the same industry or of the same size.

These benefits proved that the solution had great potential for SAP customers. In fact, the automated reporting functionality in Workforce Analytics has helped customers reduce HR full-time equivalent (FTE) resources by as much as 50%. In addition, we’ve seen other customers save up to 4 million USD in temporary hires after they had an integrated view into their workforce.

Introducing Integration Add-on 1.0

After SAP acquired SuccessFactors, we began developing programs, tools, and methodologies to help customers leverage more of the HR processes in SAP and SuccessFactors software. SAP’s extensive development in this area has significantly increased the functionality of this solution. Our goal has been to do this as efficiently as possible and at the lowest possible total cost of ownership for customers. SAP customers can now benefit from a faster adoption and a low risk implementation of Workforce Analytics with these developments.

To fully optimize the integration of WFA, SAP developed extractors that pull data from SAP HR into the WFA application.  These extractors are part of the recently released Integration add-on 1.0 for SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) and SuccessFactors Business Execution (SuccessFactors BizX).

Customers can leverage their existing on-premise core HR investments and extend them with additional value from WFA. Additionally, the WFA solution will soon be available on the SAP HANA platform, which will maximize performance of the application. We’ve also improved the user experience of Workforce Analytics to benefit all the people who use the application, including executives, managers, HR business partners, and administrators.

So what is actually offered in the Integration Add-on 1.0?

As mentioned earlier, WFA was vendor agnostic, with functionality that allowed data to be pulled into the solution from various sources (amongst which SAP ECC. Because this data loading from SAP sources was already built into Infohrm, customers can still use that functionality to pull data from SAP ECC into Workforce Analytics. Since the Integration Add-on 1.0 these extractors are part of the SAP standard delivery. In addition, with SAP high standards for software development, customers can expect quality maintenance and support, with an efficient installation process and implementation support.

You can install the Integration Add-on on SAP ECC, and access new reporting functionality such as field mapping, error checks that optimize data gathering, and the ability to produce reports in a .csv format. Data can be transferred via a file transfer protocol (FTP) or a secure FTP connection and loaded into Workforce Analytics.

With this new functionality, people can zero in on the data they want to analyze. They can focus on the whole company, certain parts of the organization, or only on a specific employee group of interest.

We set up the Integration Add-on as a rapid-deployment solution, which means that there will be a fixed scope offering for faster implementation. The Integration Add-on 1.0 Web site provides detailed information, including product availability, installation notes, and even a Cookbook for configuration.

And what can be extracted?

The Integration Add-on has extended the extraction functionality in WFA. You can transfer any relevant data in the personnel administration (PA) and organizational management (OM) areas of your SAP software. This includes i.e. employee contact data, job functions, wage categories, and work hours. You can also pull in talent-related data, such as performance reviews. For OM data, you can move any objects and relationships to Workforce Analytics to obtain a complete picture of your HR assets. In addition, you can combine this information with data from SuccessFactors talent modules for insight into talent pools, skill shortages, and pay-for-performance processes. 

What’s next?

Although this post talks about a cloud-based solution, keep in mind that SAP’s workforce analytics strategy also offers customers an on-premise deployment option (as mentioned in my previous blogs). We continue to invest heavily in both. However, since this post is about the SuccessFactors WFA, I want to conclude with this thought. 

SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics offers you a vast amount of standard metrics (200+), along with benchmark functionality. It’s a solution that will soon run on SAP HANA and is suitable for all business users, from executives to HR professionals. In addition, it has a Workforce Planning (WFP) solution built on top. This solution allows organizations to tie their HR strategy to their overall company strategy. This blog holds more information on our workforce planning solutions offering.

If you want to start using HR analytics and have not already made a significant investment in SAP Business Warehouse, I would recommend WFA as a strategic direction for you to pursue. You can immediately benefit from the integration of WFA with existing SAP software. You’ll also benefit from new functionality from a deep R&D investment, a strong roadmap of enhancements to come, and  a predefined implementation approach that ensures a successful delivery.

More information on SuccessFactors WFA and WFP can be found on these links: 

  • Workforce Analytics Promo:

http://www.successfactors.com/resources/download/successfactors-workforce-analytics-promo/ 

  • Workforce Analytics Overview:

http://www.successfactors.com/resources/download/successfactors-workforce-analytics/

  • Workforce Planning Overview:

http://www.successfactors.com/resources/download/successfactors-workforce-planning/

I will keep you updated on new developments for on-premise, cloud and hybrid solutions in the HR analytics area .

Best regards,

Frans

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14 Comments

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  1. Jarret Pazahanick

    Very good blog Frans as you have been on quite a roll. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Will the SF Workforce Analytics on HANA have an additional cost vs SF Workforce Analytics.

    2.  Do you believe that most large SAP HCM customers will be able to use WF Analytics and replace any reporting needs in BI/BO for those areas (ie Talent, Comp, Recruiting) if they are deploying a hybrid approach.

    3. Is there a use case for a SAP HCM customer who has already made a large investment in BI/BO to deploy WFA given the additional licenses vs just using their existing tool set.

    4.What % of WFA customer are opting-in to the benchmark library (seems like a neat and valuable offering)

    Thanks,

    Jarret

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    1. Frans Smolders Post author

      Hi Jarret,

      Thanks for the appreciation!

      To answer your questions. We are currently investigating how SuccessFactors customers can benefit from WFA on SAP HANA. More details on specific offerings with HANA will be forthcoming.

      As I wrote in my blog, the advantage for WFA lies in the predefined content that is offered. I speak to customers daily were HR organizations struggle to figure out what they want to measure and how they want to measure that. Larger organizations have these things normally figured out better, but also have change processes when it comes to modifying existing analytics that take longer. WFA offers out of the box content that helps organizations to get going, and offers 1 solution that serves all business users without too much help from IT. This is also the reason why our internal HR organization (at SAP) has chosen for WFA. They were up and running in 90 days.

      In addition, I see a lot of customers that have an Analytics strategy that goes beyond the HR organization. This means that HR has to fit into the overall Analytics strategy. Some of those customers choose to have their integrated KPI reporting to remain on-premise in BW and offer WFA to have an immediate value add for other kinds of reporting (ad-hoc, dashboarding, etc). Traditionally SAP HR BW datamodels are very well set up for operational reporting (personnel administration, time management, organizational management, payroll, etc) and WFA is very strong in talent management metrics and reporting. But all customers I speak to have specific requirements, and that is why we have the dual deployment strategy to offer a strong portfolio for on-premise and cloud and we are working on the synergies.

      Regarding the percentage of customers that opts out for benchmarking, this is very little. Nearly all customers leverage this functionality. Mainly because there is no risk that customer data will fall in wrong hands and there is a huge demand and value add for benchmarks. 

      Hope this clarifies (reading this answer this could have been a follow up blog 🙂 ).

      Best regards,

      Frans 

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      1. Jarret Pazahanick

        Thanks for the detailed response Frans as it is much appreciated.  Here are some quick thoughts:

        1. Lets hope that “Investigating how SuccessFactors customer can benefit from SF WFA” means no additional licensing cost (ie SF WFA Option Q and SF WFA HANA) unless there is a plan to clearly articulate the added benefits to pay for the cost.

        2, Interesting on the “Out of the box content” in WFA being a huge selling point as given that SAP HCM BI would also claim to a full selection of “delivered content”.  On the group at large customers I see that BI HCM delivered content is just a starting point but by reading your comment sounds like the WFA is a lot better and ready to be consumed in a short period of time?

        3. It would be interesting for SAP to get more detail (maybe a follow up blog) on the additional business benefits and real cost savings for SAP/SuccessFactors hybrid customer having a dual SAP BI & SF WFA landscape given the additional licensing costs they will incur.

        4. Great to hear that a majority of customer opt in for the benchmarking as not hard to see the real value that sharing that generic information has for all.  It is a very clear example of one of the benefits SaaS reporting brings to the table that OnPremise will never be able to achieve.

        Thanks,

        Jarret

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        1. Frans Smolders Post author

          Hi Jarret,

          Obviously we provide a lot of value with our BW data models! And the fact that BW is free of license is interesting for customers. I see very often what great things are achieved by our customers with the data models and build on-top-of. Our great BOBJ portfolio helps to visualize that data in an appealing manner. HR Analytics on premise rocks! 🙂 Don’t get me wrong here.

          Point I was trying to get across is that SFSF has all their metrics well documented (definition, formulas, purpose of measuring that metric), which provides companies a quick start.

          This combined with the 100 day implementation to get it up and running, and the low IT involvement is very interesting for customers that do not have large IT departments (or IT departments that are not focused on Analytical solutions). When providing a demo I see how well WFA is received by an HR audience.

          I will think about a follow up blog to point out the value (with examples) of a hybrid approach. Thanks for pointing me in that direction!

          Cheers,

          Frans

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  2. Vasiliy Baranovskiy

    Hi Frans,

    Thanks for great blog and clear information!

    As I understand, WFA is licensed per processed employee as any other SFSF solution. I think it can bring difficulties in getting insight of whole corporation, if not all departments (or empl. levels) are on SFSF yet.

    As I know SAP Bi hasn’t such limitations.

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    1. Frans Smolders Post author

      Hi Vasiliy,

      SFSF can load in data from the whole organization. In addition, they can load in different hierarchies (i.e. org hierarchy, cost center hierarchy, job structure, etc) to visualize data.

      I do agree with you that most large organizations have complex structures that they have already brought to their BI/BO, but as I discuss in my blog WFA originates from being a standalone solution that provides analytics in all HR areas. This also means visualizing data and providing insight for these complex structures.

      Best regards,

      Frans 

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  3. Jean-Bernard Rolland

    Thank you for this Frans,

    This solution is part of the broader suite of Workforce Planning and Analytics tools by SAP.

    Although directionally, the HCM market is going to the cloud, SAP will protect the investment customers made in BW by offering side-by-side solutions and additional content for HCM Analytics.

    JB

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  4. Tim H-C

    Hi Frans –

    Very useful discussion.

    I am reading this discussion to say that a client has multiple ways to x-fer data to SF for the analytics and planning modules.  The client could

    1) source data from SQL in a DW and x-fer to SF, with scripts to process fields for usability in analytics (this is in a sense once-removed from the source data and in deed what we operate with today);

    2) alternatively, client could source from almost any non-SAP system; or

    3) source from SAP using the extractor as described above. 

    Please clarify and elaborate, as this is relevant to current internal discussion.

    Regards,

    TAHC

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    1. Frans Smolders Post author

      Hi TAHC,

      Thanks for your contribution. Obviously there are multiple ways to extract data and feed that to WFA. We could also add in SAP Data Services, and since this month SAP HANA Cloud Integration. Nevertheless, for now these are the standard extractions that are delivered free of charge that will accelerate the data integration between SAP and SuccessFactors from an analytical perspective. If that for some reason does not satisfy the customer’s desire, they can always build out more complex integration solutions. If you are planning to build such integration I am more than happy to discuss that!

         

      Cheers,

      Frans

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      1. Reem Khairy

        Hello Frans,

        Thank you for those great information you are offerring.
        i’m implementing a SF WFAP and i’m really confused about loding the data into WFA module on SF.
        i already know that i should extraxt the data from my customer’s ERP system then transfer it into SFTP server, but how can i upload the data into WFA?

        Could you please help in this as i’m getting really confused about it and i’m surely missing something important outh there.

        Your help will be much appreciated Frans.

        Thanks and Best Regards
        Reem Amr

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  5. Godavari Sheelam

    Hi Experts,

    If the client has OM, PA, Time and Payroll on premise and talent mgmt on cloud, can we use SF WFA to design and generate the reports for on premise module. If yes, pls confirm if this solution is better that proposing SAP BW for on premise and SF WFA for talent mgmt.

    Thanks,

    Godavari

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