Skip to Content

Customers Influenced The Design Of Compensation Integration

The integration between SuccessFactors Compensation and SAP HCM was released on November 5, 2012. This is a very important integration for many reasons. It moves very critical salary and compensation allocation data between SAP and SuccessFactors. This is the first bi-directional integration and the first integration to use SAP NetWeaver PI On-Premise technology. My colleague Heike Kolar announced the release. SAP Mentor Luke Marson and Paul Hopkins discussed the integration and wrote a blog post documenting their discussion. Luke Marson also wrote a detailed post about the compensation integration.


Figure: Integration of SuccessFactors Compensation with SAP HCM

Many people including Bianka Woelke, my colleague from product management and Paul Hopkins, the owner of the compensation solution worked closely with many SAP SuccessFactors Hybrid customers to design the solution. I participated in the co-innovation sessions and got to know the pain points of compensation planners and managers first hand.

We learned many things. However there was one thing that particularly caught my attention. There are many customers who are apprehensive about a cloud application pushing data to their on-premise HR system. They suggested that we design the integration in a way that data transfer from the cloud system to the on-premise system is always initiated by an On-Premise SAP HCM administrator. My colleagues listened to the advice and designed the integration accordingly.

I believe this is a good example of how we are helping our customers make the move to the cloud while addressing their concerns and apprehensions about the cloud. Customer concerns may not always sound reasonable. But we understand that not everyone wants to change how they do things and move to an entirely new way of doing things. So we are making design decisions, such as the one that I pointed out above, to alleviate the concerns and apprehensions customers have about cloud applications. Co-innovation with customers has been working very well for the integration scenarios.

The hybrid approach has been received very well by our customers. SAP HCM customers are adopting talent management in the cloud readily. Along the way we are learning a lot about integrating on-premise and cloud solutions. Not all the lessons are technical. Some of the lessons are about government policy and company culture. It has been a good learning year for us.

This does not mean we know everything or that we are doing everything right. I am sure that there are things we could better or different. If you are a hybrid customer or partner, please let me know your thoughts. I will listen and do what I can.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Excellent tone to the article and love to hear first hand stories of SAP working with customers. On a side note I have seen Prashanth working with customers, via co-innovation first hand in past, and the engagement is extremely impressive on a number of levels.  When SAP works with customers on their offerings it typically is a win/win and I always encourage customers to take advantage of the opportunity when they have a chance.

    • Thanks Jarret. The compensation co-innovation sessions were run by Bianka Woelke and Paul Hopkins. It is always to pleasure to participate in their sessions. They are always well prepared, thorough and professional. The integration will reflect the effort they put into listening to customers and crafting a solution that meets their needs. If you have not listened to the roll out webinar by Bianka, please do so. I highly recommend it.

  • Thanks for this, it's important that the community feels involved in the process.

    My 2c:

    Data loaded from SuccessFactors should be a push from SuccessFactors after each comp plan is completed. However data should be pushed to the standard ECM infotypes not direct to payroll. This allows status tracking in both systems and allows reconciliation in SAP and use of standard transfer to pay process. Also means any standard solutions that read annual review data in on premise. Can continue to be used.

    Perhaps some of this are already happening 🙂 ? Still for companies like transfield that are going to remove salary data from SuccessFactors after comp process is finished having the onPremise system store this info in an easy to read form would be very helpful.



    • Hi Chris,

      thanks for the comment, I'd just like to comment on one thing:

      >Data loaded from SuccessFactors should be a push from SuccessFactors after each comp plan is completed. However data should be pushed to the standard ECM infotypes not direct to payroll

      The customers we worked with were very clear that this is NOT the way it should work: the data is "pulled" from SuccessFactors into SAP ERP HCM (the system of record, i.e. the "owning" system) when the customer decides to trigger this. Pull vs. push.

      You're right about the data not being pushed directly to the payroll infotypes, though, in fact the transfer is a two-step process: import data from SF to SAP ("pull"), then activate. It's only the activation step that updates the payroll infotypes. However, we do NOT make use of the ECM infotypes: I was keen to establish a more or less "all or nothing" approach to compensation here - either the customer is using ECM for compensation (and therefore ECM customising, ECM infotypes etc.) OR he is using SF for compensation (in which case we should not expect him to use ECM customising, infotypes etc.)

      Let me know if you'd like me to show you and/or transfield what we have done in detail, I'll be very happy to set up a "deep dive" session for you.

      Best regards


  • Along the way we are learning a lot about integrating on-premise and cloud solutions. Not all the lessons are technical. Some of the lessons are about government policy and company culture. It has been a good learning year for us.

    I like this attitude in that it shows that technical factors are not only the hurdles that hybrid environments often encounter.

    I hope that the lessons learned in this particular integration will somehow be passed on to others within SAP and the ecosystem performing similar tasks.

  • Hi Prashanth,

    This is a great blog and, having worked with Bianka and Paul, I know how thorough, passionate and pro-active they are. The customer engagement has been crucial in this process and shows how SAP's open-minded co-innovation program is helping develop solutions more tailored to the needs of customers. In particular I like how the integration has been done to avoid using part ECM/part SF - it's one or the other approach. This is offering customers value by avoiding "double configuration". It's interesting that real-time integration has been a big topic, yet this shows that real-time is not always needed. Maybe it's a clever marketing ploy, but either way it shows that various processes are unique from others and require customer intervention to create a robust solution that really meets the needs of customers.

    Best regards,


  • Hi Prashanth,

    it's nice to see how SAP works together with customers on improvements for the integration. There is a lot of communication regarding functionality and roadmap which is very good for outlook. Thanks for this.

    I have also read these very informative blogs about integration Add-On from Luke Marson and Heike Kolar. But one thing remains unclear for customers in a hybrid scenrio (SAP HCM on-premise): SAP recomends to use NW PI to benefit from preconfigureted content of integration Add-on but what is the solution if customers do Not have NW PI installed and if the Cloud PI isn't an option?

    On the other hand there are statements that the integration scenarios are delivered so they can be used with other middleware that supports Web Services and that customers can benefit from delivered integration content even without PI by using their own integration on their middleware. What does it mean in practical terms and how to achieve that? I mean, can you still benefit from delivered integration content of add-on for transferring of compensation or OM data even if you want to use your own middleware which supports Web-services? What are the components of integration package which have to be reimplemented or don't work within own middleware integration? Is there any loss of functionality? What is planed for this kind of customers and integration scenario?

    Could you please provide some more information on it?

    Thank you in advance!

    Best regards

    Zdzislaw Kaczmarczyk

    • Zdzislaw Kaczmarczyk If ERP customers do not have PI, they can get a PI license at no cost from SAP, to connect SAP with SuccessFactors. They will incur cost of hardware. So, they need to budget for hardware and installation work.

      If customers do not want to use PI, they can use the content we provide to connect SAP and SuccessFactors using any middle-ware technology of their choice. The most valuable part of the pre-packaged integrations is content mapping and testing to ensure that the content mapping is accurate and adequate. While middle-ware technology is necessary and important, it can be replaced with any other middle-ware technology.  I spoke to hundreds of SAP customers in the past few months about this. I came across more than 5 popular non-sap middle-ware technologies. Our goal is  not to force customers to use PI or any other SAP technology. Our goal is to accommodate any middle-ware technology that customers want to use. Our plan is to ensure that there is no loss of functionality, irrespective of the middle-ware technology used.