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Author's profile photo Former Member

How SuccessFactors Customers Complete a Workforce Analytics Implementation in Just 100 Days

Not too long ago my colleague Jean-Bernard Rolland provided an overview of SAP’s offering for Workforce Planning and Analytics, and SAP Mentor Luke Marson penned a blog on Analytics in SAP HCM Talent Management and SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics, which is part of a very informative four-segment series on Analytics for Talent Management. And Solution Owner Frans Smolders always provides a useful perspective, especially with his blog, what is the customer benefit for using the new standard integration functionality for SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics.

Our value proposition is one of the main themes of these blogs, namely SAP and SuccessFactors’ ability to deliver quick time to value among our analytics applications. You hear that phrase a lot in the field. In this entry, I would like to provide transparency into what quick time to value really means, specifically for SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics in terms of expectations for scope of the project, implementation timeline and resource requirements.

What’s typically delivered at the beginning?

Our Core Workforce and Mobility Data Analytics module makes up the foundation of SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics, and is the basis of the implementation. It is also the first level of value to be delivered, providing the building blocks of the analytics framework.  The workforce and its movements are accurately defined and can be reported and analysed using the power of the application suite.   The implementation timeline is based on a single HRIS source system, and additional time is budgeted if a customer requires data to be sourced from additional systems.

100 days to accurate workforce analytics

100 days? Really? 

Really! This figure was not fabricated by our marketing department because they told us that’s what customers want to hear. Rather, it is based on our domain knowledge and efficiencies developed over hundreds of completed analytics projects. The 100 days figure reflects achievable timeframe expectations set for our customers by our implementation teams. It also helps that our Workforce Analytics application is agnostic of the source HR system.  In fact, we have delivered workforce analytics for just about every possible system of record, from major enterprise systems to Excel.  Our most common source systems include SAP, Oracle (E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Taleo), IBM (Kenexa/Brass Ring), Lawson and ADP. With such experience, we can receive data from any system; if you can extract it, we can use it.

Furthermore, customers can shorten this timeframe by simply providing timely and complete responses to requests for information from the implementation team.  The quicker a customer can respond to our work items and questions the faster we can deliver the next milestone.  As an example of rapid implementations where customers have been able to turnaround their tasks promptly resulted in project completion in as little as 9 weeks!  Customers that have significant competing workloads or difficulty in getting attention from internal resources may see implementation timelines that extend by the same amount of time as the delays incurred.  Our 100 days figure provides enough padding to allow for reasonable internal processes.  In all cases, we support our customers at every step of the implementation to minimize delays and deliver the project as fast as possible. 

The implementation process


A week-by-week preview of an implementation

Week 1: Welcome call and introduction to the implementation process. Our customer is provided a data questionnaire that outlines basic data sourcing and initial business logic. A demonstration site is provided to allow the customer to begin familiarising themselves with the product.

Week 2-3: Customer completes the data questionnaire.  A draft analytics specification is completed from the questionnaire by SuccessFactors.

Week 3: Detailed session held, usually onsite, to review data sourcing for specification and conduct the strategic kick off. 

Week 4: Updated specification document is provided along with any customised extraction scripts to the customer.  The extraction is reviewed and implemented by the customer.

Weeks 5-6: The customer delivers the dataset to SuccessFactors. Our technical teams then audit the data against the specification and check for known data issues that may cause problems in delivering accurate metrics.  Any issues are worked through with the customer’s guidance. Resolution usually takes the form of updated logic, or updated extraction scripting.  The audited specification is agreed to as the scope of the project and an updated set of data can be provided to SuccessFactors for the technical build.

Weeks 7-9: Our analytics data model is built by the Information Services (IS) team.  All the data comes together to form a holistic and historically accurate view of each person’s career within the organization.  All the pieces of the core workforce and mobility metrics package are provided and this model serves as the foundation for the integration of future sources. We have at this point defined the workforce for our analytics framework.

Week 10: The IS team provides to the customer a detailed set of discrepancy reports. These reports cover all the persons that are counted or not counted in our model, and compares to the count expected by the customer. These discrepancies result in either logic changes to our model or they highlight problems within the system of record and/or how the customer has been measuring their workforce. 

Week 11: Logic changes as a result of discrepancy process are implemented and processed.  A new set of discrepancies are delivered for review and approval.  The data is approved for publication to our review site.

Week 12-13: Final site configuration takes place and the analytics solution is published to the web for the first time, this is our beta site publication. The customer now has the opportunity to use the power of the application to view, analyze, and report on their workforce using our core workforce and mobility metrics library.

Week 14: (100 days): An onsite session with our customer is held to cover:
  • Site navigation training
  • Initial role and user configuration
  • Review the beta site and work through any configuration issues.
Week 14-16: Any beta site issues are resolved and updated data arrives to start the regular refresh cycle.  The beta site is approved to production status. 
Who should be involved?


To complete any project on time and on budget, it is important that the right resources are available, and proper sponsorship is in place to support the hard decisions. The availability and attention of the following resources from our customer are key to successfully completing the implementation of SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics in 100 days:

  • The Executive Sponsor (approximately 6 hours’ commitment) is the primary executive advocate for the human capital measurement capability at
    the organization. This person may not be involved in the day to day project management over the course of the year, but his or her engagement and
    sponsorship will be critical to the successful implementation of the dashboard and other tools (such as reports) among the user population.
  • The Project Manager (approximately 97 hours’ commitment) is the person within the organization who is responsible for the ongoing progress
    of the company’s human capital measurement capabilities within the organization. This person will work closely with the SuccessFactors consultant and project manager assigned to the project to ensure both strategic and operational goals are met.
  • The HR Analyst (approximately 134 hours’ commitment) is the primary resource for workforce data interpretation and will need to be familiar with the Human Resource system, its data structures and business rules.  This role will also include other activities such as data verification and user testing.
  • The IT Analyst (approximately 23 hours’ commitment) is the primary resource for data extraction and transfer activities.

From the success SuccessFactors side, there are three persons who guide the customer through the implementation:

  • The Practice Manager assures of timely resource availability and performance, acts as senior escalation point for members, and facilitates key steering
    group meetings. 
  • The Project Manager is responsible for managing all SuccessFactors activities on larger projects, including creation and maintenance of the project plan, monitoring project progress,  risks and issues, and guiding customer on planning and resourcing.
  • Finally, the Technical and Strategy Consultants provide process and application expertise and best practices, helping to define and refine requirements and application  configuration, and training the trainers, administrators and reports team.

What happens after 100 days?


Going-live is just the beginning. As you feel more comfortable using the application and extend insight and value to management in your organization, you can start to consider additional metrics packs as defined by subject area.  Commonly packs include compensation planning, performance management, employee surveys, payroll and benefits, and finance.  Each pack takes an additional 6-8 weeks to deliver and is integrated with Core Workforce and Mobility.


Customization of the analytics model can occur at any time.  The SuccessFactors Information Services team that manages the technical solution never leaves the project and is available to create new metrics, new analysis dimensions, and change business logic as required.  Requested changes are scheduled into our configuration cycles and delivered with each refresh of the data set.


Welcome to the club


The SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics model provides more than just a toolset to bring together data and aggregate numbers; it provides a method of measurement and governance for HR and line of business.   With a common method of collection, and measurement we provide a true platform for benchmarking where each participant can rely on the data presented being as accurate as their own.  Measurements are taken at the same time, under a common interpretation, repeatable and accurate through history. Create, measure, and adjust your initiatives then compare to the relative performance
of other industry peers.  Customers share in the collective knowledge and experience of our strategy and information services teams, our extensive library of metrics, and our continuous product evolution.


The journey begins with the first 100 days, or less.

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      Author's profile photo J. Pazahanick
      J. Pazahanick

      Enjoyed this article as it was filled with information....good job.  Just curious if there are any reference customers who have done an SF Workforce Analytic's implementation using what you outlined above.

      Would be great to have some customers tell this story at HR2013 and SuccessConnect as well.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks Jarret.  The implementation process i've outlined has been in effect for many years, it is basically our standard operating procedure for new customers.  Our toolsets and capabilities may have changed over the years but this approach has been proven to give the customer enough time, and support to successfully work through each milestone and have confidence in the delivered software and analytics. 


      I'll pass on the suggestion to have a customer speak to the process and their experiences.

      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson

      Hi Chris,

      Great blog and thanks for the mention - I really appreciate it. This blog gives a great insight into how a project works for this solution and also what role SuccessFactors plays. I think Workforce Analytics is a really strong solution for customers, especially for SAP customers because of new real alternative solution that doesn't rely on having other applications implemented already.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Julien Quester-Semeon
      Julien Quester-Semeon

      Hi Chris.

      Great job in summarizing the Implementation Process.

      SF Workforce Analytics and Planning team has done a wonderful job, not only injecting knowledge in the tools themselves, but also in the documentation that supports the implementation. As an instructor for Internal and Partner Trainings for WFAP Implementation,  I was impressed by the quality of the templates used for the different steps of the implementation. The Specifications Document template is a great model of an implementation accelerator, gathering tons of knowledge and years of experience in a central document.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Chris,

      First of all its a very good blog. I would like to know what components are essential for the data transfer between SAP and Successfactors. We are not planning to buy the add-on 1.0. Is there any way we can do it just with FTP and no add-on.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Bharat,

      Yes, flat files over FTP is our most common data transfer solution.  We can provide basic ABAP scripts to extract from SAP to make the process relatively painless.  These scripts generally run out of the box but your IT team may need to make some changes to fit your configuration or to meet your organizations standards.   Data from other vendors or applications in your landscape is usually always transferred using flat files and ftp. 

      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson

      Hi Bharat,

      The add-on is a free component. You can find out more information about it here:

      SAP and SuccessFactors Talent Hybrid Packaged Integrations: an overview

      Best regards,