Over the last couple of months I have received lots of questions from customers that want to integrate talent data from SuccessFactors talent modules into their SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse. In this blog I will inform you about the technical solution and the value add to your business.
SAP Data Services
In order to set up extraction from one data warehouse to another Data Integration software is required. Therefore, I will start with a brief explanation of the data integration solution SAP offers.
SAP Data Services delivers a single solution for data integration, data quality, data profiling, and text data processing. This solution that allows to integrate, transform, improve, and deliver trusted data to critical business processes.
The Data Services platform provides one development workbench, metadata repository, data connectivity layer, run-time environment, and a management console. With SAP Data Services, IT organizations can use one single solution to gain access to heterogeneous sources and applications in order to extract data and optimize their data quality.
Predefined SuccessFactors adapter
Within this SAP Data Services platform we offer predefined adapters that serve as a connection between data sources. One of these sources is SuccessFactors. With Data Services 4.1 Support Package 1 a standard SuccessFactors adapter is delivered. This adapter connects to the SuccessFactors API (SFAPI) entities that contain the data. To establish this connection a SFAPI is leveraged as a data source.
The following image shows the jobserver with the established adapter for SuccessFactors.
This adapter connects to the SFAPI entities and allows extraction via the Successfactors application layer into the SuccessFactors database layer to bring data into the SAP Data Services Designer. This data can be used as a source or a target in a Data Services dataflow. This means that data potentially can flow bi-directional.
The following image shows such a data flow that connects between the SFAPI entity and a database table.
When data should be extracted from the cloud modules into the on-premise data warehouse this adapter enables a direct connection to the SFAPI entities and allows data extraction. Data can be extracted into either SAP HANA tables or in the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW). When extracting data into BW, please read the following wiki page: http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/EIM/Loading+BW
One of the features of Data Services is data extraction via job scheduling. This means that jobs can be set up that extract data from the cloud data warehouse. These jobs can be scheduled as often as required.
More information about SAP Data services and the SuccessFactors Adapter:
- The SFSF adapter is mentioned shortly in the What’s New guide: http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sboDS41/en/sbo411_ds_whats_new_en.pdf
- The technical documentation is part of the Integrator’s Guide: http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/sboDS41/en/sbo411_ds_integrate_en.pdf
As discussed I have talked to several customers about the desire to extract data. Based on these conversations we have formulated two main use cases.
- Consolidated HR Analytics
- Cross enterprise Analytics
Consolidated HR Analytics
Before I explain how consolidated HR Analytics in an on-premise data warehouse works I want to point out the capabilities of SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics. This solution comes with so much out-of-the-box content (much more as BW for HR offers), and standard integration from SAP HR into SuccessFactors. Therefore I advise all customers to first look into the powerful platform that SuccessFactors offers before building own integration on-premise.
That said, for those customers that desire to extract data with the purpose to obtain one consolidated insight across all HR business processes, BW currently provides the most out-of-the-box business content. SAP offers BW content for all HR modules, like time management, payroll, personnel administration, and even talent modules.
However, when extracting talent data from SuccessFactors modules it should be considered if it makes sense to use the predefined talent management infocubes in BW, or to build new ones because table fields between SAP and SuccessFactors do not map 1:1. Therefore, it might make sense to use SAP standard talent management BW cubes as an example, and to create customer specific content in BW. Ultimately, the way the cubes are defined depends on what business questions should be answered with this data.
After data is brought to BW it can potentially be visualized in the recently delivered SAP Executive HR reporting rapid-deployment solution and SAP Advanced HR Analysis rapid-deployment solution. These solutions allow custom specific data models (like the ones that need to be created to integrate the Talent management data) to be included. This approach delivers a dedicated HR cockpit for executives and HR business partners. Directly from this cockpit HR business partners can deep-dive into the underlying data to explore data in greater detail and to support fact based HR decisions.
Cross enterprise Analytics
Most organizations still run finance, manufacturing and other business processes on-premise. Extracting data from the cloud Talent modules into the same on-premise Business Warehouse allows organizations to combine and use HR data with those other business processes. This provides great opportunities. One of the examples is the use of cross enterprise metrics in balanced score cards to provide one clear executive overview about the strategic direction of the organization.
Customers that desire to go one level further, and need more advanced data exploration tools, can use SAP Predictive Analysis and SAP Visual Intelligence. Benefit of having data from cross enterprise processes present in one database is that these solutions will point out correlations and predictions that could not have been discovered with the bare eye.
As discussed the established connection between SAP Data Services and SuccessFactors is set up via the SFAPI. When customers consider extracting data into on-premise data warehouses they should contact their SuccessFactors support representative to inquire support options and documentation. The support representative can inform about the different entities and provide information that will help to configure the extraction.
I’m interested in your feedback on this functionality!