Skip to Content

When HANA met Employee Central on the Cloud

No it’s not a movie, although the title is inspired by the classicIt is a reality that SuccessFactors and SAP teams jointly as one “family” have been working on together to make happen, and that is – extending the SuccessFactors experience by configuration and code, while using HANA as your in-memory database for the new business functionality on the Cloud Platform.

Björn and Aiaz have issued clarification in their respective blogs (here and here) about the Platform evolution in light of the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Here we announce the next level of details, focusing on the use cases as an open extension platform for SuccessFactors. SAP HANA Cloud Platform would allow you as a customer to quickly build and integrate custom apps that connect you better with your employees on SuccessFactors.  And as a first step, we focus on extending the Employee Central functionality.

Why Custom Apps as Extensions

We start first with the market view and the need for custom developments.  The US Department of Labor estimates 30% increase in software development jobs – more than double the average increase for all other jobs.  Custom apps are emerging as a competitive edge for companies, extending and moving beyond the “best practices” in enterprise software customers run today.  And with the mass availability of PaaS, companies can focus on delivering innovation and value, not purchasing and maintaining infrastructure for custom software solutions.

When talking with the SuccessFactors colleagues, it was interesting to get their application perspective on extensibility.  These are the key points on why they find it beneficial for their customers to leverage SAP HANA Cloud Platform:

SF Value Prop.png

And why we in the platform team are excited about this opportunity to serve customers is quite simple:

  1. Employee Central (EC) is the new face of Human Capital Mgmt, and we actually believe that together with Jam they have the potential to impact the enterprise world in the way Facebook did for consumers
  2. The success of Facebook is largely due to an amazing platform, extension aspects and ecosystem behind.  We would love to prove much of that to SuccessFactors customers and partners
  3. And as Thomas Otter puts it well in his blog: “More broadly, HCM technology is the most dynamic place in application software now. What happens in HCM today will shape enterprise applications for the next 20 years.”

What to Expect in the Offering

Now let’s talk business and see what’s new in this overall offering:   

  • First, we are packaging the value-add capabilities in two, commercial Editions (Standard and Enterprise) and offer one trial Developer Edition.  We are in process of enhancing the existing dev trial license with Employee Central demo / trial system, and include a Starter App as demo showcase for the integration. The Dev Edition is great for EC customers and partners to play around and see the potential value.
  • In the Standard Edition, we are offering an entry level scope of capabilities to run up to 3 custom apps / modules with integrated shared services like SSO, Theming, Navigation, and Data Access.  The HANA storage we allocate for productive usage depends on the total number of subscribed users and increases variably.
  • In the Enterprise Edition, we are offering a substantial scope to run up to 10 custom apps / modules.  The HANA storage per user is 3 times bigger than the limits set in the Standard Edition.  We add UI flexibility with advanced set of the Cloud Portal offering for creating content and personalizing sites. Advanced APIs, services and tooling like extending mobility in your custom apps are part of this package.
  • The Metadata Framework (MDF) extension capabilities of Employee Central will be also available in these Editions, especially for customers going over their allotment of space received for MDF as part of the standard license of EC.  In addition, customers can take full advantage of the integrated value coming from bridging MDF with SAP HANA Cloud Platform.
  • The Starter App shows immediate business value and serves as our integration scenario for what a custom app could look like across all the Editions.  In the Standard and Enterprise Editions, the customer can actually run the app productively, and use it to jump-start more custom apps. More on this in the upcoming blog(s).
  • Lastly, we want to offer a user based, subscription pricing for extending EC with HANA Cloud Platform. Today, the PaaS pricing on the market is focused on the number of technical resources and bits-and-bytes consumed, starting from CPU power, number of VMs, bandwidth… That doesn’t go well with customers who are used to think in simple terms of apps and users.  Therefore we are adapting the PaaS pricing to the market we want to serve.


When and Where

SuccessFactors and SAP teams wanted to announce the overall direction this week at SAPPHIRE NOW 2013, and also next week at the SuccessFactors Connect conference.  This would help us in getting early feedback from customers and partners.  In parallel, we are working on finalizing the commercial and product aspects.  We believe to be ready by early Q3 to onboard our first joint customers on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Hi Filip,

    Really exciting news!

    This is exactly what I have been looking forward to for the last few months.

    I am really hoping that the developer licence will be at $0 as per SAP HANA Cloud PaaS at the moment.

    Having already built an application that runs on SAP HANA Cloud that pulls in data from SuccessFactors leveraging the SFAPI I know how powerful a solution this could be. I really am excited to hear about the new licencing options which will make reselling such a solution so much easier (as long as they are reasonable!)

    Please do let me know more details when you have them, I'll be at SuccessConnect in Sydney next week, but unfortunately not in Orlando this week.



    • What will be very interesting is if this developer edition and access to a dev EC environment including MDF access will be available to non-SuccessFactors/SAP Cloud Partner Edge Partners. That in itself would be a huge change-up.

      I look forward to finding out more next week.



    • Hi Chris,

      Thank you for the enthusiasm in this topic! 

      Yes, you are correct.  We will have a Trial edition that comes at no cost for Developers and customers IT to see and feel the value of the platform extensions.

      We will do our best to address the access to non SF / Partner Edge. In general, we believe we should enable large and boutique partners to equally participate in building custom apps on SAP HANA Cloud. We will make sure to lower the entry barrier and grow the ecosystem.

      Next week in Sydney we have our SF colleagues covering the event, and there will be one keynote from Aaron (the co-founder) that will be covering the PaaS / HANA angle. I will send a note internally for ppl to reach out to you and discuss f2f your use cases.

      Last but not the least, we should also meet-up remotely to discuss the technical aspects of the integration we have been working on.  As well as the business model for partners to offer their custom app(s) and services to end-customers.

      Cheers,  Filip

  • Hi Filip,

    This is a big win for customers looking to extend Employee Central functionality. Hopefully this will lead to a partner network of new applications and capabilities for Employee Central.

    I really hoping Chris Paine can get access to this to see what he can churn out 🙂

    Best regards,


    • Thanks Luke!

      I stumbled on your lengthy post on EC and BizX as I was searching to find any public reference on Metadata Framework (MDF).  And you were the top result, and I can only recommend to folks interested in SF to read your write up if they want an awesome product overview:

      You're right on - we are truly looking to spark a partner network of new apps for EC.  We believe with the Starter App + Kit, we show the way how easy and practically one can write a custom app for any use case.  We plan to write up more on this topic, and Krassi already pointed out to our leading example in his post below. 

      Any feedback you guys have from the field (business and technical) would be more than welcome to make the offering successful.

      Best regards,  Filip

      • Hi Filip,

        Thanks for the mention of my report! Coincidentally my next blog is going to be on the MDF. I'm hoping to start writing once my SAP PRESS manuscript is completed and submitted on Monday.

        I'll be in touch once I've thought more about this particular topic as I'm quite tied up at the moment with the book 🙁

        Best regards,


    • Darn it...  I thought nobody will notice 😉

      The prices have been omitted for couple of reasons.  One is that we are not commercially done with the entire exercise, and we are working towards closing the pricing details early Q3.  In general, pricing can be a sensitive topic at SAP.  So we decided to stick with the overall direction and the pieces we know we can and want to talk about.

      Stay tuned!