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HR Renewal 1.0 Feature Pack 4: Why did SAP introduce an own Workforce Viewer?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve read the very interesting blogs of Raja Sekhar Kuncham and Carrie Lande about the new Workforce Viewer functionality included in HR renewal 1.0 Feature pack 4.

Both blogs describe this as being very useful HTML5-based functionality integrated with many applications like Search, ESS, MSS and HR Administrative services. It helps the user to get an insight into where the object (OrgUnit/Position) or the person is located within the organizational structure of the company.

SAP’s decision to implement our own workforce viewer has received very good feedback from customers who have implemented or validated HR renewal 1.0 FP4.

But this new functionality has also raised questions and left some customers puzzled. They asked us which functionality they should implement and if the workforce viewer replaces the embedded Adobe Flash component and/or the OrgChart Solution Extension, SAP Org Visualization by Nakisa.


With this blog, I will try to clarify the intention SAP had with introducing the Workforce Viewer with HR renewal 1.0 FP4.

First and very important information:

The Workforce Viewer is NOT intended to replace the Flash OrgChart or the list view SAP has implemented in HR renewal. And due to the functional scope of Workforce Viewer it is not meant to be a stand-alone Org Chart solution.

Our customers intensively use our employee and manager self-services and with the first wave of HR renewal 1.0, we introduced more easy-to-use functionality for the professionals. But, nearly all of the professionals are employees too, some also managers. So we have lots of overlaps between these roles.

Working with customers as part of our customer engagement initiative, we got the feedback that customers are looking for a harmonization of the look and feel of the UI’s for all these roles. A user should not necessarily recognize when he switches from an ESS service to a service of a professional. It should appear to be seamless to the user.

We really liked this idea and thought it is long overdue that we simplify and harmonize our UI’s. But the challenge was that there is much more the need for employees and managers using ESS and MSS to work with mobile devices like tablets and smart phones than it is for the professionals. And therefore Flash –which was embedded to visualize the organizational and reporting structure – faced some issues, especially with the rendering on mobile devices that don’t support Flash.

With our ESS/MSS delivery in FP4 and our Fiori concept we decided to bring more HTML5 based functionality to our customers. So it only made sense to take the decision to include a HTML5 based organizational visualization component which can be used in the area of ESS and MSS as well as for professional users.

With FP4 we introduced the landing page for ESS and MSS users and achieved our aim to harmonize the UI for the three roles we had in mind. And the Workforce Viewer is integrated into the lanes, accessible via Team view (MSS), My Info & Search (ESS), Organizational Favorites and Search (professionals).

Writing that, I think it makes it clear why SAP decided to introduce the HTML5-based Workforce Viewer that complements SAP’s idea to bring a renovated, “fancy”, easy-to- use UI to the customers.

But, I also understand the questions customer now have — which solution is the best for their needs, and what is the difference between all of them.

In my next blog my colleague Vijaya and I will focus on a comparison of the three options SAP delivers with their HCM solution.

So – stay tuned for more details on SAP’s options to visualize the workforce of a company…

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  • Hi Sylvia,

    To me at least, it's pretty clear. A flash based component of any kind has no place in a modern ui solution. The main reason being the need to consume via mobile device.

    Personally, I'd very much like the HTML based chart to be expanded to cover many more use cases, not just casual viewing.

    The future of ui consumption is mobile, the sooner our solutions support it, the less the pressure is to move to SaaS solutions which are already fully mobile capable.



    • Agree on all your points here and it is good to help customers get mobile by removing the Flash barrier to adoption. I'd also like to see more use of the OrgChart functionality and think a full organization viewer would bring a lot of value to customers.

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      I fully agree with you! And the current strategy of SAP is also focusing on mobile. With HR renewal we will get much more of our HR content with HTML5 - like it now started with the Workforce Viewer but also ESS/MSS content like payslip, leave request/approval...

      Best regards, Sylvia

      • Hi Syliva,

        Yes, with all the HCM Fiori "apps" as well there is definitely a much greater part of ESS and MSS activities that can be carried out with a mobile device.

        It is great to see SAP investing effort in this space.

        And please keep the blogs coming, it's great to get these sort of clarifications.



  • Hi Sylvia,

    Thanks for the blog and it's good to see that SAP are aiming to make the OrgChart more accessible for customers via the web and mobile without relying on Flash. Strategically I can see why you wouldn't produce a full OrgChart, since there is the SOVN OrgChart offering available plus complimentary products in the SOVN suite like OrgModeler. However, although there is a place for a standalone OrgChart, many customers do not see the full value an OrgChart can bring when they are weighing up the license and implementation costs. Introducing a full OrgChart into ESS would help those customers get true value from having a complete picture of the organization available to all.

    One thing I hear from SuccessFactors Employee Central customers is the value that having an OrgChart brings and, quite often, it's not something that they feel should be a paid-for extra or luxury item.

    Best regards,


    • Plus one on the being included as part if suite. It is sometimes difficult to believe that a more fully featured org charting solution isn't part of the single license costing for ESS users.

      Sure there is some historic reasons why.

  • Sylvia,

    Thanks for the blog - I'd been waiting for it, although I still have a couple of questions ...

    You do state that it is NOT a replacement for SOVN OrgChart because of it's functional scope.  Can you give any more insight into whether the roadmap for the workforce viewer will include a "full" org chart solution and if so, how this will impact the relevance of SOVN OrgChart to customers.

    Also, given SAP's approach to HTML5, in what timescale do you expect to see a HTML5 version of all the SOVN/STVN modules? I am obviously aware that their most recent product, OrgHub for Mobile, does utilise HTML5.



    • Hi Stephen,

      thanks for your feedback and for your questions. Think many of the readers here will have the same.

      There is no roadmap to enhance the current functionality of the Workforce Viewer with a "full" OrgChart at the moment.

      So customers will still need a full OrgChart solution to use the comprehensive functionalities like print/export/embedded analytics and so on.

      Regarding your second question: We are currently discussing the future roadmap with our partner Nakisa, so I think we will spread an answer to your question very soon.

      Best regards,


  • We updated ESS/MSS to EHP5 but opted to forego the Adobe Flash team viewer as we have no desire to build in a dependency on another third party product, and one that is notorious for needing regular security fixes. Instead we've made do with the WebDynpro ABAP list views of the team.

    I'd welcome a fully functional html5 team viewer to provide improved visualisation while using defined standards to avoid additional compatibility problems.

    • Hi George,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      I really think the team view with our HTML5 Workforce Viewer will  be a benefit for employees and managers, also the possibility to start processes directly out of the chart.

      Of course - as also mentioned in other comments - for a full OrgChart solution some functionality is missing...

      Best regards,


  • Good article, like Raja's on the same topic. We did face issues with the flash component in the past, particularly with the speed of rendition. Compatibility was another major roadblock, as customers wanted to use iPads.

    To add to these, there was no service in ESS to view the org chart unless the full Nakisa OrgChart was licensed. MSS could still use the Embedded Org Chart without extra license but from EhP5 onward, no employee search or who's who was made available in ESS.

    So this comes as a great solution from SAP. A step in the right direction.




    Excellent blog extraordinary information on this new feature FP4  and Workforce viewer ...but  I am struggling to install this all new features ....all the best to me 😆




  • Great work Sylvia

    Very Informative.. Infact we are also confused with new technologies.. on which we need to stick on.. I'm waiting to view Vijaya's blog too. how she defines the comparison of 3 options which SAP has delivered for HCM solutions. It would be gr8 if she can add more on SF too.

    Cheers 😉


  • Hello Sylvia,

    Thanks for this clarification.

    Do I understand it well, that SAP is delivering standard SAP UI5 solutions on ESS & MSS scenario's via 2 ways:

    • via the business functions in HR Renewal (included in core?)
    • via Fiori (separate licenses)

    Or are these the same apps?

    Thanks for your feedback in advance,


    • Hi Barbara,

      You are right, there are two different kind of UI5 solutions available. We have some UI5 scenarios within HR renewal, like leave request, leave approval, pay slip... and there are also some fiori apps for HR like My leave requests, My timesheet, leave request approval...

      The difference between them is, that fiori is focussing on small, smooth and easy to understand functionality for smartphones and tablets, so there is less functionality and less configuration (e.g. there is no team calender available for leave request and approval within fiori)...

      Hope that helps,

      BR, Sylvia

        • Hi Barbara,

          sounds good 😉

          Please be aware - in HR renewal we avoid to call it apps (as this is used to be used for mobile applications).

          The UI5 scenarios we deliver for ESS and MSS within HR renewal are mostly designed for desktop usage.

          BR, Sylvia

  • Thank you, Sylvia,

    for your excellent blog. Since September last year, things might have changed. That's why I kindly ask you whether there will be any simulation / modeling functionality in future versions of the workforce viewer and/or in Success Factors.

    We're keeping the Nakisa SOVN in our BoM and system landscape for a new project and this will have the know effects on the platform strategy, just because of the simulation / modelling features.

    Thanks again and kind regards,


    • Hi Wolfgang,

      thanks for your feedback!

      To answer your question I must say I can only speek for Workforce Viewer at the moment and will ask a colleague about SFSF. I will come back to that asap.

      For Workforce Viewer there are no further enhancements planned in the next Feature Packs of HR renewal. The purpose of Workforce Viewer still remains the same. It is meant to be a tool to get an overview of the workforce, to get some more details on the object the user is working with, and to start processes directly out of the Organizational chart. But it still isn't a replacement neither of Nakisas OrgChart nor Nakisa OrgModeling.

      Hope that helps... as promised I will add SFSF asap...

      Best regards,


      • Thanks a lot, dear Sylvia,

        for your fast response! It would be a pity that we cannot get rid of the Nakisa OrgChart or OrgModeling... Even though there are no future enhancements are plannd, it might be of great help at our customers.

        Thanks as well for your investigation regarding SFSF!

        Kind regards,

        • Hi Wolfgang, hi Sylvia,

          Would it be possible to somehow extend this standard Workforce Viewer to accomodate business requirements?

          Does SAP provide some BAdI, extension points, and so on... for the same?

          Best regards,