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As SAP released the second iteration of their Integration Add-on for SAP HCM and SuccessFactors – covered very well by Luke Marsons blog about the latest package and also the first version, can be found here and here – a few very obvious integration points are still missing. Don’t get me wrong, I very happy about what SAP already brought to the table and loving the fact they are focusing on getting integration to a process level, instead of just on a data level – excellent work! And also the package is free and requires no additional licenses shows commitment from SAP to ensure customers get integration in the cloud fast and cheap:)

The current integration support:

integration roadmap.png

Note: Borrowed from Prashanth Padmanabhans blog

Note: Not all of the integration are available just yet.

Currently SAP supports the basic employee data required to create employees and users in SuccessFactors,compensation process, recruiting – moving candidates to SAP and also indicating which positions are vacant in Recruiting, and some extraction reports for Workforce Analytics.

The next focus area for SAP is integration for Learning – where focus will be on skill and competencies, learner history, cost etc. With all of this done in little over a year, I sure SAP is going to provide a complete and comprehensive integration as time moves forward.

However I think they left out some integration points that are relevant for a lot of customers – I am sure SAP will come around to them, but before that customers should know about these points and how to get integration for these areas and make sure they account for them when planning to integrate SAP with SuccessFactors.

Also I think the idea of using web-services as the main (and only way for some of the integration points) way of integrating is a bit limiting for many customers. The file import/export is still a very used and proven solution for many customers. A file import/export is a robust solution, that’s easy to monitor and has been used a lot in SF. For a lot of people having instant transfer of Talent Management data is not high on the priority list for integration or a requirement – I have only experienced the requirement for instant transfer in the recruiting area and not in many other areas. So pushing web-service integration seems like push for more PI and potential over-complex integration, that does not need to be complex with additional sources of error and maintenance loads. It is definitely something that should be revisited and consider how customers can get maximum effect of the integration with as little effort as possible.

A few missing pieces of integration in the current release of the Integration Add-on:

So what are the additional areas SAP should think about adding support for as well – they might already be considering it:)

Extend Employee Information

File import to enable the transfer of additional employee data like social security number, nationality, former PDR scores, etc. The data imported here can be outcome defining in some processes.

Employee Background Data

File import to to enable the transfer of employee data like work history, education history, salary information etc. All of these data can be important and a foundation for processes like Pay-for-Performance or Succession and Development. Thereby becoming a key piece of information for performing decision based on relevant information and not guessing.

Position Import

Brings data support to Succession Planning processes and provide position information like title, owner of position etc.

Organization Import LMS

Transfer all relevant organizational data required to use SuccessFactors Learning Management. Without the data, its not possible to use LMS in a proper way or structure learning based on organizations.

Generally speaking all of the above integration points can be highly complicated to get started with for a customer to built themselves and easily take months to complete with defining the logic, building the file format and proper testing.

The overall challenge with the employee relevant integration is that it changes a lot depending on the customers requirements, however that could easily be supported using configurations options in the report: Adding/Naming of columns – which would be reflected in the exported file, logic for the extracted data could be supported by using BAdIs and an offering of predefined logics for fields like SSN, nationality, veteran etc. like in the current tool does for Employee Export/Import in the Integration Add-on – just add the option of adding your own columns.


The position and organization exports are fairly simple and provide a large impact compared to the effort required to built the integration, so in my opinion should have been part of release 1.0 or just be in the consideration of future integration points

EVRY, the consulting firm I work for, have designed a tool to support these cases – The SuccessFactors Integration Tool, can be found here.
The tool offers customer an additional tool to help maximize the effect of their integration between SAP and SuccesFactors. It is in no-way a replacement for the Integration Add-on, it’s add-on for the add-on 🙂 . The purpose is to help customer speedup the integration time, and get to that point where they can focus on getting their SF modules implemented and not the integration. The tool can be used as it is or used an accelerator just to get you moving on the integration.

Lets get the integration between SuccessFactors and SAP even better 🙂

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4 Comments

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  1. Luke Marson

    Hi Christian,

    Great first blog and I’m glad you’re putting your integration experience to good use. I agree that there are some gaps and I’ve forwarded your blog to SAP Solution Management for Hybrid solutions because I think there are some good use cases that you’ve described.

    I’m hoping that the forthcoming Learning integration will cover the gaps you highlighted. In addition, I hope that SAP deliver the Succession add-on next year that they are currently considering.

    Best regards,

    Luke

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    1. Christian Holst Post author

      Hi Luke,

      Thanks for the kind words – bit nervous about releasing my first blog:)

      Excellent! That was exactly the sort of reactions I was hoping for – we need to get the integration as complete as possible, so there are not nasty surprises for the customers 🙂

      It is a comprehensive integration that SAP is bringing out for Learning, but it does not look like, from what I have seen, that they are bringing the support for org. data, which is a shame! The org. data is the foundation for being able to design structured learning and access control.

      Cheers

      Christian

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  2. Yannick Peterschmitt

    3.

    Hi Christian

    Thank a lot for the very thorough analysis of the iflows for the talent hybrid integration, much appreciated. It is great to see that guys like you really spend the necessary time to go through it and provide us with such feedback.

    I’d like to add a couple of comments:

    –          – As you stated, extensibility of interfaces is essential to every projects. This is why SAP and SuccessFactors integration strategy is technically supported by middleware like SAP NW PI and SAP Hana Could Integration that help customer grow and adopt the standard.

    –          – As always, the best complement to a standard integration is a strong service organization and I am sure that EVRY will be able to help many customers

    –          – The recruiting integration is closed, see more details here http://scn.sap.com/community/erp/hcm/blog/2013/07/24/sap-and-successfactors-talent-hybrid-model-what-lies-ahead-plus-a-few-small-hidden-jewels . We will post the new chart and a updated blog asap.

    –          – I’d be happy to talk with on your current project. Feel free to reach out to me.

    Thanks, Yannick

      

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    1. Christian Holst Post author

      Hi Yannick,

      Thanks for the feedback and great comments.

      I am sure that the use of PI or Hana Cloud will prove to be powerful tool for the integration between the two, but currently I think it is a bit of a push for something that is not a requirement.

      I will get in contact together with a current client, and share a few key points 🙂

      Again thanks!

      Cheers

      Christian

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