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Part 2: SuccessFactors Employee Central – What is unique about how SAP offers integration for SuccessFactors Employee Central?

SuccessFactors Employee customers need to rely on a robust integration of their HR data with other systems in their SAP ERP landscape. Often, there are 10+ other system to be integrated with HR data and typically 50+ (sometimes 100+) integration points – one or bi-directional – to be taken care of. These enormous integration needs for HR data show how important it is to take away the burden of integration from our customers and make their journey to the cloud as easy as possible.

Given the fact that SuccessFactors Employee Central customers can run a hybrid cloud and on-prem solution (and in some cases where they want to integrate with other cloud solutions), one could argue that interfacing between systems is something that everyone can do. The question then becomes, why is SAP better? The right answer to that question is that from an integration standpoint, SAP has a stake in all the solutions which creates a robust and valuable end-to-end scenarios across system borders. Owning the code is simply the key for doing it better.

From a business point of view, SAP’s intention is to support any cloud transition scenario and integrate within the pick-and choose portfolio customers have selected. Integration, the way that SAP delivers it, allows customers to continue to keep the benefits for their end-to-end business processes, such as performing accurate financial costing and profitability analysis and guaranteeing smooth workflows in all systems. The intellectual property prohibits access by others; SAP is the only one to deliver integration as part of the solution. Furthermore, all SAP HCM customers are eligible for the pre-packaged integration upon their maintenance contracts with SAP, which means a major portion of the integration costs are covered already as part of maintenance. Once implemented, SAP guarantees that the integration is compatible with any system upgrades and productive integration operations do not require any upgrading activities due to the changes in the connected solutions. Bottom line: leveraging SAP standard integration is the safest and best solutions for our customers.

Another way SAP integration offers differentiation by the integration features themselves. One of the central integration features is to send employee data from SuccessFactors Employee Central to SAP ERP. In SAP ERP the data is leveraged from the ERP mini master. This guarantees that integration configuration for data and process integration does not need to be reconfigured.

Example Employee Central to SAP ERP integration:

Employee data that used to be sent from SAP HCM and triggered workflow processing in connected SAP systems – such as a purchasing system – or travel management system – are now being sent from SuccessFactors Employee Central and only require leveraging the new SuccessFactors Employee Central to ERP employee data replication. The HR master data sent from SuccessFactors Employee Central feed the infotypes in SAP HCM, all Application Link Enabling (ALE) based configuration continues to work as before. The HR master data integration between SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP ERP compared to the ERP mini master concept offers additional value, among those as the most important one extensibility. This means that customers as well can add additional fields and transfer additional information as they need it per their processes (This feature is enabled via the foundation objects of EC). Customers can configure the rules engine to control the data transfer based upon the rules they define. Basically, data is transferred automatically from SuccessFactors Employee Central into the infotypes 0001 (org. data), 0002 (personal data), 0008 (basic pay). On the ERP side, to control the further processing of the data, IMG configuration offers flexibility to influence and extend the standard behavior.

The extensibility concept allows customers to build on a standard, but at the same time extend integration configuration if needed. Any extension that is made to the configuration is automatically recognized by the connected systems.

Example Employee Central to SAP Governance, Risk and Compliance (SAP GRC) integration (planned roadmap item):

Others can leverage the existing public interface between SuccessFactors Employee Central and GRC, based on the compound API features on the EC side and the access request public interface on the GRC side. An alternative concept it is planned to offer new interfaces that  improve the integration quality tailored to the requirements of SAP customers and ensure that standard integration is available for SAP customers.

By offering integration as part of the solution, customers can easily adapt and tailor our solutions to their needs. The technical integration shouldn’t be the primary focus; instead we should focus on the business value that the integration of HR data can enable in the connected systems. A few examples are:

  • Accurately matched employee and enterprise structure information enables efficiency in your production processes
  • Consistent organizational information throughout the entire organization enables overall security and efficient re-organization processes
  • Aligned reporting structures and approval rules allow for clear responsibility definition and smooth workflow processing throughout the entire system landscape

The list could go on and on.

In case you are further interested in the topic of SuccessFactors Employee Central integration with SAP ERP, please have a look at my other blogs or shoot me an e-mail:

Part 1: SuccessFactors Employee Central – An introduction to how SAP and SuccessFactors enable HR data to drive business processes

Part 3: SuccessFactors Employee Central – What is the integration roadmap & FAQ’s

Best regards,


Solution Manager – HCM Solutions, SAP AG

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  • Hi Heike,

    The intergation outlined above for me is a key advantage for SAP cusomters moving to SF cloud, as opoosed to Workday, etc. The ability to easily replicate employee data back to an ERP system is crucical for employees to continue to function in other ERp procesesses such as FI, CATS, maintenacne ordersm, etc. Having the employee data not only in EC-ECC Payroll, but also the main ERP Prodcution box witll be key selling to point to other parts of the business as HR tries to move more processes to the cloud.

    Key up the integration work please.


    • Hi Rob,

      many thanks for your comment. Good to get your confirmation our integration approach creates differentiation and can contribute significantly to sell our cloud solutions.

      Regards, Heike

  • First of all, Thanks for sharing this wealth of information in lucid terminology but still I have some doubts 😉 I have a confusion, does Employee Central has to be a hosted option(I can see its a cloud based Solution), What if the customer already owns SAP ECC, Can he still leverage Employee Central or its better to move towards UI5/ESS/MSS? Will they invest in On premise as opposed to cloud. Will also talk about Side by Side, for global customers it can be a good option! Is Employee Central meant only for HR administrators? I m seeing EC or EC Payroll is and mainly would be a Hosted option, how to you perceive it in near future?

    • Hii Siddharth,

      EC is a hosted solution which is hosted out of SF's data centers.For an organization a SAAS based product like EC is more economical, easier to maintain , has some great UI and is easily integrated to existing SAP on premise systems.It is upto the organization to make a decision based on their requirements whether to invest more in their on premise solution or move to the cloud .

      Employee central is a Global HRIS system so do not understand your question whether it is only for HR adminstrators. As more and more organisations move to a cloud based solution , you can take it that EC and EC payroll is the future as far as SAP HCM maybe concerned.



    • Hi Siddharth,

      like Harris stated, Employee Centrali s the cloud based solution for customers and prospects and as part of the entire SucessFactors HCM Suite is a complete HR solution for all roles, HR admins and refents, employees and line managers. The arguments why to move to the cloud are mentioned by Harris.

      The on-premise option is given with ECC and ESS/MSS.

      We see different scenarios,customers/prospects moving to cloud alreadyor - esp. global companies, mixing cloud based and on-premise based HCM in a so called side-by-side mode for various reasons, one being that a big bang move to the cloud is not their intention and hardly to manage.

      Regards, Heike

  • Hi Heike:

    Thanks for putting this blog together.  You have made a lot of very important points about integration. In my experience, due to the multitude of parties involved in establishing end-to-end integration solutions, they quickly become complex. By providing a solid integration standard, SAP provides the technical foundation as an integration foundation so the customer can focus on the business rules rather than the technology. Important to note as well is that this benefit stretches beyond the initial implementation into the support and upgrades.

    I have been recently involved in establishing the integration between a new global HCM Saas solution and multiple existing local SAP payroll systems. Basically, migrating and harmonizing the data from the local SAP paryoll systems into the new global environment (as the global master). Then, ongoing, integrating the global data back into the existing local payroll systems.

    As you can imagine, there are several factors to address in this scenario: loss of local detail during data migration due to harmonization, preserving local history, data validation differences between global and local, shared data maintenance for certain structures and the impact of backdated data changes on payroll.

    Next Tuesday, SAP is hosting a webcast ("Boehringer Ingelheim Has Found the Key to Managing Complex Data") in which Boehringer Ingelheim will be sharing their HR data integration experience. They have used the SAP Application Interface Framework to complement the standard SAP HR integration technology and address the challenges listed above.

    Looking forward to part 3 of the blog and would love the opportunity to exchange some thoughts about the AIF approach and see how this can add value to the cloud transition for existing SAP payroll.



    • Hi Frank,

      thanks for your feedback, sharing your experience and insights from your end. As well thanks for the information about the upcoming webcast.

      Regards, Heike

  • Heike,

    Excellent post. Very nice to get a nice perspective on Integration issues without the associated tech jargons.

    Currently SAP SFSF integration is through 3 options: a) Dell BOOMI ; b) SAP XI/PI; c) SAP HCI.

    I am given to understand that Dell BOOMI has multiple pre delivered iFlows whereas for SAP XI/PI and SAP HCI, it is less.

    Is there any pointers you can share on advantages & disadvantages comparison among these 3 options?



    • Venkat,

      I agree Heike has done excellent work putting all the integration points together.

      From architecture point of view SAP HCI integration considered for Cloud-to-Cloud Integration as it carries lots of advantage maintaining data. ( No Coding, No duplication of data, access MDF as shared service. create new or custom apps, etc) Saying that HCI not necessarily limited to Cloud-to-Cloud Integration to get the full advantages.

      It provides out-of-box connectivity across cloud and on-premise solutions. The newly introduced SuccessFators Application Adapter can be used to connect to the SF Cloud system. This SF Adapter supports delta sync extract scheduled to run at regular intervals. SF Adapter also supporting as a receiver channels use just not only the specified intervals can also be used on completion of other integration flow steps in the iFlow.

      SAP XI/PI considered for ERP systems and 3rd party integration with or without Boomi depends on the security and rooting requirements.

      Best Regards,


      • Hi Venkat and Murugun,

        the strategy as you, Murugun, describe it, is exactly the one we are following. Where SAPHANA Cloud Integration is a perfect tool to connect systems with at least one end being cloud, SAP Netweaver PI/PO is recommended to be used to connect on-premsie to on-premise. Dell Boomi comes into play as with the acquisition this was the standard integration technology, not to forget Boomi, now DellBoomi, was one of the very early tools out to support an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offeringand is a robust and proven tool. We also do not forget that customers might use other integration technologies and are open for their choice.

        Regards, Heike