Looking back 12 months at SuccessFactors Employee Central and the February 2014 (1402) release
SuccessFactors Employee Central has made large strides over the past year. The Employee Central Product Management team has done an excellent job listening to customers and this has accelerated Employee Central to become a true global HRIS. In addition, the roadmap for 2014 and beyond is rich with many new features to further enrich the Employee Central capabilities.
In this blog I will take a look at some of the key developments that have catapulted Employee Central to the forefront of the leading SaaS core HR systems. The intent of this article is not to provide a catalogue of Employee Central features, but to examine the key product enhancements and their benefit to customers and the solution as a whole.
Key Feature Highlights
There have been advancements in key functional areas of the product such as Position Management, Global Assignments, Time Off functionality, and Extensibility. As promised, the Metadata Framework (MDF) and its rule engine have been further enhanced with more configuration options to allow customers to meet any of their unique business requirements.
A key area of interest for me has been the pace at which Employee Central has come to offer the solution for 68 countries in 37 languages. This has seen a distinct upward trend in adoption of the solution by global customers, particularly those looking to replace SAP ERP HCM and PeopleSoft.
Anyone who has managed global mobility of employees will understand the importance of positions being linked to assignments in both home and host countries. Employee Central now allows customers to manage global mobility with ease by integrating between Position Management and Global Assignment and also delivering standard workflows.
The delivery of country specific fields on the Position object has resulted in a more streamlined Position Management model that empowers customers with more comprehensive country specific reporting and compliance. By using the MDF Rules Engine, customers can now create rules for an employee’s right to return to the position. For example, if right to return is enforced on a position, the system will auto assign the employee to the original position upon return even if the position may have been filled by a temporary resource in the interim. This helps customers in FTE management and position budgeting, not to mention preventing an excessive inventory of temporary positions.
In addition customers have witnessed significant developments in Employee Central Payroll and its integration with Employee Central. Employee Central Payroll now supports 27 countries and UI mash-ups are available for 15 of those countries.
Mobility received special focus and thus enhanced the accessibility of Employee Central transactions. Time Off was added to BizX Mobile for Apple devices and mobile-enabled workflows were introduced for the following transactions:
- New Hire
- Job Information
- Employment Change
- Compensation Change (Recurring and Non-recurring)
- Time Off
- Leave of Absence
February 2014 release highlights
The first release of 2014 in February has been invigorating for any Employee Central consultant to say the least. What follows are the areas that I am seeing as high impact features for customers that require a truly global core HRIS.
Position Management: Until now customers using Position Management could not maintain matrix relationships on positions and had to manually maintain the job relationships if a supervisor changed for any reason (such as hire, transfer, termination etc.). Customers who were interested in the Position Management functionality saw this as a roadblock.
Now, customers can maintain relationship types at the position level and these relationships can be inherited by the job. This provides a huge benefit to organizations, especially during mass organizational changes. It also builds a stronger business case for organizations to consider Position Management and use the insights provided for position budgeting and overall workforce planning.
Workflows: Employee Central provides robust workflow functionality. You can find more details on the mechanics of workflows in this SAPexperts article by Luke Marson (subscription required). Until now, the workflow approvers and participants that are assigned to a workflow were configured when setting up the workflow. Dynamic Roles and Dynamic Groups provide some flexibility, but not enough for business scenarios that involve exception handling or manual intervention.
Now, it is possible for an approver to delegate a workflow to an employee who can then act as the approver of the workflow. For example, when the approver does not have enough information to approve or reject a workflow and needs more information from another employee who is currently not an assigned approver.
A long awaited feature was the ability to have workflows for Foundation Objects. This is now possible for effective dated Foundation Objects. This enables organizations to extend the system administrative permissions to a larger group and monitoring it simultaneously since the creation of new organizational entities can now go through an approval process.
Additional mobile-enabled workflows are now available for the Personal Info Change/Personal Global, National ID Change, Address Change, and Job Relationships Change transactions.
Employee Central Payroll: Argentina and South Korea are the 2 new countries supported by Employee Central Payroll from the February release.
There have been enhancements in the payroll issue monitor. In the event that an employee record is locked (due to maintenance in Employee Central Payroll) or the Payroll Area is locked (owing to a payroll run), then the system attempts a re-replication of the locked employee data. The frequency of this replication is pre-determined but can also be modified using Configure Business Rules as shown in the screenshot below.
Replication from Employee Central to Employee Central Payroll only supports standard fields. However, because the Pay Scale Group and Pay Scale Level fields found in the SAP pay structure are not in Employee Central, changes have been made to support replication of custom fields in Employee Central for the Pay Scale Group and Pay Scale Level.
Upgrade Center: There have been major enhancements in the Upgrade Center so that it can now accommodate legal changes for customers based on their needs. Contrary to SAP, Employee Central now provides built in legal changes support for Employee Central, Employee Central Payroll, and other products of the SuccessFactors HCM suite. The two legal changes that were delivered in the February release are the standardization of IBAN (for the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and eSocial. SEPA will simplify financial transactions in the European Union and partner countries (impacting a total of 34 countries) while eSocial is an initiative in Brazil for social digital bookkeeping for payroll and labor, social security, and tax issues).
Integration: The integration between Employee Central and SAP ERP has seen further momentum. From this release there is now enterprise structure integration, which allows Business Unit, Division, and Department objects to be mapped back to SAP as Organizational Units in the organization structure. Additional capabilities for the Compound API have also been introduced, such as reading the single active record. More information on Employee Central to SAP ERP integration can be found in Heike Kolar’s Employee Central integration blog series.
The customer and consultant communities are definitely buzzing with the exciting roadmap of Employee Central and Employee Central Payroll. The 2014 roadmap invokes further confidence in the product’s ability to meet customer’s expectations. This is a clear sign of a true global core HRIS and alongside the developments in the SuccessFactors Talent solutions SuccessFactors now offer a complete end-to-end HCM suite that will only continue to get better.
You can find more details on the nuts and bolts of implementing Employee Central at my session Implementing SuccessFactors Employee Central: Business drivers, challenges, benefits, and lessons learned at HR2014 in Orlando, Florida. In addition, you can ask your Employee Central questions to Joachim Förderer, Luke Marson, and myself in the Answers to FAQs about SuccessFactors Employee Central panel discussion.