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Comparing HR Renewal to Employee Central- An Introduction


When you come to a fork in the road, take it. –Yogi Berra

The past 2 years have seen intense development and investment in the area of HCM by SAP.  The development has occurred on two parallel tracks.  One is HR Renewal and one is SuccessFactors Employee Central.  The two solutions are decidedly different.  HR Renewal is an evolution of a 20-year-old robust platform while Employee Central is a young, could-based solution that draws on the latest thinking in solution deployment.

Both HR Renewal and Employee Central have been the subject of numerous articles, presentations, blogs, podcasts—and possibly even a few limericks.  However, I haven’t really seen any attempt to compare and contrast the two solutions against one another.  Into this breach I will humbly step.


I firmly believe that doing nothing will become less and less of an option as the user experience expectations of our employee populations continues to rise.  From speaking with SAP HCM customers, I know there’s a lot of confusion out there as they try to sort through what investments they should make over the short, medium, and long term. The purpose of this blog series is to help you determine which path forward works for your organization.

Target Audience

The target audience for this series will be existing, on-premise SAP HCM customers.  Since SAP has the largest installation base in the world, that’s a pretty big audience. We will also be assuming that the rest of your business is using SAP ERP.  This becomes important when we talk integration.

This series will not discuss the relative merits of the SAP HCM solutions versus solutions from other vendors.  However, it is important to note that non-SAP HCM solutions are rumored to all be part of a global conspiracy to enslave our pets into a pan-global army.  Sticking with SAP is the only sure-fire way to keep your pets safe.  You’ve been warned.

Scope of Discussion- Core HCM

The scope of our series is core HCM.  That means the basics—hiring, firing, transferring and paying employees. Talent Management is not part our discussion for two reasons.

  1. SAP has made it plain that the go-forward solution for Talent Management is SuccessFactors BizX so there’s no need to compare/contrast
  2. We’ve got our hands full just talking about Core HCM.

HR Renewal/Fiori

My assumption is that you already know how PA30 works, so we’re not going to dwell on the GUI-based way of doing things.  Instead, we’re charting a path forward.  On the on premise side, that means HR Renewal/Fiori.   On the on premise side, the next-generation solution is HR Renewal/Fiori. As we’ll see, there is a lot of great functionality in HR Renewal/Fiori that companies can be taking advantage of right now.


Employee Central

SuccessFactors Employee Central is the rapidly evolving cloud-based solution that is built to handle your personnel administration needs.  In addition to being cloud-based it is also multitenant.  In an upcoming blog we’ll explain what that means and why it’s important.


This Series Will Not Be A How-To

This blog will not be a cookbook.  There are plenty of blogs and help texts for those. (and some really nice books like this one and this one. Feel free to purchase multiple copies of the books for your friends and families 🙂 )

What We Will Cover—Features, Flexibility, and Effort

Our objective is to paint a picture of the current landscape to help you discern level of effort and the merits of the two approaches.  We’ll show how these two emerging solutions handle common tasks such as hiring an employee. We will talk about their differences as well as similarities.  We’ll also discuss  what adjustments can be made to meet common business requirements.

So, let’s begin our journey. We will start with a description of the underlying platforms…and why they matter.

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      Author's profile photo Niladri Bihari Nayak
      Niladri Bihari Nayak

      Excellent Blog Brandon 🙂

      It would be better, if you can provide a comparative features(Pros and Cons of both the solution ) in your next blog.

      Keep posting..Looking forward for the Sequel !!!



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Niladri!

      Comparisons will be front and center in future blogs.  It's the whole purpose.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Brandon, that's a great idea to compare the two.

      Interesting that you discuss the Fiori experience in the context of HR Renewal - and very relevant. The hope I hold dear to my heart (really, really - no exageration there) is that in the short-medium term we will see an harmonization of the EE Central and HR Renewal experience, to the point where the comparing will become more a matter of processes rather than UI.

      SAP Mothership, is that too much to ask?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author


      Thanks for the response!  Yes, I'm hearing rumblings of a "Fiorification" of the UI across all platforms.  Hope to see it too.  However, as we'll see, even if the look and feel become more similar there are still going to be profound differences between the two approaches. 

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Very interesting. I've been asking myself about this for some time now. Looking forward for the next post on this series.

      Author's profile photo David Shanahan
      David Shanahan

      Great start to an excellent idea, Brandon.  This also ties in nicely to our HR2015 presentations.  Looking forward to the rest of this series!

      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson

      Great idea Brandon and I'm really looking forward to reading your thoughts.

      Author's profile photo Christopher Solomon
      Christopher Solomon

      Excellent idea!!! Looking forward to this one. Bookmarked ! 😉

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Finally we have addressed this pertinent question- asked by many customers and even consultants. Thanks for the clear and concise update . I can't wait  for the latest updates on how SAP plans to 'Fiori-rized' all the UIs across platforms.  Looking forward to your next post!

      Author's profile photo Anders Harfeld Pedersen
      Anders Harfeld Pedersen

      Defiantly a topic that has been begged to be thoroughly discussed for some time now - looking very much forward to the continuation! 🙂

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Bandon, you mentioned integration and I would love to see discussions about integration in a landscape of Employee Central for main HR entry and HCM used for other HR functions (payroll, time entry) as well as feeding other SAP ERP solutions.

      Author's profile photo Philipp Schneider
      Philipp Schneider

      Excellent topic to blog on Brandon. Looking forward to the next ones!