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Most Common Formats for SAP SuccessFactors Custom Integrations with 3rd Party Vendors

The objective of this blog post is to compare the most common formats of integration used for SuccessFactors and third party vendor systems.

Outgoing Integrations

Typically we refer to outgoing integrations, those interfaces that get the information out of SuccessFactors into a difference system. The result information extracted is typically handled in two different ways:

  • A flat file formatted file to be consumed by a third party vendor, internal system, or similar.

This approach is legacy and even though it leaves a trail easier to follow than web services, it is being phased out of most systems.

  • A web service call to the vendor’s exposed API.

The biggest advantage of using this approach is the capability of receiving an instant response back such as order id, or ticket it for the processing of this record with the vendor. The synchronous acknowledgement is extremely valuable for troubleshooting and follow up.

These integrations are typically set up in two very different ways:

Outgoing Scheduled vs. Outgoing Real-Time

Scheduled outgoing integrations are as described in their name, scheduled. They would run every certain amount of time sweeping for records in a specific status. Example: Every 30 minutes let’s extract applications in “Onboarding” Status.

These scheduled runs typically would pick up several records to be processed at once, in order words, pending records not processed since last time the processed run.

Real-Time outgoing integrations are based on real time notifications. SuccessFactors calls these notifications “Intelligent Services”. The idea behind this approach is that specific activities in the SuccessFactors system trigger specific notifications that can be connected to executing our integrations. This makes for a near real-time outgoing process for records which can produce awesome results.

Each of these approaches have its pros and cons, we will discuss more on those in future blog posts.

Incoming Integrations

We refer to incoming integrations to those interfaces that bring information into SuccessFactors from a difference system. Typically used to load process results such as assessment results, background results, etc.

Just as Outgoing, these integrations can be set up in two different ways:

Incoming Scheduled vs. Incoming Real-Time

Scheduled incoming integrations are typically scheduled to search for a file deposited by the 3rd party vendor process. This file will contain the “order” results to be loaded into SuccessFactors.

The file will need to include unique identifier that will let the integration match results with records in the target.

Real-Time incoming integrations are based on real time notifications by vendors. These notifications are usually posted to an integration platform such as Boomi or Hana Cloud Integration (HCI), not directly posted into SuccessFactors.

Additional to the final notification usually bringing the order “result”, and depending on the requirements of the integration, vendor may or may not post intermediate notifications. Intermediate notifications are those that let us know the order is progressing well, for example in a virtual interview integration, vendors may post “Interview Started”, “Interview Finished” “Interview Rated”, etc.

Real-Time incoming notifications are the best approach for most integrations providing near real-time updates to SuccessFactors users.

Image below shows real time notifications posted to Dell Boomi SaaS platform.


Those are the most common formats of SuccessFactors custom integrations structures. I hope you have enjoyed this summary, and if you have any questions about your current or future SuccessFactors integrations, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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