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Author's profile photo Josef Sysel

Workflows on employee edited portlets (education, project experience, languages etc.)

Do you have data editable by employees and you need to track the changes and have specific rules for them? This example is about external work experience (education, mobility etc.). From the technical perspective they are called background elements and only as background elements they can be used in Succession talent search. These fields can be editable by employees but as the background element you cannot track changes by the workflow or by any other rule. There is a solution that can help you to solve this.

How it can work for you:

  1. Employee enters External work history in the Employee Self ServiceExternal_Work_History_Detail
  2. After saving the data the workflow is triggeredExternal_Work_History_WFL
  3. Then approval/update from HRExternal_Work_History_WFL_Nancy
  4. And after approval the data are stored in MDF objectExternal_Work_History_Approved
  5. Using the background replication mentioned below these data are populated in the right objects that can be used for Talent Search, Talent Card or Scorecard display.

From HR perspective you have two different added values:

  • you can track all changes done by employees using the workflows
  • you can have any validation rules on these fields

Are there any limitations?

  • yes, currently there is limit in the data replication so it can take up to several hours before the data will be available in the employee’s background element

What is necessary for the configuration?

  • MDF objects
  • Configured background elements in data model
  • ORD (Online report designer)
  • SFTP server

Can I use Ad hoc reports instead of ORD?

  • no, you can’t because Ad hoc reporting don’t allow to change the column names and add specific texts needed for upload to background elements

Can I use anything other than SFTP server?

  • you can use different server than provided by SuccessFactors, in all other cases you will need some other integration platform to use (e.g. Boomi)

Could it be done only by administrator?

  • no, the configuration require settings in provisioning so it is necessary to do it by consultant

Now let’s move to configuration idea and then to the detailed steps

  • Idea is about creating custom MDF objects that will be filled by the employees and can contain rules (for starting workflow or validation rules). Then using the ORD to export content of MDF entries to SFTP server (on regular basis) and using the import job in provisioning to fill the data in background element.
  • For our case is necessary to create two objects. First object is work history item:object_definition_item
  • This will store each value provided by the employee but we need ability to enter multiple rows in one time so we need to create parent object with associationobject_definition_header
  • The next step is creating the UI for the parent objectexternal_work_UI
  • Not with picture but you need to add permissions and configure Employee files/People profile to display this object to the employees

Cool, this was the easier part of the solution now let’s move to the next step and this is ORD configuration (I don’t have print screens as it available only on customer and not demo instance).Other option is to use Integration Center which can create similar output.

  1. Go to detailed reporting in ORD and create a report on both MDF objects. Use the header as relation to userId and the rest as a content of the report.
  2. Filter only active entries as well. Create calculated column for the second column because this column needs to have the same name as background element. Set the value of this column as the name of the column.
  3. The report must contain (in our case) following columns:Save the query and create a report distributor bundle with target to SFTP server, set this bundle to be exported each night at 2:00.
    • ^UserId – userId of an employee
    • outsideWorkExperience – static value outsideWorkExperience
    • startDate – start date from the item object
    • endDate – end date from the item object
    • employer – employer name
    • title – job title
    • businessType – type of business
  4. Go to the provisioning and create scheduled job “Live profile import” with data overwriting and schedule this job to take the file from sftp server each day at 4:00.
  5. The data will be pulled into standard background element and can be used for talent search and all other necessary functionality on background element.

Are there any other options? Yes, you can filter only entries entered by last 24 hours and add only increments. Than the configuration will change a little bit.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Josef,

      Your idea is a big help, because that’s exactly what my client wants. I actually follow all your steps but it seems that I’m missing something. I have problem triggering the workflow  to the next record that the user inputted, my rule only checks the 1st record in the MDF object. Can you give me the idea or way on how to trigger the workflow on all the records that the MDF portlet has?

      Thanks and Regards,
      Dante A. Herrera Jr

      Author's profile photo Josef Sysel
      Josef Sysel
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Dante,

      the workflow is done on the parent object. It doesn't validate anything, just using on save action to trigger the workflow.

      Author's profile photo Cholticha Charoenvannaying
      Cholticha Charoenvannaying

      Hi Josef,

      I have a problem with getting all the active data in child object out via integration center. Could you share how you did that? The problem that I found is that the effective start and end date of child record doesn't inherit from the parent record; and all the child record is valid from 1/1/1900 to 31/12/9999.

      By the way, can you use ORD to generate the report for MDF object? we are not using EC and SF support told me that we cannot use ORD for MDF yet.

      Looking forward to hear your advice,

      Best Regards,


      Author's profile photo Josef Sysel
      Josef Sysel
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Cholticha,

      It's simple, we don't use the effective dating for child object. This has the only custom start and end dates as we need two entries with same dates (working part-time for two employers). The ORD is not an option for this solution. But this can be achieved in the Integration center itself. We now did similar solution for education history.



      Author's profile photo Sachin Garg
      Sachin Garg

      Hi Josef


      i might be too late for asking this question, but i am missing the attachment attached in your blog, please help me to share these attachments once.


      Thanks in advance.

      Author's profile photo Ahmed Tohamy
      Ahmed Tohamy

      Hi Josef,


      I wonder that the only mapping between MDF and standard Background portlet is the ORD columns name?  or there is another step determined the target portlet.

      as I would like to try this with "Temporary Work Schedule"



      Ahmed Tohamy