Instance Sync – An Impressive Evolution!!!

 

The instance synchronization is an Admin Center tool that enables you to move configuration artifacts and sub-artifacts, Foundation/MDF data and settings from one SuccessFactors company instance to another. It supports one-way and two-way synchronization, object-level permission control, multiple targets per source, and synchronization across different datacenters.

This tool is nor designed  to migrate employee data.

I heard about Instance Synchronization tool for the first time in 2014 during an employee central implementation for a customer when we were considering migrating configuration from their dev to the UAT Instance and was discouraged as I was afraid to learn a new tool and it worked only for a few objects and certain scenarios and had very poor error reporting. Two years later, having used the tool in one of the most complex customer setups and after testing all its capabilities, I am amazed with the functionality it delivers. This tool will not only save you days of work and but will also make sure all your config migrations will be error free and perfect.

To quantify time savings that can be achieved with this tool, a customer reported reduction in time for their mock Go-Live from 2 days to 5 hours using instance sync tool. My testing results also support reduction in time to 1/5 of actual time taken to move any configuration manually and then you can have more time savings by using same package to sync configuration from one instance to another.

If you are a consultant or a customer admin and haven’t looked into the fantastic evolution of this tool, I highly recommend that you download the instance sync guide from this link and you will be delighted with features and functionality it delivers.

Highlights of the Tool

This tool has a lot of “Vow” factors and here are a few that stand out

Targeted for the Business User

Instance sync tool is presented with a guided UI which provides step by step guidance and made recommendations which helps users to move the configuration from one instance to another with a click of a few buttons enabling business users to do this themselves. Users can start using this tool with very minimal training.

Artifacts available to be synced

The tools offers sync capability for all major configuration artifacts. The implementation Guide list all artifacts available to be synced using Instance Sync tool and you can read more about each of them, their pre-requisites and their dependencies by clicking on the links in the guide.

Ability to Create and Migrate Packages

When you have a new configuration to sync, you can create new package that contains all the object you need to sync for implementing your business requirement. You can then migrate the package from your source to multiple target instance. You also have the option to copy package from one instance to another. A package can be edited multiple times if you missed certain objects.

Multi-Directional Sync

You have the option to setup multi-directional sync between the instances. You can also sync objects to an instance in another data center

Ease of Setup

The setup of tool can be done with just a few clicks and you will be on your way to have consistent configuration across your instances.

Note for live customers, this task will be done by your customer support representative.

Ability to run the sync in TEST Mode

You have the ability to run the instance sync in Test mode, which displays all errors in an error report and allows the user to the fix all the problems in your source instance before you run the actual sync.

Security

When setting up the tool in your instance, you can define which objects will be available to be synced between the instances. At the user level, it allows you to go granular and define which user can migrate which part of configuration from source to target so you can have a user who can migrate foundation data and MDF Data and you can have another user to migrate Foundation and MDF Object Changes between the same source and target instances.

Audit Log

An Audit log is created for Actual Sync as well as Test Sync and contains information such as User ID, Timestamp, Artifact, Sub-Artifact, Operation and Error codes in case of failures.

Compare Capability

As delivered in recent enhancement the tool now has capability to compare data models  and picklist and highlights the differences between Source and Target, so you can determine what will change after the migration.

 

Important Implementation Factors

Define your system landscape

This is absolutely critical that you define the migration path of your configuration. Define where development will take, where will it be tested and what will be the source instance to move the configuration changes to production. Define your source and target instances and also if you will enable single directional or a multi directional sync.

Consider Prerequisites

Most objects have a prerequisite and before you migrate any configuration for that object make sure prerequisites have been take care of.

Admin Access

The target user selected while migrating configuration should have the ability to create Configuration objects/ Data in the target instance.

 

Future Enhancements

Here are few enhancements that are planned in the near future for the tool:

Delta Data Model Sync

As of 1705, Data Models Changes cannot be moved in incremental way, that is you cannot choose to migrate only certain data model changes from source to targets.

Workflow Groups

As of 1705, the tool does not allow the sync of workflow groups. This will be available in the future release of the product.

Picklists

As of 1705, you can sync all the values of a picklist and the tool does not allow you to sync only a certain value of a picklist. This will be enabled in the future.

 

Product Roadmap

At SAP, we always believe in delivering the best and we have some great thing planned for the product roadmap:

  • Comparison tools for MDF and FO Objects and Data.
  • Additional filtering and sorting capability based on Specific Users/ dates and Object status.
  • Sync for other objects like Homepage, Employee profile and Org Charts.

Conclusion

Instance Sync tool is available to you in your admin center and is packed with features and functionality and is delivered to help you migrate your configuration during or post SuccessFactors implementation in fraction of time and with accuracy. There is nothing for you to lose to use this tool nor there is any risk to use the tool. There might be some scenarios where it may not work for a certain artifact, but as long as it can synchronize most of your configuration or post production changes, in my mind, this tool should be used by all customers and consultants.

Please share your experience using the tool and provide us with your feedback and I will be happy to take it back to our Product Management.

 

 

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21 Comments

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  1. Walter Eizo Matsuo

    Thanks for sharing this powerful tool Ruchi!

    Never really understood what Sync meant.

    Thought it as an Instance Copy (Including Data). It is more as a old request from on premise.

    I’ll be studying that with my demo instances to check this out for the next days.

     

    As always sharing top content with SF network!

     

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    1. Andy Wei

      Walter, it’s not a instance copy tool. It’s more of a tool to copy/sync configurations from one instance to another instance.

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  2. Ankit Rai

    Very well explained !

    I have a question here on instance sync :

    When we sync business rules which have legacy picklists in if/then conditions, it doesn’t get synced correctly.

    Reason : Legacy picklist sync changes the option ID for each picklist. It becomes difficult and time consuming as well, when you have 50 rules where you have used legacy picklists. You need to navigate to use rule and select the picklist again from the drop down so that it triggers correctly.

     

    Could you please let us know when this will be corrected ? Any solution which SAP has on its roadmap ?

     

    Solution : 1) If we sync legacy picklist, optionID should also be mapped as in source instance then rules will work fine and we don’t need to correct all picklists values in rules.

    2) All legacy picklists should be moved to MDF. ( I guess it is planned in future releases.)

     

    Thanks,

    Ankit Rai

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    1. Ruchi Tandon Post author

      Hi Ankit

       

      Thank you for your comments. I agree that is an issue currently.

       

      Unfortunately Option 1 is not possible

       

      For Option 2, The ability to migrate picklist  to MDF is underway and should be here shortly and will resolve some of the pain points and then they are a couple pf enhancements that will still be needed to have this fixed completely.

      That is why it is ideal that post implementation the source instance for future config changes and test should be a copy of your target where option ids are copied as well that will help you use the tool more effectively.

       

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  3. Susanna Lindholm

    Hi Ruchi, thank you for the very good posting! It seems that me as a customer cannot open the sync guide, portal says that it is only for the partners. Is that right or how the customer can get the guide?

     

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    1. Ruchi Tandon Post author

      Susana, let me get back to you on that. In my mind it should be. Can you provide your email so I can forward it to you if its available for the customer.

       

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