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‘Integration Center’ is one of the powerful innovations/extensions added to SuccessFactors in recent times.

What is Integration Center (IC)?

When Integration Center (IC) was first introduced in Q2 2016, its primary objective was to enable HR Admins to build, run, schedule and monitor simple File-based Outbound integration. It is easy to build integration quickly and easily through a guided workflow. Predefined templates are available to give a kick start.

It has come a long way since and effective Q1 2017, you can use Integration Center to build Inbound Integration as well !

I have seen many of my existing clients use Integration Center to primarily build simple outbound integration for Benefits vendors and interfaces with other internal legacy applications that require basic employee data on a regular basis and IC serves this purpose effectively.

One of my key SuccessFactors focus area is – Learning. I have been involved with many SuccessFactors Learning implementations and one of the challenges I have seen recently (after Employee Central) is related to the amount of Data Fields customers wanting to move from BizX to LMS.

SuccessFactors Connector files are not that easy (read User Friendly) to work with not only for HR/HRIS Admins but for Application consultants as well. I am sure you will agree with me on that if  you have used SF User Connector in the past !

I was pretty excited when I configured and used Integration Center and explored its capabilities. Considering SuccessFactors Learning has its own database and requires a file feed from BizX like other third-party applications, I have been planning to use Integration Center to build an Outbound  Integration from BizX to SuccessFactors LMS and let go of the not so user friendly Connector. I had the time and chance finally.

Here are some steps and guidelines to build an integration using Integration Center.

Concept of Integration Center

With IC  you can create an integration from a starting entity with a guided workflow. The starting entity acts as the point of reference for reading data from SuccessFactors, for example, person biographical info from SuccessFactors Employee Central. You can add data from other entities by navigating via data model relationships to fields in related entities. For example, if the starting entity is person biographical info, you can easily incorporate employment information using such navigation references.
Procedure
  1. Type in ‘Integration Center’ in the Tools search area. You will see Integration Center Landing Page. Select ‘My Integration’.

2. On the My Integrations page, choose Create  Next navigation step Scheduled Simple Flat File Output Integration

3. Selecting the right Entity is important for integration built with Integration Center. The starting Entity becomes the parent entity at the top and creates relationship between other entities. Since we are sending User Data, we will select entity ‘ User’.

 

4. The entity User contains information about system user including Personal and Organizational information.

Select the Fields you want to send to LMS. The system immediately shows data values for selected fields as shown in the figure below.  You can also click on the ‘Add’ field icon to add additional fields at this stage.

One big advantage of using Integration Center is the capability to get any data fields from any portlets and send it to LMS. In the regular LMS Connector, only fields from UDF (User Data File) can be mapped to LMS fields.

5. You can right click on any Field/Column to change the Label on the go, move the field to left/right, delete the field etc.

 

6. One great benefit of using the Integration Center instead of the UDF (Employee Data File from Export) is that : You can send any data fields (standard or Custom) to LMS without having to add it to the User Data File or UDF model in Platform.

Note : For Employee Central Customers, to send additional fields (other than those in UDF), you have to map each field from the respective Portlet via ‘Configure Business Configuration’ transaction to a custom field in Platform side.

7. Once you have validated that all fields are added, the next step is to add a Filter if needed. This is helpful if LMS is live for a certain country/division/department only and needs to receive only a subset of the Employee data e.g. only for a certain Division or Department or Country.

8. Once Filter is added, the next step is to provide the Destination Settings (of the SFTP folder where this file will be saved. You can give a File name and your SFTP details in this step.

9. The next step is ‘Scheduling’. You can define the scheduling parameters i.e. how frequently the file will be run. Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ icon before clicking ‘Next’.

10. The final step is to review and run the file/schedule the job. Add the job schedule details and emails of LMS Admins or HR Admins that needs to be notified.

11. Before you submit the job, you can review the details in the last step as shown below.

 

12.I am not covering the necessary configuration steps required in LMS in this blog. However to process this file in LMS, you still have to complete the Connector mapping and schedule a Job in LMS get this file from required SFTP destination and process .

Using the same process with Integration Center (IC), you can send Employee data to any external vendor. Multiple Folders can be created in SFTP /Outgoing path and the external vendor can pick these files and process at their end.

IC is great tool to empower HR Super users without having to depend on technical programming/coding skills set.

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14 Comments

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  1. Francois Maass

    Hello Rinky,

    Great blog, have been waiting for something like this for a while.

    I assume that there is also a way to configure the LMS connector to not expect the dual header line that the UDF export provides, as we cannot do this in the IC according to my knowledge?   If so, can you perhaps shed some light on that since that was thus far my biggest concern for switching to the IC.

    Thanks!

    (1) 
    1. Rinky Karthik Post author

       

      Great question and I should have mentioned this in my Blog but I missed it. To use two headers, you have to define the Integration type as EDI Stacked. You can select that in Step #2 or in the following screen by selecting ‘Integration Type’. The first section would be first header, second section would be second header and another for main entity values.

      I am not sure of any other method. @Sreelatha N, please share your experience if you used other methods.

       

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  2. Sreelatha N

    Hi Rinky,  Thanks for sharing the information.  The Standard Employee export will take care of full chunk of data from EP to LMS.  It is useful not only in the scenarios where client would like to user filters for department it will also cover the scenario like difference of license sold i.e. EP 35K and LMS 20k which we are very often we are coming across.  We had implemented this to our customers. but while create IC we should be very careful of handling the scenarios of hire, retire and terminated as well.  To take of this scenarios I heard something in the roadmap not sure.Thanks

    (1) 
    1. Rinky Karthik Post author

       

      Hi Sreelatha,

       

      Thank you  ! Yes its very helpful for Global customers. We have been hearing off late about the EC-LMS integration. May be in the next release. I don’t have much insight into that.

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    2. Rinky Karthik Post author

       

      Hi Sreelatha, Can you please share your experience with the two header output. I have shared one way that I have used with Francois in the above comment. There might be other ways and I am also curious to explore how other customers are approaching this.

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  3. Maximiliano Varela

    Hi,

    Good Article! I’m trying to use IC to send the LMS information on People Profile (Completed Courses) to SAP ERP but I’m not able to locate that background. Any idea??

    Thanks

    (0) 
    1. Rinky Karthik Post author

      Hi Max,

       

      Are you trying to send Background data ? I don’t think that’s available yet. However looks like that may be available in the next Q3 release.

       

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  4. Anne-Mie Vanhulle

    -Title of this article is a bit misleading. I thought you were able to upload data from IC without using the connectors. But it seems this is only for exporting and you still need the connector to upload data.

    -Any idea if/when SF is going to add LMS-data into IC?

     

     

     

    (1) 
    1. Rinky Karthik Post author

       

      Hi Anne,

       

      You are right ! IC will only help one-way i.e. extracting data from SF. I am also eagerly waiting to see when LMS related entity would be available in IC. Seems like SAP was focusing mainly on Recruiting and Onboarding recently. Now that its taken care of i.e. most entities for RCM/ONB is now available in IC, I feel the next in line may be LMS. If I find out more from Q3 IRR, I will definitely share

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  5. Christopher Fellabaum

    Hi Rinky, great article and clear presentation. We’ve been playing around with this for a little while and agreed there are certain scenarios where it could be useful. However I seem to remember some comment in the last LMS IRR, to the effect that EC user data integration with Learning will be productized further, pretty soon. Did you catch that as well?

    It was great to meet you at ASUG in Chicago, BTW. 🙂

    -Chris

    (1) 
    1. Rinky Karthik Post author

       

      Hi Chris,

       

      Thanks for your kind comments ! Yup I have also heard about the LMS-EC integration. Hopefully will hear more this week in the Q3 IRR. It was good to see you in Chicago !

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  6. Rekha Shukla

    while working on Organization connector we have the hierarchy as

    Department–>Division–>Business Unit coming from EC to LMS but our header file only has 3 fields,

    ORG_ID
    ORG_DESC
    ORG_ID_PARENT

    Has anyone covered, how to manage the levels when your starting entity is department and still cover the 3 levels in integration centre? Any suggestions are welcome.

    (0) 

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