Reporting and Analytics in SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite – Let’s Make It Simple [Updated]
Update: I originally wrote a detailed post back at the end of 2017 when Report Center was released to explain how the various solutions for reporting, analytics & planning fit together to deliver a cohesive HR Reporting and Analytics experience in SuccessFactors.
Since then, there have been impressive improvements to the capabilities of reporting & analytics – in particular with the release of a new report type “Stories” – so it’s time to update this post.
The complexity inherent in HR Reporting and Analytics can be a challenge for any user without the right tools at their disposal. In 2017 the Report Center was born, and a simplified navigation for reporting, analytics and planning was delivered. Since then, the focus has been on creating a new and improved across SuccessFactors which culminated in the release of Stories in 2020.
There are three key pillars to the SuccessFactors HXM Analytics solution. These are Reporting, Workforce Analytics and Workforce Planning. Information from across these pillars is also embedded throughout the SuccessFactors solution.
Reporting helps organizations present their data in meaningful and flexible formats to inform their business decisions. These decisions vary across different processes and the SuccessFactors reporting tools allow the customization of output to fit the business decision at hand. Whether it is a simple list of real time data or a dashboard of KPIs.
Reporting provides a set of simple templates to build formatted outputs using the data from the SuccessFactors solution, including data from the Workforce Analytics solution.
can be found through a simple consolidated space – the Report Center. This tool provides a one stop shop for all your Reporting needs, regardless of data source.
Through the Report Center you can create New Reports or you can Run, Edit, Share, Import/Export, Schedule and Label existing Reports. For more information on the full extent of Report Center capabilities you can find the Report Center Admin and User Guides on help.sap.com.
Reports can be built directly from the Report Center, providing several different Report formats that allow you to build reports that fit your needs. Each format provides a unique set of capabilities depending on what type of report you want to build.
Stories are a new reporting solution that allows you to tell compelling stories using a single solution with data from across the entire SAP SuccessFactors suite. Employee Central, Talent, Recruiting and many other areas. Whilst currently containing the vast majority of the SuccessFactors suite, othis will expand even further to cover other areas of SuccessFactors such as Learning which is in Beta testing and rolling out more broadly in 2021.
Stories is a paradigm shift in how you think about reporting in SuccessFactors; moving away from list reports or data exports and into modern, interactive experiences that easily convey insights to any end user.
Stories leverages common SAP technologies embedded seamlessly within SuccessFactors to deliver world class reporting and analytics capabilities to all SuccessFactors customers. This includes;
- Search capabilities to easily find the data you need
- Simple drag & drop interface for building queries & visualizations
- Data explorer for advanced users to flexibly filter and drill into the data
- Linked analysis to enable interactive dashboards for all end users
- Modern visualizations
- Simplified administrative processes to manage data permissions
- and much more!
You can find out much more about the benefits of Stories and its capabilities, by viewing the resources here.
Note: Stories are the go-forward solution for all reporting in SuccessFactors. Over time the older report types (such as Canvas, Table, Tile & Dashboard) will be deprecated and only Stories will remain. This deprecation will happen over several years however, and there is no immediate impact to existing reports when enabling Stories. For more information on the deprecation plans please refer to the Customer Community.
Canvas Reports can be used to onto a report page, these components can include Tables, Charts, Images or Text. Using these components reports can be created showcasing data from the SuccessFactors solution, including standalone transactional data and Workforce Analytics measures & dimensions.
Table Reports are designed to be extremely simple to use, allowing you to easily select data from the SuccessFactors modules and to output that in a simple table. This table can then be easily exported as required.
Custom Reports provide the ability to build complex logic and layouts using BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools). BIRT is an Open Source solution which can be embedded into SuccessFactors. This is done by uploading a BIRT template to any Table Report. The BIRT template then can apply complex logic to the data available within the Table Report, or can manipulate that data into a variety of charts and other visualisations. BIRT requires a more technical skillset than the other SuccessFactors Reporting tools, so SuccessFactors and Partners offer services to assist building these reports.
Tiles provide a simple chart output that can be embedded across the SuccessFactors suite. Tiles can be built using a Tile Builder Wizard which guides the user through the process of building a visualisation. Tiles support Drill to Detail (DtD) capabilities and DtD columns can be customised when building the Tile. Tiles can include both SuccessFactors Live data and Workforce Analytics data. Once built these tiles can be included in a Dashboard, embedded in the Home Page or Insights Panel.
Dashboards provide a method to easily collect and visualise multiple Tiles in a single place. Using Dashboards Tiles can be shown on one page, easily comparing multiple tactical metrics.
Standard Report Templates
Standard Report templates are available for all core areas of the SAP SuccessFactors suite, including Performance, Goals, Succession, Recruiting, and Employee Central. These templates span a variety of Report Types and templates are being continually scoped and added.
For a concise summary of all Standard Report Templates available review the SuccessFactors Analytics Reporting Directory available on help.sap.com.
SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics (WFA) provides a single source for all workforce data, from many disparate sources. Regardless of whether those sources are from SAP, SuccessFactors or third party systems. The WFA process includes specialised Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) tasks to ensure all data is combined and transformed into a power people-centric data warehouse, with complex data distilled into useful metrics & dimensions to be analysed in a relevant way that drives advanced people-related decision making.
By utilising over 30 years of experience in HR analytics, SuccessFactors has developed over 2000 best practice metrics in addition to a fully customizable people model for reporting your HR data. These metrics are used across the WFA customer base, to allow for benchmarking your organisation against a similar area, location or industry.
WFA comprises of the Core Workforce & Mobility metrics packs based on core HR data, with over additional metrics packs available to add on as required. All metrics packs are designed to be intrinsically linked to get the best value out of your integrated data.
Standard Metric Pages
Metric Pages provide a quick and easy way to navigate the rich content of your custom people model provided by Workforce Analytics.
These Metric Pages allow different views of the WFA data without the need for building dedicated reports or queries.
Investigate is a data exploration tool that allows engaged end users to analyze data quickly and easily. Investigate achieves this through robust search capability partnered with recommended metrics and visualizations utilising the comprehensive WFA metric library.
Analysts and HR business partners can utilise Investigate to analyse workforce issues and answer questions in less time. In addition to simple filtering, drill downs, and comparisons, you can easily e-mail and share analysis, and gain insight from forecasting and projections, instead of just looking back at historical trends.
- Investigate provides you with a powerful, yet easy to use interactive data exploration capability for casual and advanced users
- Investigate combines a clean, intuitive UI powered by SAP Fiori
- Accelerate analysis through recommendations from comprehensive library of metrics, dimensions and data visualizations
- Instant forecasts for all metrics
As Human Resources engages in more frequent and increasingly sophisticated workforce planning, we are now on a trajectory to connect workforce planning activities with the larger enterprise business planning processes. It is vital to integrate data from other planning models into the workforce planning process, such as using sales forecasts for headcount projections or financial data for workforce cost assumptions. To achieve this integrated planning, it is necessary to manage workforce planning in a central, cross-enterprise planning platform that can accommodate multiple planning types. SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning provides this platform.
SAP provides a cloud-native cross-enterprise planning platform that can accommodate multiple planning types. With SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning you can;
- Create workforce planning models that fit your exact business needs
- Access your actuals, forecast, budgets and predictions in one view
- Run advanced predictive scenarios based on classification, regression and forecasting
- Create scripted applications to meet sophisticated business requirements
- Leverage data from other planning models (like budget planning, revenue forecasts, production forecasts) in your workforce planning process
- Modern visualizations and design
- Advanced data actions for cost calculations, forecasting, copying data across plans, etc.
- Built-in connector to Workforce Analytics to source HR metrics and dimensions
- Built-in connector to Employee Central to source employee data (list of employees)
To help accelerate implementations of SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning the tool comes with a content network with templates for Workforce Planning and other processes. These templates can serve as a starting point for customizing SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning to your specific business needs.
The current library includes for both Strategic Workforce Planning and Operational Headcount Planning processes. Discover more about the SAP Best Practices for this product https://rapid.sap.com/bp/BP_SF_WFP
Strategic Workforce Planning
Strategic Workforce Planning ensures the contribution of the HR strategy to the business’s success and strategic objectives. It is a planning solution that helps to predict the future development of workforce demand, supply and gap and define risk responses to close the gap.
Key Process Steps
- Prepare System for Strategic Forecast Planning
- Prepare Demand and Supply Headcount Forecast
- Create Demand, Supply and Gap Headcount Forecast
- Finalize Strategic Forecast
- Perform Risk Assessment
- Prepare Risk Response
- Create Risk Response
- Finalize Risk Response Strategy
- Aligning strategic workforce objectives with corporate strategic goals
- Workforce planning activities based on historic data from SAP SuccessFactors
- Modeling scenarios for future workforce demand, supply and gap (shortages and surplus) along planning dimensions
- Defining transparent risk response strategies (HR interventions) to close forecasted gaps
- Using powerful analytical charts to visualize planning forecasts, planning scenarios, risk identification and risk responses
Operational Headcount Planning
Operational Headcount Planning is a solution that supports the yearly planning of headcount or full-time equivalents on the level of hires, terminations and transfers and their salaries and merit increases.
Key Process Steps
- Prepare System for Operational Headcount Planning
- Validate Planner Views
- Create New Positions
- Create Headcount & Full-Time Equivalent Forecast
- Create Annual Salary & Merit Percentage Forecast
- Analyze Plan Headcount and Full-Time Equivalent Forecast
- Analyze Actual and Plan Headcount and Full-Time Equivalent Forecast
- Analyze Actual vs. Plan Headcount and Full-Time Equivalent Forecast
- Planning on headcount or full-time equivalent basis
- Accurate and up-to-date headcount and salary information from SAP SuccessFactors feeding the planning process
- Centralized planning solution for all headcount planning activities
Check out other new features across our HXM solution suite
Learn about other new features and enhancements across the full SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite by following the What’s New Viewer.
Note: this is an informational post and comments are not monitored
Great overview Rob, thanks for sharing
I ahve showed report center to my clients, but common questions are:
So, all old menus will dissappear on Report Center right?
How to see the performance and potentital tabs again then?
Yes, old menus won't be available and instead labels should be used for organisation.
The performance & potential tabs are still available in the Succession module.
Consise helpful summary, thanks.
Great blog! Crystal clear and thorough but simple... Thank you for sharing Andrew!
I really welcomed the change as it makes few things simpler, though, now I have no idea how to create a query that would be served for general purposes. It is only possible to create an object (list report etc...) and then either put existing query to it or create a new query that will only be applicable for a given object.
What I would want to achieve is to create more queries that would belong to "published queries" but that options seems is not available anymore. Have you any idea what to do here ?
You can export a query from a List Component for re-use in other components or reports. This works in the same way as queries built pre-Report Center in the Detailed Reporting or Advanced reporting query designers.
Thank you Robert! (not the most intuitive way to do it though), you guys should seriously reconsider how to document it more properly as currently there is one sentence saying it is possible.
Also how do I delete those saved queries? is that possible? I can save them but how to get rid of them. As over time they will keep growing in numbers, so it makes no sense to keep them all.
Thank you for this informative blog.
I have 2 questions
The Reporting center is much easier to work with than the Integration Center, but these 2 items cannot be done via reporting center and we will have to decide which one to use going forward based on these shortfalls.
Very well done.
Thank you for the insight robert. Recently I came a across a customer who is expecting a reporting tool to have complex calculations. These are scenarios which can't be executed unless the reporting tool has programming capabilities. Can you please advise if there are any such possibilities if customer is not using WFA and wants to use tools like advance reporting.
There are many advanced capabilities in the Canvas Reports that you build with the use of Advanced Reporting. For example you can build calculated columns, or aggregated calculated columns using functions like IF/THEN/ELSE conditional statements.
Ultimately the best tool for the job will depend on the specific scenario, so I would recommend doing a detailed requirements analysis of your customer's need to best inform them of the solution that fits their use case.
Generally speaking if the use case is a "top down" view (i.e. you start with aggregated data, looking at trends, and only want to drill to the detail at specific points) then tools like WFA are most appropriate. If your use case is a "bottom up" view (i.e. you are most interested in the transactional data, occasionally needing aggregates) then tools like Reporting will be best.
Some of the key attributes that help distinguish Reporting VS WFA are;
Thank you Robert for trying to bring some clarify to what is a very confusing area of functionality.
I am struggling to understand though where "Report – Custom" fits in.
Under the heading "Report Types", the screenshot shows the four report options available:
But after the second, you briefly mention "Report – Custom". Is that a fifth option that only some customers have?
The "Report - Custom" type is when a custom template has been attached to a "Report - Table". This transforms it into a Custom report.
Not all customers have this capability - it is most often built by Professional Services due to the highly technical nature of the custom template development.
Thank You Robert for your precise explanation.
We have recently upgraded to report center in our instance.I have 2 questions.
These should both be working for you in Report Center. I'd recommend opening a support ticket to have a team member walk you through how to use both of these functions.
I would like to know if there is the possibility of creating a canvas report with comment information found in the compensation forms in the merit column, if someone has been able to add the comment balloon information to a canvas report.
Thank you for this information. I have only one questions: Can dashboards also be made available on the SuccessFactors Mobile App?