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Author's profile photo Jayendra Bisnik

Successfactors Q4 2017: New Feature for Picklists in Business Rules Framework

Business Rules Framework in SuccessFactors Employee Central is a powerful tool to cater to customer-specific requirements in an implementation project. Consultants use Business Rules to achieve a host of Business Process outcomes – from defaulting values to checking values, from making intelligent decisions to triggering a notification or workflow, and so on. If used in the right way, the Business Rules could be really beneficial in meeting almost all customer requirements in an implementation project.

Before Q4 2017, Business Rules had a limitation with fields that referenced Picklist values. This limitation was there when a particular Business Rule was exported from one instance and imported into another instance manually. Once imported successfully in the Target instance, these Rules did not work out well for all the fields that referenced a Picklist value. For these kind of fields, Business Rules showed blank values or incorrect values. This was the case with both Legacy as well as MDF Picklist fields.

This is Illustrated in the below example.

Suppose there is a Business Rule that you want to transport from one instance to another at a customer site manually.

Figure 1: Business Rule in Source instance


The Rule looks like this in the Target system after that is imported using Import and Export Data tool.

Figure 2: Business Rule in Target instance


As shown in the above screenshot, the Country, Employee Class, and Employment Type fields do not refer to any Picklist values in the Target instance. These are actually the Option IDs of Picklist values in the Source instance. As we can imagine, the Option IDs changed in the Target instance, which led to the inconsistency in this Rule. Now, this Rule will not work as intended in a Business Process, like Hiring in this case.

With Q4 2017 Release, this issue is fixed by exposing the ‘External Code’ of a field while creating the Rule. As shown below, a new option is given to the consultants to choose ‘External Code’ of the Picklist field.

Figure 3: Writing Business Rule with the new ‘External Code’ feature


The same Business Rule will look like this once the ‘External Code’ option is selected for all the Picklist-referenced fields.

Figure 4: Modified Business Rule written using the new ‘External Code’ feature


Since this Rule is pointing to an ‘External Code’ of the fields – Country, Employee Class, and Employment Type – it will point to the same Picklist value in every system. This takes away the ‘Option ID’ from the Rule altogether. In other words, this Business Rule can be imported in any instance, given that all the relevant Picklists values already exist in that instance.

In order to use this new feature for your customer, you need to do the following:

  • Identify all the Rules that use Picklist reference and take a back-up of those Rules
  • Rewrite all those Rules using this new feature of ‘External ID’ for Picklist-referenced fields
  • Unit test all the modified Rules to ensure that they are working correctly

Happy writing those Rules!

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