2018 starts with good news for the SAP SuccessFactors community:
SAP Best Practices for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central content can now be consumed via the Upgrade Center.
With this new consumption model, it is possible to deploy SAP Best Practices in a very flexible manner and to speed up the SAP Best Practices implementation time.
In the following, I would like to dive a bit deeper into what the Upgrade Center is and how you can use it to activate SAP Best Practices. But for all of you who are new to this topic, I will give a little context to this. Let me start with a little explanation about what SAP Best Practices are. Feel free to skip the first two parts if you are familiar with the topic.
What you should know about SAP Best Practices
SAP Best Practices can help you to streamline and accelerate the configuration of your SAP SuccessFactors solution by providing proven pre-configured content and accelerator documents (i.e. test scripts, workbooks, business processes). With that, the SAP Best Practices content is intended to build a basis of configuration on which customer specific requirements can be always configured on top.
The SAP Best Practices can be used by SAP Professional Services and Implementation Partners who can build a dedicated Service offering around it. You might have heard about “SAP Model Company for HR” in this context. Going forward, SAP Model Company for HR is the brand for a standardized, content based implementation services for SAP SuccessFactors.
SAP Best Practices are being offered since 2015. Over time the solution scope has grown, so that we can offer SAP Best Practices for the following pieces out of the SAP SuccessFactors Suite:
To get an idea of what is delivered in the different Best Practices Packages, check out the SAP Best Practices Explorer: https://rapid.sap.com/bp/.
You might wonder how to get these pre-configurations in to your customer’s instance. Let us look at the different options we have provided in the past and the one which we will use in the future.
SAP Best Practices Consumption so far
You might know that we have had two different options so far, to consume SAP Best practices for SAP SuccessFactors:
Option 1: Master instance refresh for net new SAP SuccessFactors customers
Option 2: Semi-automated Load & Activate approach for existing customers
Both options have their pros and cons.
The Master Instance contains pre-configured content which is ready to run after very few post activation steps. The Master Instance used to contain SAP Best Practices for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, Recruiting, Compensation, Succession & Development as well as Align & Perform. (Attention: From 15th January 2018, onwards, the Master Instance will contain Talent Management only. To understand why EC is no longer part of it, please continue reading).
Per instance refresh the whole configuration is copied to the customer’s test instance where the consultant needs to activate the required modules or scope items.
The big disadvantage of this approach is, that with an Instance Refresh, any configuration which has been done in the system already is getting overwritten. In other words, if a customer decided to go with Employee Central first and wanted to extend the solution scope over time by adding a talent module, an Instance Refresh would have overwritten any existing configuration. Therefore, the Master Instance Refresh is recommended for new SAP SuccessFactors customers only.
To enable customers to also use SAP Best Practices content even if they have implemented SAP SuccessFactors modules already, the so-called Load & Activate approach helps existing customers to do so. Upload files (xml, csv) and manual Configuration Guides help to set up a system quite fast.
The two described approaches are not ideal. The deployment of SAP Best Practices should be as automated, fast and flexible as possible. Therefore, we came up with Option 3: Activating SAP Best Practices content via the Upgrade Center.
SAP Best Practices Consumption via the Upgrade Center
The Upgrade Center is a content platform which enables customers and their administrators to take advantage of improvements that come out with every quarterly release by providing them with a self-service activation (opt-in) option of new features with built-in documentation.
As of Q3 2017, not only product updates are shipped via the Upgrade Center, but also pre-configured SAP Best Practices content can get activated. With this new delivery approach for SAP Best Practices, it will be possible to consume SAP Best practices in a very fast way.
Once enabled in provisioning and the implementation consultant has got the needed Role Base Permissions assigned, the SAP Best Practices content can be explored by selecting “SAP Best Practices” in the “Filter By” drop-down box. On filtering, the available pre-configuration/activation scope will be shown in the Upgrade Center columns.
On behalf of the customer, a consultant or system administer picks and chooses the business scope of the SAP Best Practices (process groups and scope items) that the customer wishes to implement.
For each of the available SAP Best Practices activation scope entries, you will find further more detailed information by following the ‘Learn more’ link. Once you decide to apply a specific pre-configuration scope to your system, you choose the ‘Upgrade Now’ button. What happens next technically, is that Upgrade Center will automatically start activating certain system configurations and content. When the activation is completed, you will be notified. In addition to the notification you can check the status of your Upgrades in the system (see screenshot below).
Remaining additional post-activation steps or configurations need to be done following the documentation.
From now on, the provided documentation on SAP Best Practices Explorer contains instructions on how to use the Upgrade Center (SAP Note). Also available are further kinds of documentats:
- Business Process documentation: these are end-to-end process flows (depicting the process steps which can be executed after SAP Best Practices configuration is completed) and corresponding test scripts to validate the activation and configurations
- Deployment instructions: Configuration Guides be accessed either on Scope Item Level, available for not automated content only, can be found on scope item level. Quick Guides (Configuration Guide Getting Started) contain further essential information about pre and post processing steps which need to be performed after the activation of an Upgrade Center Item.
The activation of SAP Best Practices via the Upgrade Center will become the only option to deploy pre-configured content. With that the Upgrade Center will be the successor of the pre-configured Master instance and the Load & Activate approach.
As you can imagine, making our existing assets available via the Upgrade Center is a huge effort and my team is working very hard to deliver the full SAP Best Practices content scope as soon as possible via the Upgrade Center.
In 1708 we started with Employee Central (EC). The purple boxes in the below screenshot are showing the scope items which can be delivered through the Upgrade Center as of 15. January 2018.
The remaining functionalities e.g. EC Benefits and Company Structure Overview can get deployed via Load & Activate until they are available via the Upgrade Center. Once the full scope for EC is covered, we are planning to make the Talent Management content available.
Until then, a pre-configured Master Instance including Talent Management only is going to exist.
That’s it for today, stay tuned for further updates!
Scenario Product Manager for SAP Best Practices for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central