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Integrating Business ByDesign HCM with Successfactors Employee Central

Blog post update:

The latest integration guide for setting up Business ByDesign and Employee Central for integration has been released.

You can download the PDF version here. The PDF file is a little heavy and will take a few seconds to download.

Alternately, you can access the online documentation as well.

Hello everyone

As product manager for SAP Business ByDesign HCM, i would like to give you an update on the Employee Central Integration – what is now possible with the 1902 release of Business ByDesign.

With the 1902 release, the standard integration between Business ByDesign HCM and Employee Central supports the new scenario wherein the customer was running their company live on ByDesign, managing their employee life-cycle processes and data via the Personnel Administration work center, and would now like to use the Employee Central system as the source of employee master data. We would refer to this scenario as the Employee Central Integration: Phased Approach. 

Under this arrangement, if the customer scopes in Employee Central integration, then the Personnel Administration work center goes out of scope. Updates of master data of internal employees will no longer be possible in Business ByDesign. Employee maintenance must be carried out in the Employee Central system, and through the integration process, the updates would be present in the Business ByDesign system.

Employee Central Integration Fundamentals: 

Before I start off with the details of the scenario, I would like to visit some fundamentals:

  1. In the Employee Central system, the manager hierarchy determines the Reporting Line hierarchy in the company.
  2. Business ByDesign is the source system of cost center information. Under the standard integration, cost center updates flow from Business ByDesign to Employee Central.
  3. When employee data moves from Employee Central to Business ByDesign, they are first housed in a “staging area” in the Master Data Replication work center. Only when the Replicate action is performed on the replication record (set up as a scheduled job, but can also be performed on the UI) is the Employee record in Business ByDesign updated, along with any organizational unit updates, if relevant.
  4. As a result of the employee replication in the integration process, there are at least two organizational hierarchies that are visible in the Master Organizational Management Work center in Business ByDesign – one that is created out of the manager hierarchy from Employee Central (uneditable in ByDesign), and the other which is editable in Business ByDesign – which comprises of business residence, segments, cost centers, profit centers, functional units etc based on which many workflow processes run in Business ByDesign. Employees are assigned to the manager hierarchy via their manager assignment, and the ByDesign hierarchy via their cost center assignment – both of which are specified in the Employee Central system.

In the new supported scenario, the same fundamentals hold true.

The key differences in the ByDesign system situation with the 1902 release are :

  1. Internal employees already exist in the ByDesign system
  2. The reporting line unit hierarchy is already present, defined since the customer went live with Business ByDesign, and based on which business process workflows might already be running.

To handle this, there are a few additional process steps that have to be performed, compared to the integration process from the earlier releases. Here is a high level overview of the process steps:

  1. Extract any employee relevant data from business bydesign, and either import them to Employee Central, or compare with employee data that is already existing in Employee Central. If data was manually maintained between the two systems, it is plausible that there would be differences, and it is always good to identify and manually resolve the differences before switching on integration.
  2. Scope Employee Central Integration – this could require a Change Project to be created in Business Configuration. Once merged with the main workspace, the Personnel Administration work center is out of scope, and the system no longer allows update of employee master data via the UI. Hence it is advisable to put in all the master data changes in advance before proceeding with the scoping.
  3. Complete the code list mapping, and set up the required Communication Arrangements.

Once scoped, the Master data Replication work center is available – new activities to be performed are present in the Employee Central Pre-Integration Tasks, and the Employee Central Pre-Integration Organization Checks Work center views.

  1. Set the earliest replication date – Only employee records that are valid on or after this date are picked up from Employee Central via the Compound Employee Query and send to Business ByDesign.
  2. Evaluate the Current Organizational Structure and make relevant changes- this is one of the most important activities that must be done in order for the integration to be successful. This is done via the Employee Central Pre-Integration Organizational Checks work center view. I have outlined the details in a section below.
  3. Complete the ID Mapping between employees of Business ByDesign and Employee Central – it is mandatory that all internal employees in Business ByDesign are mapped to their corresponding employee records in Employee central. This is required so that duplicate employee records are not created in Business ByDesign as a result of the integration. Unless all the mapping is complete, the system will not allow the Replicate action in the Master Data Replication work center to be called, so the records stay in the staging area.
  4. Mark the system as integration process ready via the Analysis Summary and Confirmation in the Employee Central Pre-Integration tasks. This will be allowed only after the employee id mapping is complete. Once checked, the system now processes the staging area, updating the employee records in Business ByDesign. Without this step, the execution of employee replication ends with the message “System in Pre-Integration phase. Employee Replication not possible.

Effect on the Organizational Structure in Business ByDesign

The key aspect under this integration model is the effect on the Organizational structure in the Business ByDesign system.

The customer’s typical organizational structure hierarchy would be a combination of Business Residence, reporting line units, cost centers, functional units etc – many of the organizational units sharing multiple business characteristics. Employees would have been assigned to the various organizational units via Business ByDesign’s Personnel Administration work center. The customer’s business processes and workflows would already have been set up to run based on this organizational hierarchy.


As you can see, with the switching on of the integration process, there is a change in the organizational structure – the customer must test their business processes to check if they function as expected, and make any changes to workflows etc if any change is detected. Some of the aspects that are indicated by the Employee Central Pre-Integration Organizational Checks :

  1. Employee – Cost center assignment: All employees who are not directly assigned to a cost center would be shown in a list. The customer has to check if the organizational unit they are assigned to must be marked as a cost center, or whether the shift of the employee to the upper org unit that is the cost center during the replication process is acceptable. Since Employee Central only holds a cost center assignment and a manager assignment in standard, assignments to e.g. functional units below the cost center (to define teams) are lost after the migration and the initial re-replication.
  2. Same manager for multiple reporting line units: In this case, after employee replication, all the employees belonging to the different reporting line units would appear under a single org unit in the Manager Hierarchy that is created. The team separation via different reporting line units will be lost.
  3. Deviating Manager and Reporting Line Unit Assignment: If an employee is assigned as manager to a reporting line unit which is not directly below their own reporting line unit, then the manager hierarchy is different to the reporting line. After employee replication only the manager hierarchy will be represented in the system. This means, especially if there are processes or reports providing the second level manager for an employee the answer will be different before and after the integration.

Other key aspects that must be kept in mind:

  1. The standard integration supports the scenario one ByDesign tenant can integrate with only one Employee Central Instance.
  2. When the standard integration is scoped, it is expected that all the employee master data of all the companies of that tenant are now maintained in the Employee Central instance, with it being the master. We do not yet support the scenario where Employee central is used as a system of record for one company, while for another company in the ByDesign tenant, Personnel Administration needs to be used.
  3. Compensation and Payroll modules cannot be in scope for the Employee Central standard integration. It is expected that salary information would be managed in the Employee Central system only. In the phased approach, they will be descoped, thereby the Compensation and Payroll processing work center will not be available.

I will update the blog with more details in the coming weeks, including the link to the updated Employee Central integration guide.

Thank you for reading. Please use the comments section below for any questions that you have, and i will update this blog on the same.

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    • Hello Christophe

      Concurrent Employment is not supported in Business ByDesign standard functionality, and so is not supported via the standard Employee Central Integration.



  • Deer Sandy,

    Regarding the following: “Compensation and Payroll modules cannot be in scope for the Employee Central standard integration”.

    Our system currently maintains Payroll data, but we do not need to use it anymore. Because of this, we cannot unscope the Payroll module. We are OK with wiping out all Payroll data. Is there a way around this?

    Thank you.

    • Hello Thanh

      With the 1902 release, we have relaxed the veto checks in business configuration for Payroll and Compensation, so you should be able to unscope these modules even with their data being present in the system.

      In case you need this information in the Employee Central system, I would recommend that you download them either by using the Data Extraction functionality, or by using the Compensation Component Details report before you unscope these modules.