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Author's profile photo Palak Agarwal

Instance sync tool and its Limitations.

Introduction – The instance synchronization feature, or “instance sync”, enables you to move configuration artifacts and settings from one SuccessFactors company instance to another (DEV to QA, QA to PROD, etc).

It supports one-way and two-way synchronization, artifact-level permission control, multiple targets per source, and synchronization across different datacenters. After instance sync has been enabled and configured by your SuccessFactors representative, you can use the instance sync administration tools to create, run, manage, and monitor synchronization jobs.

This tool is helpful but throws errors and come with limitation for Each module, here I have added some of them with respect to each module.-

  1. Instance sync throws an error when pre-delivered MDF object are synced.
  2. Instance sync throws an error while syncing the RBP, when a role contains MDF object permissions.
  3. Pre-delivered MDF objects include Time Off that would be objects such as Holiday Calendar, Time Profile and Time Account Type.

Cause – Instance sync triggers full purge that is, data in the target is first deleted and then recreated if it already exists. An ‘incremental’ purge is triggered via import/export and thus the issue doesn’t appear while doing the import.

Resolution – This is a limit of the instance sync tool to sync pre-delivered MDF objects where it should ideally incrementally sync pre-delivered objects instead of trying to Full Purge  replace them

To resolve this issue: -Export the objects from source and then import these into target as Incremental Load.

  1. We can not sync the Route maps By using the Instance sync and it create an issue if you have number of route map, the only option is to create it manually.
  2. SuccessFactors currently does not support the sync of RBP Permission Group settings when the same has MDF fields set up in the Dynamic Group Filters. The only solution is to create group manually.
  3. Since the 1805 release you are no longer able to synchronize Document Generation Templates, as some of the Child Objects use the Auto-Number feature in MDF. And since 1805 you can no longer override the Auto-Number value with a value provided in the import file.

Resolution– Currently the solution is to export the Document Generation Template (and dependent data) from the Source instance and import the ZIP file into the Destination instance.

  1. Some customers will try to sync workflows to a new environment but experiencing this error: “Foundation object add failed: Relationship to Approver values cannot be applied to DYNAMIC_ROLE. Relationship to Approver values is valid only with ROLE.” But when we review the workflow configuration, there are no values in the Relationship to Approver for any Dynamic Roles.
  2. it is also not recommended to move business rules via instance Sync because most of the business rules contain drop down values and these drop down values are fetched from Picklist Option id’s , since the test system and production system will have different picklist option id(which is auto generated by system) , hence those business rules would not work since instance sync will sync old option id’s and you have to manually fix them post instant sync.
  3. Currently, it is not possible to instance sync RBP permission role that uses Employee Files View permission.
  4. Syncing picklists require that a unique External Code is assigned for each existing picklist option, or it cannot be successfully synced.
  5. Instance sync does not support the sync of Compensation templates, Pay matrix tables, currency conversion tables, group assignment and group creation in compensation, Group based budget.
  6. LMS – Instance sync does not support LMS.
  7. RCM – Custom fields doesn’t get configured properly by using the instance sync.
  8. RCM – We cannot sync the RCM template from one system to another, which results with the non syncing of template configuration and permissions as well. This is the major limitation of instance sync for Recruitment management.

I have tried to cover the Limitations of Instance sync with respect to all the modules.

Hope it has been helpful !!

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      Author's profile photo Sorin Diaconescu
      Sorin Diaconescu

      Hi Palak,

      I have attempted to sync 2 of our instances. I have tried to update 2 business rules - "The following validation error occurred:For entity [Rule ID : DefaultLocalPaygrade2, Start Date : 01/01/1900 ] encountered error - 1. Found more than 1 internal code for same external code(upper). The same externalCode record has been already created: [DEFAULTLOCALPAYGRADE2] "

      In the setup I marked the target rule to be overwriten.

      Can you help me understand the error and what should be done?



      Author's profile photo Palak Agarwal
      Palak Agarwal
      Blog Post Author

      Hi sorin,

      Please delete those 2 existing rules from target system and then try to sync, usually system will override , hence telling you a Workaround for this.


      Author's profile photo Brandon Toombs
      Brandon Toombs



      Great blog!  One of the challenges with SF (or any solution) is trying to figure out what it CANNOT do.

      We cannot overstate how significant the business rule limitation is. You're always going to be making changes to business rules and if you can't have confidence that those will synchronize properly it really reduces the utility of instance sync.

      Also, here's one more limitation:

      RBP role limitation with Employee Views-As of now the RBP roles can't synchronize if you have Employee Views as part of the role.  Since every role is pretty much going to have employee views designated this means that you can't really use instance sync for RBP roles unless you first go in and uncheck all of the employee view permissions, move up the RBP role and then go into source and target systems and add the employee view permissions. This one is currently undocumented by SF.

      Author's profile photo Palak Agarwal
      Palak Agarwal
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Brandon,

      Thanks a lot for your time !

      Yes its always tough to find out the limitations without working on it. we always find it helpful if we have any document before working, which actually enhance the quality of work.

      However, Instance sync is always helpful if we do the sync in systematic order. Sometime we have a number of activities for various module and its tough to handle it manually or reconfiguring the system again, at that time Instance sync is always helping by doing certain things via tool and some Items manually.

      Yes,  syncing the RBP Permissions is the major limitation, that is explained in point no 9 and yes of-couse the solution provided in your comment will be helpful.





      Author's profile photo Karthika Guduru
      Karthika Guduru

      Helpful Thanks for sharing?

      Author's profile photo Ankur Agarwal
      Ankur Agarwal

      Hi Palak,

      Great blog !! you have covered it good overall

      I am currently Implementing Instance tool in my organization for BizX & EC.

      I would like to understand how well this tool is with the Onboarding module as I see in one of the blogs that this tool doesn't support onboarding.

      can you please detail out what is possible or what not??

      One more thing that while I was syncing the MDF object definition, I got an error with the response


      can you explain is it because of some authorization missing ??


      thanks in advance!!

      Author's profile photo Rohit Mohite
      Rohit Mohite

      Is there any enhancements in Instance Sync which supports Recruiting and Onboarding 2.0?


      thanks in advance!!

      Author's profile photo Laura Sanchez Fernandez Figares
      Laura Sanchez Fernandez Figares


      Another limitation undocumented is the following:

      When copying data models from one instance to another, the business rules associated to each HRIS will copy but not the Rule contexts.

      If you have enabled a business rule, but disabled it for terminations or onboarding, this feature won't be transferred to the target system - so you must review it manually to avoid discrepancies.