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SuccessFactors LMS Training Planner: Let’s Explore & Configure!

Hi there!

This blog is all about “Training Planner”, a not so commonly used, yet powerful, feature of the SuccessFactors Learning Management System (LMS). In this blog, I will describe the configuration of Training Planner as well as the end-to-end end-user process in SuccessFactors LMS. I have used the all new LMS admin user interface (UI) for this setup, but don’t worry, I describe both the old and new navigations. My previous blog was a comprehensive overview of Training Planner. This blog explains in further detail of how to use it and how to configure it.

So, before we talk more about Training Planner and its setup, first, let me address a few questions like – “What is Training Planner?” and “Why a client needs this kind of tool?”

“Training Planner” is an out-of-box functionality available under SuccessFactors LMS, which helps the organizations in forecasting and maintaining their training costs. The process of Training Planner is something like this:

  1. Employee raises a specific cost-based training request;
  2. The supervisor or the training manager reviews the budget before they take a decision. (The approvers or reviewers in the process can always defer the requests)
  3. Supervisor or Training Manager approves the request which is then added to budget.

Many of our clients have implemented this based upon this scenario.  I am always amazed by the feedback we receive from customers on Training Planner as the tool benefited them in maintaining the training budgets by organization and helps them to track actual vs projected costs.

Always remember, the person designated as the organization training manager (few organizations call them as “Organization Owner”) is the person who has overall control of the training budget. The Training Manager has the rights to reject a request or limit the number of seats requested. Some organizations treat Supervisor as Training Manager too.

Alright! let us go ahead with the setup.

The navigation changes between old and new:

The Recommended Steps:

These are the recommended steps to be followed while configuring the training planner:

  1. Training Request Period

The users will see the below error popup if there is no training request period set up.

  1. Organization Budget
  2. Training Manager
  3. Training Purpose
  4. Training Vendors

The Real Configuration:

First and foremost, The Training Planner feature must be enabled through a permission (aka workflow) on the User side.

New Navigation: Admin > Security > Role Management > Role > Permissions > Learning > Access Training Planner

Old Navigation: Admin > Security > Role Management > Role > Workflows tab > Learning > Access Training Planner

This will add the new training Planner link to the User Links tile –

Navigating to the Training Planner, the view depends on the permissions given.

Generally, based on the permissions given, these are the panels seen on training planner tab:

Training Manager Supervisor Employee

·     My Requests

·     My Team’s Training Requests

·     My Organization Requests

·  My Requests

·  My Team’s Training Requests

 

·  My Requests

As we just read the recommended steps to follow while configuring, the training planner is mainly dependent on the training request period, as the training request period defines the budget cycle. We can create one or more training period requests based on the client’s requirement, i.e. yearly or a quarterly period request. So, lets first configure the training requests periods

New Navigation: Admin > References > Training Planner > Training Request Periods

Old Navigation:  References > > Learning > Training Request Periods

There are certain things which are crucial while configuring “Training Request Period”:

  • Must have a start/end date
  • Check the “Allow Planning” checkbox to be able to create requests for a request period
  • Select “Only after Budget Review” if learning must be assigned by a supervisor only after budget review
  • Select “Before or after Budget Review” to allow Supervisors to assign training from the Training Planner before or after their organization’s budget is reviewed

Once you define the budget cycle, it’s time to define the budget for the organizations in the company. To do that, please navigate to:

New Navigation: System Administration -> System Management Tools > Import Data > Download Templates > download the Organization Budget template.

Old Navigation:  System Administration > Tools > Import Data > Download Templates > Organization Budget

  • Open the Excel template and populate with data provided by the client

Once the data is populated, upload the budget, use

Data Import > Select Record Type >Organization Budget.

  • Choose import option > Add > Submit

  • Continue and watch for validation

Once the job is validated and is successful, it’s time to designate a training manager for the respective organization for which we had a budget earlier.

New Navigation: People > Organizations > Organization Record >Training Managers tab

Old Navigation:  Users > Organizations > Organization Record >Training Manager tab

Search for training Managers by User ID, Add and select apply the changes

Once we added the organization training manager, next comes, Training Purpose, this can vary from client to client, like New Technology, Develop New Skills, Future Staffing Needs, etc. All depends on the client requirement.

 New Navigation: External Learning > Training Purposes

Old Navigation:  Go to References > Learning > Training Purposes

Finally, we can have training vendors in place for allowing employees to opt-in external trainings with in the vendors posted by organization. Normally, organizations have some agreements with external training forces to ensure that their employees are upskilled based on the skill gaps identified. To add vendors, go to

New Navigation: External Learning > Training Vendors

Old Navigation:  Preferences > Learning > Training Vendors

Alright! We are all set with the configuration, let’s test the process and see how it works for an organization. You can also find the process flow of a Training planner

The key people involved in “Training Planner” are:

  • Employee
  • Supervisor
  • Training Manager

Process Flow:

The objective of the above process flow is to educate the overall end-user process of Training Planner.

Let’s begin the test and the journey start with Employee:

The Employee:

Once everything is configured as previously described, the employee will see Training Planner link on the links tile. He/she can go to his Training Planner and opt for the courses – can be from internal catalog or always has the option to select courses from outside registered vendors.

Go to Training Planner > Select the training period from the drop-down menu > View my requests and Select Add Course > Find from Catalog/Outside Course (External Course)

For testing purpose, I have opted an external course, where the course fee was $1500 and there was also a charge which a user must pay – facilitator travel expenses, total comes to $1600. Once a user filled all the details, the user can go ahead and send it for managers approval, as seen in the below screenshots:

Similarly, the manager will see Training Planner link on his links tab on the LMS home page. Once the employee sends the requests to manager, the manager will have the visibility of the courses opted by the subordinate.

The Supervisor

Functionalities of a Supervisor:

  • Supervisor can reject the course
  • Supervisor can defer
  • Supervisor can add bulk request from Catalog or outside
  • Supervisor has the option to select employees for Bulk Request

The supervisor can choose “Change Request Period/Reject the course or the supervisor can send it for a budget review.

 NOTE: if Supervisor approves the item to the team member even before the request is reviewed and approved by the Training Manager, supervisor can remove assignment later if the request is rejected from training manager.

The Training Manager

Here come the last and key role of Training Planner process – The Training Manager

A supervisor can also be a training manager for some of the organizations. For ease of understanding, I am going with a new training manager other than supervisor.

The training manager views the summary list and selects View / Edit Requests

If he is justified with the request and the team is in budget, he/she fixes the number of seats that can be allotted to a course and then Saves the request.

The training manager again always has the chance to reject a request and provide a reason.

Functionalities of Training Manager:

  • Training Manager review the budget
  • Training Manager can modify selected employees
  • Training Manager grants seats which restricts the number for a Supervisor
  • Training Manager manages Organization Request
  • Training Manager can assign organization requests before budget review

Below are the screenshots from organization training managers Training Planner dashboard:

Like other processes, for each event there is a notification triggered. Hence, the employee and the supervisor are notified every time an event takes place.  Client can also have the option to pull the reports to find the projected vs actual budgets at any given point of time. These Reports are available in .csv and .pdf/html formats.

Cheers!! Hope to see you soon with a new topic. Please stay safe and healthy!

Important Links:

For Q&A on Training Planner: Please visit https://apps.support.sap.com/sap/support/knowledge/public/en/2355770

You can also read my previous blog on the new LMS Admin UI navigation changes – A Complete Guide to SuccessFactors LMS New Admin UI Navigation Changes, where I covered entire navigation changes.

 

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