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Author's profile photo Zack Alabaster

External Workforce: Plan, Source and Manage External Talent End-to-End

Every business needs a workforce that’s ready to respond to evolving situations, especially as businesses are forced to re-evaluate and redefine the way they work. Global supply chains have been disrupted and required organizations to come up with business continuity plans quickly. And as organizations rethink their strategies, many are under pressure to redeploy talent or even furlough employees. This can be challenging or even impossible if businesses do not know:

  • How can companies get immediate insights into details regarding their workforce?
  • Where are they employed?
  • How long does their contract run?
  • How much are they paid?
  • What projects/programs are they working on?

SAP addresses these challenges by answering these questions and providing the transparency companies need to react and act fast. From a technical perspective, we are bringing together different systems onto a common platform with universal data models and user experiences. This allows organizations to integrate External Workforce solutions, finance and HR line of business functions and systems in one single, extensible, digital platform that is infused with intelligent technology.

This is coming to life with External Workforce, a sub-process in Recruit to Retire, one of SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise end-to-end processes. Recruit to Retire helps businesses to understand, manage, and optimize all aspects of the workforce, including employees and external workers, in line with business objectives.


SAP’s offering for external workforce empowers organizations with the end-to-end business process for planning, sourcing, and managing all kind of talent, including external workers. Customers can see the following benefits:

  • Enable timely and automated payments while reducing the cost and risk of outstanding payments,
  • Support accurate, consistent, and compliant booking of time and expenses for an external workforce,
  • Increase productivity with integrated creation of purchase requisition, purchase order, service entry sheet and supplier invoice,
  • Increase data consistency throughout the systems by replicating master data between SAP Fieldglass, SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP SuccessFactors,

The Process Flow:


The External Workforce process spans across SAP Fieldglass for managing external workers, SAP S/4HANA Cloud as the finance system and optionally SAP SuccessFactors as the HR system. SAP Fieldglass is involved in Staffing (Talent Acquisition), Onboarding, Working and Closing and SAP S/4HANA Cloud handles the Paying process.

Process integrations and master data integrations are first being built in a cloud landscape. With the November 2020 release the integration amongst these systems is based on aligned APIs and SAP Cloud Platform Master Data Integration which is based on the SAP One Domain Model. The existing hybrid integration between SAP Fieldglass and SAP S/4HANA on-premise is also expected to include these elements in future (*2021 Q3 release). Further information on the best practices for existing SAP Fieldglass and SAP S/4HANA on-premise integration can be found here.

Master Data Integration:


Using the SAP Cloud Platform Master Data Integration, the master data of cost centers, WBS elements, suppliers, HR organizational units, Job classifications and external workers are managed within one system and replicated to the other systems.

Cost Centers and WBS elements are included within the SAP One Domain Model to ensure the data is consistent across all applications, costs are allocated correctly, and both invoicing and payment processes are faster and more accurate.

SAP SuccessFactors is the master for the HR organizational unit and Job Classification/Code, which are used to make the talent acquisition process more consistent and efficient for both internal employees and external workers.

The SAP One Domain Model supports a single master data object for Workforce which covers internal employees and external workers. The immediate benefit for a single object is that as soon as an external worker is onboarded within SAP Fieldglass, their corresponding business partner (type service performer) record is created within SAP S/4HANA Cloud which can be used in other business processes such as Professional Services.

Another key element of the landscape focuses around user management and identity provisioning – with the ability to administer this from a single place for the external workers.


Future improvements include further process automation and efficiency gains using Evaluated Receipt Settlement (ERS*), so payments are done automatically once Service Entry Sheets are approved by auto-generating the invoice.

For further information please see SAP Activate Methodology for the Intelligent Enterprise and SAP Help Portal for SAP Fieldglass.

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