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lukemarson
Active Contributor
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The first integration package for integrating SAP HCM and SuccessFactors – Integration Add-on for SAP ERP Human Capital Management and SuccessFactors Business Execution 1.0 – was released for Ramp Up on SAP Service Marketplace on May 11th with Ramp Up running until July. The first package introduces one-way employee and organizational data transfer from SAP HCM to SuccessFactors to support Talent Management processes and also transfers analytics data to SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics to support workforce planning and workforce analytics. A brief overview of all of the packages and the strategy for integration can be found in my blog SAP and SuccessFactors Talent Hybrid Packaged Integrations: an overview.

Despite being positioned as an integration package it is merely an interface, although this is the start of what is likely to be a long but fruitful process to provide customers with genuine real-time integration between the two systems. Knowing how long it took SAP’s partner Nakisa to provide genuine real-time integration, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took SAP a few more years to deliver full integration.

Data Extraction

The integration package compromises of ABAP programs to extract, evaluate and transfer the data. The process to transfer data is a 3 step process:

  • Extract
  • Transfer
  • Upload

The extract is configured in an extract report provided as part of the package and includes wizard-based integration setup. Customers can extract 44 fields for employee and organizational data, 29 of which are pre-defined and 15 that are available for customer specific fields. For each field, the source field can be selected (for some fields there are more than one choice) or a customer implementation can be selected. A number of fields are required but others can be selected or deselected as required. If an employee does not have data for a required field then the record will be omitted from the extract file.

Upon extraction the extract report performs error checking, any predefined data transformations and then extracts the data into an unsecured CSV file. Yes you did hear me right: an unsecured CSV file. This gives you an idea to the extent of the task ahead for SAP in their quest to provide customers with full integration. 35 evaluation reports are also available to perform checks on the extracted data before it is transferred to SuccessFactors.

Once the CSV file is ready and checks are complete then the file is transferred to the SuccessFactors system via FTP or SFTP and then uploaded into the system. And au voila, you now have your SAP data in SuccessFactors. Until a later integration package SuccessFactors data cannot be transferred back to the SAP system, making reporting and analytics with SAP data impossible. However, 30 new extractors are provided to extract data so that SuccessFactors BizX Workforce Analytics can be used for analytics and reporting. This at least provides real-time analytics for data in the SuccessFactors system, although obviously the limitation is with the extent of the dataset existing in the SuccessFactors system.

One of the main concerns about data transfer in this integration this will focus around security of the transfer. CSV file is not well secured and details of how secure the transfer process is have not been released in any detail. It will be interesting to see if any clients with strong authorizations would be happy to have their employee data transferred through a CSV file. Time will tell. As it was pointed out to me, many organizations are still conducting data transfer between SAP and third party/legacy systems using CSV file, so it isn’t out of the question to believe that some customers will find this an acceptable method.

What data is transferred?

By default, the following fields are transferred between SAP and SuccessFactors:

  • Employment status
  • Personnel ID
  • Central Person ID
  • User ID
  • Title
  • First Name
  • Middle Initial
  • Last Name
  • Gender
  • Hire Date
  • Manager
  • Matrix Manager
  • OrgUnit/Cost Center ID (as Department)
  • Job (as Job Code)
  • Company Code (as Division)
  • HR Administrator
  • Email
  • Business phone number
  • Fax
  • Address line 1
  • Address line 2
  • City
  • State
  • Zip/Post Code
  • Country
  • Location
  • Time zone
  • Review frequency
  • Last review date

In additional CUSTOM01 through to CUSTOM15 are available for customer-specific fields. Some SuccessFactors fields have more than 1 option and this can be selected in the extract report (e.g. Department). All fields can have a customer-specific implementation via a BAdI.

For the analytics, extractors exist to extract data from infotypes 0000 (Actions), 0001 (Organizational Assignments), 0002 (Personnel Data), 0007 (Planned Working Time), 0008 (Basic Pay), 0016 (Contract Elements), 0025 (Appraisals), 0041 (Date Specifications), 0077 (Personnel Actions), 0302 (Additional Actions), 1000 (Objects) and 1001 (Relationships), plus the related text tables.

Practical and Technical Implementation Information

The integration package requires ECC6.0 and can be installed with no enhancement packages, supporting upto and including EhP6. Details of the minimum SPS level for each EhP can be found on SMP via https://service.sap.com/~form/sapnet?_SHORTKEY=01100035870000747353&. Customers can also apply to join the Ramp Up programme via this link.

SAP note 1708986 (Installation of SFIHCM01 600) is provided to deliver installation information for the integration add-on and, unsurprisingly, there is already a Support Package: SAPK-60001INSFIHCM01. The package is delivered in 8 languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.

Transactions and Customizing are available - Customizing in the IMG is under Personnel Management > Integration Add-On for SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors BizX and includes options for specifying the location and name of the CSV file and scheduling the extraction job. The program to perform the data transfer setup and execution is RH_SFI_TRIGGER_EMPL_DATA_REPL and requires SAP role SAP_HR_SFI_EMPL_DATA_REPL. This report can also be scheduled as a background job in SM36 to run the data extract on a periodic basis.

Concurrent employment has been considered, but is not really supported. The extract report selects each CP object and all related PERNRs. The main PERNR, which SAP recommends is defined in infotype 0712 (Main Personnel Assignment) with subtype SuccessFactors (SFSF) for relevant employees, is then transferred with all related PERNRs. If no entry is maintained in infotype 0712 then only one PERNR is transferred.

It might be worth noting that email is a compulsory field in SuccessFactors so a default email address must be provided for employees that do not have an email address assigned.

Integration Challenges

I’m not really going to touch on this, but I recommend that you read SAP and SuccessFactors: My Top 9 Integration Challenges by Jeremy Masters to get a good overview of some of the integration challenges that customers are still going to face at this stage of the integration roadmap.

Back to the Future

In the short-term, SAP plan to introduce bi-directional integration at specific process points in an end-to-end process and event-driven data transfer. With each integration package SAP will introduce more and more two-way integration points to allow for interaction between the systems.

In the long-term, integration will be via SAP Process Integration OnDemand (available later in the year) and SAP Data Services OnDemand, allowing bi-directional and secure transfer of higher volumes of data between the systems. There is also a possibility that real-time data transfer will be available in the near future, rather than the long-term.

SAP plan to offer Web Services that can can provide real-time, bi-directional data transfer between the systems. My concern here is largely around performance. Can Web Services cope with the volume of data used in Talent Management process such as Recruitment, Performance or Talent Calibration? Hopefully steinermatt can provide some insight into this topic.

Summary

I’m not a huge fan of transferring data in this way, but if the process is secure and provides customers with an easy way of transferring their data to SuccessFactors then this is definitely more beneficial than customer’s building their own integration. This is the first step on a long-road to genuine, secure, real-time integration and is at least a step in the right direction. The end of maintenance date of 30.06.2014 shows that SAP doesn’t aim to have this package in use for longer than a 2 year period. While the “integration” is rather basic, it still provides customers with a starting point to use their SAP HCM data within the SuccessFactors BizX suite.

*Updated information on the Support Packages for the Integration Add-on:
Integration Add-on 1.0 for SAP HCM and SuccessFactors: Support Package 1

Integration Add-on 1.0 for SAP HCM and SuccessFactors: Support Package 2

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