By Stefan Rueter, Jochen Thierer, and Neetin Datar, SAP
The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in so many ways, including our world of work. While the idea of ‘working from home’ was once a coveted perk, it has now become the norm for individuals, teams, and entire companies, across many industries, globally. The prognosticators of future-of-work are now predicting that this may very well be the ‘new normal’. In such unchartered ‘new normal’ times, among other existential challenges, companies will need to continue to adapt and be hyper vigilant on issues such as business continuity of end to end HR processes; security, identity management, and role-based access & governance of all remote workers, while threading the needle on employee health & wellness, engagement, and overall productivity.
SAP’s strategy to focus and double down on delivering the Intelligent Enterprise is incredibly opportune. One of the key processes of an Intelligent Enterprise is the Hire to Retire business process, which has now taken on an added importance during these ‘new normal’ times. SAP’s Hire to Retire business process runs across SAP SuccessFactors, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and SAP Identity and Access Management solutions. With the latest product releases i.e. First Half 2020 release of SAP SuccessFactors and SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2005 release (May 2020), this business process just got a triple shot of espresso!
Espresso shot #1: Domain model alignment leads to One Data Model for People Data and Cost Center Data
One of the primary areas SAP focused on for the latest releases of SAP SuccessFactors and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, was domain model alignment, a top suite quality asks from our customers. This is no surprise as data and information is the lifeblood of any digital organization today. Master data represents the single source of basic business data used commonly across all enterprise business applications. SAP conducted a rigorous domain model alignment exercise across all SAP business applications portfolio and has now defined the One Data Model (ODM) for Cost Center Data Model (mastered in SAP S/4HANA Cloud) and People Data Model (mastered in SAP SuccessFactors – Employee Central). These data models will now be consistently used across all SAP and 3rd party business applications as shown in the diagrams below.
One common People Data Model
One common Cost Center Data Model
The benefits of One Data Model for People Data as well as Cost Center Data is incredibly valuable to our customers:
Consistent (and semantically understood) master data across business applications
Enable out-of-the-box SAP to SAP integration and dramatically lower IT costs
Power end to end business processes to run seamlessly across the enterprise landscape
Consistent APIs based on open standards
Enable data driven decision support e.g. CHRO and CFO analytics
Foundational to other suite qualities e.g. Identity Mgmt., One Inbox and Cross Application Analytics
Espresso shot #2: One central Master Data Integration service across SAP Business Applications
The latest releases also deliver a central Master Data Integration (MDI) service on SAP Cloud Platform for distributing master data like Cost Center and People Data from the mastering system to the consuming systems. For data distribution, MDI uses the data models defined in SAP One Data Model (ODM). The benefits of having a central master data service are manifold as shown in the diagram below.
Espresso shot #3: One Identity and Access Management across SAP Business Applications
The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the digital transformation agenda of enterprises and as such, the urgent need for a secure, reliable and consistent identity and access management solutions. Companies supporting a remote workforce have been challenged with:
Ensuring a seamless sign-on experience for all users across the myriad of business applications that they need to access to keep business continuity and get their job done effectively
Having proper access controls in place to safeguard company sensitive information while managing user access with minimal disruption and ensuring employee productivity
Managing the full identity and access lifecycle i.e. from being newly hired to changing roles due to promotions, job changes, transfers, terminations etc.
Ensuring regulatory compliance e.g. SOX and GDPR compliance
Increasing enterprise agility while keeping a close tab on IT costs
With the latest releases, SAP has centralized and further simplified the identity and access management. See the diagram below. SAP Identity Access Governance (IAG) application orchestrates authentication and authorization management. Identity Authentication service (IAS) handles the Single Sign-On management for a seamless experience. User access is also handled in an automated and compliant way so that the entire identity and access lifecycle of an employee (from Hire to Retire) can be managed securely and proactively.
Enabling Hire to Retire process to flow seamlessly
The following diagram shows the high-level architecture of using MDI on SAP Cloud Platform with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP Identity and Access Management applications to make the Hire to Retire business process flow seamlessly.
In the Hire to Retire scenario, Employee Central provides employee (“worker” in MDI terminology) data to MDI, which is then consumed by SAP S/4HANA Cloud and by the Identity and Access Governance applications. SAP S/4HANA Cloud provides roles to the Identity and Access Management applications and provides cost centers to MDI for Employee Central to consume. The Identity and Access Management applications ensure authentication, authorization and SSO management in both Employee Central and SAP S/4HANA Cloud. It also manages the event-based identity lifecycle of employees i.e. from Hire to Retire.
Espresso machine is cranked up and we have further innovations to look forward to
As you can see, significant progress was made in first half of 2020 in delivering an integrated end to end Hire to Retire process as well as harmonizing a couple of the suite qualities. More innovations (likened to espresso shots) can be expected in the upcoming releases across the Hire to Retire, Travel to Reimburse and External Worker business processes. And across additional suite qualities such as one Workflow inbox, Set up and lifecycle management, Cross-application analytics (e.g. blended CFO and CHRO dashboards) and more.
Undoubtedly, our journey to provide best-of-breed business applications (e.g. Finance, HR, Travel, External Worker) and best-of-suite solutions (Intelligent Enterprise Suite) is becoming a reality. This is terrific news for customers as they look to become Intelligent Enterprises and be the best run businesses during the prognosticated ‘new-normal’ future.