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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Everything you need to get started for your Strategic Workforce Planning needs.



Workforce Planning is no longer a siloed part of business that organizations can visit once a year. And modern workforce planning needs to become a framework of collaborative enterprise planning that is continuous and dynamic. Organizations are transitioning from purpose-built workforce planning application to enterprise-grade planning where they get access to HR as content for acceleration.

From Operational headcount planning to Strategic workforce planning, SAP Analytics Cloud for planning integrates Workforce Planning into the realm of Extended Planning and Analysis (xP&A). It combines Workforce Planning with Smart Predict capability and comes with standard features that are critical for planning to empower businesses to drive positive financial, operational, and human capital outcomes of an organization.

[*This blog has been updated on November 29th, 2022 with most recent updates]

Strategic Workforce Planning vs Operational Headcount Planning

“What are the workforce implications of our organization’s short and long-term business strategy on our critical job roles?”

“Will we have the right resources? If not, how could we get them?”

For business HR strategists, Strategic Workforce Planning ensures the contribution of the HR strategy to the business’s success and strategic objectives. It is a planning solution that helps to predict the future development of workforce demand, supply, and gap, and define a strategy for gap closure.

“How do we plan for the right number, cost, and types of workforce resources to hit projected business targets and make sure we are executing on that plan?”

 For HR business partners, Operational Headcount Planning is a planning solution that supports the yearly planning of headcount. Operational Headcount Planning by Job allows planning of headcount or FTE for hires, terminations and transfers and their salaries and merit increases. Operational Headcount Planning by Position is performed on position level and allows for planning of new positions, position transfers, employee transfers and position terminations and salary adjustments.


In this blog we will focus on Strategic Workforce Planning. If you would like to learn more about the steps for Operational Headcount Planning, please take a look at this blog: Activating SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning – Operational Headcount Planning


How it works

Strategic Workforce Planning is an integral part of xP&A (Extended Planning and Analysis) that brings together financial and operational plans, including headcount and workforce plans, to help organizations become more agile, aligned, and ready to respond to any situation. This is achieved by integrating both financial data (SAP S/4HANA) with people data (SAP SuccessFactors), and utilizing SAP Analytics Cloud to anticipate change by analyzing forecasts and workforce supply and demand plans. The goal is to forecast the right people in place at the right time.

Here is a high-level overview of how HR can help streamline the workforce planning workflow to make better-informed talent decisions.

  1. Create your planning model

    1. In order to use SAP Analytics Cloud for workforce planning you’ll have to import your HR data. Usually before you can import any data you have to define how it will be structured by creating a planning model. SAP accelerates this process by providing you with predefined templates you can use to define and load data from SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central based on existing structures and relationships.

    2. A planning model is a representation of your people data according to your defined structure. When you create your model, you’ll define hierarchical relationships between positions and determine your organizational structure according to cost center or departmental structures. Models will provide the basis for your planning in SAP Analytics Cloud.

    3. Once your model is defined, you’ll complete the process by importing your workforce data. In this stage, you can add the different types of your headcount and cost data such as actuals, budget, and forecasts.

  2. Collaborate with your team

    1. In order to increase accountability and cut down on multiple communication channels, SAP Analytics Cloud incorporates collaboration tools so stakeholders like cost center managers, leadership and workforce planners can communicate in context without leaving the platform.

    2. Collaboration features give individuals the ability to:

      1. Start discussions with individuals or groups

      2. Access discussions from anywhere in the workspace

      3. Comment on individual visualizations

      4. Assign tasks & send reminders to team members

Strategic Workforce Planning is about the process of a scenario-based way of determining future workforce demand and supply, shortage or surplus, and the gaps between to define risk responses to mitigate and close the identified workforce gaps.

The planning process starts with creating the demand plan based on strategic output targets by understanding the current workforce, such as revenue for specific strategic planning scenarios. Then with the future supply and demand gaps, the supply plan is created, taking into account planned hires, terminations and retirements. These two plans result in the gap plan indicating shortages and surplus per planning dimension, such as organizational unit, location, and job classification.

After identifying demand, supply, and gap risks, planners define risk responses (HR interventions strategy) to close identified workforce gaps. Comprehensive pre-built analytics stories support the planning activities. The solution is designed with planning administrator and planner roles in mind with role-specific launchpads.

Data Connectivity

  • Import Data Connection from SAP SuccessFactors to SAP Analytics Cloud

    • Add Connection by selecting Acquire Data – SAP SuccessFactors

    • On the New SAP SuccessFactors Connection dialog, enter data connection name, Service URL, User ID, API Key, upload the certificate file under Private Key, and enter Company ID

    • Clicking Create will add the new connection to the list of connections on the Connections screen

  • Import Data Connection from SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics to SAP Analytics Cloud

    • A valid Workforce Analytics account is required

    • Add connection by selecting Acquire Data – SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics

    • On the New SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics Connection dialog, enter data connection name, Service URL, Workforce Analytics User ID, API Key, upload the certificate file (.pem file) under Private Key, and enter Company ID

    • Clicking Create will add the new connection to the list of connections on the Connections screen

  • Integration of SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning with SAP S/4HANA

    • Create a Connection in SAP Analytics Cloud

    • Create Planning Models in SAP Analytics Cloud

    • Import Master Data

    • Import Transaction Data

    • OData Services for Import of Master Data

    • Export Data from SAP Analytics Cloud to SAP S/4HANA


Steps to Start with SAP Analytics Cloud Planning – Strategic Workforce Planning

  1. Prepare System for Strategic Planning

  2. Prepare Demand and Supply Headcount Plan

  3. Create Demand, Supply, and Gap Headcount Plan

  4. Finalize Strategic Plan

  5. Perform Risk Assessment

  6. Prepare Risk Response

  7. Create Risk Response

  8. Finalize Risk Response Strategy & Execute Action Plans

  9. Monitor Progress (With Data) and Refresh Plans


SAP Discovery Center Mission

Once you are ready to try out Strategic Workforce Planning, SAP Discovery Centre mission is there to guide you step by step with prebuilt accelerator.


Helpful Resources

Learn about current functionality, recent improvements, anticipated road map, and more by clicking the links below:

•      SAP Analytics Cloud

•      SAP Analytics Cloud Roadmap

•      Best Practices for SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Planning‎ - Prebuilt Accelerator

•      SAP Analytics Cloud Community

•      Help and Technical Specs

•      SAP Analytics Cloud Webinars

•      SAP Hana Journey - SAP Analytics Cloud Blogs

•      SAP Community – Workforce Planning contents

•      Blog on Strategic and Operational Workforce Planning with SAP: Best Practices for SAP SuccessFactors...

•      Content Network Release Information Guide: SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Planning (SAP Best Practices...

•      Blog – It’s Time for HR and Finance to Be on the Same Page for Workforce Planning

•      Leverage LoB and Industry Content for SAP Digital Boardroom & Analytics Cloud