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Credit: I’m working closely on the topic Extended Planning and Analysis with michael.fox3. Together we are leading a new effort at SAP to showcase Extended Planning and Analysis best practices in pre-built Business Content Suite. To stay current on SAP developments in this area, please browse our other Extended Planning and Analysis blog posts and most importantly, be sure to click “Follow” in the upper left portion of that page.

What to Expect From this Blog Post

A new content package is now available as part of the SAP Business Content Suite for xP&A within SAP Analytics Cloud. The focus of this content is Human Resources and the related operational planning activities within the context of xP&A. What can you expect of this content? Please check out this blog post to find out!

For a brief summary you can jump to the key takeaways at the end of this blogpost. If you are seeking for a guided run through of this content please check out our Tutorial.

Visit our community page here to find an interactive webinar and video as well as the process maps and rollout materials. In this tutorial you can find a click-through of the content. We will as well post a developer tutorial showing a run-through of the content in the near future. The link will be updated here.


The Workforce Planning Business Challenge

Today many organizations struggle to align their Line of Business specific planning activities with the overall financial plan for the complete company. As a result of these struggles the required Line of Business actions are not completely incorporated in the planned and budgeted activities for the next year. This can lead to ineffective decision making and might result in escalations which could have been taken care of upfront in the aligned planning. If these companies had processes and tools that did help with this alignment between the different perspectives of planning, they could effectively decide for their plans for the next year and thereby steer in a more steady and long-term approach, rather than reacting on escalations and being asked to immediately help solve a problem and adhoc try to find a way to create a budget for LoB critical initiatives.

xP&A Operational Workforce Planning

This new content builds on the xP&A vision to interconnect different planning activities, specifically in this case, the operational HR and Financial planning processes. We based the content on the data structures of SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and mapped the resulting costs with the Integrated Financial Planning in a “loose” handshake mapping. While constructing the workforce plan, the content reflects the expenses per individual employee and in aggregate for organizational areas. Lastly as the content is covering the total workforce, we leverage the existing integration job between SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Fieldglass to incorporate external resources as well. This picture illustrates the described integration. Within the red detailed box, you also get a first glimpse of the addressed use cases within this content package.


Time Horizon and Use Cases

In workforce planning three elaborated time horizons of planning can be distinguished. The near future is described by the term “operational scheduling” and focuses on the topic of staffing, shift planning and short-term contracting in the timeframe of now till roughly 8 months into the future. Besides this short-term planning, or scheduling, workforce planning can have the facet of strategic long-term planning. Normally the timeframe is 24 months and more in the future, and the field of concern is mainly driven by capacity and capability of the workforce and how to mix it. The delivered content currently focuses on the operational workforce planning, which is represented in the middle of the following depiction. We are taking care of the main use cases which are interesting to be planned within the timespan of 6-24 months in the future:

  1. Headcount and FTE planning

  2. Leveraging contingent workforce and

  3. Deriving the costs of the total planned workforce


Planning Perspectives and Personas

In any enterprise planning activity, there are typically different points of view and approaches to arrive at a plan.  For example, a top-down approach in operational workforce planning starts by defining the target end state of Headcount on an aggregated basis for an entire organization, and then breaks that down for smaller segments within the organization.  A bottom-up approach in operational workforce planning focuses first on individual employees and their respective changes in the near-future. Our goal when designing this content package was to allow both of these approaches to occur within an organization simultaneously, while keeping the multiple perspectives aligned with each other. To accomplish this, the content supports either planning perspective, and enables continuous alignment following a standard-defined workflow. The different plans can be presented next to each other in the planning table, or in an overview chart to support the necessary alignment discussions.


The different points of view for planning are represented by the arrow’s direction. To connect and align the different planning activities of all involved personas, the picture depicts the different use cases and planning activities as well as the point of view these activities are normally conducted with. In workforce planning the Human Resources perspective as well as the Finance perspective is needed and the two work hand-in-hand.


Pre-Defined Workflow and Corresponding Features

While this content supports different personas who have different objectives and use cases, the goal is to help align these different perspectives into a consolidated plan following an agreed-upon process across the business. Therefore, the content offers different entry points and different features for each individual persona. While designing the content we foresee a standard planning process which is reflected by the content and can be enhanced and changed as-needed by you. The pre-defined process overview is outline below. More details can be found in the process documentation here (Link to Process Maps). Please share any questions as well as your suggestions for what we could improve.  We want to hear it all! Please ask your questions here!

  1. Configuration and Preparation for planning (Target Persona: Planning Administrator)

  2. Workforce Planning (separately, in sequence or parallel)

    • Aggregated Top-Down Planning (Target Persona: Head of Business Unit)

      • Plan on a group of employees on a higher level HC (Headcount) capacity and demand.

      • Plan external Workforce for better Cost/Risk allocation on their working location.

      • Calculate and adjust the reflected Costs of the People Plan.

      • You can use reference data generated by a prediction or defined by the allocated Financial Budget as a guidance.

    • Detailed Bottom-Up Planning (Target Persona: Business Partner or Cost Center Manager)

      • Plan on individual employees single FTE (Full time equivalent) activities such as Costcenter Change, Promotion, Absence, Utilization.

      • Plan new Positions for the future. You can transfer them to SuccessFactors Employee Central later in the process.

      • Calculate and adjust the reflected Costs of the People Plan.

      • You can use reference data by comparing to the aggregated planning results or by the allocated Financial budget as guidance

    • Individual alignment with a given budget by checking the impact of changes to the plan during the planning activity

  3. Plan Alignment (Target Persona: All Involved Planners)

    • Reconcile top-down and bottom-up perspectives, individual reference versions, and assigned budgets for Headcount and optionally Costs

    • Prepare a final agreed-upon plan between all involved Personas

  4. Reporting and monitoring (Target Persona: All Involved Planners and Controllers)

    • of actuals against the planned over time to decide if readjustments need to take place

  5. Consolidation in other xP&A planning perspectives, here exemplary with Financial Planning (Target Persona: Controller)

    1. Integrate financial impact of Workforce Plan with other connected xP&A planning processes such as Sales, Marketing. or Production planning (please check out the reference for the other available xP&A content packages in the SAP Analytics Cloud community)

    2. In preparation of transfer into Financial Planning, map the HR-related cost types such as Personnel Expenses, Personnel Overhead Costs, and Total Workforce Costs to their respective accounts in the general ledger (more details for IFP can be found here)

  6. Insight-To-Action helps you to automatically transfer your planned and agreed upon new positions into the operating HR system.




Other Design Topics

SAP Analytics Cloud thrives in it’s ability to provide Planning and Reporting in a single, consolidated user experience.  Within the SAP Business Content Suite for xP&A, we exploit this capability and ship the content with exemplary standard Reports based on the original SAP Analytics Cloud stories, for easy consumption and self-service. For the planning activities, we leveraged the Analytical Designer of SAP Analytics Cloud to implement the pre-defined process with an intuitive, user-centric design that has a transaction-oriented navigation paradigm you would expect of a business productivity application.

Once again, the content provides a standard process and approach, yet is fully intended for you to configure and customize to fit your organization’s needs. The content is easy to adjust by configuring the data model to suit your needs and/or adjusting the calculation logic within the model. We propose to check out this content, define your individual planning process and enhance or change the content to your desired state during a project definition and setup. We offer different examples of such customizations in the tutorial section. Check out SAP Tutorials for working and enhancing the Business Content


Key Takeaways for you

The key takeaways for you of this content:

  1. The content covers planning and analytics processes of the HR context and supports the integration with other planning activities. A data connection to SAP SuccessFactors is predelivered with the content and you can leverage data from SAP S/4HANA for the financial perspective or/and SAP Fieldglass for the integration of contingent workforce. All integrations are not required and can be used when needed. As well the integration with the Financial Planning content is predelivered and can be leveraged when needed.

  2. The usecases which are addressed in the content focus on different involved personas. Thereby the content supports the different perspectives on planning, for aggregated and detailed planning, as well as the reporting and cost planning for the workforce.

  3. Planning and Reporting can be done on the same data model, to be able to report the impact of planning during the planning cycle. Furthermore, the content is delivered with standard reporting capabilities to comparing actuals vs plan in a rolling fashion.

  4. The content is designed to be customizable and modular. Therefore, you can only select the use cases and personas which reflets your needs best and use the corosponding parts of the content. Furthermore, you do not to change anything in the data model itself but customize within the master data for new changes. Please check out the customization guides.


For more information about Extended Planning and Analysis

A few words about the SAP Business Content Suite for Extended Planning and Analysis: 

In order to keep up with the disruptions to a globalized economy, we recognize that companies need to be more agile than ever and prepare for the unexpected.  To support such a monumental challenge, we provide the SAP Business Content Suite for Extended Planning and Analysis (xP&A) within SAP Analytics Cloud. This content suite is free of charge for SAP Analytics Cloud customers and is designed to help you accelerate your time to value by providing a pre-defined framework for connecting various planning processes across the enterprise.  Recognizing that every business is different, the planning content, reporting stories, and data models within the SAP Business Content Suite for xP&A are built in a modular fashion and fully intended for you to configure and customize to meet your specific needs.