We are seeing more and more companies switch their talent management functionality from their SAP On-Premise system to SuccessFactors. However, at the same time, we are not seeing a big move to Employee Central. Thus, most companies are going with a hybrid approach to their HCM landscape. Core HCM functionality (such as personnel administration, organizational management, payroll, benefits, etc.) remains on-premise, whereas, their talent management suite (performance management, compensation management, learning management, etc.) is going to the cloud. This creates a situation where data must be exchanged to keep both systems in sync.
Currently, there are several options available to integrate your SAP HCM on-premise and SuccessFactors systems. The different option types are:
- Use a custom ABAP program to move the data
- Use an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) tool
- Use middleware
Let's take a quick look at the different options.
Custom ABAP Program
For some of the first companies making the switch to SuccessFactors, this was the only option. Now more options exist. The advantage of this option is that you have the power! It is highly customizable and you don’t have to wait for release packages. It’s disadvantages; it is not ‘real time’ and they can be costly to develop and maintain.
Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) Tool
There are several Extract, Transform and Load tools out there. These are software tools that allow you to extract data from a source system, transform the data so it can be loaded into the target system and then actually load the data into the target system. One of these tools is SAP’s own Data Services ETL tool. The value with this tool is in the software and the pre-defined content. With the software, you have the ease of use to extract, transform and load data. You can manipulate the data extract before it is loaded. You also have the ease to establish connections with your source and target systems. With the pre-defined content you get workflows and mapping templates. Remember, SAP knows the requirements for SAP data migration better than anyone. There is no need for custom code to write or maintain. However, you are dependent upon SAP for releases and new functionality.
The pre-requisites for SAP’s Data Services are:
SAP BO Data Services Platform
- SAP BI Platform 4.1 - ENTERPRISE Server SP4 or above
- SAP BI Platform 4.1 – Enterprise Client Tools SP4 or above
- SAP Data Services 4.2 SP5 or above
- SuccessFactors Business Execution Suite b1505 (or later build) or SAP Cloud for Customer 1402 release (or later build)
There are several options available in the middleware space. They are:
- SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (PI)
- HANA Cloud Integration (HCI)
- Dell Boomi
SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (PI)
The nice thing with PI, it is included in a base NetWeaver license and only requires the cost for the implementation of PI. The key component here is the SFSF adapter which was released in February 2014. This adapter is now available as part of a release independent add on SAP NetWeaver Process Integration connectivity add-on 1.0. This add-on is compatible with:
- SAP NW PI 711 >=SP12
- SAP NW PI 730 >=SP10
- SAP NW PI 731 >=SP09
- SAP NW PI 740 >=SP04
One disadvantage PI has versus some of the other options listed below; it allows you to connect on-premise to the cloud, but not cloud to cloud. Thus, PI cannot be used to integrate Employee Central with third-party cloud applications such as Kronos. Also, PI resources are few and far between and expensive. If you are not looking to connect cloud to cloud and you have in-house PI resources, then this might be a very viable option.
HANA Cloud Integration (HCI)
This solution facilitates the integration of business processes and data across on-premise and cloud applications (cloud to cloud and on-premise to cloud). It allows you to integrate business processes spanning different companies, organizations, or departments within an organization. However, HCI costs 7.5% of a SuccessFactors subscription to use. This can add up when multiple applications are used.
Dell Boomi AtomSphere
This is an on-demand multi-tenant cloud integration platform for connecting cloud and on-premises applications and data. The platform enables customers to design cloud-based integration processes called Atoms and transfer data between cloud and on-premises applications. For Employee Central, the Dell Boomi AtomSphere middleware platform comes bundled with the Employee Central subscription, although this solution can be expensive to use for a Talent Hybrid scenario. SAP offers predefined Employee Central integration with Boomi.
Some interesting facts to consider in your decision making process:
- SAP plans to offer the same predefined Employee Central integration content on both PI and HCI that it currently offers with Boomi.
- HCL may become bundled with an Employee Central subscription at some point in the future.
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