Integrating Success Factors with SAP HCM

Integrating Success Factors with SAP HCM

SuccessFactors is a cloud-based human resource management system. Therefore, client data needs to be syndicated in-house from your SAP Human Capital Management (HCM) system to the Cloud. This syndication requires a secure, reliable middleware process. There are several Add-on’s that support this process:

  • SAP provides pre-built content which can be imported in SAP HCM and SAP Process Integration (PI).
  • Contents in SAP HCM are imported via SPAM/SAINT transaction code. The add-on is primarily responsible for extracting data from SAP HCM or importing data into SAP HCM.
  • Contents in SAP PI are imported as .TPZ files in  Enterprise Services Repository (ESR). The add-on provides pre-built configuration objects (Data Types, Message Interfaces, Mapping programs, Communication Channel templates, and more)

These add-ons can be downloaded from the SAP Marketplace

Prerequisites for Installing the Add-on

  • At least SAP ERP 6.0 SPS 15 is mandatory for all SuccessFactors integration
  • At least SAP PI 7.0 and axis adapter in SAP PI is mandatory for compensation and recruiting integrations
  • The Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) module and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) in SAP PI is advisable for employee and evaluation integrations

Integrations Delivered as part of the Add-on

Employee Data Integration

  • Supports core HR functionality
  • Data is transferred from HCM to SuccessFactors systems
  • Integration is asynchronous (uni-directional) and makes use of file-based communication
  • Integration can make use of Webservices 

Evaluation of Data Integration

  • Used to transfer evaluation related data from SAP HCM to SuccessFactors-Work Force Analytics (WFA)
  • Communication is asynchronous in nature
  • Data is transferred from SAP HCM to SuccessFactors using file-based communication

Compensation Data Integration

  • It is used in the compensation planning process
  • Data is transferred from HCM to SuccessFactors and vice versa
  • Integration is synchronous and makes use of Webservices
  • Before building, make sure employee data already exists in SuccessFactors
  • It cannot use file-based integration

Recruitment Data Integration

  • It is used in recruitment planning
  • Data is transferred from HCM to SuccessFactors and vice versa
  • Integration is synchronous and makes use of Webservices
  • Before building, make sure employee data already exists in SuccessFactors
  • It cannot use file-based integration

Types of SuccessFactors Integrations

There are two types of communication options which can be leveraged

File-based communication

  • Data is exchanged between SAP HCM and SuccessFactors through flat files.
  • Communication is asynchronous and can be set up with minimal technical configuration/expertise.
  • Configured to run either in batch or near-real-time mode.
  • No automated real-time response for the data import. Hence, it is not possible to monitor this transmission end-to-end. It does provide an e-mail notification which can be configured for data import.
  • Files are usually PGP encrypted and sent over Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).

SAP PI is the preferred middleware tool but this integration can be developed without it as well.

Webservice-based Communication

Webservice-based communication enables data exchange via webservices which is primarily used for Employee, Compensation, and Recruiting.

The communication is synchronous and requires the usage of SAP Process Integration (PI). The process requires the installation of an add-on on SAP HCM as well as SAP PI. Pre-delivered contents are imported in ESR of PI. These contain the service interface definition for SAP HCM as well as SuccessFactors (webservices). They also contain message mapping programs and the communication channel template.

  • All transactions originate from the SAP HCM system. The call is placed from the SAP HCM to the SAP PI system. SAP PI sends this request to SuccessFactors and gets the response which is eventually sent back to SAP HCM.
  • The Add-on is installed in SAP HCM and SAP PI. Data is exchanged via the Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) proxy. Hence, it is important that you connect HCM and PI at the server level.
  • The connection can be established between HCM and PI (Dual Stack) using an Integration engine or HCM and SAP PI (Single Stack) using SOAP communication.
  • A communication channel template is used to configure connections in the Integration Directory. It uses a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and an Axis Adapter (HTTPS) so you need to make sure that these components are installed in SAP PI as well.
  • Communication between SAP HCM and SuccessFactors makes use of Token ID’s which are dynamically issued by SuccessFactors webserver during the interface execution.
  • Token ID’s need to be exchanged for all data communication between HCM and SuccessFactors webserver.
  • By default, successfully processed synchronous messages are not persisted in SAP PI, hence you may need to enable the logging on of Integration Engine (for dual stack) or Adapter Engine (for single stack) for monitoring/troubleshooting purposes.

File vs. WebService-based Communication

File-Based Communication

Webservice Based Communication

Uses file / FTP based integration

Uses HTTPS (Axis) based integration

Primarily for employee and Workforce Administration (WFA)

Can be used for Employee, Compensation or Recruiting

Requires installation of an Add-on on SAP HCM

An Add-on needs to be installed on SAP HCM and SAP PI

Always works asynchronously

Always works synchronously

Works in near-real-time mode and failed messages can be restarted from SAP PI

Works in real time mode and failed messages need to be restarted from SAP HCM

Can be set up without using SAP PI

SAP PI is mandatory

Easier to configure

Requires more technical expertise

Checks multiple systems for end-to-end monitoring

Provides end-to-end monitoring from a single system

Uses PGP+SFTP for message security

Uses HTTPs for message security

Key Points to Remember

  • The SuccessFactors application runs in the cloud. Hence, your data needs to be syndicated externally.
  • Use the SAP delivered content as much as possible.
  • All communications run from HCM to SuccessFactors.
  • Employee and WFA can be done via File-based communication.
  • Recruiting and compensation require Webservice communication.
  • Build a solution which can be leveraged for future enhancements.
  • Plan ahead and make sure that prerequisites are fulfilled.

Integrations between in-house SAP HCM and cloud-based SuccessFactors can be quickly built using the on-premise SAP Process Integration (PI/PO) server and the SAP provided pre-delivered contents. Depending upon the SuccessFactor module one intends to implement, you could use File or Webservice based communications.