Migrating to SAP SuccessFactors

(Source - Luke Marson - EurSAP)

Migrating to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central with on-premise payroll, time, and benefits scenarios.

Most likely you’re reading this because you’re an on-premise SAP ERP HCM customer looking at or already moving to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central. And like many other customers, you probably have payroll, time management, or benefits on-premise… or maybe all of them! This means you are probably wondering how to approach your implementation and what your integration considerations are going to be from data, process, and user interface perspectives.

It’s not uncommon for some customers to build a business case to moving to Employee Central around the self-service capabilities, rather than the simplification aspects of the system. In this scenario, customers use ESS/MSS as a central component to drive users to other business processes. This could be to perform talent processes, completed their talent profile and thus create an internal talent marketplace, or to perform more transactional “must do” activities such as payroll or benefits self-service. But with this come factors that must be considered.

The Landscape

How is your future landscape going to look? Some customers moving to Employee Central prefer to leave SAP ERP as a central data hub for their enterprise landscape. For example, instead of building out interfaces to multiple systems from Employee Central, they build one interface from Employee Central to SAP ERP and replicate their employee data back. Since customers who use multiple SAP ERP processes (such as Payroll, Finance, Workflows, Materials Management, etc.) need employee data in the system then this interface has to be built anyway. It therefore makes sense to continue to leverage the existing interfaces in and out of the system. Gradually some of these can be replaced and data replicated directly from Employee Central, but in some cases the approach to use SAP ERP as a data hub reduces risk and enables a longer-term strategic approach to designing integrations.

Data Integration

Ensuring master data is replicated to target systems is essential. Not only does it have to be replicated, but also it has to replicate correctly and in a timely enough fashion then when users access downstream systems, the data is up-to-date. This could even involve an interface running multiple times per day. SAP provides packaged integrations for integrating SAP SuccessFactors with SAP ERP to accelerate the implementation of integrations and reduce risk and maintenance.

Integration does not have to be difficult, but it’s not straightforward. An experienced integration partner will understand the challenges and pitfalls of integration and understand how to build it optimally. They will also know how to architect the correct design on both sides of the integration and provide design and testing strategies to facilitate optimal operation of integrations. There have been too many times that I’ve seen a customer use inexperienced consultants who end up building out configurations to meet requirements that are already covered by the SAP packaged integrations.

User Interface Integration

The experience that a user has when accessing and using the new system and any related functionality is critical for user adoption and long-term return-on-investment (ROI). There are a number of ways to achieve user interface (UI) integration:

  • Single Sign-On (SSO): remove the need for multiple logins
  • Mash-ups: display SAP Web Dnypro inside SuccessFactors to perform on-premise activities
  • Tiles on the Home Page: quick and easy access to on-premise or external systems (e.g. CATS or WorkForce Software EmpCenter)
  • URL links in the Navigation menu: access to on-premise or external applications from the navigation menu
  • SAP Fiori: UI technology that is becoming SAP’s common interface for all their cloud and on-premise applications

This level of UI integration enables employees to use SAP SuccessFactors as a central hub for all of their day-to-day transactional self-services needs (such as time entry, checking their pay slip, updating personal details, etc.), career needs (such as applying for jobs or updating their talent profile), and their strategic talent needs (such as personal development or performance management).

SAP CATS can be accessed through an SAP Fiori UI via SAP SuccessFactors and employees can navigate to the Payroll screen to update their taxation details directly in SAP ERP Payroll via a mash-up. Although these are not always the most elegantly combined UIs, they make up for the aesthetic limitations with functional and practical functionality. Ultimately, your employees are most likely already used to using these systems and understand how they work.

Process Integration

This is where data integration and UI integration come together and where you truly make or break your solution. Ultimately, users need to be able to perform a full process simply and easily in one place with as few clicks as possible. The more steps you add and the more clicks that are needed then the less likely employees are to use these systems and processes.

Even if you have your data integration and UI integration ready, they need to be aligned as part of a wider process. Having a UI strategy that brings all of the elements together is a useful driver to success when utilizing multiple systems.


Integration of data and processes through a single point of entry makes for a more simple landscape for employees. This of course makes adoption higher and enhances the user experience that employees have when performing the processes that the SAP SuccessFactors system supports. Critical on-premise systems like payroll or time management are often not moving to the cloud and it is important to be able to integrate these processes into your new cloud landscape architecture.

Neil How
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Neil How

Neil ran his first SAP transformation programme in his early twenties. He spent the next 21 years working both client side and for various consultancies running numerous SAP programmes. After successfully completing over 15 full lifecycles he took a senior leadership/board position and his work moved onto creating the same success for others.

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