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Moving Your HR Processes to the Cloud

iFlows Help Ensure Seamless Integration of SAP and SuccessFactors Solutions

by David Ludlow | SAPinsider, Volume 14, Issue 4

October 1, 2013

A key concern for SAP customers looking to use SuccessFactors solutions is integration. How do SuccessFactors’ cloud-based solutions integrate with the many variations of SAP applications? This article introduces you to the technology that makes this integration happen: iFlows. 


When SAP acquired it 20 months ago, Success­Factors was — and continues to be — a leading cloud and HCM solutions provider to organizations both within and outside of the SAP install base.1 Since the acquisition, a key requirement from customers has been integration between solutions from the two companies. In response, we have set out to build and deliver predefined integrations, called iFlows, to address this need.

More About This Column

SuccessFactors, an SAP company, was a major strategic and technical acquisition in 2012. As SAP continues to incorporate this human capital management (HCM) provider, SAPinsider is launching this recurring column devoted to SuccessFactors technology, integration, and innovation. This inaugural article explores iFlows, the technology that was developed to smoothly integrate SuccessFactors and SAP solutions.

iFlows are designed to enable our joint customers to more quickly and easily leverage the combination of SuccessFactors HCM solutions and SAP solutions. To date, these integrations have focused on two primary models: talent hybrid and full cloud. Under the talent hybrid model, customers run core HR processes (such as personnel administration, organizational management, and payroll) on premise with SAP ERP HCM, connecting it with cloud-based Success-Factors talent solutions (such as employee performance management, learning, and recruiting) and, optionally, workforce analytics. Under the full cloud model, customers run all of their HR processes in the cloud but need to connect HR processes and data with third-party systems and on-premise ERP. The integration packages, timelines, technology, and roadmap have generated many questions from our customers.

This article helps you better understand the models and the integrations we have delivered to enable them.

Model 1: Talent Hybrid

As stated previously, under the talent hybrid model, customers run core HR processes on premise with SAP ERP HCM, connecting it with cloud-based SuccessFactors talent solutions and, optionally, workforce analytics. Customers gen­erally opting for this scenario are looking to leverage existing investments in their SAP ERP HCM platforms and using the cloud for talent and analytics solutions. In this scenario, we can offer a smooth path to cloud adoption of talent and analytics solutions without the need to rip and replace a functioning core HR and payroll solution.

For seamless integration under the talent hybrid model, we have delivered the following iFlows:

  • Foundation iFlow: Employee master data and reporting relationships derived from SAP ERP HCM organizational management functionality is replicated in SuccessFactors solutions to run all of the talent processes. SAP ERP HCM continues as the system of record for employee master data and organizational management, and all updates are directly maintained there.
  • Analytics iFlow: Workforce data is extracted from SAP ERP HCM and replicated in SuccessFactors workforce planning and analytics solutions.
  • Compensation iFlow: Compensation adjustments, bonuses, and so on that are maintained in the SuccessFactors compensation management solution are replicated in SAP ERP HCM for updates to core HR information and potential payout via payroll.
  • Recruiting iFlow: New hire information maintained in the SuccessFactors recruiting management solution is replicated in SAP ERP HCM to update personnel administration data. A second integration covers the creation of a job requisition in the SuccessFactors solution from a vacancy creation in SAP ERP HCM.

Integrations planned for the end of 2013 and into next year will focus on using SuccessFactors learning, succession management, and competency management solutions.

iFlows can reduce the time and cost of initial integrations and, because they are maintained by SAP, can also reduce ongoing maintenance costs.

All iFlows supporting the talent hybrid scenario are based on SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP NetWeaver PI) technology. The foundation integration is optionally available as a comma-separated values (CSV) file. We have also delivered integration content; for example, how to set up single sign-on (SSO) and unify navigation and menu structures in SAP NetWeaver Portal. These iFlows have no additional license price; rather, they are provided as part of a customer’s maintenance agreement. There are no enhancement package dependencies; the only requirement is that customers must be running SAP ECC 6.0.

Model 2: Full Cloud

For customers interested in fully moving their HR processes into the cloud, we offer core HR functionality with SuccessFactors Employee Central. Being able to integrate HR data with other systems (both SAP and non-SAP software, in the cloud and on premise) is also crucial. Under the full cloud model, SAP has delivered several iFlows: 

  • SuccessFactors Employee Central with on-premise SAP ERP HCM payroll functionality. This focuses on the ability for a customer to leverage SuccessFactors Employee Central for core HR processes but run SAP ERP HCM payroll on premise, either as an existing or new implementation.
  • SuccessFactors Employee Central with the SAP ERP application. Here, we supply iFlows to build the HR “mini-master,” which, in turn, uses the delivered SAP ERP integration points that leverage HR data to execute other SAP ERP functionality, such as workflow.
  • SuccessFactors Employee Central with time and attendance software from SAP partners Kronos and Workforce Software.
  • SuccessFactors Employee Central with benefits software from SAP partners BenefitFocus and Aon Hewitt.
  • SuccessFactors Employee Central with payroll outsourcing software from SAP partner NorthgateArinso.
  • Generic connector templates that provide a framework to more quickly and easily integrate SuccessFactors Employee Central with solutions from time and attendance, benefits, or payroll outsourcers.

All SuccessFactors Employee Central iFlows are based on the Dell Boomi cloud integration platform, which is provided together with a SuccessFactors Employee Central subscription. Optionally, a customer can also use SAP HANA Cloud Integration technology as a middleware platform to connect SuccessFactors Employee Central using the above-mentioned iFlows.

For More Information

While implementing any software package requires effort, the goal of our iFlow strategy is to enable customers to leverage predefined process templates and integration content for quick, cost-effective implementations. iFlows can reduce the time and cost of initial integrations and, because they are maintained by SAP, can also reduce ongoing maintenance costs. As of this publication, downloads of the iFlow packages have surpassed 300.

You can find all of the iFlows and corresponding implementation guides on SAP Service Marketplace ( by searching for “SuccessFactors.”


1 SuccessFactors recently received significant recognition from IDC for talent management. See for more details.

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David Ludlow, SAP
David Ludlow

David Ludlow ( is Global Vice President of Product Marketing, focusing on global human capital management (HCM) solutions for SAP and SuccessFactors. The team works with customers, partners, industry analysts, and the entire SAP and SuccessFactors ecosystem to help ensure SAP/SuccessFactors delivers top HCM solutions for their customers.

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