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Enhance Your HR Processes by Making Use of SAP SuccessFactors Intelligent Service

by Abhishek Jain, Center of Excellence Manager, Aasonn and Paul Rose, Product Center of Excellence Manager for SuccessFactors Employee Central, Aasonn | Features

March 14, 2018

HR processes can be complex and in most cases the processes span multiple HR and non-HR applications. A simple core HR transaction can have a significant impact on modules within SAP SuccessFactors as well as external non-HR applications. See how intelligent services available in SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite can help bridge this process gap as well as automate certain business processes by making use of events, workflows, business rules, and notifications.

Intelligent services as part of the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite are designed to automate business processes that would otherwise be siloed across the SAP SuccessFactors Suite. They help bridge process gaps by connecting to external HR and non-HR applications. Intelligent services leverage module-to-module integration within the SAP SuccessFactors Suite and help predict and execute the next step in an HR transaction to simplify how HR is run.

Intelligent services technology is built on events, publishers, and subscribers. Any SuccessFactors application can trigger and publish an event, such as manager or job information changes, employee absences, or even new hires.

Any other product, either SAP SuccessFactors or a third-party, can subscribe to any published event.  Whenever that event is triggered by the publishing product, those subscribed products automatically receive notification of the event, with information relevant to the change. For example, when a manager goes on a leave of absence, her open job requisitions are automatically reassigned, her learning courses are postponed, and her goals are updated, without the need for any manual intervention.

Events are the changes that occur in the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite such as new hires, terminations, onboarding, transfers, manager changes, and the start of a probation.

A publisher is the SAP SuccessFactors application in which employee changes are initiated, such as Employee Central, Recruiting, and Learning.

A subscriber can either be SAP SuccessFactors or a third-party application that receives notification of events.

Following is a list of supported intelligent services Events as of Q4 2017.

  • Recruiting

­    Approval of Offer Details

­    Update of Candidate Profile

­    Update of Job Requisition

­    Update of Job Application

­    Approval of Offer Detail

  • Onboarding and Offboarding

­    External User to Internal User Conversion

­    Onboarding is Cancelled for Candidate

­    Onboarding Step Complete

­    Offboarding Step Complete

­    Completion of New Hire activity

  • Employee Central

­    Employee Hire

­    Employee Rehire

­    First Time Manager

­    Change in Manager

­    Individual Contributor to Manager

­    Manager to Individual Contributor

­    Change in Employee Location

­    Change in Employee Department

­    Change in Employee Division

­    Change in Business Unit

­    Change in Job Title

­    Change in Job Classification

­    Job Transfer

­    Add Global Assignment

­    End of Global Assignment

­    Start Probation

­    New Concurrent Employment

­    Employee Termination

­    Expiration of Work Order

­    Initiate Performance Form

  • Time Off

­    Employee Time Off

­    Employee Short Term Disability

­    Employee Long Term Disability

  • Talent Management

­    Add Development Goal

­    Populate Performance Review Ratings

­    Performance Review Form routing

­    Calibration Session Activation

­    New Successor

­    Spot Award Given

­    Update of Employee Competency Assessment

  • Continuous Performance

­    Continuous Performance Management Activity

­    Continuous Performance Management Achievement

­    Continuous Feedback Request

­    Continuous Feedback Received

  • Learning

­    Completion of Learning Event

To facilitate the supervision of new enhancement features SAP SuccessFactors offers the Upgrade Center (Figure 1). The Upgrade Center allows users to review and deploy new features from quarterly releases. It also accounts for significant legal changes that companies may need to apply to ensure compliance. The Upgrade Center is available within the Admin Center as highlighted in red in Figure 1.

Figure 1
The Upgrade Center

Additionally, SAP SuccessFactors has created prepackaged intelligent services rules so that users can incorporate the event functionality into their system setups. These pre-packaged rules are to be used specifically for Employee Central only. Pre-packaged rules can be downloaded from the Success Store by this process:

  • Navigate to the screen in Figure 2 via Admin Center > Import and Export Data
  • From the drop-down menu, click the Import Data option
  • Select the Success Store radio button
  • Scroll down the list and choose the pre-packaged Intelligent Services Rules radio button
  • Click Import to import the rules into the instance

Figure 2
Import intelligent services pre-packaged rules from Success Store

The pre-packaged rules can be used directly to trigger events for employee changes. However, we recommend that you make a copy of these rules and then use them wherever required. Rules can be copied via menu path Admin Center > Configure Business Rules. The copy function is not shown here.

The rules must be configured in the Admin Center > Manage Business Config as shown in Figure 3. Figure 3 is an example of rules configured to trigger various intelligent services events for any employee’s job information changes. You click jobInfo on the left and assign the rules in the Trigger Rules section on the right.

Figure 3
Manage business configuration: Assign rules for the Employee Central module

Intelligent services are accessible via Admin Center > Company Settings > Intelligent Services Center (ISC). The landing page, which is called an All Events page for Intelligent Services Center, contains publisher information (i.e., the module publishing the event, the event name, a brief description of each event, and a count for the number of times the event was raised).

Detailed information about the event (Event Details page) can be displayed by clicking the event name (the blue text in the Event column) on the All Events page (Figure 4).

Figure 4
All Events Page: landing page for the Intelligent Services Center

The Event Details page (Figure 5) displays publisher details at the top with the module name, event name, and a brief description of the event. The Event Details page displays information about the Publishing Rule, Event Monitoring, Flows (on the left), and Activities (on the right).

Figure 5
Event Details page highlighting the event name, event description, publishing rule, event monitoring, flows, and activities

Publishing Rules

Publishing rules are configured to determine when the events are published to subscribers. For Employee Central, publishing of the events is determined by the configured publishing rules. Pre-packaged rules discussed earlier are the publishing rules used for Employee Central. In Figure 6, the publishing rule EVENT_MGRCHNG triggers the intelligent services Change in Manager event whenever an employee’s manager is changed. You can view the publishing rule configuration (i.e., the conditions when the event would be triggered) by clicking EVENT_MNGRCHG.

Figure 6
Event Details page: Publishing Rule

Event Monitoring

The published events that are triggered by SAP SuccessFactors applications can be viewed via Event Monitoring as shown in Figure 7. Event Monitoring is displayed for all the intelligent services events; however, the monitoring details vary depending on the subscribed activities (on the right in Figure 5) by that event.

Figure 7
Event Details page - Event Monitoring


HR Business processes are configured as flows in intelligent services. Each event has a default flow available as standard from SAP SuccessFactors. Figure 8 shows a standard flow defined for an employee termination process.

Figure 8
Business process for termination

It is possible to configure multiple flows for an event (e.g., country-specific employee termination processes). Figure 9 shows a multiple flow for an event (i.e., a termination process for the US and non-US employees).

Figure 9
Multiple flows for a termination

Activities – All Subscribers

The Activities column is a list of subscribing activities, SAP SuccessFactors module activities, and custom activities. SAP SuccessFactors module activities are available out of the box.  Custom activities (on the right in Figure 10) include Event Connector and Integration, either of which can be used to connect to third-party systems only when the events can publish externally. The list of subscribing activities varies based on the events. These subscribing activities are used to define HR business processes (flows) for that event.

Figure 10
All Activities: Types of subscribers and examples of custom activities

Once the subscribing activities are added to the flow, these activities are displayed with different symbols (highlighted in red in Figure 10) that indicate the activity types: a blue dotted line, blue solid line, or a gray solid line.

Blue dotted line – This includes pre-configured module subscriber activity and web notifications, both of which can be either switched ON or OFF and cannot be configured further.

Blue solid line – This includes configurable module subscriber activity. Configuration options include business rules, timing options, and recipients (wherever applicable). This subscriber activity can be added multiple times, typically to publish to multiple recipients or to trigger activity multiple times (e.g., at the start of probation and when probation ends).

Gray solid line – These are the custom subscriber activities and are typically used when connecting a third-party application via Event Connector or Integration.


Integration is a method for connecting to third-party systems. This integration is via the Integration Center. It supports representational state transfer (REST) application programming interfaces ([APIs], either XML or JavaScript Object Notation [JSON]) and file-based transfers. New integrations can be created via the Create New Integration button in Figure 11. Existing integrations can be used via the Add Integration button (on the right) as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11
Custom activities: create a new integration or add an integration

Event Connector

Event Connector is a tool used to create an external connection to a third-party endpoint. When the endpoint is configured, an event notification in the form of a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) message is sent to the specified endpoint. Event connectors belong to an event and are applicable to flows associated with the event. Even if included in a flow, event connectors belong to the event (not to the flow) and are applicable to all flows associated with the event.

Figure 12 shows an example of how SAP SuccessFactors can connect to Office 365 via the Office 365 event connector. To set up this connection, click the icon for Office 365. Fill the details on the screen as shown in Figure 12. The Office 365 Admin team within your organization should provide the EndPoint URL, Username, and Password.

Figure 12
Custom Activities: Event Connector used for connecting Office 365 via basic authentication

Intelligent services that are managed via the Intelligent Services Center provide HR analysts with more control over automation of business processes, which allows users to manage this automation in-house rather than relying on professional services. Intelligent services significantly reduce the reliance on HR Administration by automating and predicting the next steps in a business process.

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Abhishek Jain

Abhishek Jain’s ( background highlights a wealth of experience in SuccessFactors specializing in implementing the Employee Central, Recruitment, and Performance Management modules for businesses of all sizes and complexities on a global scale. He specializes in Employee Central implementations that have integrations with Financials and Payroll systems as well as in architecting end-to-end solutions for any SF HCM implementations. Abhishek holds certifcations in SAP HCM, SuccessFactors Employee Central Professional, SuccessFactors Performance & Goals – Associate, and SuccessFactors Recruitment Management - Associate.

Paul Rose

Paul Rose ( is a Product Center of Excellence Manager for Employee Central at Aasonn ( He is the global subject-matter expert for Aasonn and is responsible for ensuring best practice Employee Central implementations on a global scale.

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