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Integrating SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors: Q&A with Prashanth Padmanabhan on the SAP Roadmap and Strategy for HR

June 12, 2014

Thank you for registering for our online Q&A on SuccessFactors and SAP ERP HCM integration and roadmap. 

Prashanth PadmanabhanPrashanth Padmanabhan, Senior Director - Product Management in SAP's HCM group,  took reader questions on SAP integration between SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors for payroll, recruiting, benefits and talent, along with an overview of current and planned integration. 

Review the chat replay below along with the edited transcript from this live Q&A.


SAPinsider: Welcome to our Q&A on SuccessFactors and SAP ERP HCM integration. Prashanth Padmanabhan takes your questions here in the online chat from 12:30-1:30pm ET on June 12, moderated by HR Experts editor M.S. Hein.

Thanks to everyone who already submitted questions! Looking forward to a great - and busy - discussion!

M.S. Hein:  Welcome! I’m M.S. Hein, the managing editor of HR Expert, and I’d like to thank you for joining us for this Q&A on the integration roadmap for SuccessFactors and SAP ERP HCM. We’re delighted to be hosting this Q&A today.

We are excited to have HR expert Prashanth Padmanabhan with us today to answer your questions. Prashanth is an SAP Mentor and a Senior Director - HCM Product Management at SAP.

Welcome, Prashanth. 

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Hello everyone.

M.S. Hein:

Thanks again for joining us. We’ve had many questions coming in from readers over the last few days. Now I’ll let you get started on the latest questions from our readers.


Comment From Guest

We will implement SFSF in the company. Consulting recommends Dell Boomi. Payroll systems are not SAP. We also have SAP PI 7.3. Do you recommend SAP PI or Boomi for this integration?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: I agree with your consulting team. I recommend Dell Boomi for your integration of SuccessFactors Employee Central with your on-premise payroll system.


Comment From Rosemary

Are there plans to merge the two product lines such that SAP customers can effectively utilize the strengths of both products? If so, what will this look like in the future?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: There are no plans to merge the products. For human capital management, cloud products will be built from scratch. Employee Central for core HR is a good example of that. When customers move from on-premise to cloud they can make the move to Full Cloud deployment model right away or take a two-step approach where they move all talent management applications to the cloud first and then move Core HR to the cloud. 


Comment From Ari Häkkinen

Hi, your answer to previous question was "When customers move from on-premise to cloud they can make the move to Full Cloud deployment model right away or take a two-step approach where they move all talent management applications to the cloud first and then move Core HR to the cloud." It sounds like step 2 is quite big one compared to 1st one. Can you elaborate a little more how step 2 can be done successfully?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Many customers have chosen to go to Full Cloud HCM in one step. However, many customers have just implemented their on-premise Core HR and want to reap the benefits of those implementation. Such customers can start with one or more talent solutions in the cloud and (typically one year) later move to the cloud. Cameco Mining, one of our customers did that. They were kind enough to give me their permission to mention their name.


Comment From Guest

Hi, SuccessFactors has not developed its own LMS, but rather bought Plateau. I think it is very difficult to be applied to my country, Brazil, with features typically for the American market.

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Most Learning Management processes do not vary from country to country. There will be country specific features and requirements, which can be accomplished via configuration or by building extensions. If you think otherwise, please let me know. I will be glad to bring that to the attention of the product managers. 


Comment From Fran

Within the SAP/SuccessFactors Add-On will there be any additional functionality incorporated into the integrated batch process?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes. There is a published roadmap of packaged integrations for every deployment model. We release new packaged integrations every three months.


Comment From Kathy

When will SF be integrated and become an integral part of core HCM?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: SuccessFactors will not become an integral part of SAP HCM On-Premise. SuccessFactors is SAP HCM in the cloud. They are two different products. Cloud is where we are investing heavily because of the innovation, cost savings and agility it brings to our customers.


Comment From Cathy Petersen

We are attempting to determine the best tool to use to update SAP using the new hire inbound file provided by SuccessFactors. It is our understanding that the SAP add on isn't currently capable of performing this work. Please confirm. If that is the case what have you seen work best? Custom ABAP program, business objects data services, etc.?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: The current packaged integration available does bring new hire information to SAP ERP HCM. Please check service market place and download the content and admin guide. The guide has all the details. Please pick a partner who has implemented this. I can make some recommendations, if you want.


Comment From Petr

What is the status and plan to replace Oracle DB with HANA?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: It is underway. Analytics is on HANA. Other products are under testing. It will happen over the next few months and years. Customers may not see the change and may not be directly impacted by the change of data base.


Comment From Brian McClure

What is the recommended technology to use for integrating on-premise SAP HCM with SuccessFactors?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: SAP NetWeaver PI.

Comment From Brian McClure

We have looked into the SAP Add-Ons ( but do not know if this will meet all of the business requirements for the system. In that case, would BusinessObjects Data Services be a viable solution for extracting employee data for SuccessFactors? Alternatively, what is the best approach for onboarding employees from SuccessFactors and hiring them in SAP HCM?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: You can use any data services technology you have expertise in. The package integrations are there to provide you with a template and take you 80 percent there. Many customers do use technologies of their choice.

For onboarding, I recommend using the SuccessFactors onboarding application for hiring employees in SuccessFactors and adding them to SAP HCM. SuccessFactors Onboarding will soon be integrated with SAP HCM. That is the next big project we are working on.


Comment From Cathy Petersen

We are attempting to determine the best tool to use to generate an employee demographic file. We are evaluating SAP Add-On 2 and BusinessObjects Data Services. Our understanding is that the Add-On can create a delta file. Does that mean it recognizes employees who terminated and, if so, over what time period? Can we specify a time period to evaluate (i.e. terminations that occurred during the past 7 days)?
Also, can the Add-On handle robust logic (i.e. determine an employee's manager even if the one-up manager position is vacant)? Does the Add-On handle the fields (i.e. locale, country, state, etc.) where SuccessFactors is using values from a lookup table?
In short, what are the limitations of the Add-On? Do most SAP clients use the Add-On to create the demographic file for SuccessFactors?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: I recommend that you go with the Add-On. It has worked well. You can customize or extend the logic to suit your needs. Please work with an experienced internal team or partner.
It is important to note that implementing packaged integrations is not like installing software. They require experienced implementation teams that understand cloud, on-premise and integration middleware.


Comment From Pedro Barbosa

My customer has many .NET applications that connect directly to SAP HCM. They are now planning in implementing SuccessFactors; however some of these tools will still be required due to specific customer behavior. Is there a way to integrate these in SuccessFactors without having to re-implement the apps in SAP HANA Cloud.

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes. Most Core HR systems are connected to about 15 systems using 60 integrations on an average. You do not have to re-implement all of them. There are ways to keep those systems on-premise and connect them to SuccessFactors Cloud Applications such as Employee Central.


Comment From Uday

Is there any integration provided by SAP between SAP ERP HCM and SFSF Performance and goals. As of what I know employee information is sent from SAP ERP HCM to SuccessFactors. So goals are in the SuccessFactors database, right. How do performance ratings, appraisal forms move from SuccessFactors to ERP HCM after the appraisal? I would like to know what data moves and how it moves between SAP ERP HCM and SFSF for performance management. Also how does this work for global solution - a multi-national Performance Management implementation?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes. With the June 2014 Release, the competencies in SuccessFactors, which can be updated from Performance and Goals module, are integrated with SAP ERP Qualifications. You can read more about it in my blog on SCN.


Comment From Ofelia

I've heard and read integration with Recruitment module and SAP HCM are in the beginning of the process sending the position in SAP to SuccessFactors and then associating JobReq with this position, and then at the end of the process when candidate is hired and then data from the JR is transferred to SAP to create the employee. Could you confirm this is available and how it will work?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes. It is available now.


Comment From Guest

Will SuccessFactors completely replace SAP HCM in near future? Or is it just a bubble?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Our goal is to move human capital management to the cloud. However, we do have 14,000 SAP HCM customer on-premise.

Our integration strategy and direction is to help those customers move to the cloud at their own pace. We do not force customers to move to the cloud (SuccessFactors). But many customers realize the benefits of innovation, better user experience and agility and are making the move faster than we anticipated.


Comment From Guest

We are implementing SF Recruitment & Performance management. What integration would you recommend as Employee Central won't be implemented until these two modules go live?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: You will need Master Data Integration and SuccessFactors recruiting integration with SAP HCM. When you implement Employee Central in the future, these integrations won’t be necessary.


Comment From Guest

Can you mention how many customers have SF Boomi with on-premise SAP HCMS in production and working well?      

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Over a 100 customers are using Dell Boomi as the middleware. I do not have the break out of exactly what applications each of those customers are using.


Comment From Guest

We use SAP HR for hard processes such as OM and PA, and SuccessFactors for supporting some of the soft processes such as Recruiting Management. I've heard and read there is a double integration from SAP, sending the position to create the job requisition at the beginning of the process, and then when the candidate is finally selected, in which you can automate creation of the employee with data coming from SuccessFactors.

Could you explain in more detail how this integration works? Is it available now? Is it possible to customize hired in SAP depending where different data is required depending on the country?


Prashanth Padmanabhan: It works the way you described. The details of the integration are available here. All Hybrid Integrations are explained in details here.


Comment From Sujatha

We are implementing Recruiting, OnBoarding and LSO on cloud with PA,OM ,Time on SAP HCM. We have both PI license and going live with HANA next month.

What middleware option will be suitable for us? We are offered filed-based integration. How is that better than PI or HANA? Also, we have Performance & Goals, Compensation Management and Succession on the SuccessFactors roadmap for implementation next year. In light of the above, can you please recommend the suitable middleware?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: I recommend SAP NetWeaver PI for you.


Comment From Emma

Where and how we can find the Add-On?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: You can find it here


Comment From Michelle

The Web address you provided is asking for an SAP Marketplace Login and password. Do we need access to SAP Marketplace to get in to view the Hybrid model?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes. You need to register. It is for SAP customers. It is not public.


Comment From Janez

Prashant, helo again!

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Hello Janez. Good to see you.

Comment From Janez

Hello! We act as a VAR partner to SAP and we deal only with SuccessFactors solutions sales & implementation. As we don't know SAP ERP, how could we proceed with integration?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: You need to build that expertise or subcontract the integration part of your project to a partner who has the expertise. I can connect you. Email me with your project details.


Comment From Petr

What it the roadmap with Boomi x HCI?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: We will support Dell both Dell Boomi and HCI.


Comment From Petr

Is typical HCM integration only batch oriented, or are there more patterns like sync/async messages?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: It is near real time. The databases are different. So the sync happens between SAP and SuccessFactors every few minutes. It is up to our customer to specify that interval. I found out that most customers do a daily sync.


Comment From Juergen Limpert

Where are we with the integration of payroll country solutions?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: We have announced integrations with every payroll solution that SAP HCM supports. If you need a specific country payroll prioritized, please let us know and our product teams will prioritize the support for that. My colleague Eva Woo handles that area. I can connect you with her.


Comment From Karolina

Hi Prashant, after we implement integration between SAP HCM and SuccessFactors Performance Management, is there is still manual work required in case of re-routing forms to new managers or in any similar cases?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: No such rerouting is required.


Comment From Jim Travis

Is there a set roadmap for further development of the batch integration support between SAP HCM and SuccessFactors for all of the modules in SF (not just BizX)? We opted for not using middleware and are finding that modules such as Compensation do not have the same capabilities as BizX with batch. This has required us to build out custom interfaces to these modules.

Prashanth Padmanabhan: 85 percent of the integrations that customers have are custom integrations. So your scenario is not unusual. The packaged integrations cover the foundational integrations and help take customers 80 percent of the way.

There is a published roadmap for more integrations. We continue to release more integrations every 3 months. If you have a specific need, please share a short description and I will bring it to the product managers of the respective applications.


Comment From Guest

What are the pros and cons of Boomi vs SAP PI for SuccessFactors integration to GIS and SAP HCM?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Depends on the cloud deployment model you choose, the licenses you have and the in-house expertise you have. It is a bit like asking which credit card is the best. It depends on what you use it for and what benefits you need. If you explain your situation, I can make a recommendation.

This is picture showing all current and planned integrations between Employee Central and ERP...and Employee Central and 3rd party applications.  [See larger image in chat replay.]


Comment From Guest

What are the typical things customers tend to forget about when designing and building the interface?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: They tend to forget to keep time and money aside for integration, assuming that it is plug and play. No integration is plug and play, no matter which software vendor it is coming from. Planning for integrations is the best step any implementation teams can take. The actual work is not very hard, once the right experts are involved.


Comment From Karolina

How would you estimate the time of actual build of the PI interface between SAP HCM and SuccessFactors? And who would be the parties involved in this build?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Takes about 30 person days for a foundational integration such as master data integration. You need a SuccessFactors consultant, a middleware consultant and a SAP ERP HCM or SAP ERP consultant. Usually a good partner will have all these expertise. Many do. I can connect you if you need help.

Comment From Karolina

The 30 days for build that you have mentioned is this involving all 3 parties (SuccessFactors, PI and HCM) and does this mean they can all work same time, so in reality it can be 10 days for 3 people?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: No. It does take a month to implement, because most customers have customizations.

Comment From Karolina

How long does it take in reality to do the actual build of the PI interface, without testing, after add on is installed?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Karolina, Send me an email and I will connect you with the PI expert who did a customer implementation. You can learn more from him.


Comment From Uday

What data moves from ERP HCM to SuccessFactors and vice versa for performance management?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Master data moves from SAP HCM to performance management. Competency rating move from SuccessFactors competencies to SAP Qualifications.


Comment From Brian

I am curious about the SAP Add-on. Can this support pulling in managers from parent org if the current manager position is vacant?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: The standard integration does not. However you can extend the packaged integration to suit your needs. There could be limitations on the SuccessFactors side. Not all SAP objects have corresponding objects in SuccessFactors.


Comment From Dave

Can you comment briefly on what the typical migration path from SAP HR to Employee Central would look like?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: You can move talent solutions first (Talent Hybrid Model) or move Core HR and Talent Solutions in one big project (Full Cloud). I normally recommend taking a small step completing a project in 4 months and then deciding on the next step. It depends on how ready your internal HR and IT teams are to make the move to the cloud. It is less about technology and more about change. The roles and responsibilities could change and sometimes it takes time for people to make that mental shift.


Comment From Guest

What would you tell a customer that asked why SAP/SuccessFactors has 3 different integration technologies (i.e., HCI, NetWeaver PI, Boomi) and some are embedded in subscription (i.e., Boomi for EC), some part of OnPrem license (i.e., NetWeaver PI) and some additional license cost (HCI)? As you can imagine it is confusing for many of them.

Prashanth Padmanabhan: I agree. We are working on simplifying the licensing.


Comment From Kyle

My organization is preparing to launch our instances of the SuccessFactors Learning and Competency modules. We chose the EU servers due to concerns around national privacy policy. Are there plans on the roadmap to deploy hosting servers in Canada?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: We learned that EU servers meet the legal requirement of Canada. Government and quasi-governmental organizations in Canada use SuccessFactors in the cloud.


Comment From Fran

I would like to know from an SuccessFactors standpoint are the modules within the SF platform going to be integrated, i.e. Compensation to Performance, BizX to Learning?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes. The integration between the SuccessFactors Modules is a continuous process. We bring every module together using latest technologies including HANA every three months. Let me know if you are facing a particular pain point and I will bring it to the attention of the respective product managers.


Comment From David Meyers, Insight Enterprises

Our Basis team has not yet been able to successfully set up the Boomi Employee Central-to-SAP integration items. The installation instructions have not worked. Are there any customers that have successfully installed the Boomi EC-to-SAP integration programs?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes. Customers have implemented that integration. The packaged integrations only take you 80 percent of the way. They are meant to be customized and implemented by integration teams. If your internal teams need help, I suggest you work with a partner who has done this before. I can make some recommendations. Please email me.

Comment From david meyers

Working with SAP they found an error and have told us we must implement support packs SAP_BASIS #8 and #14 to fix the issue. You mentioned 100 Boomi implementations, do you have a list of these clients that we can discuss the Boomi setup with or how they were able to set up the SAP configuration given that SAP just fixed an issue and telling us to implement support packs.

Prashanth Padmanabhan: I can connect you with the inhouse Boomi expert first. Unfortunately, I am not able to share customer lists.


Comment From Guest

Is there a standard Boomi iflow that automatically creates positions in OM and adds the employee to SAP, as triggered by Employee Central?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Please have a look at the image I posted that shows all the current and planned integrations.


Comment From Guest

We are evaluating between SAP PI (implemented already inhouse) and Boomi for SuccessFactors recruiting implementations. The integration will between SuccessFactors (cloud) and GIS (for background checks) and eventually SAP HCM. Any suggestions on which platform to use?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: PI.


Comment From Todd Wilcox

For customers moving to full HCM in the cloud, how is integration handled back to other SAP modules for workflow purposes?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: There is a packaged integration for that


Comment From Guest

Will SAP continue to improve & expand capabilities of the Add-On? We don't currently have Add-On 2 in our SAP environment. We are trying to determine if we should install Add-On 2 or wait for Add-On 3. You said that Add-On 2 can bring new hire info into SAP. Does it only bring in basic info or can it in bring in ALL data relevant to a new hire?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: It brings a specific set of info. You can add additional info as part of the implementation. You can implement Add-On 2 if recruiting is your need. Add-On 3 has competencies integration, apart from all the previous packaged integrations.


M.S. Hein: The Q&A officially ended at 1:30 ET, but Prashanth has graciously agreed to stay online for a bit to answer a few remaining questions.


Comment From Linda

We have a full implementation of SAP ERP, but have not yet implemented SAP HCM or SuccessFactors. As a new HR implementation is the recommended approach to use SuccessFactors with the HCM mini-master?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes. Please use the Full Cloud HCM deployment model. Do not spend time implementing SAP HCM On-Premise. You will save a lot of time and money.


Comment From Paul LeBar

At ASUG/SAPPHIRE we heard of substantial development being done regarding hybrid integration using SAP HANA. Will development on the NetWeaver PI integration approach be done to keep these two options in synchronization?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Both middleware technologies will be supported. We have over 4000 customers using SAP NetWeaver PI.


Comment From Uday

I would like to know how employees move to SuccessFactors for appraisals and how the appraised data is sent to Compensation, for hybrid model as well as full cloud?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Performance and compensation are part of the same SuccessFactors platform. We do not consider that an integration.


Comment From Todd Wilcox

We are investigating an upgrade to the Add-On 2.0 in support of adding the recruiting module. Our partners have suggested Boomi, but we already have NetWeaver PI in-house. Do you have a suggested recommendation?

Prashanth Padmanabhan:  Use PI. Ask the partner for a compelling reason to use Boomi.


Comment From Guest

What about the interface from Employee Central to SAP? Can Employee Central update the SAP OM directly?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Yes.


Comment From Uday

In SAP we have transport mechanisms to move config from one environment to another. How does it work in SuccessFactors?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: No such thing in SuccessFactors unfortunately.


Comment From Guest

Will SuccessFactors be replacing SAP HCM in near future? What are the prospects for people who are in SAP HCM and not finding a way to enter SuccessFactors because individual training is not available?            

Prashanth Padmanabhan: SAP HCM is used by 14,000 customers. We plan to support it for a long time. If you are considering SuccessFactors modules, please let me know. I can connect you with the right rep person in your region. Ask your SAP account rep; they can help too.


Comment From Vikram

What should ABAP developers learn before coming to Success Factors? Could you also share first steps for SAP Certification for SuccessFactors?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: Learn how to build apps in HANA Cloud Platform. Java is the development technology. There is no programming language for SuccessFactors. It is all point and click and XML.


Comment From vikram chellappa

So how do we design, implement and deploy Success Factors Business Execution (BizX) suite, and what tools are used for this (ABAP workbench, IMG)? What programming language do they use? Any  info about SAP Certification for SuccessFactors?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: I have a training session that I did on this topic to SAP Consultants and how they can make their move to SuccessFactors. Please send me an email and I can share. LinkedIn connection will give you my email.


Comment From Janeen

What is the planned timeline for when the integration of applicant data from Success Factors Recruitment to SAP HCM will be ready?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: It is available today. New hire information from SuccessFactors Recruiting is sent to SAP HCM.


Comment From Guest

Is there an estimated timeframe for when HCM on-premise will no longer be offered to new customers? At what point will SuccessFactors be the only option for new customers?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: No such time frame. Customers can use HCM on-premise for as long as they want.


Comment From Guest

Any plans for Success Factors Recruitment to implement a solution that would support filling multiple position vacancies from a single requisition? This functionality is currently not available.

Prashanth Padmanabhan: No such plans at this time. If you have a need, please send me a short description and I will bring it to the product team.


Comment From Uday

For ERP HCM we use HPQC for documenting test cases! How does one do the same in SuccessFactors?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: In SuccessFactors, you configure rather than program. So the testing process is different. You can go through the mastery courses for each module to learn the implementation process.


Comment From Pedro Barbosa

My customer has several applications developed in .NET connected to SAP HCM. They are now planning on moving to SuccessFactors but still require some specific applications due to customer-specific rules. Can we extend SuccessFactors with some of these tools, or will we need to migrate them into SAP HANA Cloud?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: You can keep the tools on-premise and integrate SuccessFactors with them. Many customers I worked with have integrated SuccessFactors to on-premise custom applications.


Comment From Karolina

What are the things that customers typically forget about when designing and/or building the SAP HCM -SuccessFactors interface?

Prashanth Padmanabhan: They forget that they need to plan for integration. They fail to conduct an integration workshop. Projects that plan for integrations and handle it as a work stream will significantly reduce their risk.


M.S. Hein: That will wrap up our Q&A! For more technical tips and advice on SuccessFactors and SAP ERP HCM, I invite you to check out our most recent HR Expert articles, including detailed expert content from Venki Krishnamoorthy, Mark Jackson, Jyoti Sharma and others.  

And of course, I want to again thank SAP’s Prashanth Padmanabhan  for taking the time to really go through these questions today! You can find Prashanth on LinkedIn and on Twitter (@sprabu).  Thanks for joining us today!

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