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Know Your HR Integration Options: Q&A with Venki Krishnamoorthy and Vishnu Kandi on SuccessFactors and Your On-Premise Systems

August 06, 2015

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

View the replay and transcript of our one-hour online chat with HCM consultant Venki Krishnamoorthy and Vishnu Kandi, Integration Practice Manager,  SAP, who took readers' questions on best practices for SuccessFactors integration and deployment.




Welcome! We'll kick off our Q&A live soon, at 12:30pm ET, with posts from Venki Krishnamoorthy and Vishnu Kandi answering your questions on SuccessFactors integration.


M.S. Hein, HR Expert: Welcome to today’s Q&A on SuccessFactors integration. I’m  M.S. Hein, editor of HR Expert and  I’m pleased to have HR expert Venki Krishnamoorthy and SAP’s Vishnu Kandi here today to answer your questions.

Venki is an independent SuccessFactors solution architect and consultant, an HR Expert author, and a frequent speaker at SAPinsider HR conferences. Vishnu is an Integrations Practice Manager at SAP’s Solution Delivery Center. They are also two of the authors of the book Integrating SuccessFactors with SAP.

Welcome, Venki and Vishnu!   


Venki Krishnamoorthy: Thanks Margaret. I am excited to be part of today's panel. I welcome everyone to today's session.


Vishnu Kandi, SAP: Hello everyone, happy to be here


M.S. Hein: We know that there are a lot of questions around SuccessFactors integration. Thank you for taking the time today to answer questions. I see that there are several that have already been posted, so I’ll let you get started on those now.


Comment From Narendra

What are the standard ways to connect SF modules with BW and limitations compared to on-premise ECC integration with BI?

Venki Krishnamoorthy:  Currently, there is no delivered integration / adapter for SuccessFactors and SAP BW. Having said that, you can use the standard SAP Data Services to complete the integration. A couple of years back, Frans Smolders did a nice blog in SCN on how you can use DataServices to integrate BW and SuccessFactors. You can read more about it from here:


Comment From Firoz

Do we still need ESS/MSS if we have SuccessFactors?  

Venki Krishnamoorthy: Currently, if you do not have ESS / MSS in your landscape, then you do not need to implement ESS / MSS to support SuccessFactors. If you do have ESS / MSS in your landscape, I have seen customers provide access to SuccessFactors from within ESS/ MSS.

Comment From Guest

We have SuccessFactors partner access to demo systems (provisioning and instance). We are moving our BAIO (Business All in One) demo system for HCM into the HANA database. Question is: Shall we integrate our HCM demo system with the SuccessFactor demo systems? I am not a technical guy and not sure of security settings, firewall, etc.  

Vishnu Kandi: SuccessFactors provides multiple instances for customers and demo instances will be available for a limited time. I suggest implementing integrations on your dev or test instances.


Comment From Miguel Hurtado HCM...

Is PI (or process orchestration) required for integration to SFSF recruiting if the client does not want to install SAP HANA?

Vishnu Kandi:  Either SAP PI or HCI are required to implement SuccessFactors standard integration with SAP.



Comment From SAP PI Consultant

Will Dell Boomi integrations for Employee Central be supported from SAP in the future, say, beyond 2020?

Venki Krishnamoorthy: Even though SAP has announced the HCI will be the go-forward integration platform, and there are also rumors that Boomi will be unbundled from EC and possibly HCI be bundled with it, I will be surprised if SAP stops supporting Boomi beyond 2020. There are many customers who are live using Boomi, and many implementations are currently happening using Boomi. I expect Boomi and HCI to co-exist, with Boomi being the primary platform, until HCI attains maturity.


Comment From Esri Inc.

Will SAP enhance and provide newer adapters for integrating SAP HCM (on-premise) with SuccessFactors using SAP PI (AEX) as opposed to HCI?

Vishnu Kandi: The next release update to SAP PI will include HCI runtime. This will enable deployment of integration content built for HCI on PI as well. There is no specific plan to build integrations from the ground up on PI.


Comment From GUEST

Can we integrate SuccessFactors with Concur for travel management, or should we go for integration of existing SAP system - Travel Management module?

Venki Krishnamoorthy:  This depends on what SuccessFactors modules you have. Do you have EC? Do you currently have SAP T&E and are you planning to implement Concur? If you do not have EC, and if you are planning on moving to Concur (sunsetting SAP T&E), then your integration will be between core HR and SAP FI.


Comment From Puteri

Hi, I'm interested to ask about integration options specifically for LMS and C4C, and I believe the topic mentioned is 'integration of SF and on-premise solutions.'  Would such a bit out-of-topic questions be entertained during that session?

Vishnu Kandi: Between SuccessFactors LMS and Cloud for Customer, there are multiple integrations possible. We have employee data exchange from the SuccessFactors platform to C4C. The learning cost allocation integration is currently in development.


Comment From SAP PI Consultant

For Employee Central integrations with SAP ERP (Employee, Organization Data, and Cost Center Replication), does SAP HCI now have the content to replace Dell Boomi?  

Vishnu Kandi: The SAP ERP integrations are not yet available on HCI but are planned for 1602. However they will be available for ramp-up customers in beta. If you would like to join the ramp-up program, please contact SAP.


Comment From Miguel Hurtado HCM...

In which release is RDS planned for Variable Pay, Onboarding (New Hire Data), Competencies / Curricula / Qualifications and Learning Cost Allocation?

Venki Krishnamoorthy:  Donna Leong-Cohen, one of our co-authors, is leading the efforts to develop the RDS for these integrations. You can expect some announcements in b1511 or b1602.


Comment From Miguel Hurtado HCM...

Does single sign-on to SuccessFactors from SAP HCM require SAP NetWeaver AS Java or is it also possible with SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP?

Vishnu Kandi: SSO with SuccessFactors applications need SAML protocol or one of the symmetric key encryption algorithms to be implemented. If you are using any SAML 1.0 or 2.0 infrastructure, that should suffice. SAP IDM supports SF integration.


Comment From Haripriya

Before add-on 3.0, we do not have any standard configuration available for PM/GM from SAP to SF. Does SAP have plan for this in the future?

Venki Krishnamoorthy: Isn't pay-for-performance supported in add-on 2?


Comment From Ramu

Hi Vishnu,  We are using OData APIs to do the sync up from SF to client local database, and we have a challenge here on deleted records/delimited records, where they won't be updated by last modified date. So OData APIs are not picking these records if we do an incremental run with a “last modified” filter.

Vishnu Kandi: For employee data, CompoundEmployee API provides all employee data including deletes. It is recommended to use that API. For foundation objects, there is no option available at the moment.


Comment From Brian Reilly

I'd be interested in any comments you have about integration between the on premise Qualifications Catalogue and SF competencies. I understand that SAP put a white paper out on this last year. Why would we do this? Is anyone actually doing it? How challenging is it to put into place? Thanks.

Venki Krishnamoorthy: There are a few customers that I know of who are currently doing add-on 3.0.  

For example, when you have extensively used the qual catalog in your on-premise systems, why would customers want to rebuild in the cloud?

Comment From Brian Reilly

If we impart competencies in SF Learning and then want to integrate back into the Qual Cat for display with other quals in ESS/MSS, is this tricky or straightforward?

Venki Krishnamoorthy: If you are using competencies in LMS and want to push it back to the quals catalog for other business processes, you should be able to do that.


Comment From Guest

What are the delivery integrations with the latest SuccessFactors updates?

Vishnu Kandi: The latest SuccessFactors update due in August includes Integration Center, which will make building file-based integration with custom formats easier to implement. Integration Center ships with a few templates for integrating SuccessFactors with a few vendors as well as generic templates.


Comment From Esri Inc.

There are EC adapters right now that are available for SAP PI (AEX) for Competencies. In the future will these adapters become obsolete with the new HCI runtime?

Vishnu Kandi: The SuccessFactors adapter will be relevant, as it will enable communication with SuccessFactors applications. With HCI runtime, the integration content released for HCI can be deployed and executed on PI.


Comment From Troy Catlett

For Compound Employee API and OData, is there any limitation on the size or number of records? If I am extracting large populations of employees, what is the recommended approach?  

Vishnu Kandi: All SuccessFactors APIs limit records to a maximum of 1,000 records with each request. For additional subsequent records, you need to use the query more operation along with the parameter from the previous request. Since the session is persisted, you will get the next subsequent set of records.


Comment From SAP PI Consultant

The Boomi license for Employee Central integrations now comes bundled, so basically free. For SAP HCI, is there any chance you see any considerations made for Employee Central customers from a license perspective?  

Venki Krishnamoorthy: In today's scenario, that is a tricky question. What I have heard from my customers is that SAP may be flexible and willing to consider that. It is always best to reach out and speak to SAP and request their support.


Comment From amit@nga

Can we have two different Boomi instances (for development/testing) for a single EC implementation? There are two implementation partners doing integration and we would like to protect IPs.

Vishnu Kandi: I think you are asking if you can set up restrictions so each of your implementation partners cannot view the code built by the other. You can have multiple deployment environments with Boomi. Boomi does not have a way to restrict content view in developer mode. However, it can restrict access by environment in the deployment space.


Comment From Guest

If we are running non-SAP middleware, can we still implement SuccessFactors?

Venki Krishnamoorthy: Yes, you can use flat files to do the integration.

Vishnu Kandi: You can also build custom integration using SuccessFactors APIs and any middleware platform, as long as the middleware platform supports ODATA specs and the SOAP protocol.


Comment From Haripriya

If we need to integrate more than 15 custom fields in employee data, what we do we need to do to achieve this, as the standard integration provides only 15 custom fields?

Vishnu Kandi: The standard integration between SuccessFactors and SAP using Add-on 2.0 and above can be enhanced to send more than 15 custom fields as from this release of the add on, APIs are used for data exchange and allows all fields in SF that are available through APIs to be updated or inserted.


Comment From amit@nga

Is there an API to update EC with PDF files, like payslips and other legal forms?

Vishnu Kandi: There are certain APIs in the SuccessFactors suite that will accept files to be attached to employee records. But there are no APIs specific for payslips. However, SuccessFactors –to-SAP payroll provides payslips in EC using Web Dynpro screens embedded in EC.

Comment From amit@nga

The challenge is the different payroll system, which can’t do SSO but can provide PDFs. Any solutions?

Vishnu Kandi: You can use HANA Cloud Platform to house the PDF files and display them to the user within a portlet on EC. Data archival is easier to implement on this option. Another option is to use file import on employee profile to associate a PDF file.


Comment From Matt

What are options/best practices now for integrating SuccessFactors with on-premise payroll?

Vishnu Kandi: There is a step-by-step guide available here.



Comment From Esri Inc.

Which EHP version of SAP HCM will we need to use with HCI Runtime or PI Adapters for SFSF?

Vishnu Kandi: SAP PI needs to be upgraded to 7.5 for HCI Runtime. PI adapters to SuccessFactors are available on earlier versions, I believe, from 7.1 onwards.


Comment From Haripriya

In organizational data replication from EC to SAP, does only infotype 0001 get updated?

Vishnu Kandi:  The org data replication creates the hierarchy. The org assignment replication would associate employees with org units.


Comment From Esri Inc.

7.1 is the NetWeaver version. What about the EHP (Enhancement Package Level) for SAP HCM?

Venki Krishnamoorthy: EhP2 is the minimal recommended. It is always advisable to upgrade to the latest EhP level.


Comment From Ana

Are there delivered integrations for SFSF and on-premise finance?

Venki Krishnamoorthy:  Cost-center is currently supported.


Comment From Puteri

We found out that the public web service API for SF Learning is deprecated with the introduction of OData API in May 2015. However the OData API lacks function such as registering users to a training, which we need to use. How much longer will this public API be supported? What is your advice if we still use the old API? Do you know if there are any planned extensions to the current OData API that could deliver what we want?

Vishnu Kandi: SF Learning is adding ODATA equivalent APIs for the SOAP APIs that were deprecated. There are some APIs being released with 1508 and others are planned for 1511 later this year.


Comment From amit@nga

Can we trigger an interface on an action in EC/SF modules, equivalent to change pointers or enhancement spots in SAP core solutions?  For example, if we need to call an interface synchronously when employees are hired in EC, say, to get the userid generated by a different application?  

Venki Krishnamoorthy: You should be able to do it. Do you have a business requirement to have UID generated by a third party? In the b1508 release, you can set a notification, which will send a notification to the middleware to facilitate this.

Comment From amit@nga

Yes. They have a central non-SAP system to generate userids; the client wants to call that application synchronously and update the UID during hiring in EC.  

Venki Krishnamoorthy: Vishnu mentioned that the upcoming release will support EC related actions and synchronous triggering of other interfaces. Please send me an e-mail to and I can share more details with you.


Comment From Puteri

Where can I get the workbook for all Connector templates in SF Learning? So far we managed to get this only for ‘User Data’ via SF Community.  We requested this via support but are still pending their reply.

Vishnu Kandi:  You can request connector workbooks through Customer Success. If you are a partner, you will be able to access them through the partner portal.


Comment From Ken

Can SuccessFactors be implemented without SAP PI?

Venki Krishnamoorthy:  Yes, SuccessFactors supports OpenPlatform architecture. You can use any middleware technology as your middleware platform. I know customer landscapes that have a mixture of middleware technologies. If you are not using any middleware technologies, flat files are an option.


Comment From Troy Catlett

Any advice on SAP to EC Cost Integration? I know the add-on is required in SAP. If I am not using Boomi but using PI, can I still take advantage standard interface scenario in EC?

Vishnu Kandi: You can follow the same methodology as the standard integration and develop it on PI, or upgrade your PI to 7.5 version and deploy the standard content that will be released on HCI with 1511/1602.


Comment From Consultant

What is the difference between ODATA API and SFAPI?

Vishnu Kandi: SFAPI uses SOAP protocol for communication while ODATA APIs use REST protocol. That is the primary difference. ODATA APIs can be joined similar to database joins while it is not possible with SOAP APIs .

Comment From Consultant

ODATA API is for EC and SFAPI is for modules other than EC? Is this the only difference between both of them?

Vishnu Kandi: SuccessFactors is, in principle, moving all modules to ODATA APIs. Some modules like LMS, Recruiting, PM/GM, and EC have released ODATA APIs. EC was the first to start on this journey.


Comment From Consultant

Can we change field type of any API, or add and remove other fields in the API?

Vishnu Kandi: The fields on the API are driven by the data model that is defined in SuccessFactors. As soon as a field's data type is changed in SuccessFactors, the APIs would reflect the change. It works the same way when a field is removed.

Comment From Consultant

I changed the type of field in JRDM, but it will not reflect in API.

Vishnu Kandi: With RCM, you need to keep in mind that you should not change standard fields or their data types.


Comment From amit@nga

Thanks. It was really useful.


M.S. Hein: Thanks to everyone who participated in today’s Q&A. And thank you to Venki Krishnamoorthy and Vishnu Kandi for your time and for your insightful answers.


Venki Krishnamoorthy: Thanks everyone for participating in today's session. I thoroughly enjoyed. Vishnu and I along with Prashanth, Donna and Chinni have co-authored a SAP Press book on SFSF Integrations. You can refer to this book, Integrating SuccessFactors with SAP, here.


M.S. Hein: You can review the Q&A chat replay at any time, and we’ll alert you when the transcript of today’s discussion is posted. For more SuccessFactors advice, you’ll find technical tips on both core HCM and SuccessFactors on SAPinsider Online and at HR Expert. Make sure you check out some of Venki’s past articles, including “SAP ERP HCM Talent Management Tips.” Thanks again for joining us!


Vishnu Kandi: Thanks for your questions today. I enjoyed responding to them.


SAPinsider: Thanks to everyone who joined us with great questions. And to our panelists, consultant Venki Krishnamoorthy and SAP's Vishnu Kandi for sharing their tips rapid fire for this wide-ranging set of questions. Thank you!


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