The HR game changer: Benefits of SuccessFactors Employee Central
The Employee Central offering from SuccessFactors says it all in the name; it provides a central platform to manage all your employee data and improve your core HR activities. There are a whole host of features that make Employee Central great, but what really sets it apart from other cloud HRIS offerings out there is extensibility.
What makes Employee Central different
Cloud HR solutions are nothing new and they continue to improve, but while there are many benefits to Software as a Service (SaaS) there is often limited customisation with these out-of-the-box solutions. Businesses that are attracted to the flexibility and affordability of cloud solutions often later find that they have much less ability to customise and meet their unique business needs like they could with their on-premise ones.
SuccessFactors have not only developed Employee Central to be an extensible solution that can be customised to meet individual business needs, but they have also simplified the whole process. Where as any customisation that is possible with other cloud HR systems requires highly trained developers, SuccessFactors enables HR teams and IT professionals to make changes and customisations with an easy user interface.
The key to SuccessFactors’ extensibility is the Metadata Framework (MDF) and SAP HANA Cloud Extensions (HCE) along with basic extensibility at the application level.
Metadata Framework (MDF)
Employee Central along with the rest of the SuccessFactors suite all use the Metadata Framework. The MDF allows for complete configuration of the delivered features in each suite. This configuration was previously only available to implementation partners and, unlike other cloud HR solutions, configuration changes are driven by the user interface.
That means no need for access to the backend XML or extensive knowledge of coding, empowering HR teams and IT professionals alike to configure their solution to meet their needs. It also means that implementing and maintaining Employee Central is easier and quicker than ever, empowering HR teams to take data ideas from inception to completion.
You can also add additional custom objects to your configured delivered ones. With the MDF companies are no longer limited to a list of predefined or generic customisable fields. They are able to meet unique business data requirements and tailor the end-user experience, helping to promote the right level of data accountability throughout the organisation. No previous solution has provided such a high level of extensibility and customisation.
The MDF allows you to define:
- Custom data objects such as additional hierarchy levels or employee-level data types that companies need to track
- Approval workflows and editable user interfaces for those objects
- Data management business rules for delivered and custom data objects
- Data entry warning messages and email alert triggers
Using the MDF
So what does this configuration look like for your business? Many companies use the MDF to their full advantage and show just some of the uses of this superior framework.
The structure of an organisation’s hierarchy can often be completely unique to the company and won’t always fit into the parameters of out-of-the-box cloud solutions. Thanks to the MDF you can add additional levels in Employee Central to the delivered organisation structure. These custom levels will be fully integrated with the delivered structure, meaning values for the delivered fields can filter for valid values in the custom fields and vice versa. This results in validated data entry across the entire extended structure.
Custom objects and workflows
Creating custom objects that sit outside of the organisational structure can provide additional information as well as drive behaviours as part of a workflow. For example, including ‘region’ as a custom object that is not part of the organisational structure directly but can help to direct workflow to the right approvers and people. Additionally, change the labels themselves at the application level to make delivered objects more appropriate for your business.
Tracking master employee data
You can also track employee data that isn’t delivered with Employee Central by creating custom objects at the employee level, whether it’s one portlet of information or an entire page with multiple custom portlets.
HANA Cloud Extensions (HCE)
As well as configurable delivered objects and the ability to add custom objects to Employee Central, you can extend the solution even further with HANA Cloud Extensions. These extensions are typically created by an SAP partner but you can also create and deploy your own HCEs using the SAP HANA Cloud Platform and Extension Package for SuccessFactors.
Whether you create your own or head to the extensions marketplace, HCE’s give you the power to meet unique business needs and tailor your solution. They provide the complex customisation that many companies appreciated with their on-premise solution allowing you to recreate those same features within your superior SuccessFactors solution so you can enjoy the best of cloud and on-premise.
There are already a wide range of HCEs developed and available on the marketplace to help you realise your perfect solution. These include:
- Employee engagement and recognition
- Occupational health and safety
- Demand and supply side project scheduling
- Capture of employee feedback
Extensibility best practices
The ability to configure, customise and ultimately extend SuccessFactors Employee Central to meet your needs may seem like a dream come true for your business, but with great extensibility comes great responsibility. Such a high level of customisation means some businesses can fall into the trap of over customising their solution resulting in a complex and messy system. Others may simply be at a loss for where to start and how best to configure it for them. With that in mind, here are some key considerations for extensibility.
Master data management
A good master data management governance plan is essential to minimise the risk of messy data and confusion as well as data redundancy and pollution. The design phase of the implementation should discuss and decide what master data is going to be stored in Employee Central by identifying what delivered objects will be used in the solution and what custom data needs to be included to meet business needs. Make sure you also use a consistent naming convention from the outset.
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
SDLC principles are vital when designing and developing any customisations. SDLC is an analysis and review process that helps to ensure custom objects are well thought out in line with business requirements and work with any existing delivered or custom objects.
Aim for enhancement, not dilution
Extensibility should enhance rather than dilute global design and process. To make sure that you are leveraging extensibility to its best ability rather than inhibiting your core HR practices, it’s recommended that you use an implementation partner with the experience, skills and knowledge needed. An SAP partner like TalenTeam can help you make sure your implementation meets regulatory and business needs as well as help you develop a strategy to encourage engagement and adoption for the solution.