It’s that time of the quarter when SuccessFactors release the latest set of updates for customers. As preparation for some upcoming Employee Central projects I will be working on I took the time to review the new features in the August release (b1308) and publish this blog. There are a considerable number of enhancements and additional new features for Employee Central customers. The main enhancement focuses on Time Off, but there are also additional enhancements for Localization, Position Management, Workflows, and integration – plus other “miscellaneous features”. Employee Central Payroll includes a number of new features and these will also be covered briefly in this blog, as well as enhancements to the Employee Profile.
A key aspect of this release is the enhancement of features to leverage the Metadata Framework (MDF). Many new features leverage the Rules Engine so that customers can define how the features work.
The new Time Off UI has been introduced to make entry of absences and requesting time off easy and simple for employees, managers, and administrators. The new UI can be seen below.
The new UI for Time Off allows employees and managers to enter all types of absences and edit absence requests (once the return date has been confirmed). Workflow process, status changes, and leave of absences are triggered in the background automatically.
The enhancements for Time Off include:
- New fields for Non-Permanent Time Accounts
- Period End Processing enhancements
- Posting Rules for using vacation from previous period
- BizX Mobile enhancements
For managing Non-Permanent Time Accounts 3 new fields have been added: begin date, end date, and Bookable until. For creating Time Accounts for recurring Time Accounts 2 new fields have been added: On hire date and On fixed date. These are a prerequisite for using Period End Processing.
Period End Processing can now be setup and started using a calendar, with the results coming via email to the user. Rules – configurable via the MDF rules engine – can be used to determine how the remaining balance is handled. Common examples can be found in the Employee Central Handbook and a screenshot below.
Posting Rules can now be used to determine which Time Accounts can be used to book vacation. For example, a Time Account for the previous vacation period can be used instead of the current period so that accrued but unused vacation from the previous vacation year can be used.
As a result of these changes, the Leave of Absence field has been removed in the Job Information portlet and also from the Take Action menu.
There are some quite exciting BizX Mobile enhancements for Time Off on the iPad. I am still awaiting for new features for the Android version! These include:
- Team Absence Calendar
- Balance Box Logic on iPad to calculate balanced based on selected date
- Visualize non-working days & public holidays in calendar
- Introduce new list of public holidays
- Public Holidays and absences can be tapped and detail information will be shown
- "Humanize ticker" (see screenshot below)
- New message area
- Comments & last activities in history list
- Introduce help overlay
- New selection style
Below you can see the Time Off calendar in the iPad app.
New country-specific localization for Egypt, Israel, Jordon, Lebanon, and Uruguay have been added. This includes fields, picklists, and validations for personal information such as personal IDs, National ID, address information, job information, disabilities, and documents. This opens up a number of Middle-East territories to Employee Central as well as another LATAM country, where growth of adoption is continuing on a steady upward curve.
Employees in legal entities in India can now manage and declare tax-deductible investments within Employee Central in an ESS scenario instead of through a manual or 3rd party system. There is an approval workflow triggered in the background for this feature.
Advances can now be maintained in Employee Central and configured to each locale within the system. These Advances can be based on different attributes, such as Pay Grades. This is part of the MDF.
Other enhancements include:
- Address layouts for 62 countries
- Bank validations for 22 countries
- Enhanced validations for National IDs for Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Spain
- Usability enhancement and CSV capabilities for naming formats
- Dependents information for United Arab Emirates, Chile, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Qatar
- Post code validation for Taiwan
Position Management features 3 new enhancements in this release. The major release is the ability to select which hierarchy will be used for the org structure (the “Leading” hierarchy). This allows either the Position Hierarchy (position-to-position) or Reporting Line (employee-to-employee) to be used. Whenever one structure is changed, the changes within that structure will be reflected in the other. For example, setting a position a new parent position will update the supervisor field for all incumbents of the position. The main benefit of this feature is that customers no longer need to maintain two structures, rather just one. They can also select the hierarchy they use most to be the focus of the system.
Another enhancement is that the “To be hired” flag of a position will now be set automatically if the incumbent(s) is moved out of the position (e.g. an employee leaves or is transferred to a new position). This is a much needed feature to further automate transfer processes.
The third and final enhancement is the ability to define a Rule (created in the MDF Rule Engine) to determine the fields that are automatically propagated in a new position that is copied from an existing position in the Position Org Chart. This is another useful feature to further automate position management activities.
There are a number of features introduced for Workflows, including Workflow enhancements for Global Assignments. These are:
- RBPs for Manage Workflow Requests Page: RBPs can now be used to restrict access to Workflows that contain an employee within the target group
- Reminders for stalled workflows: A new field called Remind In Days has been added. The approver(s) of the Workflow will be sent a notification every number of days defined in this field until the Workflow is approved.
- Support for assigning Dynamic Groups to Dynamic Role: When assigning users to Dynamic Roles it is now possible to assign a Dynamic Group instead of a user.
- Leverage Job Relationships in Workflow assignments: Different job relationships like Matrix Manager, Second Manager, Custom Manager, and Additional Manager can now be assigned for Workflows. They are also available in RBPs for Workflows.
- Activity Log note for Proxy approvals: When a Proxy approves a Workflow a note is now recorded in the Activity Log.
- Attachments can be viewed in Workflow Approval Page: A link has now been added to the attachment name so that it can be viewed in the Workflow Approval Page.
- Enhancements for Global Assignments: Workflows can amended and returned to the initiator, planned assignments that were cancelled before starting can be set to Obsolete, and Workflows can now be found in the Manage Workflow Requests list.
Integration and Data Imports
There are a number of new integrations included in this release. These include content for both Dell Boomi AtomSphere and for the SAP ERP Add-On PA_SE_IN_100. Additionally, integration is now available to transfer data from Employee Central to NorthgateArinso’s EuHReka system.
Cost Centers can now be replicated from SAP to Employee Central by using a report. IDoc’s are leveraged for the data transfer and Employee Central – via Dell Boomi AtomSphere – is configured as a receiving system. Change pointers can be used to identify changes to Cost Center data. The selection screen for the report can be seen below:
Other integration features for SAP ERP Add-On PA_SE_IN_100 include:
- Employee Cost Center: An employee’s Cost Center assignment can now be transferred from Employee Central to SAP. In SAP this Cost Center assignment is made on the employee’s position.
- Replication Requests Viewer: A report has now been introduced to display and restart organizational assignment data replication requests in SAP.
- Template roles for organizational model: New standard roles are provided.
The new release sees the introduction of OData query APIs. OData is the future technology for the SuccessFactors APIs, although it does not mean that the existing APIs will cease to function or be depreciated. The OData technology allows one REST-based API call for a number of Employee Central entities. In this release there are 38 entities supported. Additionally, new data segments have been added to the compound API to address missing entities in the entity-based SOAP APIs for Dependents, Job Relations and Payment Information.
A DELIMIT operator can now be added into the operation column of data import files to delimit effective-dated records. This is enabled for the following entities in this release:
- Phone Info
- Email Info
- IM Info
- National Id card Info
- Emergency Contact Primary Info
- Pay Component Non Recurring Info
- Direct Deposit Info
- Pay Component Recurring Info
In addition to the enhancements already mentioned, there are a number of other enhancements that cannot be categorized as I have done so. These are:
- Restrict sensitive information for Proxies: The Proxy feature has been enhanced so that it is possible to restrict a Proxy from viewing personal and compensation information about the Account holder.
- Limit Picklists for Event Reason and Pay Components for multi-national instances: Customers can now limit the values in the Event Reason and Pay Component Picklists by country, so to reduce the values in these lists. This is achieved in the MDF and is another example of SuccessFactors leveraging the MDF for new enhancements in Employee Central.
- MDF enhancement for fields: Another enhancement made to the MDF enables fields to be set to required, hidden, or made visible based on selected values. This leverages the Rules Engine in the MDF. In conjunction with propagation through rules, this enables a number of different scenarios to be included in events such as hiring actions, job changes, position modifications, etc.
- New Decimal Precision field: An additional field – Decimal precision – has been added to define how many decimal places (0 to 5) are required for the Pay Component field. This is to satisfy US companies who still pay hourly rates with decimal values.
- RBPs for Pay Components: Role-Based Permissions (RBPs) can now be used to control read and modify access to each Pay Component type for recurring, non-recurring, and target payments. This means users will only have access to the specific Pay Components that they work with.
- Insider Flag: An Insider Flag field has been added to the Compensation Information page to flag employees who have access to insider information. This is a requirement under some local laws, in particular the Securities Exchange Act in the US.
- Profile of employees on Global Assignment: For employees on a Global Assignment the Profile will now show the employee data, rather than showing blank portlets.
- Editing Pension Payout Details: The Pension Payout Details portlet can now be edited from the Employment Information page.
- Custom MDF portlets on Employee Profile: Custom MDF object UIs can now be added to the V12 Employee Profile as portlets.
- Internal Job History portlet: A new Internal Job History portlet has now been made available to be added to the Profile. This portlet displays the organization assignment of the individual.
- Editing Public Profile UI: An employee can now edit their public profile in one single UI, as seen below.
Employee Central Payroll
Employee Central Payroll sees one new country added – Malaysia – to bring up the number of supported countries to 23. The complete list of supported countries can be found here.
A new alert for Employee Central Payroll issues is now available on the Admin Alerts tile, as seen below. Clicking on this opens up the new Payroll Issues Monitor, which is also accessible via OneAdmin. Within the Payroll Issues Monitor an administrator has a number of options, including navigating to the Employee Files to correct an issue (to correct the issue) or executing a manual data transfer to the Employee Central Payroll engine for one or more corrected employee records.
Other enhancements include:
- BSI eFormsFactory: integration with BSI eFormsFactory for US Payroll is now available so that administrators can enter tax information on behalf of employees. Within Provisioning, a configuration consistency check is also available.
- Workflow for additional cost center assignments: There is now a standard workflow that is triggered when additional cost center assignments are made for an employee, which can be configured to route either to a manager and/or HR administrator.
- Non-cost center information replication: Non-cost center information held in the cost center field (such as Work breakdown structure (WBS) or internal orders) can be replicated to Employee Central Payroll or SAP. A BAdI is used to define how this data is retrieved for transfer.
- Event reasons data changes during data replication: During replication of data to Employee Central Payroll, event reasons defined in Employee Central can be used to change, modify, or overwrite data in Employee Central Payroll. For example, an event for unpaid leave can automatically change the status of an employee from “active to “inactive”.
- Three digit rates: Three digit rates can now be replicated to Employee Central Payroll. This means more accuracy when rates such as 1/8 hourly rate need to be paid.
- API enhancement for employeeTime object: The API now reads data from the MDF object employeeTime. Various selection criteria from the employeeTime and jobInfo objects can be used to determine the output.
- Infotype 0008 replication: Custom fields can be replicated to infotype 0008
- Infotype 0007 replication: Work scheduling defaulting can be replicated to infotype 0007
- Infotype 0041 replication: Dates in the Employee Information portlet can now be replicated into infotype 0041
There are an impressive number of enhancements in SuccessFactors Employee Central and Employee Central Payroll in the August release. SuccessFactors are making heavy use of the MDF in this release and rightly so. The MDF component adds configuration flexibility and therefore by using it, customers can leverage this flexibility to modify standard objects to suit their own unique business requirements. All in all this is a solid release and further extends the value of Employee Central.
In future releases I would be quite keen to see deeper handling of Global Employment and Concurrent Employment, as well as the ability to add custom portlets in pages such as Personal Information and Employment Information. I would also like to see Time Management and Benefits fleshed out further to align more with the functionality offered in SAP HCM on-premise and HR document management would also be a big bonus. And of course more features in BizX Mobile for the Android platform!