How does SAP SuccessFactors Time Management compare to SAP HCM Time Management?

Around 2 years ago we started to heavily invest in SAP Successfactors Time Management. In the last 3 to 4 releases, we closed most of the major feature gaps, such as flextime, clock in clock out, parallel absences, and cross midnight.

At the moment this is resulting in a Time Management application which is taken seriously by all our SAP SuccessFactors and HCM Time customers, and is also considered as a successor for their on-premise SAP HCM Time Management.

However, now that major gaps are closed it also becomes harder for customers to self-judge when the time is right to convert.

Therefore, in nearly all my conversations with customers who run SAP HCM Time Management the same questions come up:

  1. When is it feature par?
  2. Why should I convert from SAP HCM Time to SAP SuccessFactors Time Management?

Of course all customers want a feeling of confidence about the right time to transition.

Therefore, in this blog post I will try to answer both questions and provide a perspective about when it becomes relevant to transition.

1. When is it Feature Par?

We have set an internal goal to build a true successor for SAP HCM Time Management, which allows our customers to fully transition into the cloud.

This means that it is our aim to cover similar use cases as we offered with on-premise SAP HCM Time Management. To fulfill on our aim our development focus for SAP SuccessFactors Time Management is on global time management processes across industry, worker type, and regardless of region or customer size.

Where is SuccessFactors Time Management today?

We do not start from scratch. Right now we are running more than 3.000 customers on our Time Management capability, of which 1.000+ use our Time Sheet. This means that we already run at scale. However, initially our user base was mainly covering the less complex salaried and white-collar staff.

Since we launched SAP SuccessFactors Time Tracking (incl. support for night shifts, clock terminal integration and flextime) we see more and more customers who start to go-live for hourly paid and blue-collar workforces.

What do customers really need?

As discussed, many customers want to hear when it is feature par. However, the question is not an easy one to answer….because: which customer actually used every part of SAP HCM Time Management? In all my years, I met close to 0.

All customers implemented what they needed to implement to satisfy their business requirements. And for some customers this was using 30% of its capabilities, and for others maybe 70%. No one to my experience used 100%.

So the question should not be about feature parity, but about the required capabilities for the unique customer requirements. If customers assess when their requirements can be covered they need to understand what capabilities are offered today.

What can get implemented today?

If you look at what is offered today, SuccessFactors Time Management has a lot of capabilities to satisfy requirements. On a high level it offers:

  • Global Time Configuration
    • Localization features incl. accrual rules, public holiday calendars, business rules, advanced collision framework to satisfy e.g. country specific parallel absence scenarios
    • Work schedule management, incl. (dynamic) break handling
    • Real-time time evaluation to calculate things like overtime, shift differentials, premiums, working time accounts, flextime, and time off in lieu
  • Self-Service Time Entry scenarios
  • Advanced Connectivity
    • Real-time clock terminal integration
    • Predefined integration into Employee Central Payroll and SAP HCM Payroll
    • Connectivity options to 3rd party shift planning tools, and running integration with partner extensions for such scenarios
  • Actionable Reporting

In short, the question on feature parity can’t be answered easily. It must be looked at use case by use case for customer scenarios.

2. Why should I convert from SAP HCM Time to SuccessFactors Time Management?

This section is relevant for all current SAP HCM Time Management customers who are considering a transition.

I will try to answer how it is different. The short answer is: A LOT of things are different. It is a real transition for all users who are impacted (employees, managers, and time administrators).

Conceptual differences

Let me start with explaining the overall SuccessFactors technology differences which are helpful, and then zoom into the Time Management specific differences.

SuccessFactors Technology

  • First of all, technology is more modern and accessible to the outside world. The application offers APIs which are easily accessible and allow to connect to other applications. See more info for example here: https://api.sap.com/api/ECTimeOff/overview  (this includes options to try them out)
  • Secondly, the architecture is built such that the data model can easily be extended. For example, it takes minutes to add a custom field in SAP SuccessFactors Time Management (vs. days in on-premise SAP HCM).
    • And I think we all know how often custom fields are needed to capture specific information related to either the organization or to satisfy a Collective Labor Agreement regulations.
  • Thirdly workflows and notifications can easily be added and changed. Also, the Notification texts within the application are fully configurable, and can include hyperlinks to external knowledge bases. This is often a big benefit too to provide additional (process related) context.
  • Lastly, the use of Business Rules and Integration Center. This flexibility is almost limitless to calculate accruals, steer hiring and termination process, have time sheet validations, etc.
    • Of course, many things were possible in SAP HCM via BADIs (and I’m the last one to diminish this 😊), but this most often required coding. The biggest difference in the modern tools is that nearly everything can be achieved with configuration vs. coding. Obviously, this makes a big difference for the support organization for every customer.

Time Management specific differences

Next to the technology overall, many foundational things are different for Time Management. For example, the work schedule and the public holiday calendar are decoupled. This results in substantially fewer work schedules in the application, which makes it easier to manage.

Also the processing of time management data is different. SAP SuccessFactors Time Management offers a real-time valuation. This means that information is calculated immediately when it is entered in the time sheet (and not overnight when the RPTIME job runs).

This is a fundamental change which has big impact for all users. Let me try to explain this per user.

Differences for the Time Administrator.

In SAP HCM Time Management the first action of the day is to check the outcomes of the time evaluation and to try to resolve errors. These errors are most often resolved one after the other (e.g. via PTMW).

In SuccessFactors Time Management we try to be more action driven. This means that in our time valuation it is possible to raise errors and warnings which get sent to time administrators (or even managers) via mails. This takes away the need to check for potential warnings when there aren’t any. Users can self-configure which alerts they want to receive via mails and in which frequency.

Example:

Clock in Clock out errors

Another big area of usability and process improvement is the handling of clock in clock out errors. For example, if an employee forgot to clock out for lunch this needs to be corrected. Either by the Employee, or the Manager, or Time Administrator.

In on-premise SAP HCM this means that for that day no other time recording is automatically processed in the time evaluation. In the case of issues a Time Administrator must manually trigger an instant time evaluation out of the Time Manager Workplace.

If the Time Administrator is authorized to run this it is relatively easy to achieve. But if they are not then the process becomes cumbersome to get executed, and potentially leads to Time Administrators waiting another night to see if the nightly run then completely solved the issues.

In Successfactors Time Management this is not needed anymore. Potential issues get calculated/generated throughout the day and can get responded to in real-time.

This is also applicable for records which come in via a (3rd party) punch clock. With the new clock terminal integration service all successful time pairs get updated in the time sheet immediately.

This means that if an employee clocked in and out a few times on a day, and there was 1 time event missing, then all others would still immediately run through time valuation. This practically means that payroll can always get updated. Even though there might be a small issue on a day, there is never a complete day missing.

And all of this is immediately visible to the user. See the following time sheet screenshot, where the paired time events are displayed for each time record:

In addition, because this is all in real-time, immediately after the employee clocked out (or goes for lunch) it shows: was there any overtime or premium recorded? If so, does this lead to an overtime pay out, an update of the time off lieu, or does it get added to the flextime account? Hugely beneficial information for the employee to understand.

More focus on Usability

Another major differentiating point is the modern and improved usability. Maybe it is an obvious one in the cloud, but I still often talk to customers of whom employees run the most frequently used self service scenarios (which are always Time Management ones) on highly outdated UIs. And especially for the younger generations the expectations of modern employers are often different 😉

For SAP SuccessFactors user interfaces get frequent updates, which come as part of the half yearly updates of our cloud application. They get pushed and installed automatically. This means that customers always stay modern, both on web and on mobile.

For your reference, here is a recent screenshot of our new mobile punch clock:

Compared to the screens in SAP HCM there are many things which make it nicer to use. Not only cosmetic improvements but often also some process improvements. Let me give you some examples

First example: missing clock ins or clock outs get highlighted immediately at first glance:


This allows employees to easily spot and correctly record before they submit at the end of the week.

Second example: For employees who work across midnight the time recordings automatically relate to the appropriate day the shift started. There is no need for employees anymore to manually set previous day indicators like they had to in on-prem SAP HCM.

We control this via a new Nightshift Bandwidth, which has a big usability gain for users who fill out the time sheet.

Third example: When employees who work on irregular shift patterns go on time-off they immediately see when they need to return to work the next time (vs trying to puzzle that out via work schedule views):

What about managers?

Next to employees, there are also good benefits for managers. Take for example the new correction scenario.

Normally managers want to know when employees have recorded a manual punch, vs recording one via the actual terminal. Therefore, there is an easily configurable workflow behind it.

However, the time of managers is scarce these days. And so, when the terminal is down (and potentially all time event clockings come in via correction) does the manger then still want to receive them? Probably not.

Via business rules this can now be configured. Based on any correction reason it can be determined if there needs to be a workflow or not and who the approver of that time event correction reason is.

Also the processing of the workflows is easier. These are displayed on a quick approval card on the manager’s home page, and provide immediate insight into all relevant activities and recordings for that employee in that week. For example, it provides immediate insight in allowances, on-call work, overtime, etc. See the following screenshot:


And if managers want, they can get a side by side comparison of all open time sheet workflows; across all direct reports. See the following:

This provides managers a complete overview of what was going on in their team in a given week.

In conclusion, the above is not meant to be an exhaustive list. These are just some of the numerous differences which in many cases just work a bit nicer for all users. It is truly a new experience.

On a side-note.

SAP HR (SAP’s own HR department) is currently implementing SuccessFactors Time Management. The users (my colleagues) all have a laser focus on efficiency and how things should work. Probably the most critical audience I can imagine 😊

After going live SAP HR runs Net Promoter Score (NPS) studies to assess the internal acceptance and satisfaction of its HR processes. The most recent internal assessment showed that Time Off and Time Sheet are the highest praised HR self-service scenarios which are rolled out within SAP.

And as you can understand for a company of 100.000+ employees, there are plenty of HR processes to compete with. Overall, who would have imagined that people would like filling out their time sheets? Therefore, I think this attests to the efforts which are spend on usability.

What’s next?

As I stated at the beginning of this blog, there still is a journey to go. But there is an aggressive roadmap to get there. Some examples of improvements which are on the radar:

As we now get into the territory of organizations who work 24/7, regardless if it is a public holiday or not, we need to improve the absence counting and public holiday handling. For example, we need to re-invent concepts for day types, but also improve end-to-end processing of premium generations for work on public holidays.

In addition, we need to crack mass processing use cases as equivalents to Time Manager Workplace.

Lastly we have many customers running on-premise CATS. And so, next to the HR use case of ‘When did people work’, we (SAP) also need to go beyond to cover ‘What people worked on’. Stay tuned on this!

Nevertheless, we do urge all SAP HCM Time Management customers to start preparing by looking into their unique use cases to determine when the time is right for them.

And that time might very well be now 😊

For more interesting, detailed feature analyses I can highly recommend these sources and articles:

And if you have any questions, or feedback then please let me know!

Best regards,

Frans