Data As-is Analysis: A Critical Step before bringing your HR data to Employee Central

There are two types of people in the kitchen. One that starts cooking right away even with only a rough idea of the ingredients available in the fridge and in the pantry. And the other one is the type who looks into what ingredients are available in the kitchen, creates a meal plan, writes down a shopping list, then prepares all ingredients and tools before actually cooking. In the end, both get to serve a meal for sure. But I am pretty positive there’s a difference in the cooking process itself and the quality of food they end up making. I like to compare this with an Employee Central implementation. 

Most customers start immediately with their Employee Central implementation without even knowing the data from their legacy system. Imagine if you are already in the middle of cooking and you realize that your pot is actually going to be too small for what you are cooking and there’s a risk of over-spill at any second, and that the beans you have on the shelf for your chili con carne should have been soaked overnight or else you’ll need to boil it for 5 hours. And if that’s not enough reason for frustration, you have a hungry family crying on the background demanding dinner to be served on the table. Sounds like a disaster, right?  

Well, believe it or not this is how most customers have been implementing Employee Central in the past. They are so eager to implement Employee Central and run their processes in the cloud and do all the cool ESS and MSS stuff that comes with it, without doing the homework first of knowing what HR data they actually store today and why do they have it. In my other blog Data As-is Analysis is the underestimated step in Employee Central implementation. But why? And how can we change this?’, we have rounded up the most common reasons why Data As-is Analysis has been skipped in the past. Sure, our leading practice is to ‘adopt’ the SuccessFactors standards. But in order to run processes in Employee Central, we need to bring in the data first from the legacy system. 

Most often than not, the HR data from the customer’s legacy system is consumed by several downstream systems and processes, sometimes even including non-HR. Data As-is analysis is even more important if you are an SAP HCM customer moving your Org Management and HR Admin processes to Employee Central but keeping Payroll and Time Evaluation processes in the on-premise system. In order to ensure that these downstream systems will continue to receive the data they have been getting from the customer’s HR Core system, or run Payroll and Time evaluation processes in the on-premise system, a sound Data Distribution strategy is a must prior the actual configuration of Employee Central so we can keep Employee Central data model and interface scope as lean as possible. And we can only clearly define the customer’s Data Distribution Strategy if we have information about their As-is data structures. 

The legacy system usually will also serve as the source for the initial load of employee data to Employee Central during data migration. Having information on the As-is data structure will not only help in defining the data model for Employee Central but can also help the customer adequately prepare for the right conversion logic. This will minimize or even avoid migration issues during the time of conversion and ensure they successfully migrate their data to the cloud timely and accurately. 

Knowledge is power. When there is adequate information about the customer’s as-is data in the legacy system such as over-all complexity, how close or far it is from SAP SuccessFactors standard, specific customizations and other areas of special attention, both the customer and consultants can make better informed decisions. 

Data As-is Analysis is a critical step for customers before even starting an Employee central implementation. Customers should consider doing this exercise during Discover or Prepare phase, or maybe even earlier. In our Data Architecture approach within the SAP HXM Innovation and Transformation team, we have identified three options on how to conduct Data As-is analysis depending on the customer’s legacy system (whether they are SAP HCM or non-SAP HCM customer), the desired level of detail of the analysis, customer’s level of commitment, and amount of time the customer wants to invest in such an exercise. 

 

Option 1: Data As-is Analysis Questionnaire for both SAP HCM and Non-SAP HCM customers 

We have developed a standard questionnaire which could help collect data about the customer’s As-is data structures. This questionnaire is usually given to the customer’s HRIT team to fill up and SAP analyzes the results. This information can be used as an input during data requirements collection discussion. However, information collected are usually high-level, and depends on the customer’s knowledge or available documentation of their current system. 

Option 2: Standard Reports for SAP HCM customers 

The customer is given a how-to document that provides step-by-step instructions on how to extract standard reports from SAP HCM. The document also explains the rationale of how each of the data elements will be used in the analysis. The customer runs the reports by themselves which could take approximately 1-2 days to complete, depending on the customer’s proficiency of SAP HCM. Once the report extracts are handed over to SAP, it typically takes 5-10 business days for SAP to further synthesize and analyze the data and produce an output. The output of this exercise will be a playback meeting of SAP’s findings to confirm understanding of the customer’s current system and how those findings align to the SuccessFactors Employee Central solution. 

Option 3: Data As-is Analysis Tool for SAP HCM customers 

 SAP Consulting has developed an evaluation tool which is installed into the customer’s SAP HCM system (Test/Productive). This requires minimum effort on the customer side but would require an effort of 4-5 SAP consultant days for every on-Prem system. The As-is consist of the following steps: 

  • Initial call (customer and SAP) 
    • Introduce approach 
    • Timeline and systems to be analyzed 
  • Installation of the Evaluation Tool (customer)  
  • Provide system access and user IDs to SAP (customer)  
  • Run system analysis (SAP)  
    • Development system: Technical run system analysis (Customer or SAP) 
    • Test or productive system: Functional run system analysis (Customer or SAP) 
  • Discuss findings in a workshop/call (customer and SAP)  
  • Provide result report in Excel and PowerPoint presentation (SAP)  
    • Data structures in use  
    • Highlight areas of special attention, e.g. because of 
      • Large number of custom fields in EC relevant standard infotypes  
      • Large number of custom object types linked to EC relevant standard object types  
      • Differences in usage of infotypes between countries  
    • Implications and recommendations for Employee Central, future interfaces between Employee Central and SAP HCM as well as for data migration 

 

If you are interested in learning more about these Data As-is Analysis options or where to find additional resources and the tools so you can use them in your next Employee Central implementation, you can get in touch with me (kristine.reyes@sap.com), or you may also reach out to the following experts for each option. 

Option 1: Data As-is Analysis Questionnaire: Kristine Reyes (kristine.reyes@sap.com) 

 

Option 2: Standard Reports for SAP HCM customers: Karlo Smojver (karlo.smojver@sap.com) or Kristine Reyes (kristine.reyes@sap.com) 

 

Option 3: Data As-is Analysis Tool for SAP HCM customers: Roelof Korte (roelof.korte@sap.com), Torsten Sicker (torsten.sicker@sap.com), or Peter Wisliceny (peter.wisliceny@sap.com)