SAP SuccessFactors Center of Capabilities: An Introduction

I’ve implemented and supported many SAP SuccessFactors systems across my 15+ year career. One repeated issue I’ve come across throughout these years is how to catalog skills, competencies, and the like in a systematic way that allows employers to record, categorize, evaluate and search through employees who have specific skills at specific skill levels. Imagine starting a new project or opening a new plant and being able to see who out in your existing talent pool has the skills you need to success instead of hiring new full time talent or contractors. Up until recently, the only way SAP SuccessFactors customers have had to do this out of the box has been the employee profile which lacks the rigid structure needed to really properly catalog skills.

As the SAP SuccessFactors product as continued to expand, SAP has set out to solve this problem. SAP’s answer to the problem of how to record, categorize, evaluate and search through employee skills, competencies, and the like in a systematic way is the Center of Capabilities.

The Center of Capabilities provides a framework where the skills, competencies, and other similar employee attributes that matter to your organization can be cataloged and assigned to employees. The framework consists of two main components: the Capabilities Library and the Capabilities Portfolio. As you might expect, the library contains the listing of all capabilities (skills, competencies, etc.) that are important to your organization. The portfolio shows which particular skills, competencies, etc. are assigned to individuals or job roles (for more information on job roles, check out our blog Introduction to the Job Profile Builder or our book that covers this and more talent management topics). Let’s take a closer look at these two components of the Center of Capabilities.

The Capabilities Library

A Capabilities Library stores a collection of related skills / competencies / attributes. For smaller organizations you may have only one library divided into a few major categories. For larger organizations you may have multiple libraries each containing a single relevant functional area further divided into smaller categories and even groups beneath those. In addition, behaviors can also be added to competencies. Two examples are below, the first a snippet of a simple single company-wide library, and the second a snippet of a larger company collection of libraries with competencies that also contain behaviors (note that as of writing this blog, only competencies are supported in the library, but the long term plan appears to be to include more types of capabilities):

  • Library: ACME Company Library
    • Category: Finance
      • Competency: Analytical Approach
      • Competency: Financial Responsibility

  • Library: Information Technology
    • Category: IT Project Management
      • Group: Project Planning
        • Competency: Achieving Deadlines
          • Behavior: Clearly lists key/critical dates
          • Behavior: Provides consistent status reports
        • Competency: Being Adaptable to Changes in Plan
          • Behavior: Takes in New Requirements following change control procedures
          • Behavior: Adjusts project plan using proven estimation techniques
      • Group: Meeting Facilitation
        • Competency: Listening to Others
          • Behavior: Implements active listening techniques
          • Behavior: Records key group member discussion points into meeting notes
        • Competency: Guiding Others to Desired Outcomes
          • Behavior: Understands and interjects when meeting is becoming derailed
          • Behavior: Facilitates agreement between meeting participants
    • Category: Systems Administration
      • Group: Configuring Systems
        • Competency: Following Change Control Procedures
          • Behavior: Reviews change control procedure documentation
          • Behavior: Records system changes
      • Group: Developing Programs
        • Competency: Applying Software Architecture Standards
          • Behavior: Listens to and implements architectural review board feedback

The screenshot below shows a sample of what a competency with behaviors assigned looks like within the Library. You can access the library via the “Manage Center of Capabilities” screen (make sure you assign this permission first as well as end user permissions – you can find more details in the admin guide at

The Capabilities Portfolio

The capabilities portfolio is what ties an individual to a set of capabilities from the library via their job role. Capabilities can be assessed via a performance form. Each capability has a proficiency rating scale assigned to them that determines what their scores can be. Before you can use the portfolio, you’ll have to use the setup wizard pictured below in the “Manage Center of Capabilities” screen to setup the rating scale / proficiency levels. You will also need to associate which performance forms will show the proficiency history.

Once your setup is complete, you can select “Capabilities Portfolio” from the main navigation to look at your capabilities. As capabilities are rated via performce forms, they are updated here. You can look at the capabilities of another by searching for their name and selecting “Go to -> Capabilities Portfolio” from the action menu.


As of right now, the “Center of Capabilities” is mostly a rebrand of the existing competency library. However, taking a look at the SAP release roadmap, we can see that subsequent releases should prove to have more functionality that will expand the functionality beyond the initial limits of the legacy competency library. Speaking with contacts at SAP, the vision is to have the Center of Capabilities serve as the location where HR resources can find out all kinds of information about what individuals within the organization can do for it and conversely empower individuals to seek other opportunities in the organization that need their unique capabilities.

Do you need help setting up the Center of Capabilities? Contact us at!

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