H2 2020 SAP SuccessFactors Release Latest Goal Management Features and Integration

SAP SuccessFactors H2 2020 release updates finds us with several admin-opt “latest” versions including Home page, Goal Management and Continuous Performance Management (CPM). Here we will focus on the latest version of Goal Management and discuss how it fits into the new home page and how it integrates with CPM. See my earlier blog post for more information on performance management updates and my blog post for what’s new in CPM.

There is a new admin opt-in for the latest version of Goal Management. The latest version of Goal Management provides users with a streamlined view of goals to make it easier to access and manage. Performance Goals and Development Goals are now housed within Goal Management and have improved integration with CPM. Access to Goal Management contains both plans with a tab for each as seen in the example below.

New Goal Management View with Both Goal Plans

For managers, the new look is especially helpful. It is easy to navigate to direct report’s plans or any other users in their target population. They can swap between between their reports and within the two plans. An example the manager’s goal plan view is seen below.

Manager View of Goal Plans

Latest Goal Plan Features

The latest version of Goal Management still allows for the following existing functionality:

  • Creation of personal goals.
  • Development goals can have competencies and learning activities added.
  • Receipt of goal notifications.
  • Edit, view, and delete all goals except group goals v1.
  • Access to other’s goal plans with proper role-based permission.
  • Existing integration with other modules.

New functionality includes:

  • Personal goals not yet at the completed stage and approaching or past due date can appear on the latest home page.
  • Linked achievements for the latest version of CPM may be created and viewed here rather than having to go out of the goal plan and navigating to CPM.
  • Activities can be added directly to goals and linked activities may also display. An example of activities tied to a goal is shown below.
Add Activity to Goal

However, only the latest version of Goal Management may be used with the latest version of CPM.

Latest Goal Management Limitations

Since this is a new version for Goal Management, there is some goal plan functionality not yet available including:

  • Mass import of goals.
  • Ability to cascade and assign goals.
  • Use of Group and Team Goals.
  • Changing goal plan states within goal plan.
  • Use of metric lookup tables.
  • Use of Coaching Advisor for development goals.
  • Assigning custom learning activities to development goals.
  • OData APIs.
  • Some mobile features which will be identified shortly.

Attributes that may be Configured

Listed below are the the goal plan XML attributes that may be configured in the latest Goal Management:

  • max-goals
  • max-weight
  • max-weight-per-obj
  • min-goals
  • min-weight
  • min-weight-per-obj
  • new-obj-share-status-public
  • show-total-goalscore

Unsupported Goal Plan Field Types

Additionally, there are some goal plan field types that are not supported:

  • Bool
  • Checkbox
  • Comment
  • Link
  • Table
  • Text when used for achievement text, actual achievement text, object plan field 1, go to url

Changes to Goal Plan Fields with Latest Version of Goal Management

  • Name field is required with a maximum length of 500 characters.
  • Description and metric fields have a maximum 1000 character limit.
  • State. For use on the latest version of the home page, set the final enum value of the state field to “complete” in order to trigger the change of the goal state which enables incomplete goals to appear on the latest home page.
  • When using weight, if min-weight-per-obj and max-weight-per-obj attribute values are not met, goal creation is not possible.
  • For development goals, competencies can only be used in conjunction with Job Profile Builder.
  • Cannot select a single competency to link to a development goal in the UI.

You may convert existing goal plan templates but the goal plan field types that are not supported will not appear in converted goal plans.

After the upgrade, goal plan templates will need to be converted. Convert a template only once and and one at a time. Only convert the goal plans in use. Goal plans not converted will be read-only. Once converted, the goal plan templates may be used in the latest version of Goal Management.

Mobile Apps Limitations

There are some limitations using the latest version of Goal Management in mobile apps. For Performance and Development goals:

  • Cannot delete a goal from the goal card.
  • Cannot enter a negative number in the number field type.
  • Cannot revert back to the legacy view to see unsupported fields.

For Development goals:

  • Unable to search for a specific competency.
  • Unable to display the number of competencies on the goal card.
  • Unable to add competencies by library or category.
  • No integration with Learning.

Latest Goal Plan on latest Home Page

The latest Goal Management may be used in the latest version of the home page. There is a new admin opt-in for the redesigned home page. It is available for early adopters in both Preview and Production. Any existing legacy home page custom tiles or permissions are not impacted by the new page. An example of the new Home page is shown below.

Latest Home Page

The view is less cluttered with customized user and organization content. Tiles are replaced with cards and are system generated and more interactive. The page is divided into three sections:

  1. Quick Actions. For frequent or quick actions.
  2. For You Today. Dynamically generated user content. Displays any recently added goals and CPM activities.
  3. Organization Updates. Contains custom organization content.

The new Home page shows content from Goal Management, Continuous Performance Management, and Continuous Feedback. On the latest home page, you can view personal goals when the state of these goals is not yet complete and these goals are approaching their due dates or already overdue.

The latest version of the home page handles only personal goals in the following manner:

  • Updates of goals on the home page appear on for those manually created, modified or deleted.
  • Goals from an import are not reflected on the home page.
  • Performance goals appear based on status, if not yet complete and 15 days before due date.
  • Development goals appear based on status, if not yet complete and 30 days before due date.
  • Overdue Performance and Development goals will display.
Goals in “For You Today” section

Performance and development goals disappear from the new home page when:

  • Goals are completed.
  • Goals are deleted.
  • Goal due dates are past the due dates configured on the goal plan template.

To-do items list can be opened and acted upon in a side panel on any page. You can take action on each to-do directly from the side panel.Overdue to-do items are indicated in red.

Is the upgrade right for you?

After upgrading to the latest version of Goal Management, you cannot reverse the update, so be sure to fully understand what features you will be gaining and losing. It is wise to fully test in a preview instance before committing to an upgrade to production.

Because there are some substantial limitations to the latest version, it may be premature to upgrade but it is at least worthwhile to anticipate how Goal Management is changing and to gain an better understanding of how modules continue to be more tightly integrated with each release.

What’s New for Recruiting (RCM/RMK) in H2 2020

As of October 9, 2020, SAP has released their documentation for the H2 2020 release.  You can view the full set of documentation in the What’s New Viewer here.  As a reminder, preview release will be October 16 and production will be released November 20th.  For full details on the release cycle, check out the SAP SuccessFactors official product updates blog here.  For tips on how to manage a release, check out or blog here.  For your convenience, we’ve summarized the highlights of what’s new for 2020 within Recruiting (RCM/RMK) below!

Email Verification with One-Time Password for New Candidate Account

This new functionality will request the candidate to enter a one-time password sent via email (provided by candidate). Once candidate enter the one-time password on the Create account page then candidate will be able to continue with account creation process. This new feature also prevents the exposure of existing candidates’ email addresses to attackers and keeps your candidate accounts secure. It also provides an improved email verification experience for the candidate.

** Please note that this is an opt-out feature meaning that you will need to disable this functionality if you or your client do not want to use this feature.

If your company enables the “Use email as external applicant user ID” functionality, the following will occur:

  1. External candidate provides an email address when creating an account.
  2. SAP SuccessFactors generates and sends a one-time password (OTP) to the provided email address.
  3. External candidate   inputs the one-time password to continue the account creation process.

OData Support for Position Generic Object on Job Requisition and Job Offer

You can now create and update a job requisition for multiple positions using the Job Requisition OData API. You can also create and update a job offer for a position using the Job Offer OData API.

The Job Requisition and Job Offer OData APIs now support business rules with Position.

Filter by Brand in Recruiting Advanced Analytics

Using Advance Analytics, you can filter and drill down by specific brand.

Add to Talent Pool from Inline Resume Viewer

Recruiters can now add candidates to talent pools via the Inline Resume Viewer in SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting, where recruiters could see details about the candidates’ background and interests.

Logo Component for Career Site Custom Headers

There is now a way to add a logo to a custom header for your career site pages in its own logo component rather than the Image component, so that you can specify logos that are optimized to display in desktop and mobile display settings.

There are two ways to add a logo into a header: Using the regular logo tab for headers, and the new method of adding a logo component in a custom header. This allows the use of different sizes logos for custom headers for different display settings, such as desktop and mobile.

Career Site Meta Images for Social Media Posts

Meta images can now be added using Career Site Builder to associate them with your career site in social media posts.

Third-party sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Microsoft Teams, allow you to associate an image when you post a link and information for your career site. Meta Image setting is located in Appearance Styles -> Global Styles -> (Brand) -> Main, this will allow to specify one image per brand. Each available brand can have separate meta image; otherwise Career Site Builder uses the meta image specified on default brand.

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics in All Career Site Pages

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics IDs can now be used in all career site pages, including those that are administered in SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting, such as the Job Application, Candidate Profile, Login, and Create an Account pages.

To enable the settings, navigate to Settings -> Site Configuration in Career Site Builder.

SEO Settings in Career Site Builder

By default, Career Site Builder generates a Top Jobs page that lists links to search results pages based on the most frequently searched terms. You can now refine your search-engine optimization settings and have better control over how you present jobs in your career site. In addition, you can demote specific terms to display at the end of the result set, or prevent search engines from indexing the auto-generated pages created by the Top Jobs page as well as the Top Jobs page itself. These settings now can be controlled by Career Site Builder administrators

  • Terms to Demote – terms you include in this field are automatically demoted to the end of the result set.
  • Terms to Avoid – when you add terms in this field, Career Site Builder adds a noindex value to prevent search engines from indexing them, and also suppresses them from being part of the Top Jobs results.
  • Noindex Top Jobs – Career Site Builder adds a noindex value to these auto-generated pages, as well as to the Top Jobs page itself.

See this great article for useful information on how to prepare for a SAP SuccessFactors Regular Release.

Contact info@worklogix.com for any assistance implementing your SAP SuccessFactors Modules

Or visit https://www.worklogix.com/implementation.html for additional information.

H2 2020 SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management Release Updates

What’s New

There are new universal and admin opt-in features in the H2 2020 Performance Management release along with a large number of universal features. We will start with what’s new. There are two admin opt-in updates and two universal 360 related updates.

New Admin Opt-ins

There are two new admin opt-ins available and we will look at them both.

Latest Version of Goal Management

The latest version of Goal Management provides users with an upgraded user interface with a comprehensive view of goals and development goals. This streamlined tool also enables access to the latest version of Continuous Performance Management (CPM) to create and view linked activities.

A notable change is combining performance goals and development goals within the navigation menu. Development goals now appear as a tab within Goal Management. An example is shown below.

Development Plan Tab

For both plans, the view is cleaner and more visually appealing. Goals are more prominently displayed and may be viewed by status as well. You can see what the new goal plan looks like below.

Linked achievements for the latest version of Continuous Performance Management (CPM) may be viewed here rather than having to go out of the goal plan and navigating to CPM. Activities can be added directly to goals and linked activities may also display. An example of activities tied to a goal is shown below.

Linked Goal Activities

For managers, the new look is especially helpful. It is easy to navigate to direct report’s plans or any other users in their target population. An example the manager’s goal plan view is seen below.

Manager View of Goal Plans

Job Profile Builder Support for Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor

The other new admin opt-in feature pertains to competencies when Job Profile Builder (JPB) is used. Previously, to use Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor for competencies in a performance form, the Teasers and Tunings were added to a competency library via an import file in Provisioning.

Now this task may be accomplished in the UI with the tool “Manage Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor“. This update fills a gap between JPB and Job Description Manager. Within this tool, a competency library overview page will display. After selecting the library and finding the competency to update, teasers and tunings can be added to the performance details. An example is shown below.

Adding Teasers when JPB is Enabled

This new feature enables users without Provisioning access to create and modify the writing assistant and coaching advice content.

New Universal Updates

There are two new universal updates for H2 2020 both for 360 Reviews.

Advanced Search of Universal People Search Available in 360 Reviews – SAP Fiori Version

Advanced Search of Universal People Search is now available for 360 reviews. When searching for employees, when the “Find Employee” dialog box appears, there will be advanced search options. This search can be used in the “Add Participants” dialog box, in the “Send a Copy” dialog box and in the “360 Executive Review” page. The updated search screen is displayed below.

Advanced Search of Universal People Search

Detailed 360 Report in 360 Reviews – SAP Fiori Version

There is a revised version of the Detailed 360 Report. It has cleaner and easier to read layout. An example is shown below.

Detailed 360 Report

The settings are now housed at the top of the report and fonts are bigger and brighter for the gap values. Comments are more visible and appear beside ratings.

There is a radar chart to display competencies and ratings on the Graphical Summary tab. The print set up dialog box now offers an option to print specific views.

Admin Opt-in Updates

There are three admin opt-in updates available: New Competency Picker in Forms, Qualtrics Surveys for Steps in Performance Reviews and Customized Labels for Calculated Rating and Manual Rating in Customized Weighted Rating Section. Since there are sever

New Competency Picker in Forms

This opt-in is available when Job Profile Builder (JPB) is enabled and is used when adding competencies to a performance form. The new competency picker is used on PM forms to find competencies to add. Competencies can be found using a hierarchy structure and a search option. Competences can be selected by competency library or job roles and using keywords search. An example is shown below.

Add Competencies

Qualtrics Surveys for Steps in Performance Reviews

If you are using Qualtrics surveys in your performance process, the current version only allows the survey to appear after the employee signature step. In the new version, you may select which steps and for which roles the survey should display. The survey can be used for single role, iterative, and collaboration steps.

Customized Labels for Calculated Rating and Manual Rating in Customized Weighted Rating Section

The labels for the calculated rating and the manual rating in the Customized Weighted Rating section can now be customized using an XML file. In the previous version, the labels for the calculated rating and the manual rating were hardcoded as Calculated Form Rating and Overall Form Rating.

Universal Updates

There are several universal updates for Performance Management. Many revolve around the Customized Weighted Rating Section of a performance form. We will look at these but first we will look at the other universal updates.

Message to Remind Users Before Removing Signers

In a performance form that allows for a signer to be removed, there is now a reminder in the Remove Signer confirmation pop-up. The message is to remind users that by removing a singer, the form automatically routes to the next step. If that is not the user’s intent, they need to add a new signer before removing the current signer. An example of the new reminder is shown below.

Message Added to Remove Signer

New Feedback Data in Goal Plans

Feedback from Continuous Performance Management (CPM) is now available to display in performance and development goals plans. The CPM achievements column for a goal currently shows the count of achievements tied to a goal. With the latest version of CPM, achievement related feedback will also display. In the CPM achievements column, clicking on the count will now display the feedback topic title along the topic title and three sets of questions/answers from the Achievements tab.

New Feedback Data in Performance Management Forms

The CPM achievements column in the performance and development goal sections of a PM form currently shows the count of achievements tied to a goal. With the latest version of CPM, achievement related feedback will also display. In the CPM achievements column for a goal, clicking on the count will now display the feedback topic title along with the three related feedback question/answers.

If any achievements or feedback is deleted in CPM, the data is also deleted from PM forms, including completed forms.

You can check out my blog on the H2 2020 CPM Release Updates to see what else is new.

The remaining universal updates that we will discuss pertain to a very specific summary section of a performance form: Customized Weighted Rating.

Removal of Enable Customized Rating Calculation from Form Template Settings

Enable Customized Rating Calculation” no longer appears in Form Template Settings as seen in the example below.

Current Method to Enable Customized Rating Calculation

Enable Customized Rating Calculation” was a prerequisite to enable the calculation.

In the new version, simply adding the Customized Weighted Rating section to a form template acts as the prerequisite to enable the calculation of the overall customized weighted rating.

Enable Customized Weighted Rating

The business rules that trigger the calculation must also be configured.

Rating Scale for Customized Weighted Rating Section

In the previous version, the rating scale for the Customized Weighted Rating section used the same rating scale as the other rating section. In the new version, the Customized Weighted Rating section has its own rating scale.

“Unrated” and “Too New to Rate” in Previous Ratings of Customized Weighted Rating Section

In the previous version, “Unrated” and “Too New to Rate” were not in the Previous Ratings table of the Customized Weighted Rating section of a PM form and just displayed as 0. In the new version, “Unrated” and “Too New to Rate” are displayed in the Previous Ratings table of the Customized Weighted Rating section and both are ignored in the calculation of the overall customized weighted rating.

Allow Override of Unrated Manual Rating for Customized Weighted Rating Section

In the Customized Weighted Rating section of a form template, there is now the option to override the unrated manual rating. The option, Allow Override of Unrated Manual Rating has been added so this summary section can work like the others as seen in the example below.

Allow Override Unrated

In the previous version, the unrated manual rating displayed as Unrated. In the new version, the unrated manual rating can be overridden by the calculated rating.

Too New to Rate in Customized Weighted Rating Section

Like the other summary sections, there is now the option to provide a label to explain why an employee is not rated. An example using the current summary section is displayed below.

Unable to Rate Label

The summary section example above shows the Unable to Rate field will be available as an option in the Customized Weighted Rating section of a form template.

Calculated Rating from Customized Weighted Rating Section in Ad Hoc Reports

If you are using the calculated rating in the Customized Weighted Rating section of a form template, ad hoc reports use the unadjusted calculated rating from the performance template summary section instead. An example of creating an ad hoc and selecting rating columns is shown below.

Unadjusted Calculated Overall Performance Rating

In the new release, when creating an ad hoc report, when this same field is selected, the Unadjusted Calculated Overall Performance Rating from the Customized Weighted Rating section is used. This means reporting will accurately reflect the ratings in the performance forms. This is especially important when the template has both the Summary section and the Customized Weighted Rating section. The calculated rating from the Customized Weighted Rating section overrides the unadjusted calculated rating from the Summary section.

Customized Weighted Rating Section and Ratings Displayed in En Route Folder

In the prior version, when a form with the Customized Weighted Rating section was in the En Route folder, this section’s ratings were not in sync with the in-progress form. In the new version, the Customized Weighted Rating section section of a form will display in the En Route folder and will be synced with the in-progress form. The Previous Ratings table of the section will contain the ratings from the previous steps for the login role and by other roles.

Calculated Rating from Customized Weighted Rating Section in Bin View

There is a another feature available when a calibration template is based on a performance form template that contains a Customized Weighted Rating section. Currently, when the data source for a calibration template is a performance form template with this summary section, either the manual or the calculated rating can be calibrated.  However, the calculated rating cannot be displayed in the Bin view of a calibration session.

With the latest release, the calculated rating from the Customized Weighted Rating section may display in the Bin view if this calculated rating comes form a PM form and the “Show calculated rating in addition to manual rating (only applicable to Bin view)” setting is enabled. An example is displayed below.

Calculated Rating Option for Bin View

Label for Rating Scale Scores in Previous Ratings of Customized Weighted Rating Section

In order to get a clear picture of what the numeric rating means, labels are now visible. In the previous version, the ratings in the Previous Ratings table in the Customized Weighted Rating section were displayed only as numeric values.

An example is shown below.

Numeric Rating in Prior Version

In the new version, the ratings in the Previous Ratings table of the Customized Weighted Rating section are displayed as numeric values with corresponding text labels. If rating numeric values are mapped to labels in the manual rating scale, the label display next to the rating’s numeric value. If no labels were mapped, the rating will continue to just display its numeric value.

And example is shown below.

Customized Rating Section with Rating Labels

There is a checkbox in the form template for this section: “Hide numeric rating values (only show text labels)” similar to other summary sections.

If a rating’s numeric value is mapped to a certain label for the manual rating’s rating scale scores, the corresponding label can be displayed next to the rating’s numeric value in the Previous Ratings table. Otherwise, the rating is displayed as its numeric value.

There is an added checkbox for this form section in ” Manage Templates“. There is the option to hide numeric rating values and only show text labels.

Customized Weighted Rating Section in Print and Save as PDF

In prior versions, the section calculated rating details were not displayed in the printed or saved performance form. Now the calculated rating details of the Customized Weighted Rating section of a performance form will be included in the printed or PDF version of the form.

To Learn More

All in all, there are over 20 items being changed or enhanced in this release for Performance Management and we didn’t cover every detail here.  For more information, check out the What’s New Viewer here.

Do you need help managing your SuccessFactors Release cycles?  Email info@worklogix.com to see how we can help!

H2 2020 SAP SucessFactors Calibration Release Updates

As of October 9, 2020, SAP has released their documentation for the H2 2020 release.  You can view the full set of documentation in the What’s New Viewer here.  As a reminder, preview release will be October 16 and production will be released November 20th.  For full details on the release cycle, check out the SAP SuccessFactors official product updates blog here.  For tips on how to manage a release, check out or blog here.  For your convenience, we’ve summarized the highlights of what’s new for 2020 within Calibration below!

With the H2 2020 release, there are additional features introduced for the latest version of Calibration. There are new universal and admin opt-in features along with five universal updates. We will review the updates starting with what’s new.

New Admin Opt-in Features

There are three admin opt-in features that provide additional access to employee information to make better decisions when calibrating ratings along with some enhanced admin functionality.

Access to Comments from Other Calibration Sessions

Currently within a calibration session, reviewers have access to subject’s comments on the session detail page. Based on the calibration role permissions, the reviewers may add, edit, delete or view comments. An example of the current functionality is shown below.

Current Subject Comment

With the new release, it is possible to reference comments from prior sessions.  Seeing comments from prior sessions gives the session reviewers a more complete picture of subjects in order to make more objectively.

This option is set in the Advanced tab of “Manage Calibration Templates” as seen in the example below. Enabling “Roll up comments from the other sessions based on the same template” will give calibration reviewers access to comments from prior sessions.

Roll up Comments Setting

As seen in the example below, when adding or viewing subject comments during a session, the comment dialog box will now contain two tabs: “From This Session” and “From Other Sessions“. Comments for the current session may be added, edited, deleted or viewed. Other session comments are view only.

.

Prior Sessions Comments

However, comments from prior sessions will only display in the new tab if the other sessions use the same calibration template.

Replace Facilitator that becomes Inactive

There is a new setting that will be available in “Manage Calibration Settings”. Enabling “Choose a user to replace a calibration session’s only facilitator who has been inactive” will allow a new facilitator to replace the sole facilitator of a session who becomes inactive. Once a replacement facilitator is identified and the inactive user is purged, the facilitator is automatically replaced for the session.

Omit “Too New to Rate” from Rating Options using Employee Profile

On the Global Settings tab within “Manage Calibration Settings“, there is a new option that may be enabled. “Remove ‘Too New to Rate’ from rating options for the rating types from People Profile data” will omit “Too New to Rate” as an rating option when selecting Employee Profile as the data source for ratings. This will be apparent on the Data tab within “Manage Calibration Templates” when Employee Profile is selected as the data source for ratings to be calibrated. With this setting, “Too New to Rate” will not be displayed as a rating option.

New Admin Opt-in Feature

Odata API for Session Comments

A new OData API entity called “CalibrationSubjectComment”  is now available so comments are exposed for interfacing. A query can be used to get a single comment made for a calibration subject using comment ID or to get all comments made in a calibration session. An example of the URI for getting all session comments is shown below.

https://<API-Server>/odata/v2/CalibrationSubjectComment?$format=json

Universal Update Features

We will now review the four universal features found in the latest release.

Access to Subject Comments

Currently, there is a comments column in the List View of a calibration session as seen below. If a comments icon appears for a subject, the reviewer would click on the icon and would be able to see existing comments. If the session reviewer also has “Write” permission, they could also add a comment. The vertical dots menu for each subject would be used to get to the link to add a comment as shown below.

Current Comment Column in List View

The comments column appears in the Subjects List for Executive Review as seen below.

Current Comment Column in Subjects List View

In both views, the column would contain a comment icon if there was a comment for the subject.

In the latest release, it will be easier to view and add comments. The comments column which houses a comment bubble will no longer be used in the List view of a calibration session or in the Subjects List within Executive Review. An example of the new comment feature is shown below.

New Comments

In the new release, the comment icon will appear with the subject name along with the comment count regardless of a user having any comments.  If comments exist for a subject there will be a number count next to the icon.  To add or view a comment, click the comment icon.

The Calibration History block on People Profile will display the comment icon with the comment count for each subject as well.

Autocomplete Search of Universal People Search

The Calibration module has adopted autocomplete search. This allows the admin in the “Manage Calibration Sessions” page and calibration users in the session list page and session details page to use the autocomplete search of the Universal People Search.

The current calibration sessions list page search options are seen below.

Current Calibration Session List Search Options

With the new release, there will be an “Add People” icon which enables the autocomplete search of Universal People Search. An example is shown below.

Search Options

Start typing to search for a name in the module search box. The system predicts names you are searching for.  All matches will display as separate entries to choose from.

Enhanced Experience using Matrix Grid Views

The current matrix grid view within a calibration session is shown below. To see the talent card of a subject in a zoomed out cell, the “more” icon for a subject would need to be clicked and then “Open Talent Card” selected.

Current Zoomed Out Matrix Grid View

Available in full-screen and normal modes in the new release, the cards will be visible in zoomed out cells. There will be a scroll bar when a cell is too small to see all of the people cards. This feature makes it easier to compare subjects in zoomed in and out cells. An example of the new functionality is shown below.

New Zoomed Out Matrix View

Select Permission Model Obsolete

Within provisioning, in the “Enable Calibration” section of Company Settings, the option to select the permission model will no longer exist. 

Current Permission Model Options

Now that all customers are using role-based permissions, the default permission model option is no longer viable so this selection will no longer appear.

Calculated Rating from Customized Weighted Rating Section in Bin View

There is a another feature available when a calibration template is based on a performance form template that contains a Customized Weighted Rating section. Currently, when the data source for a calibration template is a performance form template with this summary section, either the manual or the calculated rating can be calibrated.  However, the calculated rating cannot be displayed in the Bin view of a calibration session.

With the latest release, the calculated rating from the Customized Weighted Rating section may display in the Bin view if this calculated rating comes form a PM form and the “Show calculated rating in addition to manual rating (only applicable to Bin view)” setting is enabled. An example is displayed below.

Show Calculated Rating in Bin View

Wrap Up

The latest release improves managing calibration sessions for the admin and improves the calibration reviewer experience.

Do you need help managing your SuccessFactors Release cycles?  Email info@worklogix.com to see how we can help!

H2 2020 SAP SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management Release Updates

As of October 9, 2020, SAP has released their documentation for the H2 2020 release.  You can view the full set of documentation in the What’s New Viewer here.  As a reminder, preview release will be October 16 and production will be released November 20th.  For full details on the release cycle, check out the SAP SuccessFactors official product updates blog here.  For tips on how to manage a release, check out or blog here.  For your convenience, we’ve summarized the highlights of what’s new for 2020 within Continuous Performance Management below!

The latest version of Continuous Performance Management (CPM) was restricted in the H1 2020 release and now will be generally available. The H2 2020 release builds on the redesign of the user interface for CPM that began this year.

There are four new admin opt-ins, two universal updates and one admin opt-in update available when using the latest version of CPM. We will start by reviewing what’s new.

New Admin Opt-ins

Latest Version of Continuous Performance Management using Upgrade Center

The upgrade to the latest version of CPM must be done as an admin opt-in using Upgrade Center. There are some features are automatically applied when upgrading:

  • Activities View- which uses a Kanban board for activity management.
  • Meeting View – to manage conversations.
  • Achievements View – with a new layout that shows activities linked to achievements.
  • Ability to link activities to development goals as well performance goals.
  • Activities must be used to create achievements.

When upgrading to the latest version, all current CPM users are impacted. It is worth noting if you are contemplating the move to the latest version of CPM, once the latest version is enabled, you can’t go back.

Once the upgrade to the latest version of CPM is completed, there are some additional admin opt-in features that may be enabled.

  • Discussion Topics” replaces “Other Topics“. Any existing content within “Other Topics” gets converted to “Discussion Topics“.
  • There is also a new feature called “Meeting Notes“.
  • Multiple roles is a new permission based feature which allows users to have 1:1 meetings with anyone in their organization.
  • Enable Activity-Feedback Linking ” to link activities and activities tagged as achievements to feedback.
  • Use of the latest version of Continuous Feedback.
  • Disable Deleting Feedback” is a carryover from the prior version that is now available in the latest release which prevents a user from deleting any existing feedback.

Several features are no longer available with the latest version of CPM:

  • Achievement Feedback
  • Achievement Linking to Goals
  • Achievement Linking to Development Goals
  • Coaching

Link Activities to Development Goals in Continuous Performance Management

Another new admin opt-in available for CPM is the ability to link an activity to a development goal. In the H1 2020 release of the latest version of CPM, only performance goals could be linked to activities. An example of creating an activity and linking to a development goal is shown below.

Link Activity to Development Goal

Some additional functionality is available as well:

  • In addition to viewing activities by status and by goal, the Activities view will now have a tab for development goals.
  • When viewing an activity in the Activity Details view, the development goal linked to the activity will display.
  • Linked development goals will display in the Meeting view and in the Meeting History page.
  • Linked development goals in the Activities Kanban board may have name and details edited.
  • Goal linkage may be changed in the Activities Details page.
  • Integration with the Career Development Plan and the Development Goals section of a Performance Management form when an activity is tagged as an achievement to a development goal.

Goal Management

If you are using the latest version of Goal Management, Development will no appear in the navigation menu. Instead, performance goals and development goals are housed together within Goals with a tab for each. An example is shown below.

Access to Development Goals via Goals

The integration between Goals and CPM allows users to create and view activities within Goal Management. As it already functions for goals, it will now be possible to create and view activities in the Development Goal view.

Multiple Role Support for Continuous Performance Management

The final new admin opt-in feature allows roles beyond the manager/employee hierarchical relationship to use CPM. Currently CPM is limited to the view between a manager and their direct reports. The new Multiple Roles feature allows a user to invite someone else to share a CPM view which contains access to the Achievement, Activity, and Discussion Topic views.

This feature involves a concept called “Channels”. A user invites another user to a channel which contains the CPM Activity view and a Meeting view. An example is shown below.

CPM Channels

This feature enables users to have ongoing conversations with those they work with but are outside the traditional employee/manager roles. Users can view achievements and drilldown into individual activities. The Multiple Roles option needs to be enabled in CPM configuration view to use this.

Admin Opt-in Updates

Latest Version of Continuous Feedback for Continuous Performance Management

There is an improved process to request and provide feedback when using the latest version of CPM. Continuous Feedback is not housed within CPM but instead is found in the navigation menu. An example is shown below.

Continuous Feedback

There are tabs for feedback received, feedback given, and feedback requests sent. There are also buttons to ask for feedback and to give feedback.

New is the use of a topic and questions when requesting and giving feedback. Feedback is more targeted and based on questions asked of the feedback provider. Users could select from standard provided questions, admin created questions or allows users to write their own questions.

An example is requesting feedback is shown below.

Crafting Feedback Questions

This flexibility enables users to get constructive feedback on specific topics rather than receiving generic feedback.

Feedback details may also be viewed. An example is shown below.

Feedback Details

Filtering of feedback has also been enhanced. Feedback may be filtered by linked activities, shared feedback or feedback by date range. An example is seen below.

Filter Feedback

Universal Updates

There is two universal updates for latest version of CPM that relates to feedback.

CPM Feedback Data in Goal Plans

Feedback from CPM is now available to display in the performance and development goals plans. The CPM achievements column for a goal currently shows the count of achievements tied to a goal. With the latest version of CPM, achievement related feedback will also display. In the CPM achievements column, clicking on the count will now display the feedback topic title along the topic title and three sets of questions/answers from the Achievements tab.

CPM Feedback Data in Performance Management Forms

The CPM achievements column in the performance and development goal sections of a PM form currently shows the count of achievements tied to a goal. With the latest version of CPM, achievement related feedback will also display. In the CPM achievements column for a goal, clicking on the count will now display the feedback topic title along with the three related feedback question/answers.

Wrap Up

We have now seen what new features you can look forward to utilizing with the latest version of CPM.

Do you need help managing your SuccessFactors Release cycles?  Email info@worklogix.com to see how we can help!

What’s New for Onboarding in H2 2020

As of October 9, 2020, SAP has released their documentation for the H2 2020 release.  You can view the full set of documentation in the What’s New Viewer here.  As a reminder, preview release will be October 16 and production will be released November 20th.  For full details on the release cycle, check out the SAP SuccessFactors official product updates blog here.  For tips on how to manage a release, check out or blog here.  For your convenience, we’ve summarized the highlights of what’s new for 2020 Onboarding below!

Compliance

Not surprisingly for Onboarding, most of the feature enhancements revolve around compliance.  The biggest news is the release of compliance forms for the USA (I-9, E-Verify, W-4. SWF and standard forms).  There were some customers in the USA hesitant to jump into Onboarding 2.0 until this happened.  In addition, you can also create custom compliance forms if any happen to be missing for you country.  Problem solved!

Onboarding is also now included in the platform-wide features of Data Purge, Read Audit, Change Audit, and Information Report.  There was a major overhaul of the Read Audit report screen to assign specific fields as sensitive across most modules (see below screenshot), and onboarding is included in this.  You can use the new screen to pick which fields you deem are sensitive instead of the system only assuming ethnicity, minority, and ssn are sensitive.

New Read Audit Configuration Screen Where you can choose which fields are sensitive

Additionally, there’s a ton of features to organize and enhance compliance usability.  There’s now a way to add a compliance step to your standard workflow for the onboarding process (see below).  Compliance forms can also now be categorized based on document type.  Email notifications can also now be sent based on compliance-related events.

Adding a compliance step to the Process Variant Manager

SAP has also added reporting on compliance in People Analytics that allows you to query on the status of compliance forms.

Business Rules

Business Rules continue to expand their usefulness in Onboarding as well.  You can now directly edit the event reason in onboarding using a business rule (before you had to make a custom recruiting field for event reason).

Another neat new feature is the ability to customize the user id and employee id formats that get generated automatically.  This is accomplished using a business rule and will allow administrators to organize the ids to follow helpful conventions rather than just being entirely up to the system.

Business rules can also be tied to email events for additional categories as well now too (Suite Mapping Error, Nudge Assignment, and Manage Assets Upload Categories).  Attachments can also be added to email notifications as well.

All in all, there’s 16 items being changed/enhanced in this release for Onboarding and we didn’t cover every detail here.  For more information, check out the What’s New Viewer here.

Do you need help managing your SuccessFactors Release cycles?  Email info@worklogix.com to see how we can help!

What’s New for Succession and Development in H2 2020

As of October 9, 2020, SAP has released their documentation for the H2 2020 release.  You can view the full set of documentation in the What’s New Viewer here.  As a reminder, preview release will be October 16 and production will be released November 20th.  For full details on the release cycle, check out the SAP SuccessFactors official product updates blog here.  For tips on how to manage a release, check out or blog here.  For your convenience, we’ve summarized the highlights of what’s new for 2020 within Succession and Development below!

Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor for Job Profile Builder

The biggest news for these modules we’ve seen is that the Job Profile builder now supports the Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor (see below).  This was a big gap that is finally being closed.  We had some customers who wanted to use both the Job profile builder and the Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor.  This required creating all of the content for the Coaching Advisor and Writing Assistant in the legacy competency library config screens and then switching on the Job Profile builder and hoping everything got converted OK.  If there was a mistake somewhere or something you wanted to add to the Coaching Advisor or Writing assistant…well then there wasn’t a way to fix it without turning off the Job Profile builder.  Now this gap is closed and a profile job profile builder compatible maintenance screen for the Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor exists.  Woohoo!

Writing Assistant

Talent Search

Another significant enhancement we’ve seen is to the talent search.  Now at the top of the screen there’s a checkbox to toggle between AND/OR logic when searching for background information (see below).  We are wondering how this compliments / replaces the “Make All Criteria Optional” button that already existed under the settings menu.  You can also add up to 6 criteria within each background element.  There’s also a new competency picker in the talent search.  The export feature was also enhanced to allow you to reorder and choose which fields can be exported.  More fields can also be exported now under Advanced Information and Ratings & Competencies.

Talent Search Showing New Check Box for Before and After

Calibration

Calibration sessions got a neat enhancement where you can now view comments from other calibration sessions so long as they use the same template (see below)!  We can see this becoming very useful to organizations that manage multiple sessions across large organizations.  This was also enhanced in the Odata API where a new object, “CaibrationSubjectComment”, is available so that these comments are exposed for interfacing.

Calibration Comments Between Sessions

In addition, you can also use autocomplete when searching for people in calibration.  Also, if you are attempting to purge a user who happens to be the only facilitator for a session you can now replace the user with an active user and then continue with the purge.

Career Worksheets and Career Explorer

Within Career Worksheets and the Career explorer we’ve seen some nice usability improvements.  For example, the ability to remove recommended roles in the career explorer.  Users can now remove a recommendation if they no longer wish to see it.  This is a nice feature that can help encourage employees to keep looking for other roles instead of just constantly throwing something irrelevant at them.  Aside from this, the career worksheet also got a security enhancement where the worksheet is only viewable if the employee is in the user’s target population.  The progress bar also swapped colors as shown below.  The bars will also show up now for not applicable / too new to rate competencies (they were hidden before).

Before:

After:

But that’s not all!

Development templates and Continuous Performance Management also got another integration point.  Now when a user

Matrix views (9-box) also got visual /usability updates.  For example, you can now remove the “Too New to Rate” option.  You can also view the people cards for employees even when you are zoomed out of their box.  You can also select reporting levels in the Matrix Grid Report.

You can now also hide contingent workers in the Succession Org Chart.  The “Add Successor” icon also appears now even when there is no successor exists.

Talent pool nominations can also now be approved or rejected.  Nomination history for talent pools is also available via the Odata API and People Analytics Stories.

All in all, there’s over 25 items being changed/enhanced in this release and we didn’t cover every detail here.  For more information, check out the What’s New Viewer here.

Do you need help managing your SuccessFactors Release cycles?  Email info@worklogix.com to see how we can help!

1H 2020 SAP SuccessFactors – Employee Central Features

SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central has come out with several enhancements and features for 1H 2020. All of the latest enhancements can be found here (S-User ID required). Scroll down to the ‘What’s New Viewer’ to review the changes.

Filter on Solutions for Employee Central to review all the latest changes. Under Description, click on ‘See More’ to see screenshots and detailed information.

This post will be highlighting some of the top enhancements & features:

  1. Show Full Name in History Pages

Users previously had difficulty finding out who made the change solely by their user name in the History page. But now SuccessFactors has made it easy for users by showing the full name of the person who made the change along with the user name in the “Last modified” field of the “History section” for the below pages:

    • Job Information
    • Job Relationships
    • Compensation Information
    • Personal Information
    • Dependents
    • Addresses

            image-5

  1. Synchronize Data from Work Order to Job Information

Manual steps has been reduced – Yes!! Manual steps are no longer required in updating the job information of contingent workers when there is a change in their work order.

Now Synchronization is automatic between the work order and job information for the common data of contingent workers.  This can be achieved by creating a business rule while adding a new work order or modifying an existing work order.

Detailed Information can be found here: Click Here

  1. Check Tool for Contingent Workforce Management

New checks have been created to help users identify and resolve potential configuration and data issues with the contingent workforce management application.

To save time and effort, a few checks have been added to highlight issues related to application configuration and contingent worker data along with resolution tips to help users resolve them by themselves.

Detailed Information can be found here: Click Here

  1. Export and Import of Corporate Data Model Information

The Corporate Data Model can be now be imported and exported from the Admin center. Users can incorporate their changes in the exported XML and import them back in from the Admin Center.

This includes Country or Region-Specific Corporate Data Model. This removes the need to do the Import/Export of the CDM on the provisioning side.

Detailed information can be found here: Click Here

  1. Rule Contexts During Import

Now while importing a data model, the original values of the rule contexts will be preserved. Previously when users imported a data model by default, all rule contexts were reset to Yes.

Detailed information can be found here: Click Here

  1. Accept or Reject Auto Delegation Requests

SuccessFactors has now offered the chance to users whether they wish to accept or reject delegation request. Users can now respond to auto delegation requests on a new tab called “Delegation Requests for Me”. Workflows are delegated to them only when they have chosen to accept the request.

Detailed information can be found here: Click Here

                 image-3

  1. Specify Start Time and End Time of Auto Delegation

Delegators will now be able to choose a period for the auto-delegate to remain effective. Users have the option to choose the start date and end date when they configure the delegation.

During the specified period, the workflows will be triggered automatically for the delegates to approve. When the “end date” has been reached, the auto delegation feature will turn off automatically and hence no manual work is required to turn it off.

                                      27-08-2020 4-38-17 PM

  1. Customizable Key Details on the My Workflow Requests Page

An enhancement has been made to include the custom key details for workflows in the “My Workflow Requests (Advanced To-do)” page.

Now workflow decisions can be made by seeing the summary without having to open the workflow detail page for position workflows.

Detailed information can be found here: Click Here

  1. Time Sheet Custom Fields are now supported for the iOS and Android Mobile Apps

The SAP SuccessFactors Mobile apps now support the following Time Sheet custom fields: Date, Boolean, Number, Decimal, and String.

This feature creates better alignment between the iOS and Android Mobile apps and the web application.

  1. New Rehire Event Reason for Replication of Employee Master Data

A new event reason has been created that supports the scenario where an employee is rehired after termination. Job information records will be extracted from the rehire date with PSEUDO_REHIRE event reason.

Do you need help in implementing your SAP SuccessFactors Modules?  Please Contact info@worklogix.com for assistance. Visit https://www.worklogix.com/implementation.html for additional information.

Highlights of the 1H 2020 SAP SuccessFactors Release for Succession

What’s New in Succession?

With the SAP SuccessFactors First Half 2020 release there are six updates in Succession. There are four new features and two enhancements. Let’s start with Talent Pools.

Talent Pools

There are two new features and some minor enhancements for Talent Pools.

The two new features are:

  1. View Nomination History for Talent Pools
  2. View Talent Pool Nominations in People Profile and Talent Cards without Talent Pool Object Level Permission

The Talent Pool enhancements involve filter fields and the Nomination Table.

Now let’s look closer at each starting with what’s new for Talent Pools.

View Nomination History for Talent Pools

This new universal feature permits those with Talent Pool permission to see nomination changes for nominees within a Talent Pool.

In prior releases, there was no nomination history available to view within a talent pool.  Now users with Talent Pool role-based permissions with assigned target populations may see the nomination history for employees in a talent pool.

Within a talent pool, there is new icon used to view nomination history for each nominee. The example shown below identifies the icon which displays on the top right side of the talent pool table.

View Nomination History Icon

Talent pool nominees that have nomination change history for this pool will display in the “Nominees” section that displays on the left side of the page.   Click on any nominee name from this column and their nomination change history for this talent pool will display.

An example is displayed below.

Talent Pool Nominees with Nomination Changes

The name of the user that made the change will display along with the change date. The readiness, status, nomination source and notes for each change are displayed as well.

Approved and Removed nominees will display their nomination history.  You must click the checkbox for “Show Removed” in the nominees section to see any employees removed from the talent pool. Both Approved and Removed nominees will display as seen below. The default view is approved nominees.

Approved and Removed Nominees with Nomination Change History

To see the nominee’s talent pool history for another date range, click the “Date Range” calendar icon that is available on this screen. An example is shown below.

Modify Date Range for Nomination History

The default date range is one year from the current date. The date range may be modified and then the nomination history will display for the new date range

We will now look at the other new feature for Talent Pools.

View Talent Pool Nominations in People Profile and Talent Cards without Talent Pool Object Level Permission

It is now possible to enable users without Talent Pool object level permission to view Talent Pool nominations of employees in People Profile and Talent Card.

This new feature may be used to enable managers to see this information for their direct reports in  People Profile and Talent Card.

This is a provisioning opt-in.  The setting to enable is “View Talent Pool nominations in People Profile and Talent Card without having the Talent Pool object level permission“.

Provisioning Opt-In

When enabled, users without Talent Pool object level permission may view Talent Pool nominations for employees within:

  • Nomination Block in People Profile
  • Nominations section of Talent Card

In addition to these two new features, there is also an enhancement for Talent Pools that we will look at next.

Talent Pool Enhancements

There are a few enhancements to talent pools. Let’s open a talent pool to see what’s changed.

Talent Pool Nomination Table View

First, there are more lines available in a talent pool nomination table view as seen below. This update also includes making the line width consistent with tables in other modules.

Updated Nomination Table for a Talent Pool

Notes Column Placement

There is an additional display field option as well. Users may modify the position of the Notes column. Let’s see how it’s done.

Within the talent pool, click on the “Define Column Properties” icon as noted below.

Define Column Properties Icon

A pop up displays the available fields that may be included in the talent pool view. When the cursor is place on “Notes“, the upward and downward arrows may be used to change placement of this field. 

Define Talent Pool Column Properties

Clicking “OK” and the nominations in the Talent Pool will now reflect the changed column order as seen in the figure below.

Nomination Table with Updated Notes Column Placement

The final enhancement to Talent Pools involves selected filters.

Talent Pool Filters

First, the selected filters can now be automatically cleared after all nominees are deleted from a Talent Pool. Looking at the example below, the filters were defined by clicking “Adapt Filters“.

Select Fields to Appear on Filter Bar

Here is where the filters are defined. The fields to use as filters are selected and will appear on the filter bar within a talent pool.

In the example shown below, there is a filter to display nominees with a readiness of 1 to 2 years.

Talent Pool Before Nominee Deletion

After the final nominee is deleted from the talent pool, the readiness filter is cleared as seen below.

We have now seen all of the updates for Talent Pools. Let’s see what else is new in Succession.

Exclude Nominees from Seeing Themselves within a Succession Plan

This is an admin opt-in setting that when enabled, prevents users nominated as successors to see themselves in a succession plan. This will also prevent them from nominating themselves. This means that users with permission to do Succession Planning for certain positions won’t see themselves within the succession plans of those positions.

Let’s see how to enable this feature. Go to “Nominations Set Up”. Scroll to the very bottom of the screen and enable “Exclude nominees from seeing themselves within a succession plan”. The “Nomination Set Up” page is shown below.

Nomination Set Up Feature to Enable

This exclusion prevents nominees from nominating themselves. Additionally, the nominees would not see themselves in Succession Org Chart, Position Tiles, Lineage Chart, Talent card, People Profile, Presentation and Nomination History from position card.  A Talent Search would not display them or a list that they are a part of.

There is one additional feature that we will now explore.

New OData API Function Imports for Succession

There are two new OData API Function Imports for Succession:

  • approveSuccessors
  • rejectSuccessors

These function imports may be used to approve or reject nominees that are in a pending status.

In prior releases, third-party applications could only read the Succession nominations in Pending Approval status.

The two new function imports allows third-party applications to write the approval steps of the nomination workflow.

The role-based permissions needed for both function imports is: Succession Planners>Succession Approval Permission.

Approve Nominees in Pending Status

Pending status for approvals are:

  • Change Pending
  • Pending
  • Approval Pending

Parameters for approval and rejection are nomineeIds (mandatory) and comment (optional).

NomineeIds use semicolon between multiple ids.

example: https://<API-Server>odata/v2/approveSuccessors?nomineeIds=’101;102;103’&comment=’testapproval&#8217;

Rejecting Nominees in Pending Status

Pending status for rejecting successors are: 

  • Change Pending
  • Pending
  • Deletion Pending

example: https:///odata/v2/rejectSuccessors?nomineeIds=’100;101;102’&comment=’test&#8217;

Now we have seen what’s new in Succession, let’s see the final enhancement.

Picklist Label Enhancements for Matrix Grid Report and Talent Pools Overview Page

In previous releases, picklists used for filter fields in the Matrix Grid Reports and Talent Pool Nominations overview page showed option IDs rather than labels.

Matrix grid reports support custom filters and these filters may be associated with a picklist. If this is the case, the picklist labels will be displayed in the customizable fields. Picklists that are used for filter fields of the Matrix Grid Reports and Talent Pools nominations overview page will now show labels instead of option IDs. A custom picklist with values for a talent pool filter is shown below.

Talent Pool Filter with Values

These fields also remember the picklist labels that were chosen the last time.

Wrap Up

We have now seen the new features and functionality for the Succession module. Check out my blogs on Highlight of 1H 2020 Release Updates for Calibration and Career Development too.

Do you need help with your SAP SuccessFactors Succession Implementation? Contact us at: info@worklogix.com

Properly Prepping for an SAP SuccessFactors Regular Release

In the past few days, SAP SuccessFactors has completed moving the H1 2020 release into production.  For some well-prepared customers, users are excited about new features they are starting to enjoy.  Others might be feeling some pain with critical issues that have arisen unexpectedly.  Still others might not have done much preparation at all and are wondering if they missed something.  In my experience consulting and providing production support services, I’ve seen all 3 types.  Hopefully after reading this quick article you’ll always fall into the first category!

Step 1: Know your Dates

SAP SuccessFactors keeps a product update blog that you should check regularly here: https://community.successfactors.com/t5/Product-Updates-Blog/bg-p/ProductUpdates

Note: you will need an SAP S-ID to access all of the links in this document

The preview dates and production dates are posted in the upper-right-hand corner of the blog.  Preview date refers to the date the release will be put into the preview environments.  You know your environment is in a preview datacenter if the url has preview in it.  For example:

Historically SAP SuccessFactors and SuccessFactors prior to the merger conducted quarterly releases.  However starting in 2020 SAP reduced the release time to every 6 months.  While I haven’t conducted a survey, my guess is most customers and SAP are pretty happy about this as it gives much more time to properly prepare.  With a quarterly release, by the time you finished your regression testing it was already time to start prepping for the next release and keeping dedicated resources onboard to only conduct regression tests was impractical.  I’m sure it was a similar story on the SAP side of the house.

Step 2: Read the Documentation

SAP changed how the documentation works a bit this year.  The first document you should read is the Road to Release document which is also available on the SuccessFactors Community Product Updates blog.  The latest road to release document tells you how to sign up for newsletters to keep you updated and also outlines some steps similar to the ones in this blog I’m writing.  The document is informative and a must read, but realistically I treat is as a pamphlet on when documentation will be released because in my opinion it focuses only on new features glosses over any regression testing and misses a few key things customers should do and know that I’ll point out in this blog.

Next, given that it’s a week or so prior to the preview release (which is when SAP releases the detailed documentation), take a look at the documentation here:

https://help.sap.com/viewer/product/SAP_SUCCESSFACTORS_RELEASE_INFORMATION/2005/en-US

Documentation Search

The above link lets you search the documentation for every new feature – so if you choose to turn on a new feature, this will let you know what administrator steps to take as well as some basic end user testing scenarios.  You can also choose prior releases as well from the drop down above the search bar.

However, before you start searching for features to turn on, you’ll want a god’s eye view of what’s available to you.  Click the link to the “What’s New Viewer” on that same page.  This tool will allow you to filter by specific modules to find what’s relevant to you, providing a brief summary of each feature.

What’s New Viewer

The key concept to understand when exploring this tool is the configuration type.  “Universal” means that all customers will receive the feature on preview and production release dates without taking any action.  “Admin Opt-In” means customers can opt to receive the feature by taking the steps outlined in the detailed documentation (search for the name of the feature in the big search bar in the first screenshot and you’ll find these steps).  “Admin Opt-Out” means you’ll need to follow similar steps to not receive the feature.  “Provisioning Opt-In” means you will need a partner and/or SAP to follow the steps in the detailed documentation to turn the feature on because only they have access to provisioning to do so.

There’s links to other documents on the SuccessFactors Community Product Release Blog, however if you like to jump straight to the facts and avoid the fluff, the ones I mention above will get you on your way.

Step 3: Analyze and Plan

Now that you know the dates and the scale of what’s being impacted by the release, you can setup a calendar plan and resources to execute the plan.  A sample plan might roughly look like the below:

  1. Preview Release minus 1 week – IT Team reviews release documentation
  2. IT Team Meets with Stakeholders with abridged list of key features that may interest the business and discusses regression testing resources
  3. Preview Release Date – Regression testing commences
  4. IT Team reports any found defects to SAP via customer ticket
  5. Preview Release plus 1 week – IT Team and/or stakeholders attend Q&A sessions with SAP to clarify any feature questions
  6. Stakeholders report which opt-in features they would like to explore in preview
  7. Once Regression testing is complete, IT turns on opt-in features and/or engages SAP/Partners to turn on any provisioning opt-in features
  8. Stakeholders explore and test functionality in preview environment and finalize which features will be turned on in production
  9. Communications and training are drafted as needed on any new features
  10. Production Release
  11. Stakeholders report any production regression Issues to IT who reaches out to SAP as needed to open customer tickets
  12. IT Team and/or Partner/SAP turn on opt-in features
  13. Stakeholders report any production new feature Issues to IT who reaches out to SAP as needed to open customer tickets

Step 4: Regression Test

Being a cloud product, there’s a pretty high level of confidence that the system will continue to function as normal after release since both SAP and numerous customers are all collectively testing the same set of code.  However, if you want to err on the side of caution, you may wish to regression test your key business processes in your preview environment prior to turning on any new features.  In particular, you may also want to focus on business processes impacted by universal changes.  The key advantage here is being able to report issues to SAP ahead of production release so there’s a solution before it becomes a problem!  Often customers will reference their test scripts from their initial implementation and update them for any universal features.

Step 5: Explore New Features

Once you’ve explored the documentation on new features and have agreement with business stakeholders on what should be explored, it is time to start playing!

If you’ve chosen to regression test, I’d recommend executing that prior to turning on any new opt-in features to keep troubleshooting issues less confusing.  For example, if you’ve turned on a feature you later decide you don’t want and later find a regression test issue, it may not be clear if that issue will occur in production or not.  In fact, some customers who only have 1 preview and 1 production environment wait until after production release before exploring new features in their preview environment so that there is clarity on what production will look like and what issues might arise prior to sandboxing a bit with new features.  If you have 2 preview environments at your disposal, then these activities can be done in parallel more confidently.

Step 6: Release Friday – Stay Away!

Typically, a release starts on a Friday evening up-until early Saturday morning.  While you might try to access the system and be able to get in, I don’t recommend it.  SAP will be loading code and restarting services.  There’s no guarantee any data you save or changes you make will be there the next day.  Have a nice weekend and come back on Monday and be glad you invested in a cloud product that handles this for you!

Step 6: Release Monday – Be on the Alert!

I don’t think I’ve ever turned on a new feature in the first week of a production release unless it has been a business-critical function/feature.  SAP is wise enough to start production releases on Friday evening so that if things go wrong, they’ve maximized the time available to them before customers will come back Monday morning.  However, just because the system is up does not mean everything is perfect.  Often, SAP is very busy handling new tickets related to the release.  If you are experiencing an issue, report it ASAP, but also be realistic.  If it is a critical issue that lots of customers are experiencing, it will get fixed very quickly.  If it is an issue unique to your organization and not business-critical, you may be waiting a couple weeks or more for resolution.

Step 7: Turn on Your Production Opt-Ins

Once you are comfortable your system is stable, it is time to turn on your opt-ins in production!  You can follow the steps outlined in the detailed documentation that you followed in preview again or use instance sync depending on the particular configuration.

Step 8: Rinse and Repeat

Congratulations!  You’ve made it through your release!  Time to check back on the dates for the next release!

Do you need help updating your SAP SuccessFactors system? Contact us at: info@worklogix.com