SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central – flexible options for Core HR

Replacing an existing core HR system is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, it can become quite a puzzle, considering how many business processes depend on it, how many compliance rules must be obtained and how many connection points to other business systems exist.

On the upside, it is also clear that moving from an outdated legacy core HR system to a modern cloud-based solution elevates these business processes to a new (digital) level of user experience and provides many opportunities to drive innovation and employee engagement. Therefore, it is often the centerpiece for a larger HR digital transformation project and subject of a thorough roadmap planning process.

At SAP SuccessFactors – AKT’s partner – the mantra is “Start anywhere, go everywhere!”. Each customer’s situation and needs are different and we design our solutions to provide maximum flexibility. This also holds true for deploying the Core HR solution, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central.

Generically speaking, there are four deployment options, giving customers choice to build their individual roadmap:

  1. ‘Full use’: SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central is used as a full-blown core HR system. This includes record keeping for internals and contingent labor, organization and position management, time management and global benefits.
  2. ‘Extend and Connect’: SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central extends an existing legacy core HR system and serves as a ‘view-only’ core HR system, for record viewing for organizational position, and people data on all devices for internals and contingent labor, and can also be used as a ‘data layer’ or ‘integration hub’ for one or multiple legacy Core HR solutions based on the Employee Central data model and integration tools. This deployment option is made commercially attractive because customers are not using the full capabilities within SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central.
  3. ‘Side-by-side’: In this deployment option, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central is combined with a SAP ERP HCM on-premise core HR system. Both systems serve as ‘master system’ for part of the workforce, and data is combined for e.g. reporting purposes.
  4. ‘Core-Hybrid’: In this deployment option, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central is combined with a SAP ERP HCM for customers that want to keep running payroll and/or time management in their on-premise system, and want to modernize all other core HR processes.

These deployment options allow customers to transition to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central directly or in a two-step approach, as shown in the following graphic.

  • Top scenario “Full use”: the most commonly used scenario is when the customer replaces their legacy system fully in one transition project. Advantages: Immediately utilize all benefits of SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and the wider SAP SuccessFactors HCM suite
  • Second scenario “Extend and connect”: this deployment option is often an intermediate scenario where the legacy core HR system stays in place for now, but SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central is added/connected and acts as an extension. This means that the legacy system is still the system of record and all data is maintained there, but the data can be transferred to Employee Central to harmonize it and to utilize additional integration services. Advantages: Firstly, all employees will have online access to people data with innovative features like org charts or people search on mobile devices. Secondly, for customers with multiple distributed core HR systems, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central can be used as a consolidation hub for centralized corporate reporting, and all integration tools and content can be used to connect to other applications within the SAP portfolio or beyond.
  • Third scenario “Side-by-side”: also, an intermediate scenario where SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central is implemented for part of the organization while the rest remains with SAP ERP HCM as the master core HR system. For example, a multinational enterprise might decide to move one country over first, then follow with the rest in Phase 2. AKT’s integration between the two solutions ensures that data is kept in sync and that global reporting is possible.
  • Bottom scenario “Core-Hybrid”: again, an intermediate scenario where time management and/or payroll keep running in SAP ERP HCM. Often chosen by customers who want to move to the Cloud in a phased approach. In the first phase, most of the self-service processes are implemented as part of Employee Central and connected via standard (pre-packaged) integrations to the time and payroll processes in SAP ERP HCM. In a later phase, payroll and time can be migrated to the SAP SuccessFactors Cloud.

Transitioning a Core HR system is always a challenge, but with the flexible deployment options that AKT can support with for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central customers, this transition is much easier and we can build your organization’s optimal individual roadmap to bring your people to the heart of the Intelligent Enterprise.

Thank you Frans Smolders from SAP on your insights. To learn more, contact us at