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3 focus areas when testing SAP SuccessFactors in the Cloud

In this blog, I highlight some of things we at NGA Human Resources have experienced when delivering major global SAP SuccessFactors cloud implementation projects. The approach applies to the test stage of any cloud HRIS implementation.

Setting the SAP SuccessFactors scene

Over the last few years, enterprise businesses have taken a fundamental change in approach. They have moved business applications from on-premise to the Cloud. For HR systems, the pioneering solution therefore has been SAP SuccessFactors. However, it has not been plain sailing for all.

Large enterprises with established SAP HCM maintenance operations have faced significant challenges during the migration process. This is especially true when integrating with SAP HCM / underlying legacy base and other interfacing environments, such as payroll, time, attendance and benefits.

This blog highlights the top 3 areas to focus on. These are areas that have real impact during the testing of SAP SuccessFactors in the Cloud.

1. Establishing end-to-end quality assurance

The first focus area is end-to-end quality assurance. It is vital to set out a strategy that ensures a successful SAP SuccessFactors and payroll integration in the Cloud.

The key element concerns integrations between SAP SuccessFactors, middleware and third-party payroll systems. Specific to this, the section below highlights interface readiness planning and the set of checkpoints needed to be put in place before starting the test execution phase.


This diagram depicts the typical landscape of any cloud-based HRIS system under implementation

Aspects around interfaces

a)  Time and attendance(T&A) interface
T&A data is critical for payroll. Missing this will result in delays to payroll runs

b)  Interface connectivity from middleware platform to local payroll systems
Must be set-up and working properly so that payroll can run smoothly with local interfaces

c)  Field mapping between HRIS, middleware and downstream payroll systems
Must be mapped effectively and aligned with all connecting systems to avoid interruption of data flow.

d)  System Interfacing with other ticketing tools / case management tools

SuccessFactors Checklist

2. Understanding customer business processes

Secondly, during the global implementation of SAP SuccessFactors, it is crucial to understand each customer country process. Consequently, it should be configured to accommodate the global layer with customization at a local country level as well as interfaces with specific systems.

The below step up process, highlights some important aspects during the life cycle of the implementation. customer_business_processes

Knowing the technical landscape and interaction between the upstream and downstream systems is critical during implementation. Understanding the global vs. local set of business rules and impacts is crucial to laying down the right testing strategy and approach.

Another key consideration will be the data movement from the SAP legacy system to the new SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central. In addition to the levels of process and interfaces needed to be built in order to seamlessly move data automatically rather than manually. From our experience, the automation of interfaces reduces the manual effort by between 70 and 80%.

System of record

Recognizing that SAP SuccessFactors EC is a system of record. The key organizational management and payroll related attributes must be looked at in terms of data movement and keeping the consistency. Here is the important aspect of how the middleware platform will be built for the data movement from HRIS to middleware and middleware to downstream payroll systems.

3. SAP SuccessFactors testing program governance

There is a great deal of complexity around programs that include global country payroll implementations with multiple teams. Teams such as: program management leadership, project team, SPOC from each entity, external vendor teams, payroll SME’s, SAP SuccessFactors support team plus business owners who provide final approval.

SuccessFactors Summary

Testing program governance

This becomes another critical aspect in the overall implementation.

Taking a Global -to-Local approach when setting up teams removes communication barriers. As a result the ‘shift and lift’ activity of a SAP SuccessFactors implementation is more manageable.

Meanwhile, Local Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) play a pivotal role in managing their specific country implementation. They take the required support from the global layer SMEs. Then they adapt the configurations and changes to suit the local requirements.

On top of this, there should ideally be a global testing coordinator role. Their key activity is to perform quality checks at various phases of the implementation. They also should put in place a stringent mechanism of ‘Go / No Go’ after satisfying the defined acceptance criteria.

In addition to this, validating test coverage, regression assessment and 100% completion of User Acceptance Tests, will be needed for important checks for testing governance team.

Lastly, the project retrospectives exercise must be done in timely manner, factoring in the lessons learnt and implementing best practices to ensure continuous improvement and to strengthen the testing services team.


In conclusion, to successfully deliver SAP SuccessFactors, or any HRIS implementation in the Cloud it is essential to establish a robust end-to-end quality assurance approach. This must include detailed understanding of the system architecture, proper integration between the different systems and a forming testing governance team.

From our experience, we have seen a 15 to 20% saving in quality assurance effort simply by engaging the right set of best practices and processes during the implementation timeline.