SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics embedded edition: What is coming and our hands-on experience so far

In this blog post, we review our first hands-on experience of using the recently released embedded edition of SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) in SuccessFactors. Before this here’s a little background on our previous experience with dashboards using the standalone enterprise license of SAC.

The top example shows an enterprise license SAC dashboard. The bottom image is an embedded SAC dashboard running live HR data from SuccessFactors.


SAP’s BI harmonization strategy

Let’s start with some background. Some time has passed since SAP revealed their strategy to harmonize the analytics landscape by making SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) the future front-end solution of their entire business application product line.

For SuccessFactors customers this meant, the existing reporting tools along with analytical and planning applications would all eventually have a new user interface (UI).

SAP renamed these. They now all sit under one umbrella name SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics. There are 3 editions:

  • Embedded (formerly Reporting)
  • Advanced (formerly Workforce Analytics)
  • Planning (formerly Workforce Planning)

All other analytics (falling outside the HR data domain) are referred to as Enterprise Analytics.

Enterprise analytics requires a separate stand-alone SAC license. However, the embedded edition is free for SuccessFactors subscribers. Advanced and planning editions’ additional (PEPM) licenses include the SAC front-end already.

SuccessFactors dashboard with a stand-alone license of SAC

By the time of the BI strategy announcement SAC had already been available for a couple of years. It offers an all-in-one SaaS tool for BI, prediction and planning.

Among its dozens of data connectors (live and import), you could already pull data from SuccessFactors to create people analytics content, like dashboards.

For our first SAC project for a SuccessFactors customer we started with a Proof-of-Concept with a free trial version of SAC, going live soon after to full production use (still up and running!) with an enterprise license.

Enterprise license SAC dashboard running HR data sourced from SuccessFactors.
KPIs, like monthly Headcount and Attrition Rate, are not directly sourced from standard SuccessFactors tables, but we calculate them using business logic. This requires aggregation and spanning across a timeline to show e.g. the Headcount trend by month and 13-month change. The solution we built auto-refreshes the data every night.

Embedded edition of SAC in SuccessFactors

Starting late 2019 SAP started releasing the embedded edition in the first SuccessFactors preview instances. SAP’s release schedule currently states that production instances upgrades are planned to become available after the June 2020 release.

The upgrade to embedded edition enables the built-in SAC tool “Report – Story” option to appear in Report Center. It’s worth noting, that the IAS (Identity Authentication Services) upgrade is a prerequisite to embedded edition upgrade.

The new SAC tool Report-Story available via Report Center.

When building a story with the embedded edition of SAC, you start in the query builder. Here all the tables and fields available for querying are selected.

When you select more than one table, they are automatically joined by their common dimension (e.g. UserID field).Calculated fields (measures and dimensions) can be added using predefined formulas.

These include e.g. handy date calculations. Embedded edition can only source data from within SuccessFactors and has some limitations regarding available reporting schemas.

Query Designer of embedded edition. A short demo video is in the end of this blog.

The query becomes a Data Source with measures (always at least the automatically generated Count) and dimensions. The drag-and-drop story builder allows you to visualize the data with a nice selection of charts and tables.

If you’ve used SAC before, you’ll know exactly what to do with the embedded edition as well. You can e.g. create calculated dimensions and measures and add interaction for end-users by adding run-time filters, creating measure and dimension inputs (= selectors) and making charts’ data points filter other charts.

Story builder of embedded edition. A short demo video is in the end of this blog.

There are some differences between embedded edition and the enterprise license of SAC, e.g. Smart Insights and maps aren’t (at least yet) supported. You can’t save and re-use query-based data sources separately from a Story, but you can create more than one query to be used in one Story.

Navigating an interactive dashboard created with the embedded edition. A short demo video is in the end of this blog.

Despite the differences to the enterprise license of SAC, the embedded edition still takes SuccessFactors reporting to a whole new level.

The legacy reporting tools haven’t exactly been business user friendly and their visualization capabilities have been very limited.

Embedded edition allows you to create interactive and dynamic reports, stories and dashboards leveraging a comprehensive visuals library. Its intuitive front-end will significantly increase the self-service reporting capability of non-technical end-users.

What’s next?

Many of our customers are eagerly awaiting to start using the embedded edition. We are starting our first dashboard implementation projects in the coming weeks and will also be introducing our embedded edition dashboards very soon.

In our next analytics blog, we will update you with more hands-on experience with the embedded edition and have a closer look at the advanced edition. Stay tuned!

If you want to watch more, have a look at our demo video.

You can also download our whitepaper on the topic “The 2020 People Analytics Guide: No need to be a nerd to become a data-driven HR leader”
Download Ebook

Learn more about our People Analytics offering by requesting a more detailed demo and discover how NGA can support you in making an impact with your people data, contact us.