Data Migration: Journey to the Cloud – Part 1

Posted by Jess Spaull, SAP SuccessFactors Consultant

This post was updated on December 5, 2017


This post will be the first installment of my three-part blog series on Migrating Data into SAP’s SuccessFactors Employee Central (EC), parts two and three will be delivered over the next few months.  These blog posts are aimed at those embarking on their journey from on-premise SAP ERP HCM to the cloud.

These articles will help those who are on their first EC project and who may not have experienced people around to guide them through the process.  I hope you find this series useful.

The following topics will be covered in this series:

1) Planning your Data Migration

2) Importing Data into Employee Central

3) Exporting Data out of Employee Central.


Planning your Employee Central Data Migration

The time taken by Data Migration is always underestimated.  If possible, begin data migration activities early. This allows time to plan the migration timeline against the project timeline, time to understand your data, and time to identify where there are potential risks and issues.  In short, starting early allows for more time to resolve conversion and data quality issues in the data migration process.

The starting point is building the right team with hands-on experience. The best resources have experience in both on-premise SAP HCM and Employee Central, although this is not essential.  In a small implementation where only one resource is allocated to data migration, be sure it is someone that knows HR data and understands the data models across both applications.  Along with a strong understanding of your ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) framework, the ability to engage at both a business and technical level is very important.  Remember that the Data Migration Lead will be the key to delivering a successful migration strategy, so make sure that you staff your team appropriately.

Having the right tools can save an incredible amount of time and effort during your data migration.  While SAP provides a few standard migration tools, there are more and more vendor tools appearing in the marketplace to consider.  Do your research and find the tools that best fits your project and long-term usage.  The next article in this series will identify some of the most useful tools available for these projects.


To develop a comprehensive data migration strategy, you need to have a collaborative customer/implementation partner relationship where you can be sure to include:

·       The Scope of data to be migrated

o  At a minimum, current employee and organizational data will be migrated. Commonly, customers decide to migrate at least some historical data.  Be sure to consider the benefits, effort and cost involved to do so.  Migrate only what is needed.  Ensure there are valid requirements for everything in scope or you may need to adopt different migration approaches to accommodate for different data sets.

·       A definition of the Data Objects to be migrated

·       Understand exactly how the ETL process will work by detailing  out the End-to-End Process. How will the following be carried out:

o   Data profiling and cleansing

o   Data mapping

o   Data collection

o   Data validation

o   Data migration process

·       Details on the Data Migration Cycles to be performed and in which environment.  Set clear conversion benchmarks so the time taken to complete each cycle is optimized with each iteration.

·       A list of any Dependencies, Assumptions, Constraints or Prerequisites that will impact any stage of the data migration process

·       Management of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and confidential data, know early on who has access to view this data for validation

·       List all of the Data Migration Deliverables

·       Define the Roles and Responsibilities of all involved


There is much to consider when migrating data to Employee Central.  Every project is different, making it critical that customer and implementation partner work together to understand the unique requirements.  Be sure to have the right resources, plan the data migration carefully, test thoroughly and execute rigorously.  The best way to ensure a successful migration is to focus on data integrity. Establish a repeatable process, follow your plan, and effectively communicate, strategize, and track the conversion results.  Stay tuned for part two, “Importing data into Employee Central,” coming soon.


For more information on Data Migration and how to plan for it, you can contact Jess at