Data Migration: Journey to the Cloud – Part 1

Posted by Jess Spaull, SAP SuccessFactors Consultant


This will be the first installment of my three-part blog series on Migrating Data into SAP’s SuccessFactors Employee Central (EC), which will be delivered over the next few months.  This is aimed at on-premise SAP ERP HCM customers embarking on their journey to the cloud.

I wish to help those who are on their first EC project and who may not be as fortunate as I was to have experienced people around me, guiding along the way with helpful insights.  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

Data Migration is an area that 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 identify where there are potential risks and issues.  In short, starting early allows more time to resolve conversion and data quality issues earlier in the data migration process.

The first place to start is to assemble the right team with hands-on experience. The best resources to look for are those with experience in both on-premise SAP HCM and Employee Central.  If it’s a small implementation where only one resource is allocated to data migration, be sure that it’s someone that knows the data very well and can grasp data models easily for data mapping.  It is essential to ensure that the migration resources have a good understanding 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.


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 and make sure that there are comprehensive requirements for doing so or you’ll likely find inconsistencies in migration approach for different data structures.

·       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.

·       If you have on premise payroll, make sure to align your data migration cycles to your payroll test cycles so you have the best possible data available for parallel testing

·       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

·       A list of the data migration deliverables

·       Definition of the Roles and Responsibilities of all involved


There is much to consider when migrating data to Employee Central.  Not everything has been mentioned above as every project is different.  Be sure to have the right resources, plan the data migration carefully, test thoroughly and execute rigorously.  The best way to measure a successful migration is to ensure data integrity. To achieve this success, 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


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