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How to Use SuccessFactors Reports Based on Use Case

Posted by Rogério Giacomini, SAP SuccessFactors Consultant at Hula Partners

 

 

Examining and utilizing data is a challenge due to the desire of organizations to provide consistent and real-time information. This led HR departments to computerize their process, which increases the volume of managed data.

We know that reports can range from simple data verification after an import (or replication) to more complex reports that cross career development vs. performance reviews or payroll data. Therefore, we conclude that the greater the complexity of the desired information, the more combinations of data we have to include in the report. Understanding that not all reports are sufficient for all data sets is key. By understanding the desired information, we are able to identify what report will be most effective.

In order for us to make reporting more attractive and productive, we need a good definition of requirements. We also need to understand which report will give the customer the best result.

Understanding what the customer needs is more than fundamental at this stage. For example, it is quite common for customers to request a report with all address information for their employees. When in reality, what the customer would really like is simply to check if any employee has the address field blank. Therefore, if we hold a quick meeting to understand and raise the requirements to create this report, we would conclude that the requirement is to identify employees who have the address field blank. Then, a report with only the blank addresses would suffice. It would certainly be faster and more efficient, achieving HR’s desire to keep the addresses all filled.

To make this understanding meeting, here is a suggestion of steps that can help:

1.     What is the purpose of this report?

2.     Who will use this report?

3.     How will the report be made available?

4.     What fields are required (what format do you want)?

5.     What rules should be applied to the report (filters, report title, column title)

Having said that, let’s say that at that meeting, the customer had shown an interest in sending this report via e-mail to the Human Resources Business Partners (HRBP) so they could handle the data update with employees who have a blank field. In this case, there must be a tool capable of generating a list report that can be scheduled and can be sent by email in a period basis.

Then, lets assume that the customer has an added desire to create a visual way to track the address update in the SuccessFactors instance and that this should be available on the home pages of the HRBPs. Now, there must be a tool capable of creating visual charts.

To properly handle this situation, it is very important to understand what tools are available, their features and functionality, and how to properly utilize them.

When we look for reporting information on SuccessFactors, we are surprised by the 2000 metrics that are provided and the different types of reports we have access to. Find below a list with the available reports that could be used in SuccessFactors:

·      Standard Reports

·      Ad-hoc Reports

·      Dashboard 2.0

·      Online Report Designer (ORD)

·      Learning Management System (LMS) Reports and Plateau Report Designer (PRD)

·      Workforce Analytics module

In this blog I’ll be covering those reports provided with standard implementations: Standard Reports, Ad-hoc Reports, Dashboard 2.0 and ORD, LMS Reports and PRD. Workforce Analytics is a full module and has different manage situations.

 

Standard Reports
These reports are based on standard implementations and are now obsolete reports. It’s been developed in Online Report Designer (ORD). You can find the templates in help.sap.com and upload them in ORD.

 

Ad-hoc Reports
SuccessFactors provides us a way to build our own reports. This means that no experts are needed to set a specific configuration in other environments like Provisioning or BI systems.

SuccessFactors has also linked system modules to domains. In the image below you can identify domains as Report Definition Type, which are data sets. You can create Ad-hoc reports for a single domain or you can relate two or more domains.

Ad-hoc reporting is very efficient when we need to list data. There are some limitations, such as MDF objects. This means that if you are planning to create an Ad-hoc report for MDF objects, it is best to consider using ORD or Advanced Reporting.

If you need to create simple lists, without custom data, Ad-hoc reports are an easier and faster tool to use.

Ad-hoc reports are very useful because they are very flexible, simple to use and you can still count on customization via Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT). BIRT is an open source project that provides complex reporting functionalities for web applications. BIRT reports are created via a 3rd party desktop application offered to clients to visualize their Ad Hoc queries and fulfill specific requirements.  Although it is possible to find new versions, as of Q1 2017 release only the 2.6.0 BIRT version is supported for Ad Hoc/BIRT reports in SuccessFactors. You can find the BIRT to download at this link: http://download.eclipse.org/birt/downloads.

Through BIRT we can create lists, group data, graphs and much more.

 

It’s possible to share Ad-hoc reports with colleagues by clicking on the action icon beside the report name and then “Share”. It will pop up a screen for you to search and select users that you want to share the report with. If the customer wants to send an Ad-hoc report by e-mail or schedule the execution, they will need a consultant’s help because these actions are only available in Provisioning.

 

Dashboard 2.0

SuccessFactors provides us with a solution for visual reports, as shown on Dashboard 2.0.

There are some standard reports that are delivered by SuccessFactors; others can be imported from the SuccessStore, which you will find in Admin Center > Manage Dashboards > Manage Standard Dashboards and YouCalc Files > Add From the SuccessFactors Store. See some available reports in the image below.

Once you get to this screen, you will find a brief description and a preview for available dashboards. If you want to add to your instance, click in “Add to Instance” button. Then you will be redirected to an “Edit Dashboard” page, when you will add General Info, Filters and verify the Drill Down available fields. After confirming the general settings, you will set the availability to this dashboard, which could be shared with Mobile and Homepage.

There is still a possibility to create these reports in the instance itself through the Tile Builder tool. This tool gives the customers the possibility to build their own visual reports within the instance in Admin > Manage Dashboards.

 

By clicking the “Build Tile” button, you will have access to a process similar to the Ad-hoc report creation. These reports are very intriguing if you need to create a visual dashboard with simple data. There are three chart types available: Lines, Columns and Pie.

It is possible to set these tiles in the welcome page. If you have to create a visual report for a quick check for managers, HRBPs or other groups, this report is your best option. Nationality Distribution is an example of a custom Tile Report in the Welcome Page.

 

 

 

In addition, consultants have access to the YouCalc Builder. This software gives consultants the ability to add customization to these reports. Unfortunately, this functionality is not available to the customer just yet.

Online Report Designer (ORD)
The Online Report Designer is an easy to use, drag & drop reporting tool provided by SuccessFactors. We can consider ORD as an official reporting tool to SuccessFactors; it is where investments have been made.

This tool gives customers the ability to create reports in simple ways, without database knowledge and in a practical way. It is possible to create graphics, apply text customizations, and insert tables and images. In addition, you can create calculated fields and create pivot tables with the great advantage of tracking the results in real time. Users are allowed to design formatted & presentation reports that can be shared online, exported to PDF, Word, Excel, PPT or emailed via a Report Distribution tool.

For the standard reports mentioned before, you can get more information in the SAP Help Portal > SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics > References. There, you will find a bunch of templates that can be used. For all user guides and Administration guides for Online Report Designer, please use the SAP Help website: https://help.sap.com/hr_analytics.

The sharing functionality gives you the possibility to share a to-do list for a performance evaluation cycle by simply creating a report with the status of the form and sharing it with the group of managers or the HRBPs. You can also generate and share KPIs with a group of directors through email.

 

LMS Reports and PRD

LMS Reports is a section of the LMS that allows customers to gather data on users participation in Learning courses, completions, assignments, the users attributes, etc. A frequently used function is the ability to monitor user’s compliance to assigned learning items. LMS comes with more than 100 different reports. In this link you can find more information on LMS reports: https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/SAPSF/Standard+Reports+in+LMS

When the standard reports can’t fulfill your needs, you can create a custom report or modify an existing standard one though PRD. For example, if you want to create your own Certificate or if you want to add a custom column in a standard report, you can do that through PRD.

PRD is a report solution for LMS.  Like BIRT, the PRD is also a 3rd party application that helps us to build reports.

In order to use PRD you need the following:

·      PRD Tool: In this article you will find more information in how to download the tool (https://launchpad.support.sap.com/ – /notes/2318900).

·      VJDBC connection established: Some previous steps are required to use PRD. A Customer support SF ticket has to be opened requesting the REPORT_DEVELOPER role (use this component LOD-SF-LMS-PRD component). This role will give you read only permission to the LMS database.

·      Trained personnel in PRD: SQL knowledge is required to use PRD.

 

Whether it’s to list employees, check information after an import, illustrate the current status of the performance appraisal cycle, or report on payroll information, we have seen here that SuccessFactors provides various tools for creating detailed and efficient reports. We have covered some important aspects of the most common SuccessFactors reporting tools. But, to properly use these tools, it is very important to understand the requirements for each report. Otherwise, the reports will not be as effective as you want them to be.

The following is a list with a suggestion of which report you can use according to your reporting needs. To better understand the table, lets assume that:

·      Simple: No calculated fields

·      Complex: Calculated fields, Formatting requirements (background and text color)

·      With consultant: Needs access to Provisioning

·      Without consultant: Can be done in the instance

 

I recognize that this blog will not be comprehensive enough to understand all the features and use cases of each of the tools provided by SuccessFactors. If you have any other questions or need clarification on any aspect of this blog, please reach out to me at rogerio.giacomini@hulapartners.com and I will be happy to assist!

 

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