Onboarding 2018: What, Why, How, & When?


Posted by John Bestgen, Recruiting Lead at Hula Partners


As more information continues to be made available regarding the pending release of Onboarding 2018 from SAP/SuccessFactors, it seemed a good time to try and provide some insight from our vantage point at Hula. There has been much interest in this topic and hopefully we can consolidate some information from various sources and provide additional understanding of what is being done, the major factors driving the initiative, the available specifics on new design, and the timeline and strategy for release.

First off, Onboarding 2018 is not a new offering but rather defined as a set of major enhancements to the current solution. This may sound semantic however, for those current ONB clients, this and the fact that a migration path from legacy to 2018 will be offered should provide some comfort, although specifics regarding that migration and any associated costs for current ONB clients have not yet been made available.

In terms of the conceptual change, we see a continuation by SAP/SuccessFactors to further centralize each module and utilize platform based functionality that can be shared across modules. In addition, the new design repurposes existing functionality to apply to the onboarding use case. Familiar screens, such as the main SuccessFactors Homepage and Employee Profile, will be leveraged instead of ONB-specific UI (User Interface). Also, at the macro level, we see further efforts to base data flow between modules such as EC, RCM, & ONB via object data structure allowing for standard and custom objects and associated rules to be utilized when configuring ONB flows and panels. Finally, RBP (Role Based Permissions) is now leveraged to provide far greater flexibility in task assignment in a rules-based, data-driven context, abandoning (thankfully) the previous product assumptions in this area.

In terms of specific changes, here is what we currently are aware of:

You can see from the figure above that much of the effort has been focused on bringing ONB “into the fold” if you will, allowing it, its configuration, and end users to leverage existing tools and functionality to a much larger degree. In addition, this strategy allows the solution to enjoy the benefits that other integrated modules benefit from in the areas of compliance, mobile, localization, and analytics. This also puts ONB squarely in a position to evolve along with the rest of the BizX platform through the ongoing release cycle.

So, now the why; why has SAP/SuccessFactors chosen to undertake such a holistic overhaul of this solution? The answer lies more in gained advantage than fixing the unworkable. Literally, hundreds of organizations in the US alone use the current solution daily for this business-critical task of processing new employees into their midst.  That is not to say that there are not challenges with the current product and opportunities for significant improvement. Via the changes outlined above, SAP/SuccessFactors views the major positive impacts in this manner:

The targeted benefits fall into two major categories: simplification and flexibility. On the simplification side, we can understand how the changes and over-arching strategy of leveraging existing screens, tools, and functionality should make both configuration and use of the solution more straightforward, as both implementation resources and end users can rely on their previous usage and understanding of the application. Also, consolidating tools, such as notifications and allowing for far more meaningful integration with EC, RCM, and the overall platform, should significantly reduce the amount of duplicate configuration and ongoing administration the product requires today.

In terms of enhanced flexibility, we can see how again the changes should facilitate this based on exposure to new and existing APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to allow for client-specific vendors to play a more integrated role in the solution mix. Additionally, the adoption of the object framework and specifically the ability to create custom ONB objects and associated rules will allow for almost endless configuration options allowing even the most bespoke use cases to be successfully satisfied.

Lastly, we turn to the subject of launch strategy and timing. The latter continues to be a bit opaque from our perspective as a SuccessFactors Gold Partner, however this is what we understand regarding the strategy. Launch will occur in three distinct phases as communicated by SuccessFactors:

1.     Beta – Preview only (limited set of clients who meet criteria)

2.     Early Adopter – In Production (limited set of clients who meet criteria)

3.     General Availability – All new implementations, migration tools available to legacy clients

Criteria for Beta/Early Adopters per SAP/SuccessFactors:

New ONB is absolutely required as no migration tools will be available until General Availability (GA) of the solution. EC is a requirement for Beta and Early Adopter but will not be so for Onboarding 2018 at time of GA.

Hopefully, this has provided you a bit of a consolidated update on the progress and plans for the new version of the SuccessFactors Onboarding Solution. As the situation continues to evolve and more and more specific information becomes available we will endeavor to keep you up to date and informed. As always, we welcome your inquiries regarding this blog, our SuccessFactors practice or Hula Partners overall.


If you would like to speak to us about the upcoming release and how this may impact your organization, please reach out to