Jeremy Masters

Author, speaker, and HR technology expert

November 10, 2017
by Jeremy Masters

Learnings from Copenhagen

Today marked the end of an era of SAPInsider events. For the past 11 years, these events have been a great venue to reconnect with colleagues and customers.  All in the spirit of knowledge sharing, knowledge harvesting, growing the eco-system – without the sales pitch. Customers really appreciated these conferences for this reason. Maybe there will be more opportunities in the future with conferences like this.

The European conferences always offer huge opportunities for speakers, especially from the US. Imagine the irony with a Yankee like myself talking to an EU audience about GDPR and the EU-US Privacy Shield.  My joke that the “NSA is listening in now on this very session” draw laughs from the audience, but the room quickly sobers up when we realize what’s at stake when we talk about data privacy and our care with personal data.

Coming to the EU is also a wakeup call to understand struggles with new technology adoption, in particular, HR cloud.  It’s easy to make a case to migrate HR to the cloud in a sales presentation, but harder to do so in a context where organizations are not ready (for a multitude of reasons, some of which are more valid than others).  These are the conversations that are needed more often together – to understand a context for technology growth and to plan a realistic roadmap.

Reflecting back on over 10 years presenting in Europe at SAPInsider, it’s been a heck of a ride, and looking forward to the next 10 years+ in whatever form that shapes to be.  It’s essential to do for all the reasons above. The coffee and croissants are a plus too 🙂 .

Until the next trip across the pond…


June 17, 2017
by Jeremy Masters

SuccessFactors Compensation – Executive Review Export / Import Functionality

In traditional annual compensation (focal) processes, performing work offline is typically frowned upon by compensation and HR professionals. Whether it be for merit, bonus, or equity recommendations, discretionary increases and awards should be carefully considered by planning managers based on (typically) performance and market factors (e.g. compa-ratio).  However, there are circumstances where an export and import of recommendations could come into handy during an annual (or periodic) compensation process:

  1. A group of employees (e.g. customer service reps, manufacturing workers, etc) who –  either unionized or non-unionized – need a common increase. This may or may not be driven off a bargaining agreement.
  2. A legal requirement for a country. For example, in France or Spain, where a general or mandatory increase may have been decided by the government
  3. A COLA (cost of living adjustment) that needs to be applied to a particular group of employees by geozone or location.

In the cases above, SuccessFactors Compensation does provide functionality for planners to export and then subsequently import recommendations.

Below are the technical details on how to turn it on and how to use it in a Production scenario.

Assuming you have the permissions to do so, you can turn on the import functionality in the Executive Review by going to Admin Center > Compensation Home > Actions for All Plans > Compensation Settings

Company Settings within Compensation Home

Company Settings within Compensation Home

Select the option “Enable Compensation Excel Offline Edit”.  As the help states, when this setting is checked, compensation planners may download worksheet values to excel, enter recommendations, and then import them back into the system.

Compensation worksheet with Import and Export buttons

When clicking on the Export button (with the Import functionality enabled), the following pop-up is available. You should select the checkbox to indicate that the recommendations will be imported back into the tool. You can download in either Excel or CSV format.

Worksheet Download in Excel – Ready for Input


The important thing to note here is that:

  1. the planner should NOT insert or change ANY columns on this Excel , except to update the recommendations (input) in Yellow.  These are the only fields that the system will use when it gets uploaded
  2. the downloaded document does not contain any formulas

The import process is straight-forward.  When the planner has completed their update of the recommendations/awards in yellow, use the Import button to upload the updated records.

Importing Compensation Recommendations


Please note the two options at the bottom of the pop-up box:

  1. Send email notification to original planner/manager of the affected compensation form
  2. Send email notification to current reviewer of the affected compensation form

The first email (as of b1705 release) has the first option automatically checked. Be careful to uncheck that if you don’t want emails to be sent.

A current limitation with the functionality is that this functionality only works within the Compensation module and not within the Variable Pay module.  Still TBD on whether or not this will be added to the roadmap.  Those familiar with SuccessFactors Variable Pay know that it is a very different animal.

The other big limitation is that currently (as of b1705 release), there is no way to provide this Import functionality via Role-Based Permissions (RBPs). It’s an all-or-nothing switch, meaning whoever has edit access to the Executive Review (whether it be planner manager, Executive, HR, etc.) will have the exact same privileges to export and import.  This could likely influence your decision to use this functionality or not in Production.

Some helpful SAP notes on the functionality include:

2084851 – Executive ReviewImport Button Unavailable – Compensation

2172177 – Executive Review is not populating data after recent importCompensation

2255189 – Unable to import the excel file in compensation executive review offline editing. – Compensation Management

2084853 – Executive Review – Offline Edit via Executive Review Export to Excel – Compensation

2084863 – Executive Review – Offline Edit Email Notification – Compensation

Any questions or comments, please leave me a comment below.


Some other links that you might like:

My ASUG Town Hall presentation on Executive Review (ASUG Webinar with Jeremy Masters)

Executive Review in SuccessFactors Compensation (SAP Blog by Jisha Jithosh)

July 11, 2016
by Jeremy Masters

Top Tips Integrating SAP HCM Core and SuccessFactors Compensation and Variable Pay

This is what happens when you fly on a brand new Delta jet. So new that they haven’t even registered Wi-Fi. At least this blog has come out of it – hope you find it useful! I have jotted down a few of my top tips (so far) when integrating and implementing SuccessFactors Compensation and/or  SuccessFactors Variable Pay.

  • Data, data, data! OK, do we need to go through this again? Regardless of the systems being integrated, we are always attacking the same gremlins, aren’t we? As Compensation professions (or those IT Professionals supporting Compensation), there’s nothing like going through a compensation process to see how painfully obvious it is that the integrity of your core HR data is vital in your talent management processes – especially compensation.  Take, for example, an employee’s FTE % (sometimes referred to as employee percentage). If incorrect, this one data element can wreak havoc on your merit, merit budget, and incentive calculations.
  • If SAP HCM core is your system of record, be sure you are using the existing SAP provided integrations. With Integration Add-Ons 1.0 and 3.0 for SAP ERP HCM and SuccessFactors HCM Suite, both the SuccessFactors compensation and variable pay modules have pre-delivered content. You will need to time this integration with your current Foundation UDF “User Data File” file that you are using.
  • Be kind to your PI (Process Integration) middleware resources. Take them out to lunch and buy them a pizza since you will need their help. The integrations provided by SAP are SAP PI based and will need to be activated in your middleware environment. This is often a project plan task forgotten in the plan and will end up biting you if you don’t plan for it.
  • If you are migrating from ECM (Enterprise Compensation Management), don’t try to do too much with this. The new integration uses staging tables and is entirely decoupled from ECM. You may end of leveraging IT0759 or IT0761 so LTI handling, if you still intend to interface to your stock plan provider.  Also, you may need to do some incentive number-crunching for segments (e.g. “legs”, “assignments”, “rows”, etc.) in a custom infotype. You should consider keeping your existing bonus engine if your incentive plans have not been able to simplify / conform to the SuccessFactors variable pay model.
  • Don’t forgot that all of your compensation and variable pay templates need to have the <comp-group id=”xxxx”/> tag in the XML if you are sending your data from SAP HCM, where xxxx is a string with no capitalization. As the time of this writing, this can only added via the XML configuration. This tag is important since it tells the SuccessFactors system which forms (that use that template) to update during a refresh from SAP HCM. Like any tags of an XML template for compensation in SuccessFactors, the placement of this tag is very particular near the end of the XML. Read the SuccessFactors documentation carefully and be careful when you are downloading/uploading or editing the template in Provisioning.
  • Remember the power of the pay matrix (e.g. salary ranges) which drives everything from the compa-ratio and range penetration, as well as guidelines (if included as a dimension). Don’t try to interface this over ( not worth it) –  this would just be an upload every year.  If a range range/midpoint changes, the onus would be on your SuccessFactors compensation administrator to manually update that. This shouldn’t happen once the process has started unless there was an error or your compensation manager is trying to make your life more interesting…
  • Think carefully how you will leverage the Executive Review. Unlike the name implies, this functionality isn’t necessarily just for executives, but rather for calibration purposes in general. Based on Role-Based permissioning, you can define a group with display access and a group with edit access. I will be talking about this topic during the ASUG Compensation SIG (login required) later this month. If you are a SuccessFactors customer, please plan on joining me for this learning event!

That’s it for now.  Please send along any questions and comments in the area below.

Oh, and Worklogix is a Silver Sponsor at the upcoming SAP SuccessFactors conference, SuccessConnect.  If you are in Vegas, please visit us in booth #35.

Sending you my best,

Jeremy  @jeremymasters

February 28, 2016
by Jeremy Masters

HR Renewal and SAP Fiori: What Should I Do?

Several years ago, SAP found themselves in a situation which happens to many large software companies. Two separate parts of the organization developed new HR functionality to solve for a common gap: usability.  On one side, HR Renewal came to fruition – a new landing page built off SAPUI5 with a new navigation and user experience. The other – SAP Fiori – was a cross-function solution (inspired with a Google design team) with a separate entry point (SAP Fiori Launchpad) and its own user interface using SAPUI5.

Many customers are now perplexed on how to move forward given both are viable solutions to solve SAP’s long-plagued usability problems, especially in the areas of Employee and Manager Self-Service.

It’s apparent that the bulk of innovation will go into SAP Fiori apps, since SAP Fiori is being leveraged across all platforms (On premise, SuccessFactors, Fieldglass, Ariba, etc.) It is SAP’s answer to a common UX, despite the disparate systems behind it.  Vishal Sikka (ex-CTO of SAP, now CEO and MD at Infosys) layed out his vision at the 2013 SAPPHIRE show.


His “Fiori UX Paradigm” – drawn by hand and reminiscent of the days when the best solutions in software began on the back of a napkin – showed his vision, which SAP is trying to execute on.

So, with all this talk on SAP Fiori, does this mean that HR Renewal is dead? No. The functionalities are still more plentiful in HR Renewal (by a long shot), and are highly relevant for HR Professionals. It is unlikely that SAP will endeavor to re-write these apps in SAP Fiori. Although SAP Fiori is the better choice from a mobile perspective (since it’s responsive and device-agnostic), HR Renewal is still a good choice for companies who want to roll out services to their HR teams (admins, reporting) who don’t want to deal with the SAP GUI. The hard-core services performed in HR Renewal (i.e., Personnel Administration and Organizational Management updates such as employee movement scenarios and organizational updates) would almost certainly be done on desktop and not on device (e.g. I can’t see an HR admin performing a complex promotion/inter-company transfer on their Smartphone).  This should relieve some of the frustration from customers when they realize a majority of the transactions that are new with HR Renewal are using the Web Dynpro ABAP technology which is not mobile-optimized (as opposed to SAPUI5).

I will tackle more sound-bytes in future blogs. In particular, the question may not be HR Renewal versus SAP Fiori, but perhaps how could they work together for your organization.

Until then, please leave some questions or comments below…

November 22, 2015
by Jeremy Masters

ECM Nugget: “Lock Objects” in transaction PECM_PROCESS_SUPPORT

I wanted to share a useful piece of information about the use of the “Lock Objects” functionality in the program RHECM_PROCESS_SUPPORT_FOR_PLNG (transaction code PECM_PROCESS_SUPPORT) since it seems to come up in every ECM deployment that Worklogix is involved in.

Transaction PECM_PROCESS_SUPPORT for process support during ECM cycles

Transaction PECM_PROCESS_SUPPORT for process support during ECM cycles

First, there is a common misunderstanding that it’s about locking employee records. However, the “Lock Object” flag is only about locking Budgets (i.e., budget units)

Imagine you have an organizational structure having the depth of 4 hierarchical levels and the top node is A, subordinate from A is B, subordinate from B is C, and subordinate from C is D. Since Enhancement Pack 5 (EhP5), SAP ECM supports the employee-level budgeting approach (bottom-up).  This means we have 1) the budget structure as a mirrored org structure (BU-BU and BU-O) and 2) the employee budgets (BU-P).

Whenever a manager is logged into Manager Self-Service doing compensation planning, certain objects get locked. The system locks the employee itself (i.e. P and IT0759), the budget unit (BU) connected to the employee is locked (BU-P) and finally the budget unit (BU) connected to the org. units where the manager is the chief of is also locked. This leads to the dilemma that two functions of the Process Preparation Report (transaction PECM_PROCESS_SUPPORT) mitigate:

1) Option Update Planning and Budgets: Whenever an employee is turning eligible / ineligible, the employee budget is getting created or deleted. Therefore also the roll-ups are getting refreshed. This refresh doesn’t work when any manager is logged-into the Compensation Planning / Approval iView within the portal locking a budget connected to the org unit.

2) Option Recalculate Budget: Functionality doesn’t recalculate budget whenever any manager is logged into the Compensation Planning / Approval iView within the portal locking a budget connected to the org unit.

Dependent on how the compensation cycle is setup (is it a global or country compensation review; global organization or just within a region/country) the likelihood is high that there is at least one manager logged into Manager Self-Service during an ongoing compensation cycle. To bypass this dilemma, SAP has recently implemented the “Lock Object” flag. Whenever the flag is unchecked, the system is not checking any longer if a budget unit connected to an org unit is locked by a user or not. It always pushes changes into the database. Again, the “Lock Object” flag has nothing to do with locking an employee. It’s only about locking the budget structure by managers.

Here are the pros and cons of this functionality.

As usually at least one manager is logged into MSS all the time, this facilitates the update of budgets significantly. Simply uncheck the flag and budget structures can be updated all the time. Additional programs which may kick out (or prevent) managers to perform budget updates are not needed any longer.

The manager experience can be a bit tricky with these budgets, and proper communication should be made available to managers involved in the process. Let’s take an example where a manager who is logged into MSS and initially sees a budget of 100,000 USD. While the manager is logged in, you execute PECM_PROCESS_SUPPORT to perform a recalculate budget which reduces the budget in a lower org unit for example by 10,000 USD. This update is not immediately visible to the manager, but rather only when he/she opens another iView and then returns to Compensation Planning / Approval iView to get a refresh. This means that a manager who plans to keep his org unit budget at 100,000, but  in reality he only has 90,000, because someone executed PECM_PROCESS_SUPPORT in the meantime.

I would recommend to always use PECM_DISPLAY_BUDGETS to monitor any potential inconsistencies in the budget structures which can always be repaired using the button “Update Spent Amounts” in the budget audit report in case they exist.

Audit Report for Budgets

Hope this helps you. 

July 27, 2015
by Jeremy Masters
1 Comment

S/4 HANA: Your Deployment Options with SAP HCM / SF

Hey friends,

I was fortunate to attend SAPInsider’s 2015 conference in Nice where the weather was beautiful, the cuisine delicious, and the conference content bountiful.  One of the more interesting topics that I learned about was SAP’s support for S/4 HANA and SAP HCM platforms.  Based on customer feedback since the original plans were unveiled at SAPPHIRENOW, changes to the support of SAP’s productized integration was necessary. Here’s the skinny:

There are 5 basic scenarios. (I am sure there are others based on customers’ own deployments, but let’s stick with these for now):

If using SAP ERP HCM:

1) Keep SAP ERP HCM in its own instance on premise, and deploy S/4 HANA on premise

2) Deploy S/4 HANA and SAP ERP HCM in the same instance on premise

3) Keep SAP ERP HCM on premise, and deploy S/4 HANA in the cloud

If using Employee Central:

4) Deploy S/4 HANA on premise, and integrate with SuccessFactors Employee Central

5) Deploy S/4 HANA in the cloud, and integrate with SuccessFactors Employee Central

In all scenarios above, SAP has or will have productized integrations to support these scenarios to the year 20xx, where xx is something we need to hear from SAP on. I was able to grab some time with David Ludlow, Group Vice President at SAP, who really understands the customer landscape out there.  He presented this slide which captures the options pretty well.

S/4 HANA and SAP HR / SF integrations

So what does this all mean? Well, the answer is still to be determined, but for SAP HCM customers who are looking to use Simple Finance and other aspects of S/4 HANA, it simply means more options.   This has always been a bit of a double sword for SAP, but in my opinion, it’s something that SAP had to do in order to accommodate its vast customer base.

February 17, 2015
by Jeremy Masters

SAP Fiori, HR Renewal – Reference Material

I did a recent podcast for SAPInsider, the conference producer for HR2015. You can hear the podcast and view the transcript here. Many of the questions were a precursor to the kinds of the questions I am sure we will be hearing from customers this year at the HR 2015 conference as well as ASUG/SAPPHIRE. Questions specifically around the roadmap for HR Renewal versus SAP Fiori and where/when/how these roads will merge within the SAP HCM space. Lots of questions around integration, mashups, and what types of skill sets customers/consultants will need in the future around these technologies.

Here are some of the resources that are available to us out there, specifically around SAPUI5 and its related offerings:

SAP Fiori Apps Library: Probably your best starting point for Fiori apps

HR Renewal 2.0 SAP Help documentation

The new SAP PRESS book on HR Renewal and SAP Fiori, the new Employee, Manager and HR Professional self service, from myself, Brandon Toombs, Kris Bland, and Justin Morgalis.

All Things Fiori and, specifically for HR, SAP HCM Fiori apps on SCN

My session on “Latest Enhancements in SAP ERP HCM Self-Services: HR Renewal, SAP Fiori, and SAPUI5“. The rest of my sessions are here:

I also suggest you check out some sessions on these topics by two of the finest in the business: Martin Gillet and Brandon Toombs. Both will both give you an independent viewpoint on what’s good (and bad) about these technologies.

Brandon’s session on “Guidelines and requirements for adapting to the HR Professional role UI” will definitely be one to check out for those interested in understanding what’s new for the HR Professional. The rest of his sessions are here.  You might also want to check out his blog series on SCN on comparing Employee Central and HR Renewal/SAP Fiori here: Blog 1 |  Blog 2

Martin’s session on “An A-to-Z guide to streamlining HR processes across desktop and mobile devices with SAP Fiori” will be another great session to understand how SAP Fiori fits into your overall desktop and mobile self service strategy. The rest of his sessions are here.

Less than two weeks to the conference, and will be great to see many of industry friends again.

If you are going, please drop by booth #410 where Worklogix will be exhibiting and say hello.





January 24, 2015
by Jeremy Masters

HR2015 – What You Want to Know at This Year’s SAP HR Conference

Hello friends,

The HR event from SAPInsider is almost upon us.  Please visit the website to see more details on what’s scheduled. Please visit me at one of my sessions, or at booth #410 in the Exhibit Hall during the show.


The Bellagio will host this year’s SAPInsider conference, HR2015

I just recorded a podcast with Ken Murphy, Features Editor for SAPinsider & insiderPROFILES, about the conference and some hot topics.  It was a great discussion with him, as we exchanged thoughts on HR Renewal, SAP Fiori, SAPUI5, user adoption, change management, security, and other big league topics. I will update this post once that podcast is released so you can have a listen.

For those customers preparing for the conference, this is what I could be curious to listen for during the conference:

  1. What are the latest innovations within the SAP HR space around SAP Fiori?  Will there be another wave of HR apps released? If so, when? How will SAPUI5 apps be expanded in the HR space, or will they?
  2. How will HR Renewal continue to innovate, in areas like SAPUI5 replacement (of Web Dynpro ABAP services), as well as a more intuitive navigation scheme? In my opinion, the current lane approach looks fresher than previous homepage layouts, but also can cause more challenges for user adoption. This is something that I will discuss at the conference.
  3. Will HR Renewal and SAP Fiori “merge forces”, or will we they continue to be deployed in separate releases, style sets, etc? It’s important that we hear from SAP on these roadmap items, especially after Vishal Sikka’s (relatively) recent exit.
  4. What’s the “portal of choice” now for customers? Or, is there even a frontrunner? Currently, we have SAP NetWeaver Portal, NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC), SAP Fiori Launchpad, SAP Fiori within SAP Portal,  and other 3rd party portals (SharePoint, WebSphere are top).  How do we navigate these options, and which one’s best for customers?
  5. What’s new in the HR Professional role? For this, I would attend my co-author Brandon Toombs‘ session “Guidelines and requirements for adapting to the HR Professional role UI”. Brandon is a force to be reckoned with on this topic.

Hope to see you at the show!


(you can follow me on Twitter @jeremymasters)

September 15, 2014
by Jeremy Masters

SAP HCM Query – Worklogix Whitepaper

This three-part whitepaper on SAP query is something I have been meaning to blog about. There are plenty of SAP HCM customers out there who continue to seek information on how to leverage the query application in SAP.  As it is one of the most underleveraged of tools within the SAP HCM suite, one of my colleagues, Susan Traynor, has written a three-part whitepaper on the subject.


You can download these whitepapers here:

Worklogix Whitepapers – Harnessing the Power of SAP Query in SAP HCM Part I

Worklogix Whitepapers – Harnessing the Power of SAP Query in SAP HCM Part II

Worklogix Whitepapers – Harnessing the Power of SAP Query in SAP HCM Part III

There is a boatload of information to enjoy here. Enjoy!

June 17, 2014
by Jeremy Masters

Top Ten Gotchas when Implementing SAP Enterprise Compensation Management (ECM)

Thought I would share a few lessons learned around Compensation management using SAP ECM (Enterprise Compensation Management), but these could be used for any compensation system.

  1. ECM supports the annual compensation (“focal review”) process, but not the off-cycle (ad hoc) increases associated to promotions, laterals, downgrades, etc. Don’t force the off-cycle process in the tool or it will turn ugly.
  2. Ensure budgeting requirements are well understood early in the project between the compensation and project teams.  For example, what is the budget/organizational freeze date (or, is there a freeze date?), can budget funds be re-allocated during planning, what  do you do with terminated employees during the cycle, etc.
  3. Don’t rely too much on “macro-eligibility” to drive your compensation eligibility rules. Infotype 0758 (Compensation Program) is where “macro-eligibility” is defined.  Putting too much intelligence in this infotype is a recipe for disaster because you are at the mercy of master data maintenance (PA30/PA40 transactions).  Bake your eligibility requirements into your “micro-eligibility” rules (including the eligibility BAdI) since you have absolute control over the logic.
  4. Listen carefully to the requirements around compensation planning and approvals. For discretionary plans, ensure that the system is configured to handle the appropriate workflow and business logic to handle compensation worksheet level approvals, routing and escalation rules.
  5. Ensure that all your process inputs (market data, performance ratings, potential ratings, etc.) are configured prior to the compensation worksheet being opened to management.
  6. Agree with the compensation team on which master data will be entered by them in Production versus input by IT in Development (and transported to the upper environments).  Time-sensitive information such as Business Unit Results, Black Sholes/Fair Market Value, Bonus modifiers/kickers, etc. should be controlled by the business in the Productive environment.  This data may also be very confidential as well, for “comp’s eyes only”.
  7. Give the compensation team the ability to proof the compensation worksheets before releasing to management.  Seems a given, but worth it’s own line.
  8. Conduct your system testing with a dedicated QA system with unmasked employee/compensation data. (This may not be realistic for all companies due to budgetary and/or environment  constraints, I understand, but shoot for the stars and maybe you will reach the moon.)
  9. Just because functionality is offered, doesn’t mean you should use it. Test the waters within a demo environment with the compensation team to ensure they really do want all the functionality offered. There is nothing wrong with hiding functionality until if (or when) it’s needed. For example, the Compensation Profile is neat but also can backfire on you if you expose too much data that’s difficult to explain (or – even worse – wrong!)
  10. Don’t over-engineer the stock granting process.  At maximum, collect and split the stock recommendations, but all other activities (vesting management, exercising, life events, etc.) should be handled by your stock plan administrator.

Until next time!