Frequently Asked Questions about People Analytics

Support your leaders in improving people-related decisions with our FAQ on SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics and Report Story

Data-driven decisions are paramount to success, and this holds especially true for managing your most valuable asset—your people.

Welcome to our comprehensive FAQ guide on SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics, where we demystify key aspects and provide insights to empower leaders and HR professionals in making strategic people-related decisions.

1. Does Report Story respect Role-Based Permissions so employees only view data they have access to in the roles they are granted?

Yes, Report Story follows Role-Based Permissions (RBP) for all employee data.

2. With WorkForce Analytics (WFA) on SQL, is it possible to connect with third-party systems, like SAP HCM with metrics packs mapping the time data?

There is a limitation on what metric packs are available for both WFA on SQL as well as WFA on HANA. For absenteeism and time recordings, we recommend using Report Story and/or SAP Analytics Cloud.

3. Is it possible to schedule Report Story (for example, as an automatic email)?

It is on the roadmap from SAP, and we hope it will be delivered in one of the next releases. Check out roadmaps.sap.com for current road map items.

4. Is SuccessFactors LMS data available in Report Story?

Yes, it is possible to report on LMS data in Report Story. It should not be considered a direct replacement for the LMS PRD reporting tool, but rather an analytical engine that allows you to visualize better what is happening regarding learning activities. We have content templates that will get you started. Contact us for more details if interested.

5. If we want to extract data from SuccessFactors into SAP Analytics Cloud or PowerBI, what is Effective People’s recommendation?

Both options are supported. The correct method is to use SuccessFactors Integration Center or SAP Integration Services and create an outbound integration.

6. How are the system response times for Report Story?

There are design considerations to be aware of when designing story reports, which can affect performance stability and responsiveness. Contact us if you need advice or support with this.

7. Is it difficult to create your dashboards without IT know-how?

Learning Report Story will take two days of training. You can take an SAP SFX Masterclass or ask Effective People to deliver a training program for you.

8. On WFA, is it possible to customize the definitions?

It is possible to create your own company-specific analysis dimensions and structural dimensions, which are used to analyze your data. You can create derived measures based on other measures.

9. Is it possible to drill into data (to show more details) in Story Reports? Is there documentation that shows how?

Yes, this is possible with a linked table that filters based on another object in the report (e.g., a pie chart).

10. Are we moving towards Stories and WFA? Will Table, Tiles/Dashboard, and Canvas reporting be deprecated?

Our expectation is that all existing tools will continue as is for the next 24 months (about two years) at the minimum.

11. Is it possible to show data trends in Report Story?

Time trending should always be done in Workforce Analytics. WFA is designed for time trending, so that is also another reason to use it. In essence, Report Story helps you understand where you are today, and WFA helps you understand how you got there.

12. How do Effective People bill for an SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics (WFA) implementation?

Effective People has several implementation services for Workforce Analytics, from technical enablement—which is useful for a proof of concept—over accelerated to enterprise implementation. The effort level depends on the model used; a fixed price with predefined scope exists for all models. Contact us for more details on pricing.

13. How do you build dashboards including calculating differences? Is it coming from columns in the merit form or is it done in story reporting? And how do you set these up?

In a compensation form, select Current Salary and Future Salary. All calculations are done in SAP SuccessFactors Report Stories (averages and differences), and we are using the Variances add-on option to show the values in charts. Watch this webinar for a comprehensive demo of dashboards in Report Stories.

14. How many lines of data can you export into Microsoft Excel?

The feature guardrails in Report Story helps to prevent very large data sets from breaking the reporting tool. Guardrails are dependent on the number of cells in the query. In short, the number of rows depends on the number of cells. There are two possible ways to export a list view: exporting data that is visible on your screen or exporting all data in your data set.

15. An organization's gender pay gap is about more than just money. How can multivariate analysis be considered if one wants to reduce the gender pay gap using SAP SuccessFactors?

You can use Report Story to analyze metrics on different dimensions, and there are many possible dimensions to analyze the variation on. We recommend analyzing by JobFamily, Job Level, Job Classification, Country, Region, Pay Grade, and Gender Organizational Tenure to get the full picture. In Report Story, you can create multi-dimensional views as well as allow the end user to select the analysis dimension at runtime.

16. Is it possible to insert filter input controls in the dashboard, for example, by gender or year?

Report Stories is a light version of SAP Analytics Cloud embedded in SAP SuccessFactors. It is possible to add input controls in Report Stories (as it is in SAP Analytics Cloud).

17. Will Report Story allow us to report on both Performance Management and Compensation Management in the same story?

Yes. You can add multiple queries to the same dashboard story and each query can contain data from different modules.

18. When creating a Report Story, does the tool respect Role-Based Permissions (RBP)?

Yes, Report Story respects RBP. Contact us for more details.

19. I want to create a report with data on promotions and compensation. How is that possible?

Managing promotions and job changes is done in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central. Therefore, a report with data on promotions and compensation should be based on Employee Central events and event reasons. For guidance, contact us.

20. Having a current data view on Story seems to work well. However, is it possible to view trend data on Story Reports such as headcount over the last 3 years or attrition over the previous 3 years?

Technically, it is possible to do limited time trending, such as a bar chart with Headcount 2024, Headcount 2023, and Headcount 2022. However, this approach is not recommended due to system performance and authorizations as Role Based Permissions (RBP) is as-of-date only. Our recommendation is to utilize SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics for any time trending-related needs. Get in touch with us for more guidance.

21. Is it possible to import and use an external HR data set in a dashboard?

Report Story supports data within SAP SuccessFactors. One option is to create a custom Metadata Framework (MDF) object and load data into this object, which is then available in Report Story.

However, it’s important to note that MDF objects are not intended to function as a data warehouse. Therefore, avoid loading gigabytes of data into them. For extensive cross-application analytics, we recommend using SAP Analytics Cloud Enterprise.

22. Is it possible to set RBP for Story Reporting differently than Report Center? We are aiming to create Story Reports with aggregated data and share it broadly. Can we ensure that no personally identifiable information (PII) will be displayed?

Currently, it is not possible to set RBP for Story Reporting differently than Report Center. It appears that the 2H 2024 release will introduce an innovation that allows users to create custom columns. For instance, it will be possible to create an Age Range column and grant users access to this information without giving them access to the "Date of Birth" column.

23. How do we make data like Comp Ratio or Pay range reportable on Story which otherwise is not reportable through ad-hoc reporting?

Compa-Ratio and Range Penetration in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central is calculated automatically in Employee Central and thus not stored in the database. For Report Story, you need to add the relevant tables and fields to the query to make the calculation.

Some companies create a custom field in Employee Central for Compa Ratio Calculated and build a business rule that stores the information to simplify reporting. For the SAP SuccessFactors Compensation Module, the current and future compa-ratio and range penetration are readily available in the Report Story query.

24. Do you still recommend using Classic design when building new reports in Report Story? What happens when Classic design is deprecated?

When building new reports in Report Story, we recommend using the Optimized Design Experience instead of Classic mode. Classic mode will eventually be deprecated and all Stories developed in Classic mode will need to be migrated to the Optimized Design Experience when this occurs. Reach out to us for guidance on this transition.

25. Search functionality in the Query Designer has suddenly stopped working for me (probably since the 1H 2024 release). Have you encountered the same issue?

Please report such issues to SAP Support via SAP 4 Me.

26. Do you have any best practices to follow to design a learning dashboard that leverages Employee Central data (country, legal entity, gender, etc.) and learning data (item type, completion status, learning hours, etc.)?

For cross-module reporting between LMS and BizX or Employee Central, we suggest replicating selected fields from the Employee Profile (or EC Job Information) into the LMS User Profile. This enables the using fields for filtering, dimension, sorting, and counting when selecting LMS as a data source for the Report Story.

27. Is all Learning data available for use in Stories?

You can see an overview of the available LMS tables in Stories here.

28. Is there an official announcement from SAP postponing the deprecation of Canvas and Table reports? And where can I find it?

The deprecation of Canvas and Table reports is mentioned in the 1H 2024 release from SAP SuccessFactors. You can find more information on SAP’s official release notes here.

29. Have you experienced performance issues running Story Reports in Edge rather than other browsers?

You should not experience different performance when running Story Reports in Edge. If you are experiencing issues, please review your browser settings and consider reach out to SAP.

30. Does Optimized mode have the same features that Classic mode has?

Not all features available in Classic mode are currently available in Optimized Design Experience. We expect SAP will enhance this in future updates.

31. One of the most common requirements is to track a specific headcount over a period of time, such as the monthly headcount on the last day of the month over the past 2 years. I cannot find a system solution to this - is this level of complexity not possible without complex calculations?

Please see question 20.

32. I often experience in related tables that the data appears blank, even though I have the RBP to view and access the data. While I can see data in the start table, the data down the tree or in associated/selected tables often remains blank. For instance, the User table always appears blank. What might be causing this?

Report Stories will follow field-level permissions and target population defined in RBPs. Certain permissions specific to Report Stories, such as being able to see data from the User (Basic User Information) table, require not only the view permission for those fields in Employee Data but also the Data access: User permission in the Manage User category.

33. Is it possible to add a vertical or horizontal scroll bar to a chart in Story Report?

Depending on the size of your component (chart or table) and the number of members displayed in the X or Y axis, Stories include a scroll bar if the number of members is too high.

34. Can the field "ANSAL in EUR" be added to a Story Report?

Not directly. The "ANSAL in EUR" field is a transient field, calculated automatically in Employee Central. As this data is not stored in the database, you will need to replicate the calculations within the report itself to report on it in Stories.

35. It is possible to track Table report utilization, but for Canvas reports, it is only possible by site statistics. Can you provide KBA to track Canvas report utilization?

Currently, it’s possible to track Canvas utilization in site statistics. In future releases, there might be an option to track Canvas utilization using Stories. For more detailed information and guidance on interpreting results from your audit reports, you can check out KBA or reach out to us.

36. Do you know when it will be possible to handle SAP SuccessFactors Recruitment data in Report Stories?

It’s possible to report on Recruitment Management data in Stories, and SAP has launched a template story focusing on Recruitment data. You can find more information about this template here. There will be additional data sources for Recruiting Audit in Report Story coming in 2H 2024. Contact us for more guidance.

37. How do I run usage logs on Canvas as this isn't supported in Audit Report?

Running usage logs on Canvas is supported but needs to be enabled. For more details, please see question 35.

38. How can we set up the usage logs for Table and Canvas and identify which reports are actually used?

Setting up usage logs for Table and Canvas reports is supported but needs to be enabled. For more details, please see question 35.

39. When importing Report Story templates, one of our Stories was available to all users which is not optimal. How can we prevent this?

We recommend that when you import the standard template, you go to the share options of the report, make sure no user/role/group is selected, and then save.

40. Is there a "VLOOKUP" formula in Report Story that can be used in the front end, such as a table with all Employee IDs and a separate table with all Manager IDs? Plus, can we look up Employee IDs in the Manager table?

No, there isn’t a “VLOOPUP” formula available in the Story Report for front end use. However, Manager IDs can be directly retrieved from the DataSource. Another option is to use link dimensions if you have the information coming in 2 separate queries. In this case, you can potentially link the User ID from the first query with Manager ID from the second query.

41. Does Report Story in SAP SuccessFactors allow users to create custom templates, such as incorporating a company-approved color scheme in diagrams?

Yes, you can create a report with a query and add visualizations, an intro page, and an appendix page. This report can then be saved with a specific name and shared with all report authors. It’s recommended to limit the number of report authors to ensure that they all have the same level of expertise and can use the tool effectively. If you need guidance on how to set up report lifecycle management and reporting governance processes, reach out to us at Effective People.

42. Effective People suggests that we set up usage logs for our current reports as part of the conversion job. Is this something SAP SuccessFactors offers as a standard function?

No, SAP does not provide consulting on this but may refer you to a KBA. You are welcome to contact Effective People for guidance on setting up usage logs for both Canvas and Table Reporting (and LMS PRD if needed).

43. The current limitation on the number of tables that can be used in Report Story is 30 tables. However, most of the current canvas reports have more than 30 tables used in the query. What is the solution?

With Report Story, additional fields are added to parent tables, which means that you need fewer tables in your query. From a performance and maintenance perspective, it’s not recommended to have 30 tables in a query for either Canvas or Story Reporting.

44. How do I share Story Reports in Report Story? We currently share Table reports via email and Canvas reports via a legacy distributor.

Report Story doesn’t have the same sharing options as legacy report tools. While you can share the report definition so that other users can run the report, the actual run of a story cannot be shared. Users who have access to run the report must run it themselves. However, if the story has a table component in it, this table component can be run “offline” and shared. SAP will enhance sharing options for the 2H 2024 release.

45. How can I find out if a story was created in Classic or Optimized mode?

This can be determined by opening your report. If it appears with a warning, then it’s in Classic mode.

46. How do I add translation in different languages to all header fields?

You can use inline translations to add translations in different languages to widget titles and page names. If field names are not renamed they should follow system translations.

47. In SAP SuccessFactors LMS, I experienced that rows in tables show “(null)” as a value. I would prefer that cells with null values show as blank. Can I change this?

This is normal behavior in a crosstab widget, and it’s not possible to change it.

48. Is there a way to display records without data in tables to easily see which records are missing data? For example, if I have a table with different values, I still want to see all dimensions, such as employee class, even if there is no value.

Yes, you can use the Show unbooked data functionality to display records without data in tables. When configuring the table or crosstab, hover over the respective dimension, go to more actions, and select Unbooked data. It will work if you have a minimum of one record in the data source with that value or dimension member.

49. Is it possible to apply different colors to individual Employee class or other dimension values in a table? For example, if I create a custom column that displays “Yes” or “No”, I would like “Yes” to display green and “No” to display red. This formatting works well in other visualizations, but I can’t get it to work in a table with conditional formatting.

Currently, an alternative for achieving conditional colors is working with thresholds, which can only be applied to numeric values (measures) in a crosstab.

50. We encounter duplicates of itemIDs in our LMS data because the course is being assigned in multiple ways. This results in the same individual having a row where there is a completion date and a row where there is no date. Is there any method to prioritize the row that has a completion date when duplicates occur?

This is a very specific case that requires in-depth investigation on a case-by-case basis. One potential approach could involve having two assigned items tables in your query: one filtered for records where the completion date is not null and another where the completion date is null. Then, you can create a calculated column where you concatenate the completion date from assigned items table #1 with the completion date of assigned items table #2. However, this is a high-level theory, that needs to be checked and tested thoroughly.

51. In the Query Design, which table should we add first and does this have any impact?

Selecting the first table in Query Design is important as it dictates the primary table for data retrieval, it should be the table from which you always want to get data. For Employee Central data, it is typically recommended to start with Job Information as this would be a good driving table.

52. When working with time data, is it possible to retrieve the clock time in a specific time zone? When reporting on timesheet data, SAP SuccessFactors returns UTC, which is incomprehensible for the managers consuming the reports.

If you are using Time Tracking functionality, there is a table available in Stories called Events. This table sources data directly from time events without converting the time to UTC.

For more guidance, please contact us—we are happy to help.

Erik Ebert

About the author

Erik Ebert is a Senior Director at Effective People and heads up the Compensation & Benefits team.

With over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, he has supported organizations across industries, implementing digital transformation strategies to improve performance. Erik holds 7 SAP SuccessFactors professional certificates and also serves as an SAP SuccessFactors Confidant, advising the SAP HR cloud team on market development and innovation.

Erik has a vast knowledge of analytics and HR, including Core HR, Competency Management, Talent Management, Compensation, Bonus Programmes, Recruitment and Workforce Analytics.

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