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. For other data types that reside in forms or templates such as Goals, Performance, and Recruiting module-specific permissions also play a role. If you experience challenges concerning this, please contact us as it can be rather complicated.

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 (in case of different third-party time registration systems in use at the company). Contact us if you need guidance on this topic.

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

No, this is not yet possible. 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. There are no standard Report Story templates yet, but Effective People has some content 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 easiest method is to create table reports (e.g., list of employees, list of Employee Central [EC] Events) and schedule the table report daily to an FTP site. Then, have the CSV file picked up by the receiving analytic system and processed there. The correct method is to use SuccessFactors Integration Center or SAP Integration Services and create an outbound integration with the same result. There are no standard content templates, but Effective People has experience in the area that will get you started.

6. Will Report Story be able to pull data from Workforce Analytics?

No, this is currently not possible and there is nothing on the official road map indicating that it is planned.

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

It was worse 6 to 12 months ago, but SAP has put a lot of effort into improving it. We are not yet 100% satisfied, but we know that SAP is still working on fixing some performance and stability issues, so we are confident that it will eventually be all right. There are design considerations to be aware of when designing story reports, which will affect performance stability and responsiveness. Contact us if you need advice or support with this.

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

With Report Story, you need to understand the domain (e.g., Employee Central or Performance & Goals), master the tool (Report Story), and understand RBP to build a report. Learning Report Story will take two days of training. You can wait for an SAP SFX Masterclass or ask Effective People to deliver a training program for you.

9. 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. You cannot easily create a new measure without the involvement of the SAP Data Services team, which is a bit cumbersome and costly. Contact us for more details as there may be workarounds or other means, depending on your needs.

10. 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). There are different ways to do this; contact us for guidance if needed.

11. Are we moving towards Stories and WFA? Will Table, Tiles/Dashboard, and Canvas reporting be deprecated? What is the plan for those?

Table Report, Canvas Report, and Tiles and Dashboards will eventually be deprecated. However, SAP has not yet announced this. Once it is announced, expect at least a one- to two-year cutover period until they are finally removed. Our current expectation is that all existing tools will continue as is for the next 24 months (about two years) at the minimum.

12. Is it possible to see vacant positions with canvas reports over time? To my knowledge, vacant positions can only be fetched as of today. So, we need to do snapshots every first day of the month.

No, for time trending you need to use SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics.

13. From a customer experience, Stories were not well optimized, has that changed?

From an SAP SuccessFactors partner experience, Stories has had some technical difficulties. Not so much in design, usability, visualization, and calculation capabilities but more in stability and responsiveness (response times have been very bad). It was worse 6-12 months ago, but SAP has put a lot of effort into improving it. We are not yet 100% satisfied, but we know that SAP is still working on fixing some performance and stability issues so we are confident that it will eventually be all right. There are design considerations to be aware of when designing story reports, which will affect performance stability and responsiveness.

14. Is it possible to show data trends in Report Story? Or is that only possible in Workforce Analytics?

Time trending should always be done in Workforce Analytics. Although it is technically possible to do in Report Story, the responsiveness and stability are greatly impacted beyond reasonable use, so it is not recommended. 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. Use each tool for what it was designed for.

15. 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.

16. 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 or contact us for more information.

17. How many lines of data are you able to 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. The latter is more comprehensive. If you need more guidance, reach out to our experts.

18. 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.

19. Is it possible to insert filter input controls in the dashboard, for example, by gender or year? (Using SAP Analytics Cloud, in which it is possible)

Report Stories is a “simpler” 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).

20. 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.

21. In canvas reporting, it was difficult to report on compa-ratio from SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Compensation data as it was a transient field. Is this easier in Report Story?

No, it is the same as in Report Story. However, in compensation forms, the compa-ratio is stored as a number, which makes it easier to report on the data.

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

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

23. 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.

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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