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Recap Guide to the SAP SuccessFactors H1 2023 Release

Maximize the benefits of the SAP SuccessFactors 1H 2023 release with our guide—we’ll help you get the most from your release management.

With the 1H SAP SuccessFactors release soon in production, now is the time to review the updates that will affect your system. In this guide, we’ll share the most impactful release items from the newest SAP SuccessFactors release. Happy reading!

Platform (Foundation)

1. Customizable Quick Actions

This feature within the SAP SuccessFactors Foundation allows for more flexibility on the Home Page. You’ll be able to:

  • Create up to five custom quick actions, with many of the same configuration options as custom cards but with the same design pattern as standard quick actions.

  • Change the order of both standard and custom quick actions (except for Reminders and Favorites, which always appear last).

  • View the list of quick actions on a separate Manage Quick Actions page, instead of a dialog window.

The level of impact of this release is high. Effective People recommends that you review the opportunities for improving the user experience in your SAP SuccessFactors solution.

2. Horizon Visual Theme is automatically On by Default

The Horizon visual theme represents the latest evolution of the SAP Fiori design system, introduced in the second half of 2022, and is now available on the most commonly used pages in the HXM Suite. It has replaced the legacy SAP Fiori themes Quartz (for Fiori 3) and Belize (for Fiori 2).

This new visual theme offers a purely visual change, with no impact on functionality or data. Users will notice the following visual updates when interacting with pages that feature the Horizon visual theme:

  • Refreshed visual treatment, including rounded corners and drop shadows.

  • Updated typography, with modifications to font sizes and weights.

  • Improved icon set.

  • Upgraded color palette with higher contrast.

  • Enhanced spacing, including margins and padding.

This new theme not only offers an updated look and feel but also serves to improve user experience and facilitate ease of use. 

The level of impact of this release is medium. Effective People recommends that you review this and update any guides and training materials this might have been impacted. The adoption of the Horizon visual theme is recommended to users seeking a more modern and user-friendly interface.

3. Dynamic Teams

A dynamic team is formed by people coming together for a specific purpose. It isn’t defined by the formal organizational hierarchy and reporting structure.

Key capabilities of Dynamic Teams include:

The level of impact of this release is low. The functionality is still in its early stages, so wait and see what the next release provides.

Employee Central

1. Enhancements to Recurring Pay Component Imports

With this latest release, users will benefit from a significant change of behavior when importing data for a recurring pay component record that lacks a corresponding Compensation Information record. The system will now automatically create a new Compensation Information record to match the recurring pay component record. Users will notice a message displayed on the Import Employee Data page, informing them of this change.

The impact of this release is high, as it represents a significant improvement in the import process for recurring pay components. Previously, the process involved two separate imports and was often prone to errors, resulting in a cumbersome experience for users. The simplification of this process is a step forward in data management, providing users with a more streamlined and efficient workflow. We believe this change will have a positive impact on data imports and will benefit users greatly.

2. Prevent Deletion of Global Information on Editing UI

The latest release now offers an option to prevent users from deleting Global Information records on the Editing UI of People Profile blocks. By enabling this setting, users will no longer be able to perform the following actions in the Edit UI:

  • Delete a record of Global Information.

  • Change the value in the business key field country, this is regarded as deleting the original record.

  • Delete a record of Global Information and add another record for a different country or region.

The level of impact of this release is high. Effective People highly recommends that users enable this feature to ensure the data quality of Global Information, especially if you have Employee Self-Service use implemented. This will ensure that data is not inadvertently changed or removed, which could potentially cause Reporting or Downstream system impacts. By implementing this feature, users can rest assured that data integrity is maintained, and the risk of errors or inconsistencies is minimized.

3. Configurable Decimal Places for Pay Component Groups

A new configuration feature has been added that allows you to specify the number of decimal places for pay component groups. By default, the system is set to display three decimal places. However, you can now choose between zero and five decimal places using the dropdown list, which is consistent with the configuration for pay components. Once the number of decimal places is configured, it will be reflected in various areas of the user interface, including People Profile, Manager Self-Service (MSS), History UI, Compa Ratio/Range Penetration, and Compensation Widgets.

The level of impact of this release is medium. It’s important to note that certain countries may have different requirements for displaying decimals for the annualized salary. As such, we recommend that you review this enhancement against your business requirements to determine if it meets your needs for handling different decimal requirements for salary in various countries.

Time Management

1. Automated Reallocation of Time Account Balances Based on Employee Time Changes

With this enhancement, it is now possible to automatically trigger recalculation of time account balances associated with a particular absence type, based on the defined posting order. This ensures that absence requests are allocated to the correct time account even in cases of overlapping periods.

For instance, one absence is requested in March, followed by another in February. If the entire time account balance is consumed by the March absence, there may not be enough balance left in the oldest time account to deduct the absence in February. With this feature, all absences in the overlapping period are reallocated to the appropriate time account based on the defined posting order.

Previously available in Early Adoption, this feature is now generally available. It’s recommended to deactivate or remove any workaround you have in place after activating the feature.

This enhancement has a high impact on the self-maintenance of the system, eliminating the need for manual intervention during periods of overlapping time accounts.

2. Copy Working Times, On-Call Times, and Allowances in Time Sheet

SuccessFactors Time now has a functionality that enables the copying of working times, breaks, on-call times, and allowances within the time sheet. This feature allows users to easily transfer their recordings from one time sheet to another.

Once configured, the Copy button and the Paste button are visible on the Time Sheet UI, and you can copy your recordings from one time sheet to another time sheet. You can enable this feature for a specific time type by opening the relevant time profile and setting the “Is Copyable in Time Sheet UI” field to Yes.

This new feature provides a significant benefit to both employees and managers by reducing the time required to complete and manage time sheets. This enhancement will improve efficiency and streamline time sheet management.

Example of Time sheet

3. Replacement of the Old Time Sheet UI with the New Time Sheet UI

The old Time Sheet UI has not been maintained after December 9, 2022, and will be permanently removed on June 2, 2023. Since the H2 2022 release, the new Time Sheet UI is an admin opt-out option.

We strongly recommend updating any processes that depend on the old Time Sheet UI to work with the new UI as soon as possible. To ensure a smooth transition, please upgrade to the new UI before the release date and allow adequate time for change management activities.

Recruiting Management

1. Enhancements to Forward as Applicant for Evergreen Requisitions

Enhancements have been made to the Forward as Applicant feature for Evergreen Requisitions. With this update, recruiters can now easily forward a candidate as an applicant from an evergreen requisition to its child requisition, regardless of the candidate visibility option. This feature supports forwarding of both multiple and single applicants. However, if no parent-child relationship exists between two job requisitions, the candidate visibility check still applies. In the case of multiple candidates, validations continue to take place. For a single applicant, the option is available depending on the candidate’s privacy setting.

To set candidate visibility, candidates can use the “Make My Profile Visible” to section on the Candidate Profile creation page. This update has a low impact and improves the recruiting operator experience.

2. Enhancement to Quick Apply

A candidate with an existing account, applying for a job requisition or job posting that has been defined as Quick Apply, now has the option to accept or reject the updated Data Privacy Consent Statement (DPCS). A dialog is displayed if any recent changes were made to the DPCS statement.

Previously, the candidate had to log on to the candidate profile to accept new DPCS before proceeding with the Quick Apply application.

The level of impact of this release is low and improves the candidate experience.

Onboarding

1. Configurable New Hire for Onboarding

This enhancement allows customers to use the configurable new hire functionality from SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central during onboarding, making the onboarding process more efficient. Personal data collection and additional data collection are now combined into a single step, streamlining the process for both the HR team and new hires.

You can create Hire Template and use a business rule to select the appropriate template. Within the Hire Template, you can add, remove, and rearrange the order of blocks, as well as add standard and custom metadata framework (MDF) objects to the configuration. Two template types are available: Onboarding New Hire and Onboarding Manager.

2. Custom Email Notification Triggers Using Business Rules

This enhancement allows users to configure custom triggers in an email notification template using the new rule function “Trigger Email Notification for Onboarding Processes.” This feature is particularly useful for triggering emails for onboarding process steps that are not supported by preconfigured email notifications. Users can configure this rule function for various onboarding processes, including new hire and rehire data review tasks, manage pending hires, personal data collection, and custom data collection.

Overall, this feature provides users with greater flexibility and control over email notifications in onboarding processes.

Performance and Goals

1. Lastest Goal Management

The latest Goal Management is now generally available to all users, bringing with it several major features to help improve your Goal Management. With the latest version, users can benefit from these major features:

  • Manage personal and team goals.

  • Copy goals or create goals from a goal library.

  • Cascade and assign goals.

  • Manage linked activities, learning resources, milestones, comments, and linked OKRs for goals.

  • Use advanced people search, audit trail, and legal scan.

Goal Plan Extended

The level of impact of this release is high. Effective People recommends that you upgrade to Latest Goal Management to take full advantage of your solution.

2. Create Goals from a Goal Library

One of the new features in the latest Goal Management is the ability to create personal goals from a predefined goal library. To use this feature, the latest Goal Management must be enabled, and a goal library must be linked to the goal plan. Goal library files must also be imported in the languages of users, and the necessary permissions must be granted in XML configurations.

In iOS and Android SAP SuccessFactors Mobile apps, users can now create personal goals from a predefined goal library as a new way to create goals with the latest Goal Management.

The level of impact of this release is medium. Effective People recommends that users test and decide if they want to enable this feature. 

3. Work with the Latest Team Goals in iOS and Android Mobile Apps

The latest version of Goal Management also includes new capabilities for working with team goals in iOS and Android mobile apps. Users with the proper permissions can create, edit, or delete team goals, access team goals from their own goal plan, assign team goals to people from their team or people found via search, unassign team goals, and share ownership of team goals with others. Activities linked to and comments left on an assigned team goal are also available in its details if properly configured. This feature is available if Team Goal is in use, and the level of impact of this release is considered medium.

Succession and Development

1. Customize Mentoring Email Notifications

This update allows for customization of mentoring email notifications in the Admin Center under Mail Notification templates settings. This means that users can tailor email subject lines and body text to meet their specific business needs and can choose to disable certain types of email notifications. It is important to note that all email notifications are enabled by default and that the list of supported emails can be viewed in Email Notification Templates Settings. Effective People suggests that users evaluate whether all notifications should be adjusted or turned on/off, as this update has a high level of impact.

2. Approvals for Mentoring Requests on the Latest Home Page 

Mentors can now accept or decline mentoring requests directly from the Approvals section on the Latest Home Page. This feature applies to both open enrollment and unsupervised mentoring programs, where mentees can send mentoring requests to mentors.

When a mentee sends a request, the Mentoring Request to-do task will appear on the mentor’s home page. Mentors can then accept or decline the request without having to navigate to a different page. Alternatively, mentors can choose to view more details about the program before responding by following the View Details link.

The impact of this release is considered medium. We recommend testing this feature on your Latest Home Page before fully implementing it.

3. Career Worksheet Data in Story Reports Now Limited to Target Population

The latest update limits the Career Worksheet data visible in Story reports to a user’s target population, including their current and target roles. To ensure accurate data visibility, it’s advisable to review user permission settings for viewing Career Worksheet data in Story reports.

Role-Based Permission Prerequisites:

User -> Reports Permission -> Create Story.

Permission for the Career Worksheet is selected and granted.

User -> Career Development Planning -> Data Access: Story.

Permission of relevant Career Worksheet templates is selected and granted. The target population is specified.

Learning

1. Learning Integration with Talent Intelligence Hub

SAP SuccessFactors Learning can now be integrated with the Talent Intelligence Hub framework, allowing the addition of competency and skill attributes to learning items, programs, objectives, and tasks. This replaces the use of competencies with attributes, both on the admin and user sides.

While the level of impact for this release is medium, it is highly significant. Effective People recommends exploring the potential benefits of this integration between Talent Intelligence Hub and Learning.

2. Enhanced Course Home

The Course Home experience is enhanced with support for manager actions, approval comments, associated attributes, and other requested functionality. 

The level of impact of this release is low. Effective People recommends testing all features in Course Home experience (enableCourseHomeBlended=true). It will be enforced in the H2 2023 release.

3. Addition of Learning-Based Template Stories in Content Store

The template stories are not being delivered in Content Store with the H1 2023 release.

Three new templates are (soon) to be there. The level of impact of this release is low. Effective People recommends that you keep an eye open for when the reports are available.

Compensation & Variable Pay

1. Planner Audit Feature for Compensation Planner

SAP SuccessFactors Compensation Planners can now easily track changes made to compensation, variable pay, and total compensation worksheets by exporting the change history. This feature eliminates the need for administrators to audit changes made to the worksheets, providing Planners with greater visibility and control.

To enable this feature, navigate to the template settings tab and select the Enable Planner Audit tick box. Once enabled, Planners can select the Auditable field on each column they wish to track changes for in the design worksheet tab. After launching the worksheets, Planners can access the Export Change History icon to view the change history. It is important to note that this functionality can only be enabled if there are no launched worksheets for the template.

Standard and custom fields can be selected for auditing, but only up to a maximum of tenfields per template. This enhancement provides Planners with a new level of control and insight into their compensation processes.

2. Deprecation of Legacy Executive Review Filters for Compensation

The legacy Executive Review Filters will be replaced with the new advanced filters. June 2023 is the end of maintenance of the legacy filters and no further enhancements or bug fixes will be done after this time. The filters will be removed altogether from May 2024.

Existing Executive Review Filters will be replaced by the Advanced Executive Review Filters on June 2, 2023. You can delay this change for one year by opting out of this update.

To opt-out of the June 2, 2023 update and retain the legacy settings, go to Admin Center > Tools >Compensation Home > Actions for all plans > Company Settings > Manage Company Settings. You disable or uncheck the box for Enable Advanced Executive Review Settings to retain the legacy settings.

If you choose to optout of the June 2, 2023 update, your Executive Review filters will be automatically replaced by Advanced Executive Review filters on May 17, 2024. When this final update takes place, the Enable Advanced Executive Review Settings checkbox is removed from your company settings.

3. Advanced Executive Review Filters Are Now on by Default

Previously, in H1 2021, SAP introduced the Advanced Executive Review filters. With the advanced filters, you can filter on all viewable fields in the template.

SAP’s plan is to deprecate the old filters, and it’s recommended to move to the enhanced if you haven’t already. The Enable Advanced Executive Review filters checkbox on Actions for all plans > Company Settings > Manage Company Settings is now checked by default; there is a prerequisite before you’re able to start using the new filters and that is to enable the CompFilters in miscellaneous permissions in role-based permissions.

Old filters will no longer have maintenance on them by June 2023 and will be deleted altogether by May 2024.

Analytics and Reporting

1. Optimized Design Experience for Story Reports

The Optimized View Mode is automatically enabled, and you can’t disable it for stories built using the optimized design mode. Further, the Data Analyzer replaces Explorer View. The sections within the Builder Panel are collapsible, and all the Charts are consolidated in a single menu, and a Chart Add-ons section has been added for enhanced usability.

The Available Object List displays all the objects that are associated with the respective data model.

You can use optimized view mode on your new and existing Story reports. The optimized view mode along with optimized design is called the optimized story experience, which offers new story design capabilities.

Optimized Story Experience in SAP WFA

The level of impact of this release is high as Explorer view goes away and the new design experience reduces story loading time. Existing reports must be updated or converted, which can be a process of simple to medium complexity.

Notice: The feature will not be available during the preview release due to technical issues. SAP plans to enable it in both the preview and production environments on June 2, 2023.

Release Management

This guide contains a selection of some of the key enhancements from the 1H 2023 release. If you’re interested in diving deeper into the new release, we highly recommend that you check out the SAP What’s New Viewer for details on each release item. We also offer release management services including workshops that are specifically designed for your company’s setup and roadmap. By joining our workshops, you’ll:

  • Learn what’s new in the latest release and what you should prioritize

  • Gauge the impact of the latest release items both in terms of specific modules and cross-module processes & dependencies​

  • Gain awareness of any effects on existing functionalities that will affect your setup

Release Management overview

Benefits of a Release Review:

  • Establish a strong understanding of the upcoming release, its impact, and its relevance to your organization​

  • Receive input for updating your configuration—now or in the future

  • Enjoy the benefits of an updated release item tracker, including impact assessment and prioritization

Contact your Effective People team to book your next release review.

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About the author

Anders Hummeluhr is an experienced senior SAP SuccessFactors consultant at Effective People.

Anders has experience with all areas of the SAP SuccessFactors suite. He specializes in Employee Central and integration with SAP HCM and has been working with SAP and SAP SuccessFactors since 2016.

Anders also has a deep and functional understanding of both the Compensation module and Platform in the SAP SuccessFactors suite.

Contact Effective People

Need support with release management in your organization? Get in touch today.

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