Myth Buster – Cloud is Inflexible

By Bryan Johannsen – Senior HCM Consultant.

As more customers consider their own road map to “The Cloud”, one question often arises regarding the flexibility – or lack thereof – of cloud-based applications. Business process owners are accustomed to applications that can be customised to suit their specific needs, particularly those applications that have evolved through the traditional ERP on-premise road map.

Historically spoilt by customisation of applications, it is understandable why process owners ask questions regarding flexibility of cloud applications.

  • Can we still manage our complex processes?
  • Can we still provide our managers with the custom tools, that they are used too?
  • Do we need to take a step backwards?
  • Can we still provide key KPI’s to our decision makers?

The below blog provides some useful content to answer these questions.  It will cover two approaches to Cloud Extensibility, and provide some useful examples of what can be achieved using the approaches.

If you want to know more, please provide your details on the contact page and submit your request. 

1.      SuccessFactors – Meta Data Framework (MDF):

The MDF functionality in SuccessFactors provides a set of useful features that enable process owners to build custom applications and realise better ROI. MDF allows extensibility of your Cloud SuccessFactors application and is integrated to the existing ‘My Employee File’ functionality. Some other benefits of this extensibility approach:

  • Can capitalise on the existing Business Rules engine that is available within SuccessFactors
  • Can capitalise on the existing Workflow engine
  • Can integrate the custom UI (user interface) into the existing application UI
  • Can report on the custom functionality, using Advanced Reporting capabilities
  • Can capitalise on the existing data import/export features available within SuccessFactors
  • Can capitalise on the existing Role Based Permissions features available

Let’s look at a business example to illustrate this extensibility approach:

Company Property Register

In this example, company asset details are recorded against employees. This information can be used to support downstream processes like asset management and asset recovery.  Role based permission will restrict access and only allow the ‘Asset Manager’ Role to assign and update the information.

The custom MDF, Company Property, is integrated to the Existing ‘My Employee File’ functionality:  


Equipment Type details can be maintained for employees and updated over a period of time, using standard ‘date effective’ functionality. This will allow time based reporting on company property:


Custom business logic can be added using the rules engine available in the application.  Below is an example to illustrate the use of the standard business rules capability:


Role based permission can restrict access according to business security requirements.  In the below example, the ‘Asset Manager’ Role restricts access to the content available in ‘My Employee File’.  Only the Company Property menu and other basic menus (like Employee Profile and Org Chart) are available to the ‘Asset Manager’ role:


2.      HANA Cloud Platform – HCP Extensibility:

The solution enables you to extend your SuccessFactors scope with Extension Applications, running on SAP’s Platform as a Service (PaaS), in order to meet growing business needs.

Key Functions of this Platform Extension:

  • User Experience
  • Harmonized end-user experience across the standard SuccessFactors modules and Platform Extensions
  • Admin and end-user ability to discover, trial and author new extensions to solve new business needs
  • Application Development
  • Out-of-the-box services for building and deploying extensions that reduce the time-to-develop apps
  • Connectivity to SuccessFactors and On-premise to reduce overall integration efforts & costs
  • Partners + SAP Store
  • Growing number of Partners and Extension Apps that are marketed through the SAP Store

Feature highlights of the Extension Capabilities:


Let’s look at business examples to illustrate this extensibility approach:

People Insights – Management Dashboards

Below is an example of some KPI reporting in the form of management dashboard that can be integrated to the existing application UI.  The HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is used to connect to the SuccessFactors application and then present the output in a user-friendly UI application:


People Insights – Metric Scorecards, Forecasts and Predictive Analysis

The HANA Cloud Platform is used to extend the standard application and offer add-on functionality in the form of Metric Scorecards and Forecast Models.  Below are more advanced KPI examples:


Predictive forecasting extensibility is possible, using existing integrated application data:


The predictive results can be calculated based on custom defined business variables.  This is possible within this extensibility approach. Volunteer Redundancy Example:


The predictive results can be calculated based on custom defined business variables.  This is possible within this extensibility approach. Leave Forecast Example:


To answer the question – can Cloud Applications offer flexibility?

The answer is YES – Myth Busted!!

If you’d like more information or a demo of these custom extensions, then please contact us using the form here. Thanks for reading!

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