SAP & SuccessFactors Certification: My EC Delta Certification Experience
By Chris Wilpert, iXerv
In February 2014, I got my Employee Central Certification and had to renew it in 2015 to include the proctored Exam in the Certification Hub. Since then, a lot of things have changed. In 2016, consultants had to take Delta exams in order to keep their EC Certification. I passed the first one in January 2016. Since it was the first Delta Exam for one of the SAP SuccessFactors modules, I would like to share my experience of it with you and provide more information about SuccessFactors Certifications in general.
SAP SuccessFactors Certifications
In 2015, SAP introduced the new Training & Certification Shop of SAP. With this change, the SAP Learning Hub, SAP Credential Manager and SAP Certification Hub became really important for all consultants and consulting companies.
Update (15.09.16): In addition to the real Delta Exams, there are new Delta Assessment Tests after every Release Update with Delta Content available in the Learning Hub. Please read more in the article “SuccessFactors Release Updates – Delta Content Exams for Partner“. EVERY SAP SuccessFactors consultant has to do this Delta Assessment Exams!
One of the biggest changes was that the normal Associate Certifications – the ones you normally do after your training course – weren’t enough anymore. After the course (either a booked course with a trainer or self-assigned from the Learning Hub) you have to do a proctored exam. The following Associate Certifications are available for those proctored exams:
- C_THR91_1505 – SAP Certified Application Consultant – SuccessFactors Onboarding
- C_THR88_1508 – SAP Certified Application Associate – SuccessFactors Learning Management Q3/2015
- C_THR86_1502 – SAP Certified Application Associate – SuccessFactors Compensation
- C_THR82_1411 – SAP Certified Application Consultant – SuccessFactors Performance and Goals
- C_THR81_1505 – SAP Certified Application Associate – SuccessFactors Employee Central Q2/2015
And two Delta Exams:
- D_THR88_1508 – SAP Certified Application Associate – SAP SuccessFactors Learning Management Q3/2015
- D_THR81_1505 – SAP Certified Application Associate – SuccessFactors Employee Central Q2/2015
Recruiting Management should be coming soon, and more will follow. I will describe later how a proctored exam looks, but first I want to talk about Delta Exams.
Consultants who are certified in an SAP SuccessFactors module need to pass Delta Exams. I guess the reason is simple – SAP wants to make sure every consultant is always up-to-date with new developments. Of course, SAP also makes money with these Delta Exams. There are four releases every year, and some modules are rapidly developing so it is challenging to stay up-to-date with every release.
What is a Proctored Exam?
As mentioned above, in some SAP SuccessFactors modules you need to do an additional exam via the Certification Hub. The 6 attempts can be used for one exam (but be aware that you just can use 3 attempts per Certification) or for 6 different Certifications. If you fail one Certification after 3 attempts, you need to wait for the next version of this Certification.
In the Exam Dashboard, you can choose the exam and schedule an appointment. After that you will get an automatic email with confirmation of the appointment details. Appointments can be rescheduled at any time. Before you take the exam, you should download Questionmark Secure and check if your system and connection are compatible.
If you start the exam you won’t have access to anything on your computer, since the software will ask you to close everything before you start. You will be connected to a person who will ask you to show the room you are in and your desk (which has to be empty). You are not allowed to read the questions out loud and obviously no smartphones or further help is allowed.
After finishing the exam, you get the results immediately (in %) and confirmation if you have passed or not. You don’t get any details of which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly.
History of Certifications and the first Delta Exam in SAP SuccessFactors
I got my EC Certification in February 2014. At that time, you had to pay $3,500 USD for 3 weeks of daily training. I really enjoyed it since I had a nice learning buddy (she is still very successful in the German market). We didn’t have to do an exam. Our final test was to configure and demo an EC Instance for about 15 minutes. I liked the idea of this approach, because you really had to get hands-on and do something with SuccessFactors, instead of just learning everything by heart.
Nevertheless, in the last two years a lot of things in Employee Central have changed. Foundation Objects moved to MDF (in 3 steps), Business Rules cover a huge and important part in EC, more things can be amended in the Instance (BCUI) and a lot of things got better and easier. And that doesn’t even include Position Management and a lot more… (You may want read some articles from Luke Marson)
There are a lot of new things that you need to know as a consultant. That’s why I think SAP thought it’s time for a Delta Exam to prove the knowledge of Employee Central consultants. I personally think they are totally right. Employee Central is probably the module where the most things have happened in the last few years and, in my opinion, it is the most important module in the SAP SuccessFactors suite.
How to Prepare for a Delta Exam
Everything you need to prepare for a Delta Exam is in the Learning Hub. Check Learning Content if you have the “Employee Central HCM Academy Learning Room” assigned for you. Check the Learning Room and you will find the tab “Delta Release” with 3 documents:
- 1502 EC Flipbook
- 1502 EC Implementation Handbook
- 1505 Content and Exercises (Link for more content)
Update (08.08.17): For some time, there have been own courses for Delta Assessments out.
Basically you have to review the complete EC course with the named Delta Version (1505 at the moment). You could also check all the Release Notes for every release to know about the changes in Employee Central. Update (08.08.17): All courses are up-to-date now, so there will be no further need to use this special tab. If you have had some SAP SuccessFactors projects, most things will be very familiar and you should focus on the new features like Position Management, MDF Objects, Business Rules and Time Off.
The Training & Certification Shop also gives you good advice about the content of the EC Delta Exam. For Employee Central, the exam is arranged as:
- Events and Language Implementation > 12%
- Foundation Objects and Generic Objects > 12%
- Data Models 8% – 12%
- Manage System Security 8% – 12%
- Manage Employee Data and Position Management 8% – 12%
- Manage Time Off 8% – 12%
- Rules and Workflows 8% – 12%
- Importing and Exporting Data < 8
You also find some test questions to practice with. The best preparation for me was a little MDF example with Business Rules and Workflows. It also helped to have a look at the XML files. An understanding of Data Models, Time Off and Configuring & Amending Data is also important. Not all the questions in the Delta Exam of EC are just theory based. You have to know where features are in Employee Central and how to change and work with Data and Configuration changes. But more about this later.
My Employee Central Delta Exam Experience
I was a bit nervous about the Exam since I had no idea about the questions. I had just finished an MDF Demo Showcase a week before for a client and it turned out that this was the best preparation for the exam. I spent around 2-3 days reviewing the Delta Exam documentation and the Implementation Handbook. It’s very hard to say if you are well prepared or not as you can’t study all 600 pages from the EC Flipbook by heart.
In my opinion, you should take care of your overall understanding how EC works and where to configure different things. I am not an expert in all topics and in my case I had to carefully repeat Time Off and Import / Export. If you have implemented EC before and regularly work with configuration, it’s not that hard to pass the Delta Exam. You just have to pass 40 multiple choice questions and with a pass mark of 63% (26 questions). That doesn’t sound like much, but don’t underestimate it because there are lots of questions where 2 or 3 answers are correct. If you miss one correct answer, then you do not get any points for that question.
There are some questions I found tricky and had to check afterwards. Maybe it’s because I am not a native English speaker or I never read or heard something be referred to like that in EC.
In general, I recommend you have a close look at the mentioned topics for Employee Central.
Learning Hub Access with Quarterly Delta Certification
With the new quarterly Delta Certification, you can’t really be a SuccessFactors consultant without permanent Learning Hub access. If your employer doesn’t provide you with personalised access to a Learning Hub, here’s how you can get one for yourself.
Where can I get more information?
There are a number of places to get more information. The two SAP Training and Certification shop links below contain useful information, as well as the two SCN blogs:
- SAP Certification in the Cloud (includes FAQs)
- The Training and Certification Shop
- Exciting Changes in SAP Cloud Certification Blog
- SuccessFactors Certification Plans for 2015 Blog
- SAP SuccessFactors Professional Certification Level Blog
Partners can get information from SAP PartnerEdge (make sure you are logged in);
- Video: iXerv’s Luke Marson and Insight’s Julie Henner at SuccessConnect
- An Update on SAP SuccessFactors Localization Services
- Join iXerv at SuccessConnect 2018 in Las Vegas
- SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics (on HANA)
- A Guide to Understanding and Navigating Your SuccessFactors Options