Reporting and Analytics in SAP SuccessFactors can be very exciting, but it can also be overwhelming for some people when they start to consider all of the possibilities. I will talk about that in a second, but first I would like to share more about Pixel Perfect Talent Cards (PPTC) in SAP SuccessFactors. Plainly said, it is a way to visualise data from your People Profile. In this article, I will tell and show you what PPTCs look like, which technology is behind them and what it might cost. And I will not just focus on theory. I will also show you how I recently realised a Pixel Perfect Talent Card with a German customer.
Let’s go back in time first
My passion is Reporting and Analytics! I remember a couple of years ago when I first started to dive deeper into SAP SuccessFactors and I heard about Ad-Hoc Reporting, YouCalc Dashboards, BIRT Templates, Online Report Designer and Workforce Analytics. I quickly learned that those aren’t the only reporting solutions since some SuccessFactors modules such as Recruiting Marketing (RMK), Learning Management (LMS) and Compensation have their own reporting. Despite all of these reporting options, we rarely hear about Pixel Perfect Talent Cards, which is a unique reporting solution that is kind of related to BIRT Templates. That’s why I wrote this article! Information about PPTC can be so difficult to find that even many SAP pre-sales or partner consultants don’t know about it. So, let’s just jump right into it.
What are Pixel Perfect Talent Cards?
PPTCs are a type of custom report based on an output file (Scorecard.xml). For example, PPTC can be configured to contain information of a People Profile 3 (PP3) section. Talent Cards are used to highlight key metrics of an individual employee in a customised format and can be executed through a tab in the People Profile or through the Quick Action Card.
- Talent summary / Talent reviews
- Succession planning reviews
- Customized resume formats
The benefits of PPTC seem obvious, right? It doesn’t matter if you have an annual talent review process or if managers use them internally for succession planning. PPTCs are a great way to get a comprehensive overview of the most important talent data from your employees.
No other reporting tool in SAP SuccessFactors delivers this format. Ease of review, desired experiences, mobility and succession information makes the Pixel Perfect Talent Card a very powerful and efficient tool.
Pre-requisites, technology and implementation
Now, you are probably interested in more Information about how to implement Talent Cards. I have good news for you. You can utilise Talent Cards with your SAP SuccessFactors Platform License, which comes automatically with every SuccessFactors module, regardless of which modules you have already bought or implemented. It is possible to realise the PPTC with the old v12 People Profile, but I do recommend the People Profile 3 (PP3) because it is FIORI-based. It is the go-forward solution and you will need to switch to PP3 at some point anyway. (If I am correct, the Universal Update is in Q3 2018).
You could actually build the Talent Cards yourself if you have people in your company who are familiar with BIRT. In that case, you would need to open a ticket and ask for the right permissions in Provisioning and also every time you want to upload a template, because that actually happens in Provisioning. If you work with SAP or a partner like iXerv, they will activate them for you. After that, you need to configure the scorecard.xml, which includes all of the data you need to visualise. The tool to build the PPTC is called BIRT. You can read more about BIRT here.
The outcome of BIRT is a template that you need to upload in Provisioning. PPTC is controlled by Role-Based Permissioning (RBP), so you can easily define who should have access. You also can have more than one Talent Card (e.g. Internal CV in PDF, Talent CV in PPT). That’s it – no magic – a real deal! The big difference between BIRT Templates or Ad-Hoc Reports and PPTC is that you create the template out of an XML file instead of the SuccessFactors database. In both cases, the data used is real time!
PPTC – A customer success story
Vaillant Group is a German company and global market and technology leader in the fields of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology. The company employs over 12,000 people worldwide and works with various modules of SAP SuccessFactors such as Recruiting, Learning and Compensation. Since 2015, I have completed several reporting projects with them in all those modules. In December, 2017, we are going live with the Vaillant Talent Card.
The business decision to use PPTC varies and I don’t want to go too much into the detail of customer-specific processes for reviewing talent, but I do want to show you how our project was realised.
We began with a demo couple of months ago where I showed the concept of PPTC and a very basic example. I think that’s very important because a customer needs to know what is possible in order to define data and get an understanding of the visualisation in BIRT.
Building different design concepts in BIRT can take a lot of time. I would always recommend the customer to create some mock-ups and then choose a favourite. First of all, you need to think about data. After the developer confirms that all of the data can be used, it is a pretty easy to go through several iterations for building the design. We had roughly three or four iterations for the design, until we got the final version. To sum it up:
- Pixel Perfect Talent Card Demo / Kick-Off
- Customer defines data / Designs mock-up
- Proof of Concept for data
- Beta version in SAP SuccessFactors / Design amendments
- 2/3 iteration to improve design (e.g., alignment, spaces, colours, icons)
- Final version with RBP rights
How much does Pixel Perfect Talent Cards cost?
Customers never get tired of hearing “it depends” … so, what kind of variables make up the price? How many data objects / fields do you want to realise? How fancy should the design be? Should the Talent Card be available in different languages? What is the desired outcome format (PDF, HTML, PPTX, DOC)? Footer or Header? How clear and fixed are your mock-ups? Insider Tip: Complex logic out of existing data (e.g., 9 Grid Box) can consume a lot of time. What we realised for Vaillant:
- Language: EN
- Outcome Format: PDF
- Data Objects: 11
- Difficulty Design / Logic : Medium
- Footer / Header: Yes
For everything described above, we needed 9 working days (customer hours not included). My assumption is that you will need between 6 – 15 (6 easy, 10 medium, 15 difficult) working days to create a Pixel Perfect Talent Card in SAP SuccessFactors. Of course, this is not a guarantee. Feel free to contact us to discuss your needs. I am also happy to receive any kind of feedback or comments!
You should know that Ad-Hoc Reports, ORD, YouCalc Dashboards and BIRT Templates will be replaced by SAP Analytics Cloud one day. It was an official announcement from SAP in 2017. Nevertheless, there is no sunset date yet for any of these tools and it remains open how long you will be able to use them. Let me share some of official comments from the Report Product Management Team:
Is it still worth to invest in PPTC?
“It is likely this type of technology will be updated in the next 2-3 years”
Will it be sunset with BIRT one day?
“Currently no plans to sunset the BIRT framework and all new PPTC are still being built on this technology”
Will it be possible to build PPTC with the SAP Cloud Analytics?
“We are working with the SAP Analytics Cloud Team to create this type of functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud. This offering will not be available straight away when we start leveraging SAC for reporting but it is a high priority deliverable for this project”.
Chris Wilpert is an SAP SuccessFactors consultant at iXerv. Chris is SAP SuccessFactors-certified in Employee Central, Recruiting Management and Workforce Analytics and holds a Master’s degree from Technische Fachhochschule Wildau.