Standard & Ad Hoc Reporting in SAP SuccessFactors – Part 1

Standard & Ad Hoc Reporting in SAP SuccessFactors – Part 1

in jul 27, 2017

Reporting is one of the key platform features that SAP SuccessFactors pre-delivers. It doesn’t matter which module you subscribe to, the Org Chart, Welcome Page with Tiles, Employee Profile, Reporting and Admin Tools will be included. Depending on the module, you will also get some ad-hoc standard reports and dashboards. You can find the standard reports under Reports => Dashboards or Analytics, but the best place to consume reports is the new Report Center). Standard Reports are under the Analytics Tab => Reporting Center (classic version), and you can find some on the left under Ad-Hoc Reports (remember it still depends on the module and your role).


Standard & Ad Hoc Reporting Requires Standard Implementation

Standard Reports & Dashboards will work well if you follow the standard implementation. If you don’t use the standard fields that are used in the standard reports or dashboards, they won’t work anymore. This is important to note because you can’t change the standard reports or dashboards. So, it is important to consider the reporting requirements before you implement a module, because in some cases you could end up spending a lot of time and effort to create your own reports.

SAP SuccessFactors is a standard software, which supplies a best practice process as well as a nice and easy way to use it. I would suggest you think about your process and reports and have a look of the best practices SuccessFactors provides to see how you can match both to get the most out of the SuccessFactors suite.

Functionality & Features of Ad-Hoc Reporting in SAP SuccessFactors

In SAP SuccessFactors, you have the ability to build your own ad-hoc reports right away. These reports contain live data from the system. You don’t need to set up a BI system, nor do you need to configure anything in the Instance or Provisioning. The HR Cloud System provides you with different domains (similar to a database schema) that contains different tables for a module or “topic”. The following domains are available:

  • Performance (Performance Management and 360)
  • Goals / Objectives
  • Development
  • Learning
  • Compensation and Variable Pay
  • Succession
  • Recruiting
  • Employee Central
  • Employee Profile
  • Calibration
  • Role Based-Permissions

Please remember that some of these domains are only visible if you have subscribed to the specific module.

You can create an ad-hoc report either within one dimension (Single Domain Report), more than one data set (Multi Dataset Report) or merge different domains (Cross Domain Report). For some domains, there is also a secure layer domain available. Some of the things you can do with your ad hoc reporting include:

  • Sharing a Report with a colleague or a group of people
  • Control via RBP (Role Based Permissions):  Who can see, run and create ad hoc reports
  • Prioritise your reports (doesn’t have a huge impact on the performance)
  • Group by and filter options
  • Define a target group (depends on the domain)

Creating an Ad-Hoc Report is very straight forward and intuitive. In short you need to go through 5 steps:

More Details and Tips for Reporting Types

As mentioned above, you have three different types of domains for reporting. The differences are important, so that’s why I want to talk a little bit more about it.

  • Single Domain Reports allow you to query data from one Report Definition Type and are the default Report type option.
  • Multi Dataset Reports do not join data together and the report results from each selected Report Definition Type will appear on separate tabs in the output. Because there are separate tabs in the output, the file is an Excel Spreadsheet and cannot be output as a CSV file.
  • Cross Domain Reports join data in the query from multiple Report Definition Types. This information is displayed in one output list. You may add the same sub-domain more than once to allow multiple joins.

The Cross Domain Reports require a bit of technical understanding because you must define how to join another domain. That means when multiple domains exist within a report, you must define how those domains relate. The Relationships options let you define the Joining Field and Join Type between domains.

The Joining Field will list all fields available from which to join within a domain.

The Join Type gives you the option of an Inner Join (only includes results from the intersection between the two domains, such as where the joining record exists in both domains) and a Left Outer Join (includes all results from the Left domain and any relevant matching results from the Right domain).

Note: The Joining Field and Join Type have a significant impact on the report output!

Pros & Cons of Ad-Hoc Reporting in SAP SuccessFactors

As with all things, Ad-Hoc Reporting in SAP SuccessFactors has its pros and cons. If you need a simple list of data, you will get all what you need with ad-hoc reporting. For other reports, you may want to think about another solution or opportunity to fulfil your reporting requirements. But before I cover other solutions in the next parts of this article series (whether if it’s in SuccessFactors or not) let’s have a look at pros and cons of ad-hoc reporting:

+ Real-time reporting – no data replication required
+ Part of the platform
+ No additional cost
+ Available for all SAP SuccessFactors modules

– Limited capabilities to report on MDF objects
– Limited capabilities to report on effective dated information
– Limited cross domain reporting

I want to add a little more insight about the limits of ad-hoc reporting. If you implement a module in SuccessFactors, you can use both standard and customer fields. Standard fields are always reportable and most of the custom fields can be made to be reportable. In some special cases like Employee Central, the data structure with the Metadata Framework (MDF) is more dynamic and complex. That’s why they have a special reporting tool for it called “Advanced Reporting”, and the Online Report Designer (ORD) and Workforce Analytics also work with it.

At the moment, not all modules (called domains in reporting) are available for cross domain reporting yet (Last Updated February 2015). You can work with following modules in cross domain reporting:

Module Cross Domain?
Calibration Yes
Compensation Yes
Employee Profile Yes
Goal Management Yes
Learning No
Performance Yes
Recruiting No
Succession Yes
Variable Pay Yes

Conclusion / Summary of Standard & Ad-Hoc Reporting in SAP SuccessFactors

It is good to know that there are standard reports in SAP SuccessFactors so you don’t need to start from scratch. On the other hand, you really don’t have a lot of flexibility with these standard reports because you can’t edit or change them. That’s why ad-hoc reporting is so valuable. If you need a working list, basic data of employees, or data about your business or processes, you can get it live and directly from the system. It couldn’t be easier, but it is perhaps nothing you want to provide managers with, since the data output is not nicely visualised. You are also limited on some advanced reporting requirements, as I mentioned above.

Standard & Ad-Hoc Reporting are not big science. I personally think there is not that much to talk about, but it is important for customers to understand what they can do and where they may need other reporting tools. I look forward to presenting you more exciting stuff with the YouCalc Dashboard Builder, BIRT Templates for Ad-Hoc Reports, Online Report Designer (ORD) and Workforce Analytics (WFA) in the next articles.

This Article is Part of a Series on “HR Reporting and Analytics in SAP SuccessFactors”

SuccessFactors Training and Demo

You still don’t have enough and want to learn more? We offer various SAP SuccessFactors reporting trainings. If you have bespoke training needs, the packages can be adjusted accordingly. According to your requirements, we can prepare a demo to show how things work and which options you have. Don’t hesitate to contact us to ask for more information and guidance.


Written Chris Wilpert

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.

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