SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central time management choices

If implementing SuccessFactors Employee Central is in your company's future, you should know which options you'll need for time management. Here's a look.

Time recording forms the basis of paying employees, invoicing customers and allocating costs across different cost centers. It is especially important in industries such as manufacturing, the public sector and professional services, among others. Vacation booking and leave of absence are also important processes that touch every employee, whether they need to record time or not.

If you have implemented, are implementing or are planning to implement SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, and you are looking to identify your different options for time management, there are a number of options available to you. It's worth noting that, without Employee Central, you cannot perform any time management in SAP SuccessFactors or integrate with many -- if any -- time management systems.

SAP's ongoing, significant investment in time management in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central -- coupled with packaged integration to SAP and other time management vendors -- means the choices and options are ever-changing for customers. While SuccessFactors native Time Management feature is strong, there are many scenarios where it may not be the best fit for your needs.

In order to ensure SAP can meet your needs, it offers Solution Extensions from some of the leading time management software providers. The vendor also offers integration with SAP ERP to support the use of its on-premises SAP Time Management and Cross-Application Time Sheet software. Additionally, there are a variety of other time management vendors that might be a better fit from a localization and compliance perspective.

Employee Central Time Management

Employee Central's native Time Management module covers time recording, time evaluation, vacation booking and leave-of-absence recording. It is included in the subscription for Employee Central. SAP's goal for Time Management is to provide a product that can handle most basic salaried and hourly employee scenarios.

However, SAP has been clear for some time that Employee Central Time Management will never be as capable as the Solution Extensions for time management, particularly in areas such as scheduling.

Time Management is integrated with Employee Central Payroll, and SAP provides a packaged integration to SAP ERP Payroll. At the time of writing, Time Management does not have clock integration, but this is currently on the roadmap for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Time Management's strength is in vacation booking, both in the web application and in the mobile application. The software is highly configurable and supports absence management across multiple different countries. The time sheet and time evaluation capabilities are growing in strength with each release. However, being a lot newer than the vacation booking functionality means these lag behind in the extensiveness of functionality.

At present, it cannot handle requirements for time sheets that need multiple approvers, support for flextime or integration to a clock. The time sheet application, in its current form, is also unlikely to handle any sort of time recording that needs a reasonable degree of complexity.

Solution Extensions

SAP resells software by other vendors as Solution Extensions. The software products are often given new names when sold by SAP. Solution Extensions are also supported through the SAP ONE Support Launchpad, and the vendor releases and maintains packaged integrations for Solution Extensions.

SAP offers two Solution Extensions for time management:

  • SAP Time Management application by Kronos
  • SAP Time and Attendance Management application by WorkForce Software

The SAP Time Management application by Kronos -- more commonly known by the vendor name, Kronos -- is Kronos Workforce Dimensions packaged and resold by SAP. It is SAP's go-forward Solution Extension time management offering after the partnership was announced in January 2019. Workforce Dimensions was released in late 2017 and is a new product, although Kronos is a recognized leader in time and attendance software, and Workforce Dimensions is its next-generation product.

SAP has resold WorkForce Software EmpCenter as SAP Time and Attendance Management application by WorkForce Software since 2015. But when talking about the announcement of the Kronos reseller agreement, SAP told us that "WorkForce Software is still a valued partner, but, as of today, SAP Time Management by Kronos is the Solution Extension we will be positioning to our customers who have advanced time and attendance requirements."

Both the WorkForce and Kronos products cater to complex time and attendance scenarios, particularly in more specialized industries and verticals. However, both vendors' products have been touted as being U.S.-focused and not well-localized outside of North America. WorkForce Software has proven integration with SAP ERP Payroll and Employee Central Payroll -- as well as other vendors -- and is particularly strong in the area of U.S. leave-of-absence management.

Another important consideration is both Kronos and WorkForce Software are committed to keeping their software up to date with the various regulations for the countries and regions that they support and incorporating the necessary changes into their products. On the other hand, with SuccessFactors, this responsibility often falls to the customer.

Exploring both the WorkForce and Kronos options is wise, even though SAP only put forward SAP Time Management application by Kronos. The products offer similar features that are worthy of comparing.

SAP Time Management and Cross-Application Time Sheet

Employee Central's native Time Management module covers time recording, time evaluation, vacation booking and leave-of-absence recording.

Unless you are already using either or both SAP Time Management or Cross-Application Time Sheet, then most likely implementing either of these would not be suitable for a move to the cloud.

However, if you are already using either of these products, then the packaged integration provided by SAP for the Core Hybrid model -- where you use Employee Central for core HR and SAP ERP for other processes, such as time management and payroll -- will provide you with the necessary integration to continue to use these software products while your core HR data sits in Employee Central.

While integration for core HR data exists, and both software products can integrate well with SAP ERP Payroll, you may find the user experience and modern time management features lacking. SAP Fiori technology can be used to enhance the software and offer mobile capabilities, so you don't need to invest in new time management technology when you are already investing time and money in modernizing your core HR system.

Other time management options

There are multiple time management applications on the market that can be integrated with SAP SuccessFactors. ADP eTime is popular software in the United States, while ATOSS is focused on the Germany market and its local rules and regulations. Other markets will have products built for specific requirements or trends in time management that are prominent within those specific markets. As long as the products have APIs or capabilities to import and export data via CSV, then there is the possibility of integrating them with SAP SuccessFactors.

However, it is worth noting that being a customer that uses a rare or specific combination of software means there is greater risk of integration, as typically neither vendor can justify supporting these integrations or building out similar standard-delivered integrations.

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