SAP Metadata Framework Centre (MDF)

The Metadata Framework, or MDF as it is popularly known, is SAP SuccessFactors’ solution to build custom applications and custom objects. MDF is a UI-based configuration and extension framework that provides creation, modification, maintenance, and deletion of custom objects (called Generic Objects) within the SuccessFactors BizX suite.
 
The current way of creating Generic Objects is a multi-step process and can sometimes be cumbersome, even for a seasoned consultant. The MDF Extension Centre is the latest feature that has been released in version 1608 to simplify the process of building Generic Objects. The MDF Extension Centre can be visualised as a one-stop-shop for custom objects and picklists.
 
In my blog, I’d like to compare these two methods.
 

Old way of doing things

 
The current way of creating objects is displayed below with the following images:
 

 

 

 

 

The New way

 
Before the MDF Extension Centre can be accessed the feature needs to be turned on in Provisioning. The following images show the steps involved to active MDF:
 

 

 
The UI is pretty cool and aids in searching for existing objects or creating new ones. The objects counter on the left is a great utility for developers.
 
The MDF Extension Centre UI is neatly laid out making it user friendly.
 

 
The various properties associated with an object – fields, relationships, workflows etc. – are easily accessible from a single screen (refer image above) without having to navigate multiple screens.
 

 

 
Steps 3 and 4 are common to both methods.
 

To summarise:

 

 
The new feature has the following benefits:

  • Enhanced UI
  • Reduced number of navigation steps

 
Hopefully this information gives you a better understanding of the MDF Extension Centre. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact KALTech for all of your SuccessFactors solutions.
 
Pramod
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on November 10th, 2016.

Working smart with KALES

As seen in our previous blogs, KALES is delivered via a smooth and impressive UI. Some key innovations which have been developed are highlighted below:
 
Thumb It: This concept is built into the system and ensures true mobility functionality and experience. The system enables users to scroll and select items that they want to see, thereby reducing effort during administrative activities. For example, employees may view their current and previous payslips directly on the app with all related information displayed on the one screen.
 
Thumb it
 
Mail It: You can request your leave balance or payslip without even logging into the system, Yes, that’s right! This is a zero user interface concept. Typical requests and FAQs can be answered by sending an email to a designated email ID, without logging into the system. For example, if an employee wants to know their leave balance, they can type “Leave balance” in the subject line of the email and a response will be emailed back within 20-30 seconds with their current leave balance. The system is also quite intuitive; you could type in “LB” or “Leave Bal” for the same enquiry. The system will even reply back with a help guide highlighting allowed parameters should a request be misspelled or incorrect.
 
Mail it
 
Hub It: Users and administrators can build a single window of the most frequently used processes and reports. This is a single cockpit of processes. This feature entails a payroll hub, recruitment hub and a time and attendance hub. All payroll activities can be completed in the payroll hub such as payroll processes, timelines In addition, the payroll configurator facilitates automation of routine processes which reduces administrative effort. This ensures efficiency and effectiveness.
 
Prompt It: The system is intuitive and can prompt next steps based on past behaviour of the user. This feature is provided through Genie, our intelligent system.
 
Another interesting and innovative feature is the Wizard Interface. This means that any activity performed by a manager/admin can be arranged in a logical sequence. We have a pre-packaged wizard or conversely, custom wizards can be built by users. In the employee creation wizard (as seen in the image below) all the windows necessary for creating a new employee are open such as: employee file creation, assignment information, additional information, compensation information and bank details.
 

 

 
The most recent innovation is called Empsense. With this feature you can capture the mood of your organisation to better manage your business. Each employee can plug in their moods and this will generate a statistical percentage of how many employees are happy, not happy or just okay.
 
With more advanced features and options available, talk to KALTech about how KALES could be the solution for your organisation?
 
Louise
KALES Consultant

This entry was posted on October 20th, 2016.

SuccessFactors 1608 release login page enhancements

A customised login page for KALTech
A login page customised with the new options from release 1608
 
I have a background in HTML and design so to me user experience is one of the key metrics I look at when evaluating the system. An engaged user is a happy user. A bored user will spend less time using the systems an organisation has in place. That’s why I’m happy to explore the new login page customisation options available in release 1608.
 
SuccessFactors already had the ability to customise the login page through HTML/CSS which is the option that will give clients the most amount of flexibility. KALTech implemented this solution at multiple customers who are very satisfied. However customising the login page in this way is best reserved for those with knowledge of HTML and CSS as well as a basic understanding of responsive design.
 
As of release 1608 SuccessFactors provides a basic set of options to customise the login page. Please note that the standard login screen has also changed in 1608.
 
Theme manager navigation
 
Here are a list of the options defined in the “theme manager” section of the “admin center”:
 

Login Background

 
Do not change settings – Doesn’t change any settings (default).
Use this theme’s settings – Use settings defined in other parts of the active theme.
Use solid colour – Choose using the colour picker or a hex code.
Upload an image
Repeat – Whether or not the image should repeat on the x, y or both axis.
Position – Position of the image.
*Note that the image does not scale
 
Overlay option – add either a black or white layer at a given opacity. A black (dark) layer at 83% will darken the image considerably. A white (light) layer at 15% will lighten the image slightly.
Background type – colour of the background text in either dark or light.
 

Login logo

 
Use your company logo – Not recommended due to resolution issues.
Use SucessFactors logo – Use the SFSF logo on the login page.
Upload a logo – The most common option (I recommend this).
 

Login button

 
Do not change settings – Default settings.
Use this theme’s settings – Use theme settings.
New style settings – configure the below options.
Text colour – Text of the login button.
Text colour hover – Text colour on hover.
Background colour – Background colour of the button.
Background colour hover – Background colour when hovered.
Disabled text colour – Changes disabled text colour.
Disabled background colour – Changes disabled text colour background.
 

Login Footer

 
Colour scheme – Changes the footer text to either white (light) or black (dark).
 

Issues

 
There are a few issues with this option though.
 
Flash of default background – The default background loads, then the custom background loads. This looks unprofessional to me.
 
Lack of customisation – Things like a simple hover transition or making the background image scale to the page are impossible without using the custom login page option.
 
HTML version
An example of a fully customised login page. Note that there are very few limits to this type of design.
 
Despite the issues that this new feature presents, it is a great option to have none the less. I imagine this will keep many customers happy until a fully customised solution can be tailored to their needs.
 
Feel free to contact KALTech to understand how we can create a custom look and feel to your SuccessFactors instance.
 
Ben
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on October 5th, 2016.

Sneak peek into Job Profile Builder

Job Profile Builder is a platform component, it encompasses Job Families, Roles, Competencies and Job Codes. In my experience existing customers can upgrade to JPB for increased capability and new customers can leverage this across talent management modules. In this blog I wish to explain the significance of JPB for organisational growth and its relationship to other modules.
 
Job Profile Builder is a flexible and intuitive tool for recording elements of a job shared across Recruitment, Performance Management and Learning Management System. It allows customers to identify right skills, experiences, competencies and behaviors required for each role within the organisation.
 
Job Profile Builder is a replacement for legacy Job Families, Roles & Competencies framework. It expands beyond to allow customers to build complete Job Profiles with multiple content types.
 
Job Profile Builder from SAP
Job Profile Builder from SAP
 

Job Profile Builder in Employee Profile

 
Employee profile is what I would call an online resume summary as it provides a snapshot of employee skills, education, certificates and licences etc on a single screen. With JPB employee skills can be stored in a portlet and searched by Single, Multiple Skill and use “Find Someone Like” functionality to ensure the best fit possible. This functionality allows employees, managers and the organisation to tap talent easily.
 
In addition, position descriptions stored in JPB can be accessed through employee profile as seen in the image below:
 
Job Profile Builder in Employee Profile
 
Also SuccessFactors comes with an out-of-the-box, ready to use Job Profile library. This is industry verified content with 13K+ skills in 250+ pre-defined Job Families, each with 4-7 Job Roles with skills pre-mapped and each with 5 levels of proficiency.
 

Job Profile Builder in Recruitment

 
In Recruitment, we’ve seen that customers can store job descriptions, skills, qualifications, required experience, education, certifications, competencies and behaviours for every position in the organisation. JPB helps in identifying suitable candidates and uses Job Profile builder data for promotions, career advancement and development opportunities among employees.
 

Job Profile Builder in Performance Management

 
Competencies and associated behaviours stored in JPB can be integrated into Performance Review, in the competency section. PM forms competencies, writing assistant descriptors and behaviours come from JPB.
 
Job Profile Builder in Performance Management
 

Job Profile Builder in Succession

 
Planners, Managers and employees can search skills from the company directory, allowing them to search and find people with particular skillsets for requirements. Position profiles allow users to manage profiles by position instead of only by role as skills, competencies etc.
 

Job Profile Builder in Career Development

 
In Career Worksheet, users can view development skills and job profiles.
 

Why is JPB valuable to organisations?

 

  • Centralised management of job descriptions, competencies and standardised job descriptions for all the positons in the organisations.
  • Job Requisitions can be pre filled based on description, competencies, skills and interview questions etc.
  • JPB allows employees to view their skills and assess their need for training and development. Managers can assess and have an inventory of those same skills.
  • Addresses the threat of underqualified staff while developing the skills the organisation requires.
  • Allows visibility into a talent pool so it can be better mobilized to capitalise on growth opportunities.
  • Provides consistent job references for nuanced headcount planning and thoughtful workforce planning.

 
Talk to us at KALTech about JPB – we can assist you to migrate or implement JPB so you too can experience the KALTech difference.
 
Shwetha
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on September 20th, 2016.

SuccessFactors LMS iContent Configuration

SuccessFactors LMS
 
While studying for my SuccessFactors Learning Management Systems (LMS) certification, I often came across the term ‘iContent’. Throughout the course I got the distinct feeling that iContent was a complex creation of the ‘SAP gods’ and was sent as a blessing to SuccessFactors LMS users and consultants alike.
 
The role of iContent with SFSF LMS
The screen above is SAP’s official explanation around the term iContent


Here’s a screen from SAP and the official text around iContent:
‘iContent is intended to uniquely solve some of the toughest e-learning issues you may face, including storage, maintenance and assured delivery. With Content-as-a-Service (CaaS), we handle the storage, infrastructure, bandwidth and delivery, management, security and updates. You as the customer gets an easy, efficient user experience. I’m generally one to shy away from jargon. So I wasn’t surprised when (true to nature) I went back to my reference study notes and found that I had defined iContent simply and possibly naively as ‘25gigs of free SFTP storage space’. Although I’ve found that definition to work for me, please don’t quote me on that.
 
This blog is my attempt to demystify iContent for you using some research that I carried out on a recent LMS implementation. Listed here are the 4 process steps required.
 
Step 1: Getting SAP to provide you with an iContent location
At times I felt that this was the most difficult step of the process. For some reason, SAP hadn’t provided/set up a deployment location when the customer instance was set up. So we had to raise an incident on the SAP launchpad to get this going. This took us close to 2 weeks with updates shuttling between SAP and KALTech Group.
 
Step 2: Creating your own deployment location
Think of a deployment location as a folder on iContent. I’d suggest setting up a short folder structure to logically group content at a high level. Use the provided path and create your own deployment location. ‘LMS Admin ➜ Content ➜ Deployment Location ➜ Add New’.
 
Note: SAP or the implementation partner needs to provide some of these settings.
 
LMS configuration settings example
 
Step 3: Import content into your Deployment location
Let’s assume that you have your SCORM content readily zipped in a file to be uploaded. Use the steps under ‘Content ➜ Tools ➜ Import Content’ to import the content into the folder path that was set up in step 2.
 
Import content in LMS
 
Note: Once the content has been successfully uploaded, log into your allocated iContent server with the credentials provided by SAP to validate the successful upload.
 
Step 4: iContent validation and Launch
Use the path ‘Content ➜ Content Objects ➜ Search’, to find and validate the settings for your content object. To test your settings you can now go ahead and assign the content object to an item and subsequently to a user.
 

 
An additional tip here is to use the job aids/admin guides on community hub to get a better understanding of the steps illustrated above.
 
Hopefully this information gives you a better understanding of iContent with SuccessFactors LMS. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact KALTech for all of your SuccessFactors solutions.
 
Sanchit
SuccessFactors Consultant

This entry was posted on September 7th, 2016.

My introduction to the ‘real world’ of HR

KALES
 
As a HR graduate, I did not know what sector of HR I wanted to work in. HR has such a broad scope but I knew that I wanted a job with responsibilities and not to be stuck under one hat so to speak. Throughout my course, I did many interesting and different subjects such as Strategic Human Resources, Training and Development and Industrial Relations. It was an interesting concept learning HR through the textbook knowing one day that I would be a HR practitioner in the real world. I was anxious and motivated to work as soon as I graduated. After long anticipation, I got an opportunity at KALTech Group as a HCM Consultant in the graduate program.
 
As KALTech is a HR software implementation company, it has shown me a ‘behind the scenes’ view of HR processes. In addition, I am exposed to multiple facets of HR and HR processes. I now have a greater understanding of how payroll is configured and the processes involved. I have a better understanding of how an employee can request training or be assigned training and how an employee accrues leave or applies for leave. It has been a huge learning curve and KALES has given me the key to my growth and further development. KALES is a division of KALTech which focusses on overall Employment Solutions.
 
At university, textbooks were my learning reference whereas now I get to see that learning in a practical way. An example was when I received my first payslip. The textbook explained that a HR Manager is also in charge of a component called payroll. Payroll ensures that employees get paid for the work they do. I have now seen that there is a process behind payroll and the payslip is just the end result. The person in charge of payroll must keep master data updated so that each employee is paid correctly, tax and other deductions need to be calculated accurately and of course, paid. Each employee has a different salary structure and this needs to be factored into the processing steps as well.
 
As I mentioned earlier, I did not know what HR position I wanted to be involved in. However, being a HCM Consultant at KALTech for KALES has provided me an insightful understanding of HR. Instead of being stuck in one sector of HR, I am now seeing HR from different streams.
 
I was not exposed to many HR software solutions, however, with my involvement in KALES, it has certainly enthused me. KALES is a cloud solution that manages all HR processes entailing Core HR, Time and Attendance, Payroll, Talent Management and Recruitment. The system is smart and futuristic too as it also has a zero user interface concept called ‘Mail It’. Users do not need to log into the system with Mail It. They can request information such as leave balance by emailing a designated email id. The system knows how to efficiently communicate recurrent information. It is the future of HR in my opinion.
 

HCM Product Map
 
The system is intuitive and very easy to use. It has been designed in a way that makes HR processes simple and logical. There is also a very smart and magical function called a ‘Wizard’. It helps managers/admins perform lengthy tasks in a logical and sequential way. For example, when creating a new employee, the wizard will set up tabs open for this process such as employee file creation, assignment information, compensation information, maintain documents and bank details.
 
Lastly, wouldn’t it be great to be able to apply for leave, clock in a timesheet and view your payslip all on your mobile? Well with KALES, it is already possible! We have a mobile app which enables users to do the activities they usually do on their computers, conveniently on their mobiles! KALES understands that people are busy in a fast paced environment and efficiency is key.
 
Simplify access
 
Some of my personal highlights at KALTech so far are:
– Performing my first demo to a client – seeing all the hard work I invested to perform the demo and have the knowledge and communication skills to run through the KALES system to the CEO, CFO and other board members.
– Being the first candidate in the graduate program – it has been a huge learning curve. I have been provided with an adequate platform for learning opportunities and personal development .
– Flew interstate to deliver a demo to a prospective client.
 
I am now an enthusiastic and excited HR Consultant and with the knowledge I gained over the past few months, I am keen to work more on innovative HR systems discussing and providing robust HR solutions to clients.
 
Louise
KALES Consultant

This entry was posted on August 31st, 2016.