EMPLOYEE CENTRAL INTEGRATION WITH BOOMI
by Brandon Webb
SAP’s purchase of SuccessFactors in 2012 left a lot of people curious how these unique and established HCM platforms would integrate. Prior to SAP’s purchase of SuccessFactors, the platform of choice for integration with SuccessFactors was Boomi, a quickly establish frontrunner in cloud integration.
Boomi was built by a start-up outside of Pittsburgh, and acquired by Dell in late 2010. Dell strategically saw this as a foothold in the cloud integration space, and continues investment to further mature the product. SAP is aggressively developing their Hana Cloud Integration (HCI) tool, which will ultimately be the SAP recommended platform for SuccessFactors integration.
That said, Boomi’s strong user base, preassembled SuccessFactors adapters and overall solution maturity continues to drive increasing adoption of Boomi. Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platforms illustrates Boomi’s prominence in this space. As a gift to customers, SAP/SuccessFactors continues to bundle an instance of Boomi into all Employee Central purchases.
Many of us in the SAP HCM community were unfamiliar with Boomi. Its prominence in the Enterprise Integration space is impressive. Over the last few years our development team has gained a lot of appreciation for the tool’s flexibility, embedded application connectors and process management suite. The Boomi product team has done an excellent job at creating an all-encompassing web-based interface for designing and managing even the most complex enterprise business processes. Process steps and components are displayed in a very thought-out way via the visual designer, making the process-flow comprehendible to both technical and non-technical users.
Process steps can be created via a simple drag-and-drop action. The process reports are extremely helpful, allowing developers and administrators to dig deep into a process’s underlying web-service request-and-response data on an as-need basis. We think businesses will quickly appreciate the abundance of hours saved for creating application-specific connections, parsing requests, field mapping, and coding application logic.
Integrating Employee Central (EC) with Employee Central Payroll (ECP) is a common and critical effort for SAP customers transitioning to the cloud. ECP should look very familiar to those currently running their payroll with ERP on-Premise because behind the curtain ECP is also powered by an ERP system. The main difference is that ECP is a SAP-hosted ERP system that’s on the highest available release. In an EC/ECP integration Employee Central is the master data system, so users must be replicated to ECP. We found that using the combination of the EC Payroll Issue Monitor, Boomi reports, and SAP transactions like SRTUTIL and SLGI creates a transparency that simplifies inevitable troubleshoot.
Integrating EC with 3rd Party Cloud Providers is also supported by Boomi. SAP’s Pre-developed Boomi processes (iFlows) integrate EC with BenefitFocus, WorkForce Software, BSI, ADP, etc. You can view and install these process templates via the Boomi process library. This library will be the source of all the iFlows needed for your unique implementation.
While these integrations are no small effort, you’ll find that SAP’s iFlow-specific handbooks give you and your SAP partner a huge head start. The predefined data-mapping packaged into the workforce iFlow (see image) is evidence of SAP’s effort to work closely with these HR vendors in building these iFlows.
There are many cases where customers have the requirement to integrate Employee Central with on-premise applications. This is where corporate firewalls become an issue. Dell has overcome this obstacle with the Local Atom, a secure way of connecting Boomi to resources behind the corporate firewall. Setting up a virtual machine that will host the local atom is practically all that’s required by your IT Administration.
We recently developed a custom Boomi process to connect Active Directory and Employee Central where AD would send EC values where it was the system of record (e-mail, phone, username).
After SAP’s blessing of the Boomi platform, there were a lot of question surrounding Boomi licenses. Prior to our first Boomi integration, conversations with SAP and Dell led us to discover that the licensing model is actually quite simple: if you purchase Employee Central, Boomi licensing is available to you for free!
The scope of the licensing agreement is what you’d expect. You’re licensed for every custom or SAP developed process (iFlow) where Employee Central is either the Service Provider or Service Consumer. For instance, with a SuccessFactors explicit Boomi license, integrating Employee Central with Active Directory is permitted. On the other hand, using Boomi to integrate Active Directory with SalesForce.com would fall outside of this agreement.
The Boomi Platform paired with SAP developed processes (iFlows) is an excellent solution for integrating your Employee Central instance with on-Premise and Cloud applications. While there were a few hiccups in the early versions of the iFlows, SAP is committed to working with their Partners to support and continually improve the iFlows
We have Boomi certified consultants available to answer your questions or help you on your project. If interested please contact our Directing Manager Jason Anderson.