What is Stories in People Analytics?

SAP SuccessFactors Stories in People Analytics (Stories) is the next generation of SuccessFactors reporting included with all SuccessFactors modules. It has been generally available since the H1 2020 release, and key features include:

Stories will be the eventual replacement for the existing SuccessFactors reporting tools, which include Table/AdHoc, Canvas/ORD/Advanced Reporting/Detailed Reporting, and Tile-based Dashboards.  

Why is Stories in People Analytics so important?    

There are three big opportunities:

1. Simplify, simplify, simplify

Going forward, Stories in People Analytics will be the single tool used for SuccessFactors transactional reporting: list reports, charts, dashboards, and other interactive visualizations will be created in this tool.      

Chances are you have created dozens or even hundreds of reports in your existing reporting tools. With Stories, you have a two-pronged opportunity:

  • Analyze and understand your existing reports to determine which ones your report consumers absolutely need going forward.
  • Re-imagine how you can meet your organization’s HR data needs with this new toolset.

2. Become a more data-driven organization

A data-driven culture is a critical component of a modern HR organization’s success. And for data-reluctant individuals or teams, list reports or data dumps into Excel are a significant impediment to becoming data literate. Interactive visualizations and dashboards like those you can create with Stories can be a key driver to spurring data literacy in your organization.  

3. Reduce visualization rework in other tools

With Stories’ visualization tools, you now have the ability to create great visualizations directly with your live SuccessFactors transactional data. As mentioned previously, RBP integration enables you to increase the reach of your data so division heads, directors, and line managers see only the appropriate organization data in these reports.

The best run businesses use real-time data to make important decisions quickly and efficiently. Stories in People Analytics offers the ideal visualization toolset to do just that.

If you would like to learn more about the capabilities that Stories in People Analytics offers, visit us at www.gpstrategies.com or leave a comment and I will respond to your questions.

Are you getting started with People Analytics or looking to take your HR reporting and analytics capabilities to the next level? This is the second article in a series of People Analytics Strategy Briefs where I discuss People Analytics topics in short form.

Today, let’s talk about data literacy and the HR Business Partner (HRBP) role.

The Data

The Josh Bersin Academy recently posted survey results after asking companies how HRBPs in their organizations are perceived.


Source: Josh Bersin Academy LinkedIn

What do each of these categories mean?

Ignored: It’s rare that anyone comes to us for data.

Transactionally: We’re seen as sources of data, but nothing else.

Core team players: We’re central to linking data, people, and the business.

The experts: We’re seen as the people to turn to for data-driven problem-solving.

What should Your Goal be?

More than 50% of HRBPs are perceived transactionally, and while it’s a small win that HR is at least being asked for data, I suggest the goal for most organizations should be to advance their HRBPs to the Core Team Players category.

Suggested Steps

How do you do that? First, your HRBPs don’t need to be data wizards. You should already have strong analytics expertise or should be working on building those skills in your core People Analytics team.

With that said, what are some steps you can take to advance your organization’s HR business partner data literacy?

1.  Make data-driven decision-making an HR mandate and ensure all HR team members are aligned.

2. Assess HRBP data literacy skills and ask for leadership from your most analytical team members.

3. Use analytics in talent processes and be sure your HRBPs understand and share those analytic outputs with their clients.

4. Encourage HRBPs to influence client projects so that they include data and ensure decisions are fact-driven rather than instinctual.

5. Make your People Analytics professionals available to HRBPs. Set up periodic office hours and make sure they have allocated time for impromptu projects and HRBP mentoring.

6. Begin building some data skills with your HRBPs. Start simple with Excel, and expand from there.


Are your HRBPs perceived to be data-driven? What have you done to increase data literacy? Let’s discuss. Feel free to reach out to me directly or share your thoughts in the comments below.

Are you just getting started with people analytics? Are you looking to take your HR Reporting and Analytics to the next level? This is the first article in a planned series of People Analytics Strategy Briefs in which I’ll discuss some people analytics topics in short form.

Three Essential Components for People Analytics Success

In my experience as a people analytics practitioner and consultant, I’ve found that there are three essential components for people analytics success:

  • Data and tools
  • Analytical team
  • Data-driven organization

Data and Tools

First, you need clean data from your HR source systems (HRIS, performance, learning, etc.) and a great data visualization tool that enables leaders inside and outside of HR to interact with the data.

Analytical Team

Next, look to build a people analytics strategy team with HR acumen, an analytical mindset, and the ability to tell stories with HR data.

Data-Driven Organization

Finally, ensure that you have executive support for your team and objectives, and buy-in from HR and the business as a whole to accept and act upon your people analytics outcomes and recommendations.

People Analytics Success in the Near Term

That’s it! Three components are explained in just a few sentences. Now go out there and get it done!

If it were only that simple… The reality is that as the importance of people analytics continues to grow, you likely already have a mandate to establish a people analytics team and generate data-driven insights for your organization. Results are needed today, not beginning in months or years.

With that in mind, you don’t necessarily need all these components established at a top level to get started and have success with people analytics. Here are some ideas to get past your roadblocks and generate momentum:

  • If your organization is skeptical about people analytics, find an ally and start with a smaller project or analysis.
  • If you don’t have entirely clean data integrated in a single system, do some manual integration and data cleansing in Excel.
  • If you are short on talent,reach out elsewhere in your organization for analytics expertise and support.

Hopefully you found this People Analytics Strategy Brief useful. Does it resonate with you? What would you add? What else would you like to read about? Let’s discuss—feel free to reach out to me directly, or share your thoughts in the comments below.

Visit our SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics page to learn more about how we can help your organization get on the right track.


If you are an SAP SuccessFactors customer, you’ve likely heard about the new SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics. New reporting and visualization tools are coming soon. What does this mean for your existing reports? What can you do to prepare for the transition? And when People Analytics arrives, how can you make the most of the new features and functionality?

SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics: The Basics

First, what is SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics? People Analytics brings together SuccessFactors reporting and analytics solutions into three editions: embedded, advanced, and planning.

The embedded edition comes free with all SAP SuccessFactors modules, while advanced and planning editions have additional license fees.

Note: This post is specifically focused on People Analytics, embedded edition. For more details about all three editions of People Analytics, see our related blog post.

People Analytics, Embedded Edition Quick Points

What is People Analytics, embedded edition all about? Here are some key highlights:

  • SAP Analytics Cloud business intelligence and visualization tools are embedded within SuccessFactors.
  • A single data model is created with transactional data for all SuccessFactors modules.
  • Report Center will continue to be the starting point for SuccessFactors reports.
  • Expected general availability is June 2020, as part of the H1 release.

That’s People Analytics, embedded edition at a high level. Now, what steps can you take to be ready for the transition?

People Analytics, Embedded Edition Action Items

Step 1: Understand your existing reports.

To begin, take an inventory of your existing HR reports.

First, think about all reports that have SuccessFactors source data. This includes:

  • Canvas/ORD
  • Table/AdHoc
  • Tile-based dashboards
  • Reports from other tools, such as Excel, Access, or another business intelligence tool

Then make a report inventory. Include the following:

  • Title
  • Business purpose
  • Audience
  • Key fields (you don’t necessarily need all fields at this time)
  • Output type (list report, chart, pivot table, etc.)

Take this list and prioritize it. But wait—aren’t all the reports that you’ve created high priority? After all, you created them to meet a business need, right? That is true, but …

It may have been a few years since you rolled out your SuccessFactors modules; at that time, you created a suite of reports. How did you do that? You worked with your report consumers to understand the processes they support and their reporting requirements, and created these reports with the tools you had available at the time.

Are those reports used as they were initially intended? Have the underlying business needs changed? Does the format (spreadsheet, chart, etc.) still make sense? Are the reports still necessary? Reach out to some of your key end users to understand which reports are important, what is working well (and not well), and what can be improved. They probably have some insights and will be happy to share.

Keep your prioritized report list handy, and be ready to refer to it in the following steps.

Step 2: Explore the capabilities of the new tools.

Although People Analytics, embedded edition is not available until June 2020, you can begin to learn new features and capabilities now. Here are some resources:

  • Take a look at GP Strategies’ detailed dive into SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics
  • Access the Reporting, Analytics, and Planning section in the SuccessFactors Community (S-ID required) for documentation, webinars, and collaboration with other customers and SAP product teams here
  • Also visit the preceding community to access recent reporting and analytics webinars (S-ID required)
  • Join the People Analytics Jam Group for additional updates by sending an email to SAPSuccessFactorsPeopleAnalytics@sap.com with your name and work email

With these resources, begin to think about the capabilities of the new SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics, embedded edition, and consider how you might be able to solution your existing reports. Could separate list reports and charts be combined into a dashboard? Can you enhance a pivot report with drill-down capability? How about emailing report output on a recurring schedule instead of running it manually? Can you combine data from multiple modules? Be creative! Collaborate with your end users again, think about how you can make their experience better, and improve how HR data is used in your organization.

Coming up⁠—Part 2

In Part 2 of this blog, I’ll explore some of the new key features of People Analytics, embedded edition, and provide tips on how you can solution your reports in the new tools.  

Visit our website to learn more about People Analytics.   

SAP SuccessFactors customers: SAP has announced that you can sign up to be part of an Early Adopter program (SAP S-ID required) for People Analytics, embedded edition. Should you apply for this? Read along to learn more details, including my own experience as an early adopter customer.

What is SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics? 

The graphic below shows what SAP SuccessFactors People Analytics includes:

successfactorsThe Early Adopter program is only for SuccessFactors People Analytics, embedded edition. People Analytics, embedded edition will replace existing Operational Reporting tools, including Canvas/ORD, Table/AdHoc, and Tile-based Dashboards. People Analytics, embedded edition is included with your existing SuccessFactors modules with no additional license fee.

In my mind, the key features of the embedded edition are:

  • Simplified reporting with a single data model across all SAP SuccessFactors modules
  • Modern visualization tools from SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC)

The planned General Availability (GA) launch of People Analytics, embedded edition is Q4 2019. Note that Learning, Payroll, and Recruiting Marketing will not initially be part of the embedded edition until sometime in the future.

What are the benefits of this Early Adopter program?

I see three key benefits of this Early Adopter program:

  • Selected customers will be able to create reports and visualizations with People Analytics, embedded edition in preview and production environments prior to the GA launch.
  • Selected customers will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from SAP Product Managers and other Early Adopter customers.
  • Selected customers will potentially be able to influence the People Analytics, embedded edition roadmap.

Do you want to be an Early Adopter for People Analytics?

Think about your team and their tendencies while you consider the following questions:

  • Are you excited about learning new technologies and willing to explore new software without a lot of guidance?
  • Have you been struggling with building certain reports and/or dashboards with the existing reporting tools?
  • Are you willing to budget extra time for your team members to explore the tool while utilizing time from their day-to-day tasks?
  • Are you eager to provide constructive feedback to SAP?

If you answered yes to any of these, you may be a good candidate for the program.

My Experience With Early Adoption

When SAP SuccessFactors launched Advanced Reporting for Employee Central several years back, my employer at the time was one of the first beta customers of the tool.

We used the then-new Advanced Reporting to recreate our reports that were created in AdHoc Report Builder. It was great to try out many new features that were not available in AdHoc and really push the limits of what we could deliver to our internal customers. That said, being an early adopter was a significant time commitment. It takes extra time and effort to learn new a new tool, and there was not a lot of documentation in those early days. We also ran into several bugs along the way; we spent many hours carefully documenting our issue reports and waiting for fixes from the engineering team.

Eventually we rolled out these new reports globally and enabled our HR teams across the enterprise to support their local customers. With our expertise gained as a beta customer, our depth of understanding of the tool and its capabilities became very strong. In the long term, our extra efforts during the beta period paid off nicely.

My Recommendation 

Joining this Early Adopter program can be a great opportunity to build expertise and gain additional value from your HR data. Perhaps you have the opportunity to get a “quick win” with a report or an analysis that is difficult or not possible to do with today’s reporting tools. If anything, you’ll have a head start in transitioning to the new platform.

Be mindful that participating in the Early Adopter program will take some extra time while other deliverables and tasks could lag. Be sure to set proper expectations, and you can positively move your SuccessFactors People Analytics program forward.

The Details

Program Details (SAP S-ID required): https://community.successfactors.com/t5/Reporting-Analytics-and/SAP-SuccessFactors-People-Analytics-Embedded-Edition-Early/ba-p/233982

Application Link (SAP S-ID required): https://influence.sap.com/sap/ino/#campaign/1972

Remember that the deadline to join the program is August 31, 2019.

Good luck!  Reach out with any questions or leave a comment below, and I will respond directly to you.

Canvas/Employee Central Advanced Reporting: How to return a single row for each employee while reporting on multiple pay components

I hold training sessions and consult with clients on Canvas/Advanced Reporting and one of the most frequently requested topics that clients want to know more about is how to return a single row for each employee on a report that includes Pay Components. In this blog, I’ll show you how to do just that in the easiest and most efficient way.

The Challenge

Each pay component and corresponding monetary amount is stored on its own row in the compensation table. So, when you create a query that includes specific pay component amounts for each employee who has multiple pay components, multiple rows will be returned. Here’s an example for a single employee:

The Solution

To generate a report that shows an employee’s multiple pay components on a single line, use two features that aren’t too frequently used in Advanced Reporting: Table Duplication and Table Restrictions (or Table Filters).

Build Your Query

Start with the Job Information table, and then pull in Compensation:

Next, duplicate the Compensation table by clicking on the Edit Table icon:

And then click Duplicate Table:

Note: You cannot duplicate the first table that is added to a query, which is why we didn’t begin the query with the Compensation table.

You now have a second version of the Compensation table that is a replica of the first, including the same selected columns. Both of these Compensation tables are linked directly to Job Information:

For this example, Employee 455 has three Pay Components. In this case, you will need to duplicate the Compensation table to create a third:

Let’s pause and look at the results at this point.

Whoa—we’ve gone from three rows for this employee to … many more. There are 27 in total—for the mathematics fans reading this, each combination of those three pay components are returned: 3 x 3 x 3 = 27 rows.

Fear not—we’ll pare it back down!

Modify the Duplicated Tables

There are a couple more steps to reach our goal of a single row for each employee.

First, take a step back and note the ID/Name pairs for each of the Pay Components. We will use the ID in the next step:

  • 28 = BASIC BZ
  • 36 = Childcare Allowance Brazil
  • 119 = Transportation Allowance

Tip: The ID/Name pairs will vary for each implementation; be sure to note the specific ID/Name pairs for your instance.

For each Compensation table, use Table Restrictions so that only one Pay Component Amount is returned.

Start with the first Compensation table by clicking the Edit Table icon:

Then, click the Edit Restrictions filter icon:

Filter Designer is returned, which looks just like the Query Filter. Conceptually it is no different than the Query Filter, but this filter will be applied only to this Compensation table.

Here is the Table Restriction I’ve set up for BASIC BZ, which corresponds to ID 28:

Now, we require a couple of edits for this table. Rename the Amount column to BASIC BZ. Then remove the Pay Component and Pay Component (Name) fields. The result:

Finally, repeat these Modify the Duplicate Tables steps for Compensation (2) and Compensation (3) tables.

Final Result

Once you’ve made the above modifications to the remaining tables, your query will look something like this:

And more importantly, your result set is as follows:

Yes! The bliss of a single row for each employee!

Thanks for reading—hopefully you learned something new. Look for more to come!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly.