SAP is ending mainstream maintenance on SAP ECC HCM in 2025, and SAP S/4HANA Sidecar HCM in 2030. Companies sitting on-premise with their SAP HCM systems should be considering moving to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central if they want to continue receiving support and the latest innovations.

We know that move can be daunting, but knowledge is power and assessing your readiness for Employee Central can give you a path to a successful implementation. There are activities you can undertake ahead of a move to the cloud that will save time and avoid pitfalls in the long run.

Many of the concerns we hear from customers around moving to Employee Central revolve around having too complicated of an on-premise system with too many customizations for cloud to be able to support their requirements. Others have yet to understand the business case, or they have tried making the case and failed.

At Rizing HCM, we’ve grown from an on-premise focused consultancy, to an SAP SuccessFactors-focused model. We were skeptical at first too, but after nearly a decade of moving customers to the cloud, we know that there is no system too complicated for Employee Central. We also know that there are real savings to be made in both infrastructure requirements and HR process transformation.

Related: 4 Best Practices for a Global SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Implementation

To achieve those savings, it is best to be prepared for the move. That’s why we offer up three key areas to examine when considering a move to Employee Central: Assessing your current system, identifying significant roadblocks, and data extraction and migration.

1. Assess Your Current System

Part of the process of figuring out how ready you are for Employee Central is looking at your on-premise SAP HCM system. First up, and perhaps one of the greatest causes of insecurity for customers, is creating a list of SAP ECC customizations.

These customizations are often created to align with an established process. When moving to HCM in the cloud, it’s time to start thinking about if those processes can be updated. If so, then perhaps that specific customization related to a certain process is no longer needed.

In examining your current HCM system state, in addition to examining processes and forms, you’ll look at workflows—both HR and non-HR. You’ll also take inventory of any SAP SuccessFactors Talent Modules you may already be running, and look at shift planning, compensation, and self-service capabilities.

Beyond that, you’ll look at a list of things in your SAP ECC HCM system, as well as current interfaces and programs on which your HCM process relies.

For each of these areas, it is important to look at potential impacts that they may have on an Employee Central implementation, as well as possible mitigation strategies for that impact. 

2. Identify Significant Roadblocks

Roadblocks to a successful Employee Central implementation can be both technical and involve cultural and mindset shifts. Employees need to be ready for the change, and the inability to adjust to the new HCM system can impact the project negatively.

Change management experts will be key—keeping your stakeholders in the loop and ensuring consistent communication throughout the Employee Central evaluation.

The goal of implementing a new HCM system in the cloud should be real HR transformation. That cannot be done if your team is stuck to doing things the old way. Not all existing processes should be migrated, some should be discarded for new and updated processes that fit with upgraded technology.

The amount of change management that is required is reliant upon your current self-service landscape.

Transformation often comes for customers in the form of employee self-service. This might come as a change for your organization, where HR administrators are relied upon to initiate processes. In a self-service environment, managers and employees conduct many HR transactions.

Finally, existing custom solutions can create a barrier to a successful Employee Central adoption. Examine these early, things like custom programs, Infotypes, and objects. Know what SAP SuccessFactors offers for extensibility—it’s not likely to be the same in the cloud.

These custom solutions also tie into data migration and data cleansing. There are costs associated with conversions and keeping historical data. Think about your data early, and figure out your strategy. One option for keeping your historical data accessible without propping up an old system is the Rizing HCM 3DR Cube.

3. Data Migration and Integration

For data extraction and migration, SAP Infoporter is an important tool that should be used. Infoporter is designed specifically to migrate data from SAP HCM on-premise to Employee Central.

It’s also important to set a Full Transmission Start Date (FTSD). This is typically when Employee Central will become your system of record for HR, instead of the on-premise application. Additionally, the data should be evaluated for what you actually need to bring over and defining data point governance will help identify the data that is essential.

After going through the previous steps of the readiness assessment, the integrations required should be clear. It is ideal to stay with SAP standard integrations through SAP Cloud Platform Integration (SAP CPI) and Business Integration Builder (BiB). In this process you should limit the automation of Infotype replication (such as on hire vs. on change).

The Ongoing Journey After Go-Live

Taking the care to properly assess your situation before implementing Employee Central will greatly raise your chances of success. There are steps that can be done after Go-Live as well to maximize your investment.

These steps include staying up-to-date on the changes in technology and tools, providing end-user training, and building a strategy to implement quarterly releases from SAP SuccessFactors. All of this will work towards providing the greatest business value from your Employee Central system.

For more, be sure to check out the Rizing HCM Webcast “Moving from SAP HCM to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central: Evaluating Your Readiness.”