Successful data recovery / Data migration in SuccessFactors- Employee Central

SuccessFactors occupies a leading position in the HRIS Software as a Service (SaaS) market. Deployment of this solution demands a strong IT management expertise; and as with all these projects the question of data recovery/migration arises.

SuccessFactors occupies a leading position in the HRIS Software as a Service (SaaS) market. Deployment of this solution demands a strong IT management expertise; and as with all these projects the question of data recovery/migration arises.

Data recovery consists of extracting and converting all or one part of the present data, in order to upload this data into the target system.

Each data recovery/migration is specific to the project and software tool deployed. Our objective is to rely on our different SuccessFactors project experiences in order to provide you with a detailed account of important points to respect for a successful data migration to SuccessFactors.

Stock market data on tablet computer
Steps to follow for a successful Data Migration
1. Have a global overview of the Project Planning

It is important to understand how the deployment of SuccessFactors is organised. In total the systems configuration generally unfolds in three iterations.

At each iteration the consultants review the configuration documents with the teams. They present the solutions available and adjust according to the user feedback provided. Activating new data, or reformatting data already in use is as simple as a few clicks or bars of text.

This can therefore impact the data recovery. If the format of data has been changed in the configuration, it then needs to be adapted in the import templates during the migration of data.

It is therefore necessary to establish a data migration management plan:

E → Extract the data.

T → Transform the data.

L → Upload (load) the data.

V → Validate the data.

Establishing this plan also enables the repartition of responsibilities amongst the members of the team.

Data extraction is often the client’s responsibility. The client must be capable of providing access to this data and have the capacity to deliver it to the service provider, who then in turn will upload the information into SuccessFactors.

For example, when we have accompanied past clients in the deployment of Employee Central (EC) SuccessFactors, the client was responsible for extracting the Automatic Data Processing (ADP) data and providing us with it.

The transformation of this data is an equally important step. The simple data extraction from the source system doesn’t allow us to upload it into a target system (in this case SuccessFactors). The data present in the original system will be of a certain format, it is necessary to convert this data to comply with the existing reference in the target system.

For example: It is possible that in the source system the field “Greeting” accepts only “Mister” and “Miss” but in the target system the accepted terminologies are “Mr” and “Miss”. This then makes it necessary to convert the data, to ensure that it is uploaded correctly.

Data can be uploaded when all the import templates are ready. It is generally this step that the client is accompanied with. During client accompaniment we upload the data for the different iterations, for the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) as well as for the passage going to production.

The validation of uploaded data is the last step in Data migration. This step consists of ensuring that extracted data from the source system has been uploaded correctly onto the target system.

This final step is often the client’s responsibility. The project management (AMOA in French) consultants can assist the client to produce reports in order to extract the uploaded data of the target system so as to compare with the source system data and complete the import templates.

2. Preparing the final Excel collection templates
  • The Data Collect Template

The data collection templates are excel files allowing the client to consolidate the data extracted from the source system. It is necessary to rely on the configuration Workbooks of the target system to create the collection templates.

If several countries deploy SuccessFactors at the same time, it is recommended to create a collection template for each country. This facilitates the identification of fields specific to certain countries.

  • The Data Freeze Template

The data freeze template is a tool that allows the client to note all the changes (entries, exits, modifications) concerning the personnel between the last collection period and the Go Live of the target system (in this case SuccessFactors).

  • The Data Quality Check Template

The data quality check template allows clients to verify that the data uploaded on to the target system and the data extracted from the source system are identical. In general, it is in the form of an excel sheet and an extraction of the data uploaded on to the system.

  • The Data Dictionnary Template

The Data Dictionary is useful for the person responsible for uploading the data on to the target system. It is an excel file recap concerning the import templates and the points of attention to be had concerning the fields and the data to be uploaded.

The data dictionary allows us to index and order the import templates to be uploaded.

For example: The template labeled “Basic Info” is always first in the upload list. It is possible to indicate in the Data Dictionary the fields to be complete for the import of basic info.

3. Preparing the import templates in SuccessFactors

The import templates are the files formatted .csv that allow, once correctly filled in, the data to be uploaded in SuccessFactors.

As there are a number of files for importation it is essential to upload them in a precise order. We have classed the import templates below in the order in which they are to be uploaded in to SuccessFactors:

  1. Basic Information
  2. Biographical Information
  3. Employment Information
  4. Positions
  5. Job Information
  6. Compensation Information
  7. Personal Information
  8. Email Information
  9. Phone Information
  10. Job Relations
  11. Pay Component Recurring
  12. National ID
  13. Addresses
  14. Dependents
  15. Payment Information
  16. Work Permit


The labels of your import templates can vary in regards to your SuccessFactors configuration. The number of import templates to be uploaded depends on the desired data in SuccessFactors.  If the addresses of the employees are not a desired component in your system, it is therefore not necessary to upload the “Addresses” template.

4. Managing missing data in the source system

When filling out the import templates, it is possible that the source system does not contain all of the data requested by the target system.

For example : On a recent project the client had requested the integration of a field labeled “Employee Class” for the target system.

This field was designated to state the category in which the employee belonged: employee, apprentice, intern. A widget Picklist was therefore defined and the following options were offered: EMPLOYEE/ APPRENTICE/ INTERN.

This field was made compulsory and the file could not be uploaded unless it had been completed. It turned out, however, that in the source system this field was not indicated.

In this situation we are presented with several solutions:

  • Make the field non-compulsory and allow the file to be uploaded without responding.
  • Search for the relevant information utilising other data (contract type etc.)
  • Insert the option N/A in the Picklist.

Whichever solution is chosen, it is important to anticipate this subject as much as possible to ensure that the SuccessFactors data migration can be completed smoothly.

5. Managing the import template rejection

When your import templates are complete and ready for upload in the system, it is then necessary to go to Import Employee Data to upload. Quite often the import templates are rejected. This is not an issue; the system is simply identifying compliance issues blocking the total importation of the file.

The advantage of SuccessFactors is that as each import template is uploaded, you are able to download the file .csv that outlines the errors in your template. It is therefore easy to identify and correct the issues before re-uploading the edited template.

We can identify three main errors:

Errors linked to the file format
Errors linked to the non-compliance of the expected field format
Errors linked to the non-compliance of the repository
6. Ensure that the uploaded data is correct

Once the data is uploaded on to the system it is important to verify that the information that has been uploaded in SuccessFactors corresponds to the data present in the source system.

For this it is necessary to extract the data uploaded on to SuccessFactors and to compare it with the data provided and collected from the source system.

It is possible to make a report by portlet/ import file to provide a comprehensive view of all the data uploaded on to the system.

In conclusion

Data migration is a part of a project, not to be neglected. It is even necessary to anticipate it to secure the transfer of data in the transition to production.

Mickael Duchoze

Mickael Duchoze

Expert data migration


Make an appointment

Merci pour votre inscription!

Vous pouvez accéder le replay du webinar “Bien choisir son SIRH en 2021” en cliquant sur le bouton ci-dessous :