Know the Risks and Benefits of 5 Change Validation Options for Interfaces to External Systems

  • by Owen McGivney, Senior Consultant, iProCon Ltd.
  • November 30, 2010
You can approach the common task of change validation in SAP ERP HCM in a number of different ways. Deciding among the options depends on the task at hand and the user’s experience, level of skill, and personal preference. See the pros and cons of five common options.
Key Concept
SAP ERP HCM users are often required to work on interfaces to external systems for pensions, health care benefits, or company car providers. Most third-party systems don’t want to receive a complete set of employee data every time they run the interface because they only require transmission of data that has changed since the last time they ran the interface.

When designing an interface, it’s easy to define a set of data entry activities that should trigger interface records to be sent to an external system. A typical definition might be: You should interface all new employees, people who have left, and changes to pay, hours, benefits, or other employee details. Changes made to master data in SAP ERP HCM should be interfaced to the external system as soon as they are detected.

However, considerations regarding the date effectiveness of those records make this triggering more complex. There may be backdated payroll changes, which are often due to the late notification of payments such as overtime. They may also include the late data entry of employees’ joining and leaving dates.

Likewise, you need to account for future-dated records. SAP ERP HCM allows for future-dated records to be input but most interfaces specify that only records effective in the current period are to be sent. Therefore, you must include logic to check the validity of records, not just the date of entry. Beyond this, it may be necessary to store a separate reference record of what was previously sent by the interface to prevent valid changes being missed, or spurious false-positive changes being sent in error.

If an interface does not have well-designed change validation logic, then over time SAP ERP HCM and the external system diverge. New employees may be missing, people who have left may still have active records, and updates may be sent from SAP ERP HCM to records that don’t exist in the external system. This results in tedious and time-consuming checking of error logs and manual update tasks. With the aim of minimizing this type of scenario, you can choose one of the following methods to identify changes.

Owen McGivney

Owen McGivney is a senior consultant at iProCon Ltd., part of the iProCon group, based in London, England. He has worked on implementing SAP HR and payroll systems since 1998. Owen has delivered UK, Irish, and multi-national payroll solutions for a wide range of private- and public-sector clients. He has a special interest in combining ABAP programming with configuration to create innovative and effective solutions.

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