SAP Knowledge Base Article - Public

2080829 - Data Imports - Best Practices and FAQs - Employee Central


  • How to track the status of data imports
  • Valid operators used while performing imports
  • What are the types of imports available in Employee Central?
  • This Knowledge Base Article discusses the Best Practices and most common questions regarding importing data behavior in EC


SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central


Employee Central: Importing Data FAQ

  •  How do you track the status of an import?
    • Import status is tracked by using the Admin Tool. Note that this is currently possible only in the Old Admin Tools. To view the report, navigate to the Process Job Monitor section and select Monitor Jobs.

  • In what format does data need to be uploaded?
    • In SuccessFactors, data is uploaded using a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file. CSV files store records in text format, generally separated by a delimiter like a comma or tab. Files in this format can be opened by any spreadsheet or editor.
    • For each type of import, a unique CSV template exists to assist with the different columns required in the file.

  • Does the uploaded CSV file need to follow a naming convention?
    • No. SuccessFactors only uses the content within the file and not the file itself. The name does not matter.

  • Why do Imports not include records for inactive employees?
    • By default, records for inactive employees are not processed.
    • For Basic Import, to include records for inactive employees, make sure to select the Process Inactive Employees checkbox when specifying settings for the Basic Import.
    • For Other Imports, complete this activity as a Full Purge Import for the employee.

  • What’s the difference between an effective dated field and a non-effective dated field?
    • Effective dated fields have a history associated with them while non-effective dated fields do not have a history. For example, compensation-specific fields are effective dated while fields like Name and National ID are not effective dated.

  • What's the difference between the synchronous and asynchronous mode of import?
    • In the synchronous mode, the import process is triggered immediately and the results of the import process are displayed on the Import page soon after the import process completes. For the asynchronous mode, the import process is performed in the background and the results of the import process are sent through email.

  • How do you invoke the synchronous mode of import?
    • You cannot specify the mode in which the import process will run. The type of mode invoked is determined by the number of records in the file. If the number of records exceeds the Real-Time Threshold specified, the asynchronous mode of import is triggered. The asynchronous mode of import is also invoked if any of the records in the file has the &&NO_OVERWRITE&& value.

  • Can the Real-Time Threshold value be changed?
    • Yes, the Real-Time Threshold value can be changed to specify a lower threshold value; however the threshold value specified cannot be changed to exceed the default value already displayed in the field. Depending on the element being imported, the maximum real time threshold is either 200 or 3000. The maximum real time threshold value for each field is automatically displayed when the element is selected.

  • Can all imports be performed in the synchronous mode?
    • With the exception of the Basic, Extended and Background imports, all other imports run in the synchronous mode if the number of records in the file does not exceed the Real-Time Threshold value specified or if the records in the CSV file do not contain the &&NO_OVERWRITE&& value.

  • What type of import is triggered when the Real-Time Threshold value is changed to a lower value but the number of records in the file does not exceed the Default Real-Time Threshold value?
    • Once the default Real-Time Threshold value is changed to a lower value, the default Real-Time Threshold value is no longer honored. So, if the Real-Time Threshold value is changed to 100 from 200 and 105 records are uploaded, the asynchronous mode of import will be invoked instead of the synchronous mode of import.

  • Why are errors displayed on the Import page when the number of records in the import file exceeds the Real-Time Threshold value?
    • To save time, the system performs a sanity check on the first ten records before starting the asynchronous (background) import process. In case an error exists in the first ten records of the file, an error is displayed. Correct the errors and upload the file again. The asynchronous import process will start only when the first ten records do not have an error.

  • It has been more than 20 minutes but the results of the import are not being displayed on the import page even though the number of records in the import file does not exceed the threshold value specified.
    • Typically, all synchronous imports should complete within 5 minutes. In case the import is taking longer, it is possible UI is not displaying updated results. To view the report, navigate to the Process Job Monitor section and select Monitor Jobs. In such a situation, capture the time stamp and open a support case.

  • What’s the difference between a Full Purge and Incremental Load?
    • When a file is uploaded in the Full Purge mode, all existing records in the system are overwritten with the records in the file uploaded.
    • When a file is uploaded using the Incremental Load option, the records in the file being uploaded are added to the records already in the system. The Incremental Load also supports a Partial Import, where only some fields of the record are updated.

  • What are business keys?
    • In SuccessFactors, each record is identified by a unique identifier combination known as the business key. For example, for the Address import – the unique combination of person_id_external, effective_start_date and address_type make up the business key.
    • Based on this business key, when the system encounters a partial import, it verifies the uniqueness of the record and then accordingly updates only those fields that do not have the &&NO_OVERWRITE&& value or are not part of the business key.
    • Note: If even 1 record has the &&NO_OVERWRITE&& value, the import will be performed asynchronously.

  • What is a Partial import?
    • A Partial Import is a type of Incremental Load update. In case of a Partial Import, only some part of the record is updated. This type of import is useful when only one specific field needs to be updated for all employees. For example, uploading email addresses for all new employees. Email addresses are generally created once the new hire has been added to the system. With Partial Import, the rest of the record can be left intact while only the email address is updated.
    • Note that an option for Partial Import does not exist on the UI. See “How do you prepare a file for partial import” for information on using the Partial Import feature.

  • How do you prepare a file for partial import?
    • To indicate that a partial import is intended, the &&NO_OVERWRITE&& keyword is used in the different fields of the row. Consider the following example.
    • Notice that the value for most fields is set to &&NO_OVERWRITE&&, except for user-id, end-date, start-date and job-code.
    • With the exception of business keys and fields marked with &&NO_OVERWRITE&&, all other values in the row will be overwritten with the new values.
    • In case any of the rows in the file has an error, none of the rows will be uploaded. Also note that imports for files including the &&NO_OVERWRITE&& value are always performed asynchronously.

  • How do you do a partial import?
    • The steps for uploading the data remain the same. All you have to do is upload the file in the Incremental Load mode. Unlike the other modes of import, if any of the records being uploaded is incorrect, the upload will fail. In case of Incremental Load or Full Purge, only the rows with errors are not written to the database.

  • How do you know if the import completed successfully?
    • After the file uploads, you will receive an email notification. This email contains the results of your upload, including any errors that might have occurred. Errors will also be written to the CSV file as follows:
      • Correct the errors and upload the file again. We suggest you validate the file for errors before uploading the file.
      • This is a best practice that will save you time!

  • Where did the history disappear?
    • When importing data, if an object has a history attached to it, it is important to keep all those rows in the file. When uploading a file in Full Purge mode, if only one row is uploaded, the rest of the records will get wiped out.
    • SuccessFactors cannot retrieve this data. It is recommended you keep a backup copy of the file before uploading the new file.

  • What are the different file encoding types supported?
    • To view a list of supported encoding types, on the Import page, click the File Encoding dropdown menu. This will display a list of supported encoding types.

  • Which object information cannot be uploaded using the Partial Import (&&NO_OVERWRITE&&)?
    • The following objects cannot be updated using Partial Import.
    • ADDRESS: The default Address Entity does not support NO_OVERWRITE
    • Because the Location FoundationObject and the EmergencyContact also refer to this address, these two columns will not support Partial Import.
      • JOB_FAMILY
      • DYNAMIC_ROLE Foundation Object
      • WF_CONFIG Foundation Object
      • WF_CONFIG_CONTRIBUTOR Foundation Object
      • WF_CONFIG_CC Foundation Object

  • What can you change in the picklist?
    • You can add your own picklists, as well as modify the value of existing picklists with the exception of Employee Status, where you can change the label but not include additional status types.

  • When import is taking too long to complete, how can the performance be improved?
    • Business rules which are not required for imports can be turned off using rule context in Manage Business Configuration (BCUI).
      Disable the Rule context for import for all the rules onSave/onChange trigger that are not required during import. Perform this change for each element/portlets.
      Screenshot for onSave Rules found at the bottom of each portlet in Manage Business Configuration:
      Rule context 1.pngRule Context 2.png
      For onChange rules added at field level you can identify it by the "Tr" below the details link of each field:
      Identify onChange rules added at field level.pngUpdate context onChange rules added at field level.png


sf, imports, operators, success factors, ec , data, incremental, purge, job, monitor, synchronous , KBA , sf employee central , LOD-SF-EC-EDP , Import Employee Data (EC Core only) , How To


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