SAP Knowledge Base Article - Public

2087993 - SFTP: Automating Data Imports & Exports via a Scheduler in SuccessFactors


  • SFTP Setup Sheets
  • Information regarding supported file protocols like PGP
  • How to setup a scheduled import/export in SuccessFactors
  • This KB article describes the process of implementing FTP data uploads and downloads. You may elect to use an FTP process to manage your Live Profile employee data upload, or automate the exporting of a report.


SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite


  • SuccessFactors supports the automation of most system imports and exports via an automated FTP Job Scheduler.
  • For customers who do not have an implementation partner/consultant with access to Provisioning, you can complete the Setup Sheets attached to this KBA and provide them to support in a case if you need assistance creating these jobs. 
  • Supported Job Types are listed at the end of this KB article.
  • Some supported job types can now also be created through the Admin Center - Creating a Scheduled Job Request in Admin Center

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How long does it take SuccessFactors to set this up for a customer?
    • The process can typically take anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending on a number of factors and testing required.
  • How long do files stay on the SFTP server?
    • Files that have a date as part of their name are saved for approximately 10 iterations.
    • They are not saved permanently.
    • If the file has the same name for every run, the previous file will be overwritten.
  • What standards does SuccessFactors support?
    • SFTP over SSH on port 22
    • SFTP over SSL using the explicit SSL extension as described in RFC2228 

Employee Import Scheduled SFTP Job Process

  • Client HRIS populates SF employee import file
  • Client logs in to  SF SFTP server and post file
  • SF scheduled job runs and looks for file on SFTP server in Client folder
  • SF job process file and updates system accordingly
Best Practice Advice
Do not schedule jobs to run between 12 midnight and 4am (relative to the data center you are on).

This is when all quarterly releases and weekly planned system downtime occurs. Scheduled jobs cannot run during this time, so files you may send to us or need to run at this time will fail and cause problems for your processes.

Auto-Recover: During planned downtimes all scheduled jobs will attempt to run once the servers are back on line, so waiting until later in the morning is typically all that is needed. However, it is possible some jobs due to specific parameters will not auto-recover and need to be manually run by the client.


  • These scheduled jobs must be created in the backend before the client starts posting files to the SFTP server
    • Before the job is created, the client must complete a setup sheet which is attached to this KBA. 
    • During the setup process, the client is provided a username/password that they must use to connect to the SFTP server.
    • The file name and path must also be indentified during the setup process. 
      • When the scheduled job runs, it looks for the specific file name on the SFTP server.  If no file is found with the exact name, the job will fail.
      • The file path is typically /incoming.  When the scheduled job runs, it will look for the file in the /incoming folder.  If no file is found, the job will fail.
  • A job owner is associated to every scheduled job.  This job owner must be a valid user in the system.  If the user is made inactive, the job will fail.
  • A job is scheduled to run at a frequency and time the client requests. 
    • The frequency can be hourly, every 2/4 or more hours per day, daily, weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, or yearly.
    • The start time is important because that determines when the job will look on the SFTP server for the file to process.  Clients need to post their files to the SFTP prior to start time or else the job will fail.
  • The system will override any existing information in the system with the contents of the import file.

Supported File Transfer Protocols

  • If the customer is connecting to a SuccessFactors hosted server we support:
    •  SFTP over SSH on port 22. File can be PGP encrypted. We will supply the customer with the name of the server to connect to, a login ID, and a password. If the customer supplies us their SSH public key, we can install it on our server. That will enable key based logins without a password.
    • HTTPS. Customers can connect to our server using a browser. File can be PGP encrypted. We will supply the customer with the name of the server to connect to, a login ID, and a password.
  • If we are connecting to a customer hosted server we support:
    • SFTP over SSH on port 22. File can be PGP encrypted. To set this up SuccessFactors will need the name or IP address of the server, the login id and the password. We cannot provide an SSH Key to automate this process. We only support password based logins to customer hosted SFTP.

Format of Employee Import File

  • The Employee Import data file looks like a spreadsheet, with each column dedicated to a specific data point.
  • This spreadsheet is stored as a comma separated value (csv).

Header Row 1: System Keys, Header Row 2: Data Labels.

  • Refer to KB article 2087504 - Data Imports & Exports - Explanation of the Fields in the Employee Import File: User Import File

PGP Encryption

When customers use FTP they also use PGP File Encryption. This encrypts the data file before it is sent to SAP. It is widely used because it is effective, easy to use, and free. Use of PGP requires the use of the PGP encryption package. PGP uses a public key you distribute to anyone you want to send a message to you. You then use a private key to decrypt the message. SFTP is already included with most popular computing platforms. PGP encryption and SFTP over SSL software is available free from a wide variety of sources. There are also many software programs available for purchase to handle any of these processes.

  • The SuccessFactors PGP Key is attached to this solution
  • Encryption can be done using any PGP or GPG software.
  • The party receiving the files always supplies a PGP Public Key. For files SuccessFactors is importing, we will supply the PGP key.
  • SuccessFactors PGP public key. This can be either the standard SF Key or a key unique to the customer's instance. If a customer desires a common key in more than one instance (test and production for instance), then it must be the standard SF key.
  • For files SuccessFactors is exporting, the customer needs to supply the PGP key.
  • We can import multiple keys from a customer. This can be helpful if a client has multiple vendors processing thier data. Old keys are not overwritten and will remiain on record until it is selected and deleted.
  • PGP encrypted files must be sent in BINARY mode.
  • Which PGP program should I use? There are many PGP utilities available from a variety of sources. Which software package you use depends on the features needed by your organization.

Available Job Types

Common job types available are:

  • Import Jobs
    • Batch Upload Photos
    • Candidate Import
    • Catalog
    • Employee Import (User data)
    • Goal Import 
    • JDM
    • TGM Data
    • Positions
    • Live Profile
    • Family & Role Mapping

  • Export Jobs
    • Ad Hoc Reports Export
    • Compensation Aggregate
    • Detailed Doc Search
    • Employee Export
    • Live Profile
    • New Employee Export
    • Position

  • Miscellaneous
    • Ad Hoc Reports
    • Pending Nomination Emails
    • Request Employee Review on Performance Profile
    • Sync Position Model with Employee Data
    • Send Pending Nomination Emails

See Also

KB article 2087504 - Data Imports & Exports - Explanation of the Fields in the Employee Import File: User Import File


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SAP SuccessFactors HCM suite all versions


FTPSetupSheet_Employee Export.doc
FTPSetupSheet_Employee Import.doc