Curriculum or Program?

Why use a curriculum over a program?

I always get asked the question “When should we use a curriculum over a program?”. The answer is it really depends on the training.

If the training leads to compliance where a regulator will audit you then you will want to choose a curriculum. Curriculums were specifically designed to be strict for compliance and audit purposes. Curriculums support detailed tracking of compliance and qualifications for highly regulated industries. If the training is not for compliance purposes and a are a bundle of items, then programs will be a better choice. Programs are the newer option of the two which utilizes the Fiori look and feel. Many clients find Programs to have a better user experience based off the overall look and feel of the program compared to Curriculums. Outlined below are the SuccessFactors definitions of curriculums and programs and the individual feature comparisons between the two.

What is a Curriculum?

A Curriculum is a set of one or more items that can be assigned and tracked as a group.

Curriculums may be used to track recurring training, allow credit for previously completed training, and provide users with a choice of how to complete requirements. Curriculums provides the functionality to recalculate required by dates on items that have been completed, but must be repeated on a recurring basis. They may include sub-curriculums so that the entire set rolls up to one overall completion status for the top-level curriculum. A Curriculum is considered complete when all requirements are complete.

Figure 1 - My Learning Assignments view with Curricula assigned
Figure 1 – My Learning Assignments view with Curricula assigned

The status may change over time as users complete items for the first time and attempt to complete retraining each additional time. Failing an item or missing a retraining date may cause the curriculum to show a status of incomplete. A curriculum can be designed to have different triggers and retraining periods. They can have unique prerequisite rules as well a specific requirement like completing a certain amount of training hours or a certain number of items out of a pool of items. Curriculums can be linked to a job code or assignment profile and automatically be assigned. They can also be associated to a catalog for users to electively assign to themselves or they can be manually assigned to users

When a curriculum is assigned, the individual items associated to the curriculum will be assigned to the learner and appear on their learning assignments tile. The image below is a look at a user’s learning assignments and the different items assigned, as well as which curriculum the assignment is part of. In the second screenshot this is the view the learner gets when they click on the fold for the curriculum to see the full list of items associated to the curriculum.

Figure 2 - Curriculum View
Figure 2 – Curriculum View

What is a Program?

A Program consists of learning activities that creates a schedule of learning.

The schedule is controlled by the Program’s agenda, which functions like an academic syllabus. The learning activities can be learning items, or they can be external content such as a welcome video hosted on the company intranet. You can also put in links to outside websites or any custom text for the learning to read. Program activities may need to be completed in sequence or during specific date periods. Scheduled-type programs may contain specific scheduled offerings and permit the users to be registered into all of them at the same time when they are registered into the program itself. Programs can be setup to have required dates for items but the big difference between a Curriculum is that a Program cannot be setup for retraining. Programs can be assigned to users by their supervisor, by an admin directly or auto assigned through Assignment Profiles. They can also be made available in the catalog for users to self-assign the program.

When a program is assigned to a learner just the program appears in the learning assignments tile unlike how a curriculum is assigned with all the items getting assigned in the assignment tile. The nice thing about programs is that a user can easily see their progress bar right from their learning assignment without opening the program as you can see below.

Figure 3 - My Learning view with Program assigned
Figure 3 – My Learning view with Program assigned

Once the learner views their program they will see their agenda and what is required for completion.

Figure 4 - Program view with Agenda/Sections
Figure 4 – Program view with Agenda/Sections

Curriculums and Programs Feature Comparison

Use this table to compare individual features of the system and to understand how the feature works with curriculums and how it works with programs. This comparison came specifically from SAP.

Figure 5 – Curriculums and Programs Feature Comparison
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Three Reasons It’s Time to Move Your Payroll Processing to the Cloud

Payroll is as essential as electricity to keeping the lights on in your business. If paychecks go out late or wrong even once, you’ll need to repair damaged trust with your employees. And if you aren’t getting payroll taxes to federal, state, and local governments on time, you’ll incur fines or interest, wasting money.

Maybe you’ve never had these problems, but consider your HR team’s experience in managing company payroll. What hurdles must HR jump to keep payroll processed smoothly and accurately, to maintain compliance with shifting regulations, to create useful reporting, and to ensure that everyone gets paid on time and accurately?

I recently spoke with a friend who works in HR. She said she had to go into the office for an hour or two on Christmas Day to process payroll so that everyone got paid at the end of December.

In 2016, we had technology that enabled a stuntman to skydive from 25,000 feet without a parachute and walk away unscathed. Surely we can save an employee the hassle of driving into the office on a holiday just to “keep the lights on.”

If you’ve been struggling to process payroll efficiently, here are 3 reasons it’s time to use a cloud payroll solution.

1.       You need more flexibility in when, where, and how your employees process payroll.

Imagine a scenario that lets employees access and process payroll anywhere—from home, while traveling, or on their iPhone while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.

Because cloud payroll software can be accessed from any computer or device, your employees don’t have to be at their office desks to use it, making payroll processing more portable and scalable.

Leaving the office for a doctor’s appointment or an impending blizzard no longer poses a threat to getting payroll processed on time. And remote employees around the world can access your software and process payroll too.

2.       Your isolated Payroll system may be holding you back.

In today’s competitive marketplace, access to information can make a big difference for the company’s bottom line. If your systems are not part of an efficient integrated landscape, you may be entering information twice, not getting access to data trends, and the data in the rest of your Human Capital Management systems may not be complete when you make decisions. The systems in the cloud are built to be connected to other systems and therefore are much easier to integrate to, which opens up possibilities of communication between the systems that may result in a more complete picture of the HCM data and better decisions based on this data.

3.       Your payroll system is falling behind.

With the increasing complexity of processes and increasing amount of data, it is getting harder to manage the HCM processes or find the data you actually need. The goal of the cloud is to focus and simplify the processes and offer the data you actually need and this trend is making older system feel more inefficient with every new cloud update. Just like the user interface of the iPhone changed the way we expect data to be presented to us, the cloud continues to reform our experiences with payroll processes.

4.       You’re spending too much time and money maintaining payroll software.

Provisioning your own hardware to support your payroll software, plus maintaining servers and updates to keep your software running is costly and risky. A cloud payroll solution stores and maintains everything for you. All your data is backed up on secure servers to prevent loss, and your solution provider is responsible for automatically updating the software and keeping it running 24/7.

SAP says, “Top performing payroll organizations process payroll at a 37% lower cost than standard organizations.” To learn more, download the SAP SuccessFactors brochure.

Bringing It Together

Cloud payroll software gives you the flexibility, automation, time, and cost savings you need to focus on what your business does best. You’ll reduce risk of error and regulatory non-compliance with government agencies. You’ll also benefit from a level of security and maintenance expertise that you likely couldn’t replicate on your own.

Paid employees are happy employees, and so are HR teams with the right tools to help them succeed at work.

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Opt for these 5 new Admin opt-in features in the latest release

SuccessFactors operates on a quarterly product update schedule. Taking advantage of the improvements that come within each release can be a daunting process with all the information to sift through.  In the upcoming 1611 release, there are many improvements and enhancements available for you.

New features are provided in two ways:

  • Universal features are enabled automatically as part of a scheduled release and you cannot disable them.
  • Optional features can be enabled when clients are ready to take advantage of their functionality. They are enabled via Admin Tools, Upgrade Center, or by submitting a support case.

We’ve chosen these 5 new pieces of functionality because they don’t necessarily need a partner to implement.  Your Administrator should be able to activate them in the upgrade center.  The only exception is the workflow item.  For this, you may want to reach out for help, as it involves building a workflow from scratch.  Whether it is workflow or any other new feature, we are here to help you.  Give us a call!


  1. Feature: Rehire process: data defaulting from previous employment can be configured

What is it?  In this custom configuration, you can decide per section in a New Hire (Personal Information, Job Information and Compensation Information) whether fields default from existing data in the inactive employee records.

Why do you want it? In the current behavior of EC, when rehiring an employee, the rehire transaction copies data from the previous employment.  Many clients don’t want this as the bulk of the data is overwritten or in need of an update anyway.


  1. Feature: Attachments are enabled for Personal Information

What is it?  In EC, attachments can now be added to more portlets in Employee’s Personal Information: Address, Biographical Information and National ID

Why do you want it? You are sometimes required to store copies of legal documents or certificates to respective portlets.  Before this upgrade, only Job Info and National ID supported attachments. By enabling additional attachments, the employee’s information is updated with the most correct information.

Prerequisites: Appropriate configuration in the Succession Data Model and permission settings.


  1. Feature: Work Permit workflow support

What is it? Clients can now enable workflows for the Work Permit Portlet, which allows the maintenance of work permit data to go through an approval process.

Why do you want it?  This will allow you to let employees maintain their own permit data, but have updates go through an approval process.


  1. User Interface goal plan improvements

What is it? This enhancement includes a series of style and alignment improvements to the goal plan user interface:

  • Cascade Goal and Linking Dialogs (includes “Assign Dialog,” as well for Group Goals)
  • People Selector

Why do you want it?

Better style and alignment offers your employees a greater UI and company branding consistency across the suite, as well as improved readability.


  • UI Version: GM v12
  • Product Editions: Enterprise and SPRAC




  1. New home page

What is it? You can enable the new home page user experience in the Upgrade Center. The existing home page configuration settings are retained and applied to the new home page where possible, but some additional configuration steps may be required. (Refer to your SuccessFactors Home Page Administration Guide for more details).

Why do you want it?  The new UX for SFSF Home Page is built on the FIORI LaunchPad framework and organizes role-based time sensitive information and insights on one personalized start page. From the home page, you can take quick actions and identify areas requiring further analysis.

Prerequisites: Role Based Permission



To learn more about SuccessFactors quarterly updates, please reach out to AspireHR or visit the Customer Community (https://community.successfactors).

We are excited to help you learn how to upgrade, find out more about the newer versions, provide access to recorded information sessions, and offer  webinars presented by our Subject Matter Experts.

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SAP Self-Services Without a Portal?

For many years, anyone who implemented SAP Self-Services did so by also implementing the SAP Portal, as well as configuring the services in the ECC system.  This Java-based hardware was a prerequisite for self-services and greatly increased the amount of time it took to get your employee and manager self-services built and released for your employees to use.  Today SAP offers several great alternatives to a Portal.  Let’s take a look at these offerings.

Browser-based Netweaver Business Client (NWBC)

The Netweaver Business Client for browsers is a cost-effective and streamlined tool that allows you to quickly upgrade your existing self-services or, if you haven’t yet implemented ESS/MSS, this technology may be what you are looking for. SAP delivers standard roles for both employees and managers, and implementation is quick, especially if you have someone who knows how to use the Profile Generator.  NWBC-based self-services can be easily released to your corporate intranet or using some other tools you can even release these services to the internet.  NWBC works in almost all browsers as well, which is a big plus.

Let’s take a look at how a self-services role is built in Profile Generator in EhP5, 6, 7, and 8.

Create a role ID in transaction PFCG (like Z_ASPIRE_ESS).  Save the role and go to the Menu tab:


Select Web Dynpro Application and insert the Service name and Application Configuration.

In the below example we have selected the Personal Profile for our new role:


Once the role is saved and activated and assigned to users they now have access to display and update their Personal Data (Infotype 0002), Address (Infotype 0006), Bank Details (Infotype 0009), Family Members (Infotype 0021) and Communication (Infotype 0105) all in one service.

The menu is easily maintained using the Profile Generator, and menus, sub-menus, standard and custom Web Dynpro services as well as links to company/employee documentation are easily added to give your employees a slick and easy to navigate menu. Here is our role with one of the many icons SAP delivers for self-services:


Based on your Enhancement Pack level there are from 25 to 100 delivered Employee Self-Services and 15 to 30 Manager Self-Services ready for you to add to your roles.


This is SAP latest technology for self-services and has the flexibility of working in just about any device including smart phones, tablets, and of course a PC.

As with the Netweaver Business Client for browser, Fiori and its applications are free and delivered ready for you to use. Fiori has an extra set-up for what SAP calls the Gateway Server which adds an abstract layer from your back end ECC system and the services within your roles.

Fiori roles also are created in the Profile Generator, and there is a browser-based application where you complete your Fiori role using a Catalogs and Groups concept.

Here we see a catalog for My Services- Employee and its associated services- similar to what an end user will see when they use the Fiori role:


And here is our Fiori role as an Employee would see it when they log in:


Notice the entire background image is customize-able as well. You can use your company logo, eye catching graphics- whatever you would like to enhance your end user’s experience.

Another big plus- both NWBC and Fiori Self-Services utilize your existing self-services configuration for the services. You just build the roles and assign the services and you are ready to go!

If you would like more information on either of these tools let us know. We at Aspire HR will meet with you and review your current environment and provide a free assessment to get you up and running using the Netweaver Business Client or Fiori for your Self-Services users.

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Running more effective and efficient project status meetings

Ever dial or walk into a project status meeting only to find yourself wishing that you could be anywhere else on the planet?

At times, status calls can be ALMOST as much fun as going to the dentist WITHOUT an anesthetic. Here are some pointers to consider as you plan your next project status meeting:

Make them MORE than just routine status calls

  • Use collaborative content management sites such as SharePoint, Box, or Huddle to post frequent Project Status Reports (traffic light-style reporting can be very useful for status updates). Then, have participants review project status documents BEFORE attending the status call.
  • In lieu of reviewing project status reports, focus on dynamic matters such as
    • Upcoming milestones and what is needed to ensure their successful completion.
    • Issues or challenges that are currently impacting the project, and what is needed to mitigate or eliminate them.
    • Resource constraints or limitations within the project team as well as outside resources such as third-party providers or integration partners.
    • Project creep or timeline issues (projects are NOT always in jeopardy of getting behind schedule – perhaps there are opportune times when activities can be accelerated). If so, consider the potential resource impact as well as downstream activities and milestones.
    • Don’t forget to acknowledge completed activities and milestones! Recognize team members (by name!) for their contributions and successes.

Ensure the correct audience is in attendance

  • DON’T assume every project team member needs to attend every meeting. Construct (and circulate beforehand) a dynamic agenda for the meeting (keeping in mind the aforementioned considerations), and then consider who should attend.
  • Have project stakeholder or executive members attend on occasion to ensure open lines of communication, opportunity for feedback, and additional perspective.

ALWAYS allow time for Q&A and discussion

  • By ensuring attendees have a chance to speak openly, often times less obvious items may surface that could have become a downstream issue.
  • Questions are a STRONG indicator of a need for clarification, uncertainty or a lack of acceptance. They are often times the “SMOKE” before the “FIRE.” Use them to gauge understanding and level of buy-in.

ALWAYS provide a summary and list of actions or follow-up

  • Meetings should result in PROGRESS! Progress requires ACTION! Everyone should have a clear understanding of upcoming activities, tasks, milestones or requirements prior to the next scheduled project status call.
  • ACTIONS require PEOPLE! Not only should everyone understand WHAT needs to happen, but also WHO is accountable for the effort. Never leave a task unassigned.

By breaking away from mundane agendas, time-wasting routine, and no actionable outcomes, you can ensure your recurring project status meetings are rewarding, engaging, focused and as painless as possible!

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How to auto-create worksheets for new Compensation Managers

In the past, if an employee becomes a Compensation Manager after the initial compensation worksheet launch, an Administrator would need to manually initiate a compensation worksheet for the new manager. With SuccessFactors’ 1505 release, new functionality can be used to auto-launch compensation worksheets for new Compensation Managers.   We will walk through two different scenarios where this may be useful:

  • Auto-create where employee does not already exist on an existing worksheet
  • Auto-create where employee already exists on an existing worksheet

Auto-create where employee does not already exist on an existing worksheet

In this example, we will walk through how to create a worksheet for a new Compensation Manager when the employee under that manager does not already exist on another Compensation Manager’s worksheet.
Continue reading

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Troubleshooting candidate profile aesthetics in SuccessFactors

A common challenge you may encounter in SuccessFactors Recruiting is a candidate profile page that doesn’t offer your job candidates a polished first impression.  This can happen through small visual cues like columns that are too narrow and cause your prompts to run over onto the next line or a picklist that has too much white space in the default drop-down position.

Watch this short video to learn how to easily resolve these issues by knowing how to reformat columns and picklist values.


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